Ask Yourself Two Questions Before You Keep Something "Just in Case”


Like so much else, decluttering requires that you consider both the theoretical and the practical. While you have to get in there at some point and start throwing things away, you also have to do a little work on yourself. There's an element of self-knowledge that comes into play, and it begins with asking yourself two questions. First, “Could I replace this item for less than $20?” Then, ask yourself, “Could I replace it in less than 20 minutes?” If the answer to those two questions is yes, you can afford to get rid of the thing. Let’s say you find a lighter in your quest to declutter. If you’re not someone who smokes or regularly lights candles, you may never use a lighter. You might tend to rationalize by saying, “What if I need to light candles on a birthday cake?” Realistically, that’s not going to happen, and if it does, a cheap box of matches will do just fine. For some people, decluttering is hard because they get hung up on the “just in case” items. The 20/20 rule works because it’s an objective yes-or-no question that removes the sentimentality and guesswork from deciding whether to keep something, while providing you with a backup plan in the event you actually do need something. So, you don’t have to get hung up on worries about the future and can just trash the item and move on.