Try this experiment. Close your eyes and picture the living room in your home. In your mind begin to list all of the items in that room. Start on one side of the room and work your way all the way to the other side. Now open your eyes and write down all of the items you can remember. Now walk into that room and look around. Did you remember all of the items you now see? If not, what did you forget?
Think about the item you may have forgotten. Do you use it? When was the last time you used it? Is it important to you? If so, how is it important? Do your children or your spouse or significant other care about this item? Would anyone miss the item if it no longer existed? Gather all of the forgotten items and place them in a box outside of the room.
Now, try the exact same experiment with every room in your home. If the room has closets, try to picture everything that is behind those closet doors. How many pairs of shoes are in your closet? What color are they? When was the last time you wore them? How many dresses and pants are hanging in your closet? Do they fit and when was the last time you wore them? When you are finished with the list open the closet and look inside. How accurate is your list? How many items are in the closet that you had completely forgotten? Gather all of the items you failed to remember and place them in a box outside of the room.
In an article on simple living I once read that you should be able to close your eyes and list the majority of the items in each and every room in your house. This includes the closets in those rooms. Of course, the less items you have in each room, the easier it is to recite them from memory. In essence, the items you forget are probably of little to no importance to you. Most likely they are books you haven’t read in years or clothes that no longer fit you.
I am a bit of a neat-freak. So I can recall most of the items in the rooms in my home. I can’t tell you how many spatulas we own or the number of forks and spoons, but I can tell you what minor kitchen appliances we own and where they are stored in the kitchen. I’m not quite as talented at remembering how many sweaters I own, but I do know that they all fit, and that I have worn the majority of them last winter.
This is a great way to start clearing unnecessary clutter from your home. If you remove these items and don’t find the need to retrieve them from the boxes within 3 to 6 months then you can probably recycle, donate, or discard them. The best part of cleaning the clutter, you’ll have a better idea of what you already own. You’ll also have less chance of purchasing something you already have, which should help you save some money.