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Simplicity Unveiled: 11 Questions to Achieve Minimalistic Living in Your Home

Blog graphic for the blog post: 11 questions to achieve minimalistic simplicity in your home

Looking for questions to help simplify your home and achieve minimalistic living? This week on the blog, I’m thrilled to share this article from Redfin, in which I’m honored to be featured!

Guest post by Ryan Costillo from Redfin

In the era of material abundance, pursuing a minimalistic lifestyle has emerged as a transformative choice. As we navigate modern living, it becomes essential to pause and reflect on the principles that guide our choices. In this Redfin article, we present 11 questions designed to serve as a compass on your journey toward a more intentional and clutter-free existence. So, whether you rent an apartment in Boston, MA, or recently purchased a home in Bridgeport, CT, join us as we unravel the key questions you need to ask yourself to help you pave the way for a more mindful and purposeful life.

1. Do you use, need, or love it?

Professional home organizing company, The Home Organisation, shares, “There are three questions to ask yourself when editing your things – do I use it, do I need it, or do I love it? Regardless of the cost of the item or how much you love the person who gave it to you, if it’s not fulfilling at least one of these roles, you need to question whether you want it in your home.”

“Keeping questions practical and related to the use and aesthetics of the physical item helps the homeowner focus less on the emotional attachment they might have (which can prevent them from letting go) and helps them make decisions more easily,” adds professional organizer and life architect Francesca Verri.

2. Is there historical significance? 

Margot Note Consulting notes that when sorting belongings, a homeowner should ask, “What is the historical or personal significance of this item?” and “Does this item represent a unique aspect of our family’s traditions, heritage, or cultural background? These considerations are crucial for making thoughtful decisions about preserving meaningful artifacts and memories. It helps create a curated collection that reflects a person’s unique history and experiences.” 

3. How can you categorize items? 

Minimalistic question: How can you categorize items?

“If moving, it is important to simplify by going room by room and categorizing items that need to be pared down,” says Jocelyn Stuart of Jocelyn Stuart Home Editing. “Adopting a more minimalist approach before packing for a move saves you money and makes moving to a new home much smoother and more rewarding. This can be difficult with sentimental items, but sometimes those items cost a lot to keep.”

Simplifying doesn’t mean giving up the things you love. It means living with the pieces that matter and have a purpose.

4. Is this something that adds value or stress to your life?

Minimalist Questions: "Is this something that adds value or stress to your life?"

Too much of a good thing may create more work to maintain your home. 

The Clutter Curator shares, “When looking at items in your home, think about the real estate they take up. We have clients who store memorabilia or bulky seasonal items in spaces that could hold items they need daily. We like to remind them that they are paying for every inch of their home and ensuring the items they are storing are worth the space they are taking up.”

5. How do you want your home to feel?

Blog Quote: "How do you want your home to feel?"

In a year from now, how do I want my home to feel? What are the values that I want my home to emanate? 

Some examples that Life Remade shares are simplicity, joy, and peace. “When going through your decluttering process, ask yourself what decisions you must make to arrive at that result in one year. This can help you to prioritize tasks, organize items, purchase or not purchase certain items.”

6. What makes it hard to part ways with this item? 

Quote from blog article, "What makes it hard to part with this item?"

The answer to this question will likely be a limiting belief,” remarks Kim Sneath. “For example, I just can’t part with sentimental things, or I might need them one day. A follow-up question to clear the limiting belief so it doesn’t have power over you is, ‘How strong is this belief 0 to 10, and how does it make me feel?’”

7. What do you want, use, and love to do?

Blog quote from article, "What do you want, use, and love to do?"

Nurture detachment is what nomadic traveler Julie Devivre recommends. 

“Ask yourself what you want, use, and love to do, and let your personal space, possessions, and conveniences around you reflect that. Instead of setting out to ‘detach,’ which might backfire, search for what feels good inside, and detachment will be a natural ripple effect.”

