Ask the next question to clear more than clutter

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by Debra Dane on February 19, 2013

in Home Life

I have written extensively about decluttering and getting organised. Clearing out the unnecessary makes room in your life and your home, it gives you breathing room, it allows your cherished things to shine and be used, it makes life easier with less to clean and tidy. The benefits list goes on and on.

It is still difficult for many people though.

I have shared my five step approach to getting through all that “stuff” including asking yourself questions to decide if you should keep something or let it go.

I want to push you a little further today. I want you to answer those questions, but use the information and then ask the next question that will reveal so much more for you. More than just what you don’t wear or use in your home, but why and what can you change to get the life you want.

What questions have we been asking?

Generally we ask ourselves if we have used something in the last year (or 6 months or two years, but you get the idea). If the answer is “no” we are encouraged to throw it out or give it away or recycle it right?

So often you then go on to repurchase the same things. Clutter your home again and let the cycle continue.

how to declutter

I have mentioned creating a “no” list as one form of clutter preventionask yourself what are the things you seem to bring into your home unchecked in multiples (jeans, notebooks, kitchen gadgets you don’t use, etc) and take that information to write a list of things that are off limits for you until you break that habit.

Don’t miss the opportunity to go further and ask the next question before moving on.

What questions should we be asking now?

I want you to start asking why not? and what do I need?

In this example below we have a typical dead weight item in many households – the treadmill. Some buy one and use it for a while, others hardly ever even tried it. There is a reason it is not being used. Don’t simply declutter it and move on. See what you can learn to improve your life, not just your space.

how to declutter

There are many possible outcomes from asking the next question – why not?

I have outlined just two possible idea paths from this one item. Try this with anything else and see where it takes you.

Have you worn those dresses? No, why not? I feel I “should” wear dresses so I buy them. Really I hate them and am more of a separates person. Wearing skirts or pants… make me feel more like me. (Stop buying dresses. It is okay to not be a “dress person”. It does not make you less feminine or whatever goes through your head)

Have you read those books? No, why not? I actually want to, but: never have time / don’t have a space to relax and enjoy them / am too tired at the end of the day. (It’s not just about the books, it’s about listening to your needs, making time for yourself, investing in your space and nurturing yourself.)

These are clues to real changes you can make in your life rather than simply declutter your stuff.

Look for the story.

Look for the changes you may need to make.

Look for where you are not honoring yourself.

Live authentically and intentionally.

Put this into action: take a minute and think about this – do you have something in your home / life where you could ask the next question and dig deeper?  Give yourself permission to follow your path.

 

Find your simple,

Deb

 

I am linking up with beautiful Jess for IBOT because it is Tuesday and I hang with the cool kids xx

 

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Zanni, Heart Mama February 19, 2013 at 6:05 am

Great questions Deb. As I live amongst the clutter of renovations I am going to look for the story in most of this stuff. I’ve already bagged half.
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Debra Dane February 19, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Thanks Zanni – a renovation is a great time to ask questions as you get a bit of a fresh start and don’t want to keep negative patterns happening – make your new space reflect how you really want to live xx
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kirri February 19, 2013 at 7:10 am

Very cool graphics my friend and a simple way of getting to the heart of the matter – as usual :)
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Debra Dane February 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Thanks Kirri – they were a bit of a bitch to get right LOL but i totally felt a visual was needed xx
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Emily @ Have a laugh on me February 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Another great post – especially since I have a treadmill I haven’t used for 4 months in the garage :(
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Debra Dane February 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Thanks Em – good luck xx
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Rachel February 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

That’s a great way of looking at things. I am tough when it comes to culling material things, now we live in a 2 bedroom home. I just give it away, there are always needy people.
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Debra Dane February 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm

that’s great that you are passing things along – definitely makes it easier to let it go
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Josefa @always Josefa February 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I cannot begin to tell you how much this post resonates with me today! The de-cluttering of physical objects is something I do all the time around our house – for all the reasons you have mentioned
But what about emotionally de-cluttering and asking those questions – about habits? people in our lives?
Love, love this post – The Universe is trying to tell me something – I need to stop and listen xx
Josefa from #teamIBOT
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Debra Dane February 19, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Thanks so much Josefa – your comment lifted me up on a very trying day – deb xx
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Veronica @ Mixed Gems February 21, 2013 at 12:03 am

Josefa took the words out of my mouth! I suppose some of these questions would be useful to ask for hoarding too. Brilliant post, Deb!
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Gillian February 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I like those flowcharts! AND I have a treadmill lurking in my loungeroom making me feel guilty and fat and crap…. I will ask myself (and the treadmill) these questions and hopefully I can move forward :-)
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Debra Dane February 19, 2013 at 9:07 pm

flowchart approval from the flowchart queen – i am so happy lovely xxx
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Lisa@RandomActsOfZen February 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I love this Deb! Once you get started, it really makes you feel like you’ve achieved something x
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Debra Dane February 19, 2013 at 9:08 pm

thanks Lisa. achieved something and moved forward xx
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Rach- Hopefulraeofsunshine February 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I love this Deb until recently I was stuck in such a rut of wanting to give myself permission to start changing my life but I had no idea how to. Now I am following my path and I love it….. so far at least
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Debra Dane February 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

So good to read you following your own path – i love learning more about you so think that it must be a great oath xx

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Claire T February 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm

This speaks to me in a way that the broader due littering mantra never has. I live in a sea of disorder and think this approach might finally push me into doing something about it.

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Debra Dane February 19, 2013 at 9:11 pm

That’s great Claire – most clutter and organising issues come back to deeper inner issues and when we tackle what is really going on we can often make changes that will give us the life/home that will be right for us xxx
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Claire T February 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Make that decluttering!

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Bachelormum February 19, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I think I secretly hang onto things because I dream some day that I will fit into them again, when I know I won’t. But would I replace them once again, no? I couldn’t bear going through the pain again of getting rid of more favourite but totally impractical clothing.
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Debra Dane February 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm

this is a very common issue for many people – not just women – i tend to think it is important to clear out stuff from another time / life so there is room for wonderful thigs that can be enjoyed right now.
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Me February 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm

As always, thanks for a great post and some very thought provoking ideas to consider and questions to ask !!
Have the best week !
Me
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Debra Dane February 22, 2013 at 10:09 am

you too hon – thanks xx
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Sarah February 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I’m digging those graphics Debs. They made your point much easier to understand in my cluttery messy head!

And that bloody treadmill is going – I need a bike!

Great post x
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Debra Dane February 22, 2013 at 10:09 am

send me the treadmill LOL xx
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stephanie February 28, 2013 at 8:09 am

Hi, Just found your blog. . We moved out recently and did the have i used it in 12 test. We will be moving home soon, and i am hoping as i unpack to am going to try to find my simple. Thanks!
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Debra Dane February 28, 2013 at 10:49 am

Welcome Steph – good luck with the unpacking. I find moving to be the best time to really think and create the space you want and start fresh!

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