Ms. Simplicity: Would you buy this again?
The reasons for clutter vary from person to person. Just like the ability to get rid of it varies from person to person. For some it is easy, and they can rid themselves of sentimental items without a blink of an eye.
My husband could donate my wedding dress with no problems, but if I asked him to get rid of his comic book collection, that request would be responded to with divorce papers. All right, maybe not that extreme.
My point being that we all have different triggers and we all need to ask different questions. That is why buying organizing books and reading 300 pages may not be your solution. We are not a one-size-fits-all society when it comes to clutter.
So when I work with clients, I ask a variety of questions until one resonates with them and they are able to start sorting the clutter in meaningful ways.
So let’s start with the basic question, “Would you buy this again?” Seems simple enough, but it isn’t. My husband just made the comment last night on the car he purchased last year, as he was wishing he would have bought the one with Bluetooth.
I should have told him that if he had, I would be driving his new car as that is the one feature my vehicle has that his doesn’t!
I can kind of be ruthless when it comes to getting rid of stuff. Years ago I got rid of our family room furniture with no plans on replacing it. It bothered me that the couches had holes in two of the cushions created by too many monkeys jumping on them.
So a neighbor had a garage sale, and I told my husband to just get it out of the house. All I knew was I wished I hadn’t bought them and they had served their purpose. I wish they had lasted longer, but each time I passed them they made me mad.
I was mad that I paid so much for them, and I was mad that they didn’t pass the toddler test. Would I buy these couches again? No, I would not. So out they went into some happy college student’s home.
After I got rid of the couches, I could once again go into my basement without feeling frustration. But what happens when we buy something on impulse and we come to have regrets?
Buyer’s remorse is huge! Maybe we paid too much for it. Maybe it has never fit right. Maybe it has never matched like we thought it would. But because we paid too much for it, we hold out hope.
We have hope that it will someday fit. We think that if we paint the walls, then it will match. We hang on. We keep hanging on hoping that something will change to make it just right. But we aren’t Goldilocks, or are we? We can get things just right, but we may need to get rid of the clutter in order to make it happen.
So start walking around your house and asking yourself the question, “Would I buy this again?” If the answer is no, then be OK with letting go of the object. I know that other voice will sneak back into your head and say, “But I paid good money for that,” or my all-time favorite excuse I hear is, “My loved one will hate me if I get rid of this!”
Guess what, if they love you they will want you to be happy, so get rid of the clutter! So for this week, quiet all those other voices and focus on just this one. Look at your items with a new eye and ask yourself the question of the week – would you buy this again? And if the answer is no, be ok with getting rid of it.
Ms. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger, operates her business as I Did it with Ms. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo. Email her at email@example.com.