You must have caught yourself a couple of times saying “Let me keep this just in case I might need it” or “Let me just put this there, for the moment”. If this happens to you, then there’s every chance that you are going through a phase which professional organizers call the decision-deficit thinking phase or delayed decision making. This is essentially a lack of the information or objective criteria needed to arrive at an effective organizing decision. This goes beyond you not being able to decide, it also includes you not having an idea of your decision points.
When you delay a decision that has to do with your clutter simply because you are uncertain of what decision to make, then you’ve just experienced the most common reason why we are caught up in too much clutter.
Prior to sorting out your clutter, whatever they may be; a cluttered garage, a pile of old magazine clippings or the different boxes of memorabilia you’ve hung on to for over 20 years, you would have to make three decisions regarding each item, and these are;
- Do I need it, love it or use it?
- If I really do need it, love it or use it where should I keep it if I want to find it, and if I won’t need to find it, how can I get rid of it appropriately?
- What’s the best method for containing or storing it?
Think about where you live or your home. Do you change your home on a regular basis? Does your mood determine where you live at a particular point in time? The answers to both questions are most likely No. When you come home most nights, it’s to the same place. The same principle applies to the stuff we own. Just imagine that all your stuff have a permanent home and not a home “for now”.
If you are not entirely sure where an item should be, then you need to think about how you use the item and that would, most times, give you an idea of where the item should be. If it’s an item that is used in different locations, then you would do well to assign it a permanent location where it can be kept for easy retrieval anytime you need it.
Once you’ve made a decision on what needs to stay and what needs to go along the lines of what you really need, want or love, then you can donate, dispose, or recycle everything else. If you have any stuff that is left over, then a decision has to be made about where you’ll keep them. You would then need to make a decision about what storage method you’d be using for them.
The vital thing in all of this is to have enough information to be able to arrive at a decision for the longer term rather than a temporary one. And, because a donation pick up can be scheduled very easily, you should always strive to donate your unwanted items to a local charity.