One of the hardest things about decluttering is how easily we convince ourselves our stuff is valuable. Use the "This Isn't My Stuff" approach to tear through your clutter.
It's so easy to pick up an item that really isn't worth much and convince yourself that you really should keep it. A broken device you keep telling yourself you'll get around to repairing, a trinket with a crack in it, an office tool you never use anymore, it's easy to justify keeping a lot of things when you think about who gave it to you or what you spent to get it. At the decluttering and organisation blog Unclutterer they have a novel approach.
It so happens I've done this for two households so far this year. In February, I helped an elderly friend move to assisted living, and last month I cleaned out my mother's house (she passed away last fall). The way I see it: if I could manage the emotions of both of those fraught situations and still maintain focus on the task at hand, then I should have no problem making rational decisions about jeans that don't fit anymore, or the broken bunny-rabbit mug I've been holding onto since the seventh grade. It's all about perspective - I'm starting my life over; I'm happy to wriggle away from stuff like snakeskin.
Here's my strategy: Approach my pile as if it belongs to someone else, as if I've never seen that broken mug.
A cursory glance around the space I can see from my office—my immediate office and into the kitchen—reveals a few things immediately that would fall under the axe of the "This Isn't My Stuff" approach. There's the flashlight with the exploded battery I've been meaning to fix—would anyone who found it on the street keep it? No way. I've been insisting on fixing it because I spent $US20. Fixing it will be a pain and involve battery acid, a pewter hair clip that would require some heavy soldering to repair, and an old label maker I haven't used in over a year and stopped buying replacement cartridges for. Under the "This Isn't My Stuff" method none of those things have value and if I was helping a friend clean up their house I would make no effort to encourage them to keep the items.
What could you get rid of in your immediate surroundings using the "This Isn't My Stuff" rule? Sound off in the comments with your purge list or visit the link below for more decluttering ideas.
Downsizing After a Divorce [Unclutterer]