8. What if an item fell off a truck?

Blog Quote: "What if an item fell off the truck?"

“One of my favorite questions is ‘If this item were to fall off of the moving truck, would I feel devastated or relieved,” notes Jana Arevalo, a declutter coach for military spouses at The Organized Military Life. “This question helps to focus my clients on their internal feelings about a certain item and is helpful whenever someone gets stuck in the decluttering decision process.”

If you are making a move, Wellness Lifestyle Expert Founder of The Culinary Cure Kristen Coffield also recommends using 3 boxes when going through your kitchen: a keep, donate, and trash box. This prevents messy pile management and makes it easy to get trash and donations out quickly.

9. Would you buy it again today?

Blog quote: "Would you buy it again today?"

“As a junk removal company, we often encounter bulky items that occupy significant space but are seldom used,” states EZ CleanUp. “Asking, ‘Would I buy this item again today?’ is crucial. It helps homeowners realistically assess the item’s current value and utility.”

For example, if a pool table is gathering dust, this question can guide homeowners to decide whether it’s worth the space it consumes. This often leads to a decision that frees up valuable space in homes.

10. Do you own a similar item? 

Blog quote: "Do you own a similar item?

Do I own another item that holds the same purpose? If it’s a kitchen item like a spatula and you have 7 of them, how often are all 7 in use or in the dishwasher? 

“Keep 3 to 4 and donate, or toss the rest,” recommends By Saki, a style and organization expert. “If it’s a wardrobe piece like a denim jacket, do you have other light jackets you gravitate towards first? Does it fit you how you want it to, and do you feel beautiful?” 

11. Do you have expired food and extra lids?

Blog Quote: "Do you have expired food and extra lids?"

“In the pantry, we always check for expired food and spices and discard anything past its expiration date,” notes MACMom Organizing.

Another area that can see an overabundance is Tupperware. Try and match up the lid to its canister and discard any that do not have a matching lid.

If you like this article, check out these other articles from the blog:

Happy Organizing, y’all!

6 Responses

  1. What a great post! So many excellent questions. And congratulations on your Redfin feature! I love your question about how you’d feel if the ‘thing’ fell off the truck- retrieve it or not? It gets right to the essence of its importance.

    The organizing process is most successful and empowering when you can ask good, clarifying questions. It’s during that gentle process that you learn how to make decisions that align with your goals and values.

  2. I love the idea of having a list of questions to run through because it is a great way to get unstuck. Just answer the questions, right?

    Great one about an item falling off of a truck. Thanks for that idea- I just might use it today!

  3. I love this post! I am a big supporter of the feeling aspect of each item. I’ve encountered several clients who kept items that revealed some sad, hurt feelings when they revisited the item to decide what to get rid of. To get rid of these items, we would shred, rip, or burn them to allow for the detachment to happen. They usually feel freer and lighter during this process. Keeping these items will not allow for the closure that should occur when you are over a past experience.

  4. These are all excellent questions, though I love yours, Jana. I often ask clients, “If I’d snuck out of your house with this before we ever had this conversation, would you have noticed it was gone? Would you miss it? Would not having to make a decision about it actually feel freeing?” That definitely dovetails with your question about it falling off a truck — funny, but poignantly serious.

    These questions are varied but on-point for living a more streamlined and minimalistic life. Yay for your inclusion in this Redfin piece!

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Jana Arevalo

Hello! I'm Jana

Hi! I’m Jana! I have been a military spouse for 18 years, and I am experienced when it comes to PCS moves, organizing new spaces, and creating more efficient systems for my family. I understand the feeling of anxiety and overwhelm that can come with clutter, and that’s why I love helping military spouses, busy moms and small business owners declutter and organize their homes, digital lives and paperwork!

I am an Amazon Associate as well as an affiliate with some AMAZING military spouse businesses. When you make a purchase using my links you are supporting my small business and I am so grateful! Thank you!


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