Decluttering: What does it mean?

A woman overwhelmed with clothes




A woman deciding what to keep, donate, and trash.


Parting with items can be very difficult, especially when memories are attached to them. Although I do not specialize in hoarding, I have worked with a few people who struggle in that arena. Although it is not as simple as separating a memory from an item, as there are many other psychological ailments that cause a person to hoard, I do believe that this process of separation is a great way to begin the decluttering process. So, how do we separate ourselves from our items? Well, there are several ways… One of the biggest and hardest ways is to remember that an item is just an item. The item does not hold memories or have thoughts. The item is just an item and can be repurchased. Another way to think about your items is to attach dollar signs to them. Your item, though perhaps purchased a while ago, is still costing you. Either it’s costing you in stress and anxiety or it’s taking up enough space where you can mathematically configure the cost of your rent/mortgage to the physical space it actually holds. Another tactic, is to envision yourself without the item. If you do not see it, hear it, or feel it, do you still miss it? If not, get rid of it. If these three ideologies do not connect, or do not apply to the object, here are some other questions to ask oneself to help you along the path of decluttering

  1. Do you like this item?
  2. Do you use this item/Does this item have a function or purpose?
  3. How old is this item? 
  4. Is this item valuable?
  5. If the answer is no to some or all of these questions, last but not least, ask yourself why am I holding onto this item? 

Hopefully by looking at these three ideologies and asking yourself these five questions you will have clarity on whether or not to keep/donate/toss/recycle your belongings. I’ll leave you with this thought, a paraphrase from a famous philosopher, “Don’t let your items hold power over you. Your items don’t own you, you own them, and it’s up to you to decide whether or not you still want them.”

Written by Brennan Reid

Hi, my name is Brennan Reid. I am the founder of Aristotle Organizing Inc and the primary writer of this blog.

We specialize with young professionals and successful individuals looking for help when it comes to unpacking and organizing their busy lives. By incorporating beauty and function into each project, clients are able to not only see the changes, but feel them. Learn more about what we do…

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Aristotle Organizing Inc. is a professional Organizing company founded by Brennan Reid. Aristotle specializes in decluttering, moving, and organizing. Discover how to get started here!

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