I came across this question recently, and I can’t get it out of my head. It is such a good question!

You know I’m all about evaluating and asking questions when it comes time to purge, or even when I come across something that doesn’t sit well with me, be it a pair of pants that I just don’t like or rifling through my work bag for a piece of gum. I am always looking to find a better, easier, and less-is-more way to live life. And that is what I share with you.

If that is not you, let me tell you why I like this question.

I used to love shopping. I was a teenager of the 80s and going to the mall was how we spent our time. If I had some babysitting money, I would walk up to my local Dimensions store (kind of like a T J Maxx but set up similar to a boutique – I cried when they closed) and see what fabulous outfit I could wear to school the next day. When our kiddos were young and money was tight, I loved going to garage sales and thrift stores to outfit our wardrobes, home, garage, and hobbies. It was the thrill of the hunt as well as bringing home treasures. At one point, I could seriously look around and spot that at least 72% of our belongings came used and at bargain prices. It was a hobby that I loved for many years and found some terrific stuff. Side note: Most proud purchase – A family was moving out of state and selling everything, including a BRAND NEW Kitchenaid stand mixer with two attachments for $20! Darren sold the attachments on Craigslist, so we got this baby for free! I still have it today.

In the last several years, however, my desire for acquiring stuff has seriously diminished. Sure there are some things I want to cart home, but for the most part I’ve given up shopping as a hobby, especially as we now live in a small house. I have gone through the process of getting rid of stuff , even most recently during the quarantine. 

And this question is another tool in helping me to know what is valuable to our family. After living with a thing and asking the question, “Hey you thing – If I were shopping and saw you on the shelf, would I want to bring you home?” Sometimes the answer is a, “Oh yeah, this is the best thing!”, but sometimes the answer is, “I don’t love it”, which in my language means I wouldn’t miss it one bit. 

The thing I’ve noticed is that as I’ve gotten used to asking that question of the things I already own, I have been skipping the middle step of purchasing a new thing a little more. Maybe a coincidence, but I think not. It’s like I’m skipping the stress of ownership without actually owning the thing I may not have been all that thrilled with anyway.

What do you think? Could this be a great tool for you as well, helping you to figure out what stuff is worthy of your attention, time, space, and energy? 

Let me know how you can use this question in your decluttering efforts!


  1. Lauren bonney says:

    I still use the other tip you gave me-“do I absolutely love and can’t imagine life without it?” Usually it’s a no so I move on. 🙂

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