By now we’re all familiar with the ‘Marie Kondo’ method for decluttering your living space: Hold the item and ask yourself ‘does this bring joy’.

This may be great for organising your shoe collection or wardrobe- but probably not the most effective strategy for cleaning your home. What should you do instead?

If you’re not the sort to pick up a hammer or your egg whisk and feel joy, how do you make a smart choice when decluttering? Ask yourself these key questions instead:

  • Do I actually use this?
  • How many of these do I have?
  • Is it in working order?

Obviously, some of the items that are a good idea to keep won’t be in daily use

If, however, you haven’t used the item for over a year, chances are they’re not that critical – no matter what your ‘inner voice’ has to say about holding onto everything ‘in case’.

The ‘smart’ number of items to keep will vary with your family’s needs

If you’re avid entertainers and have a big family, you may well need 16 plates – but if you’re a quiet couple who tends to head out to eat, that’s just overkill.

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Likewise a well-stocked toolbox has space for a few specialist hammers and tools, but even the most avid DIYer doesn’t need four or five standard hammers to their name.

So feel free to tailor the response to suit your needs – but addressing those two key areas will help you make smarter, happier choices on what to keep and what needs to move on to a new home.

Do we even have to talk about the third question?

If it’s broken, it either needs to be fixed, or to go. No need to keep it ‘in case’.

What area of your home is in need of decluttering? Remember it’s fine to start small – even little improvements add up over time.