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Decluttering with Ease, Part 1: When to Trash.

Why do we struggle with decluttering? The main answer: it is emotionally fatiguing to make decision after decision after decision. But it is not just the amount of decisions to be made - it is often our lack of answers. Personally, my favorite part of the organizing process is the decluttering. I will tell you my secret to success:

Follow the path of least resistance.

Make the choice that is easiest for you in the moment. This post is the first in a three part series lining out your three best options when decluttering. Today, we are talking about...


When I am helping clients through the decluttering phase, we usually uncover all kinds of "projects". Broken bird houses, ripped clothing, malfunctioning electronics - things they want to fix or repair. At this point I like to ask - "if you saw this in a store as is, would you buy it?" If the answer is anything but an obvious yes - Throw. It. Away.

"But I can fix it!"

Can you? Is patching old jeans something you are excited to do in your free time? Do you love gluing back together old photo frames? I am going to guess that the answer is no - otherwise these items would not have ended up in a box in the back of your hallway closet. Your time is valuable and you have more important things to do.

"But that is wasteful!"

Yup - you bet it is! However, throwing away a broken ice cream maker you bought three years ago and only used twice is not the wasteful bit - buying it in the first place is. Choosing to let these items go is just acknowledging this fact. Everything needs to be discarded eventually. You need to consider your exit strategy for an item at point of purchase, not when you no longer want/need it.

If an item is worth recycling, your local Professional Organizer will have oodles of resources where you can recycle different items. Heck, they will most likely even take it for you! Portland has many of these fantastic resources - places to recycle fabric, styrofoam, electronics, etc.

The next time you are feeling guilty for throwing an item in the trash or recycling, remember this feeling. Use it to make different choices in the future.

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