Master the difference between knowing what to keep and what to donate.

Guide For What To Keep And What To Donate In 2023

Home is where the heart is. And studies show we’re less stressed and happier when our homes are clean and clutter-free. But most families and households naturally accumulate more items than they can reasonably keep organized or use. That’s why it’s important to regularly make an inventory of your items, re-organize them, and discard or donate anything that no longer belongs.

We know the process of decluttering can feel overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done so in several years, or possibly ever. But this guide will make it easy for you to decide what to keep, what to donate, and in some cases, what to throw away.

Here’s your ultimate guide for decluttering your home in 2023:

Get The Family Onboard

If you live alone, this step is easy. But if you live with anyone else, it’s important you get them excited about decluttering with you. Why? If they’re not bought into the idea of decluttering the home, they may make it difficult for you to donate or discard items that need to be.

A great way to get your family excited is to offer incentives for completed tasks. Maybe once you finish decluttering the house the whole family takes a day trip somewhere fun, or you eat somewhere special. Most importantly, remind your family that this is their home too, and that you want them to be part of the decision-making process as items get decluttered.

Create An Achievable Timeline

 The key to successfully finishing your home decluttering is putting together a schedule and sticking to it. Schedules keep us on track and help us stay motivated in the face of struggle. But keep in mind, an achievable schedule is important to the success of your goals. If your deadline is too short, you’ll feel anxious to get everything done quickly and make decisions you might not have under pressure. If your deadline is too long you won’t feel genuine pressure to find time to work on decluttering.

A good rule of thumb is to give yourself about a week for each room in your house. If some rooms are more cluttered you can allocate more time, and if they’re smaller you can allocate less. Whatever the schedule, it’s important you communicate expectations to your family.

Before You Can Donate Anything Ask The Big Three Questions

While decluttering you will come across a lot of items that are easy keeps. These are the items you use every day, or your house needs to function. But how do you know when to get rid of items? We suggest the three-question rule. When you have an item ask these three questions:

  • Do I need it?
  • Does it make me happy?
  • Do I have room for it?

These questions help because if you answer no to all three, that’s an easy toss. If you answer no to the first two but yes to the third, that’s probably a toss. And if you answer no to all of them except the second then you need to ask yourself, is this item worth getting rid of something else to make room for it?

Of course, there are always special exception items these three questions can’t help you with. But for most items you’ll be decluttering in your home, you’ll find these questions will help you and your family make decisions faster.

Know When To Donate vs. When To Toss

Once you know you’re going to remove an item from your house, it’s time to decide where it should go next. Donation is always a great option for unwanted items. But not every item you own will make a good donation. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when deciding to donate or throw away an item.

  • Is it damaged in any way?
  • Does it smell?
  • Is this item dangerous?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, your item may be better off in the trash bin than the donation bin. Again, we know there are exceptions to every rule. For example, sometimes vintage clothing smells like your attic, but the garments would probably still make great donations. So if you’re truly on the fence about an item, donate it anyways. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Maintain The Mess

Nothing beats that feeling after you’ve freshly and successfully decluttered your house. And like we said at the beginning of this guide, people naturally accumulate items over time. So it might not be long before you find your home needs another declutter. But if you want to ensure the job is easier next time around, or if you want to prevent the need to declutter again, set up a process that’ll help you keep your spaces decluttered consistently.

Set up a donation box in a common area of your home and encourage people to place items in it as they become irrelevant. Bring this box to donate monthly or as it gets full. Another great way to stay decluttered is to simply be more intentional with your purchases. We can’t always avoid gifts we receive from other people, but we can control how many items we’re choosing to purchase and bring into our home.

By being more intentional about the items we choose to buy, keep, and declutter we’re curating a home that’ll leave both ourselves and our family happier.