Nine ways to identify clutter, by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project (see my review of her excellent book of the same name) wrote a useful piece for Zen Habits called "Nine Quick Tips to Identify Clutter."

As I sifted through our possessions, I identified nine questions to ask myself when I was confronted with a questionable object. This list helped me decide what to keep and what to toss, recycle, or give away.

1. Does this thing work? I was surprised by how hard it was to admit that something was broken and couldn't be fixed–say, our dud toaster or my daughter's frog clock. Why was I hanging on to these things?

2. Would I replace it if it were broken or lost? If not, I must not really need it.

3. Does it seem potentially useful–but never actually gets used? Something like an oversized water-bottle, a corkscrew with an exotic mechanism, or a tiny vase. Or duplicates. How many spare glass jars did I need to keep on hand?

Nine Quick Tips to Identify Clutter