Should it stay or should it go? This seems to be a problematic question, which is why the chorus to Should I Stay Or Should I Go by The Clash runs through my head whenever someone asks me this question.

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An’ if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know…

I sometimes imagine the items we’re deciding upon are singing this song to us. Trying to trip us up and confuse us. Daring us to make it the quick, easy decision.

Here’s the thing. Ignore that song, even if it does become an earwormMy apologies for that.

Actually, depending on what it is we’re decluttering, we may look at the question differently. Your criteria for a decision on what to keep when decluttering your clothes closet is going to be different than those for decluttering your basement. It’s no wonder everyone gets stuck on this one question.

So, what to keep and what to toss? I hope I can help you make the decisions easier with a few examples:


When it comes to clothes, ask yourself these questions:

  1. “Did I wear it in the last year?”
  2. “Did I even wear it in the spring, summer, fall, winter (insert whatever season is most recent)?
  3. “How many seasons has it been hanging around?”

If your answer is “no” to the first two questions, you don’t even have to ask the third question. But, the third, silly question is there in case you want to procrastinate. I sometimes do.  You’re going to come up with reasons you should keep clothes even after you’ve answered “No” to questions #1 and #2.

You’re going to say, “But I want to save them for when I’m skinny again.” Or you might say, “I want to save them in case I gain weight again.” Are you ready for the antidote to those questions? Listen carefully: Don’t keep those clothes you saved from when you were weighed less. They’re most likely going to be out of style when you fit into them again. Additionally, you will be so excited about losing weight, you’re going to want to buy new clothes. As for keeping clothes from when you weighed more? That’s a big “no-no”. It gives you an easy out for when you start to gain unwanted weight. Get rid of those clothes now. Don’t make it easy for you to undo all of the hard work you put into losing that extra weight.

“But I (or someone else) Paid a Lot of Money for This/These!”

Stop right there. If you don’t like the clothes enough to wear them, their value is worth zilch. So, just chuck them. Donate them or sell them.

Everything Else

Whether they items are your basement, attic, closet, kitchen cupboards, even a storage unit: get rid of them if you haven’t used them in a year. There’s really no need to save for “what if”. You have friends and family who probably have those same items for you to borrow. It’s like having grandchildren. You have all of the fun, but then you get to give them back at the end of the day.

Do you have doubles? If you have more than one coffeemaker, ditch one. Ditto for anything else. Don’t buy household items in doubles. Or, if you’re blending two families into one, just donate or sell all of the duplicate items.

It’s not worth fixing. I always search ebay or craigslist for clients to see if the item’s value is worth the cost of repairing.

Go with your first instinct. If your gut tells you to toss it, don’t fight instinct. If you don’t act on instinct, you’ll more than likely end up debating with yourself about whether you’ll need it some day. 99.999% of the time, you won’t. I’ve seen it countless times, and trust me. I’m right.

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