Consumer reports- how to decide what to toss as you declutter

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS — Erika Malmgreen, days before delivering her second daughter. She was in full nesting mode and ready to declutter. 

“Constantly feeling like I have to move something, do something, like I can never just relax,” Malmgreen said. 

“The first and the hardest step is getting ready to let go. So starting with a small project will actually make you feel lighter and propel you into tackling the bigger projects,” said Kevin Doyle of Consumer Reports. 

Three questions can help you get a jumpstart on letting go. Do I really need it? Can I easily replace it? If I’m not using it now, will I want it in five or ten years?

If you haven’t used it, get rid of it. If you can replace it in under 20 minutes for under $20, there probably won’t be much regret if you toss it.

“People do get tripped up with items they have in storage and worry that they are going to want to use again. The best thing to do is to set some simple ground rules like I’m going to throw out every magazine that’s older than 6 months or I’m gonna throw out every blurry photograph. You can also use a montra like ‘use it or lose it.’ Anything that’s going to help you move through the junk faster,” Doyle said. 

Some more pro tips …. Don’t touch the items you’re considering throwing away. Instead, have a friend or a professional organizer hold up the items for you.

For photos and heirlooms, keep what’s precious.

“Pick just a very few of them that have the most meaning and get rid of the rest. And those things are gonna have so much more value for you,” Doyle recommended. 

For Erika, throwing out forgotten toys, giving away older electronics and donating books and CDs to her local library helped clear her space and her head.

“It feels more open and inviting,” she said.

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