In a recent blog post, we took a look at three simple steps to help get you on the road to organization. In a nutshell, the steps were: 1) Focus on one space, 2) Set a decluttering date and 3) Decide what stays, what goes and what’s stored.


Today we’re going to focus on the last point—tossing stuff out, saving a few things, storing the rest. Fairly simple, right? Well, for some people, yes. For others, every decision is a heart-wrenching struggle that very well can result in a lifetime of regret and quite possibly the end of the world. Seriously.


Sound familiar? Then this post is for you. You’re the type of person who looks at every aspect of every decision, multiple times, for as long as you can possibly get away with it. And this can be a great trait: Your actions are deliberate and well thought out. The downside, of course, is that this kind of decision-making can be excruciating in terms of getting anything done at all, ever. After all, clutter is simply a visual expression of an inability to make a decision.


So, how to overcome your decision-making phobia and declutter with confidence? Here are a few tips to help you take organizational action:


Tip #1: The sorting test

Ideally, we would all be surrounded by things we use and/or love. So, when in doubt during your decluttering, pick up an object and ask yourself “Do I love it or use it?” (Hint: the answer can’t be “yes” for everything.)  And how do we define whether something is being used? Say you’re going through your closet and you find climbing shoes purchased during a whirlwind love affair with a sinewy rock climber sometime during your junior year of college. You’re now in your 30s, and the sinewy rock climber is an accountant with a man-muffin-top. Do you toss the shoes? Obviously, yes. You don’t use them. That’s an easy one.


Now, what about that pair of shoes that you bought and didn’t really like, and then they gave you blisters, but you bought them, and so you kept them. Because, you know, you might wear them. That, my friend, goes into the “Not Being Used” category. It’s tough to admit that you made a mistake when you bought them, but instead of keeping them around to clutter your closet and remind you of your poor purchase, donate them, and do not look back!


Tip #2: Enlist a friend

If you just can’t decide what stays and what goes, it’s time to unleash the objective opinion! Sometimes it’s only by viewing your belongings through other people’s eyes that you can see their true value… or lack thereof. So make a decluttering date with a friend – you provide the pizza and beer – and spend some quality bonding time going through your antique collection of AOL software CDs and high school memorabilia. If your friend has your decluttering needs at heart, they’ll all be in storage soon!


Tip #3: The doomsday scenario

Still waffling over whether you need, for example, that waffle iron? Then try this little trick: Imagine life without it. Is it terrible? What’s the worst that could happen? You make pancakes instead? Can you live with this outcome?! If the answer is “yes,” then it’s time to let it go. So much of our stuff is around on a “just in case” basis. By purging yourself of those not-even-close-to-essential items, you’ll make a huge dent in your decluttering.
Any tips you’d like to share? Do tell!