Closed September 2017

Clutter Video Tip: 20 Questions to Ask About Keeping Anything

I spy with my little eye something that begins with a “c”. It’s clutter, but how do you know what to keep and what to say good riddance to? Today’s video has 20 questions to guide you in letting “it” go. Animal, vegetable or mineral? No, just clear spaces ahead.

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Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today I’m going to share with you 20 questions that you can ask about keeping anything.

Now, as you know from some of my videos lately I’ve been moving out of a house that I’ve been living in for 11 years, and I’m currently living in a 700 square foot apartment while I’m waiting for my new house to be built. So, I have things in storage, I have these few things with me here in the apartment, and it has been very important for me to be careful about the decisions I make about each item, because it needed to go to the right place. I donated tons of stuff. And I sold a few things on Craigslist. So here are some of the questions that I used to help me make those decisions.

First, is this item valuable enough for me to pay someone by the pound to move it to another place? Sometimes, that’s how movers charge, and you’ve got to have that moving mindset when you’re going through your stuff thinking about whether it’s worth paying someone to move it.

What would it cost in time and money to acquire this item again?

Does anyone I know have one of these I could easily borrow?

How much money could I get for selling this instead of keeping it? Remember that storage has a cost by the way. Every square foot of your house costs you something in your mortgage payment, your rent payment, your utility payment – it isn’t free.

When is the last time I can remember using this item?

How often do I use it? Is it weekly, monthly, never? So, think about that, and if it’s never, then boy you have some other questions to answer then.

Do I already have something else that serves the same purpose?

What is a scenario in which I can picture myself using this, and how likely is that to happen? I have heard some crazy answers to this question such as: “A fur coat in Texas, how likely is it that you’re going to actually use that?” “In a freak snow storm.” Probably not very likely. So if it makes you laugh, definitely that’s probably a clue that you should get rid of it.

All right, the next question. Is there a use for this that doesn’t involve the phrase: “Someday when I have time?” Sometimes we keep things because we have aspirations about what we might do with it later and that day will never come.

What is the worst thing that might happen if I donate or recycle this item?

And, is there an alternative way to capture the essence and value of this item instead, such as in a digital format like a document or a photograph? So, this is great for sentimental items, and we have a couple of other videos about that.

Does this item help create an environment that supports me in my goals? So, the clearer you are about those goals, the more you can see whether this item fits into your future or not.

Okay, this is one of my favorite questions. If I flipped a coin right now and heads was keep and tails was donate, which would I secretly be rooting for as the coin is landing? That can tell you a lot about what you really already know and what you’ve already decided. If you feel like you’re indecisive, you may not really be. You may just be not wanting to get to that answer and that will help you get there faster.

Does this item make me feel positive or negative?

Does this item remind me of my past or my future?

If I were hit by a proverbial bus would my family truly value this item or even know what it is and why I kept it?

What would my best friend say if she were standing here considering this? Sometimes that objective set of eyes is everything, and you know your best friend would be saying, “What are you thinking?”

And here’s the follow up question – what would a professional organizer say if she were sitting here with me now? So I always tell people to think of me as the organizer on their shoulder, so think of me whispering these little questions into your ear.

Will I feel good about keeping this item the next time I run into it? Will you be glad you kept it, or will you say, “Why did I move this here? Why did I keep this?”

And then the last question – does someone else need this more than I do? Probably the answer is yes. So definitely, we want you to think about Goodwill, and that is going to help people find jobs with the revenue that’s generated from the sale of your donation and it will help somebody find just the right thing for them at an affordable price as well.

So, I hope these have been helpful for you. Again, these are 20 questions. I would like for you to pick two or three of them that resonate with you so that as you’re sitting down and picturing me as the organizer on your shoulder, you can remember those two or three as you’re going through your stuff. Or, you can have all 20 of these printed out and ready for you to refer to as you’re going through your stuff as well. We have a printout of this in our Member Area. Anybody can join our Member Area free for two weeks with our Quick Start Program. You can find out more at

See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.

You may have been searching for how to decide what to keep when organizing or tips to stop hoarding.

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It would be good to have a text version of this list for people who are less keen on videos. Thanks. 🙂

Lorie Marrero

Hi Kara- thanks for watching. There is a Text version, it’s posted in our member area as I mentioned in the video. Anybody can join our Member Area free for two weeks with our Quickstart Program. You can find out more at


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