Spring is still around the corner! In a previous entry, I explored one way to prioritize things when decluttering. In this post, I’ll add some additional ideas that may help.

During the process of decluttering itself, one tool you can use is time: have I thought about this item in the last six months? (Adjust the timeframe as needed; three to nine months is a good range for many people.) This can cast too wide a net in some cases, such as with winter coats or cleaning supplies. Some places where this rule shines is for eliminating old or seldom-worn coordinated outfits from a closet, old utensils from a kitchen, or used paint cans from a garage.

If impulse buys are a concern, another rule you can use is one in, two out. Until clutter stops haunting your life, for every impulse buy you bring home or to a storage unit, get rid of two other things. You can even apply it to your shopping cart in the store!

If happiness and contentment are a key goal of yours, you could argue that the three-prong test (use it? need it? love it?) from my previous post can be distilled down to one question: does it bring me joy? I don’t just mean a temporary glow when we hold something. I mean lasting joy and an improved quality of life.

The question extends to things that directly or indirectly bring joy. My toothbrush and floss do not bring me joy, until I consider the long-term benefits of good oral hygiene. Your computer likely just sits on your desk or floor, taking up room until you have something interesting to do with it, such as checking social media or playing a video game.

How does this help with decluttering? If something does not even have a realistic potential to bring you joy, why is it in your life? One day I bought an old briefcase at a garage sale. It still had the keys! It looked amazing. I could make it my everyday carry bag, or use it as a prop in an independent film, or maybe turn it into a wall art project in our home!

You probably can tell what’s next. It sat in the back of a closet for years until Liz finally convinced me to ditch it. I felt a weight off my shoulders afterward: I no longer had to keep making excuses to myself as to why it was still sitting there and not actively bringing me joy.

What went wrong? A few things interfered with finding joy. First, I like having both hands free when I’m going places. Carrying something in my hand all the time makes me feel loaded-down. Second, I’m not a film producer, as my career path led me elsewhere. Finally, there isn’t any place in our home for “art” made from a briefcase and I just feel tired thinking about rearranging my life to fit the project.

In this article I explored several additional ways to declutter your life. Please let me know what you think. Happy cleaning!