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Keep or Not Keep: 4 Tips to Making Good Decisions

This is a guest post written by Certified Professional Organizer Tiffany Engler.

Have you ever tried to buy a pair of black shoes?

I decided I needed a new pair because my current pair found its way into my puppyʼs mouth. So on a whim one day after work I went to the mall. Two hours later I left tired, frustrated and without shoes!

Later I realized I did four things wrong: I went after work – when I was tired and hungry. I didnʼt know why style I wanted. I felt overwhelmed with all the choices. And I was afraid I would pick the wrong pair.

There were four things I should have done to make the decision making process easier. They will also help you as you declutter your home and making decisions on what should stay and what should go.

  1. Get in a good state of mind.
  2. Identify the real issue.
  3. Trust your gut.
  4. Be fearless.

Good state of mind.

Making decisions involves a lot of emotional work, so it is important to be emotionally healthy. Try not to make decisions when you are tired, hungry, overwhelmed or under stress. If you are on a deadline and have to make decisions when you are emotionally charged have a nonjudgmental professional or friend there to support you.

Identify the real issue.

Itʼs not really about the stuff. Identify why letting go of specific items is difficult. Maybe it was expensive, or it was given to you by someone you love, or you might need it some day. Once you realize why you are stuck you can ask yourself questions around that emotion to help you reach a decision. Here are some examples:

Thought: “I might need it someday.”

Questions: When was the last time you used it? Can you easily buy it, rent it or borrow it? Could you place your hands on it in 2-minutes or less if you did need it? Would you remember that you had it? When is someday? Are you prepared to keep this forever?

Thought: ” “It was given to me by someone I love.”

Questions:Is there something else this same person gave you that you like more? How much stuff from this one person do I have? Imagine your life without it, how does that feel? Would you like to display it, or is it okay boxed up in your storage space? Would some else appreciate it more if you donated or sold it?

Thought: “It was expensive.”

Questions: Do you still love it? Do you love it enough to display? What is it costing you in space, time and worry to keep it? If you moved tomorrow would you pay someone to move it? Does it deserve your space? Do you need the space for things you need/want, but are not as expensive? How much would you want to get for it to make it worth it to sell? Does it still work for the function of your current home and lifestyle?

Trust your gut.

If you are making decisions from a healthy state of mind, trust your gut. Be aware of your first thought and consider going with that decision. Have you ever thought about something so much that it leaves you exhausted and unable to reach a decision because you overworked it? You may reach a decision and then doubt your decision and then change your decision 50-times. If this happens to you often try to listen to your gut more often and trust yourself.

Be fearless.

Making decisions can be scary. We are afraid we will make a mistake or get rid of something and later regret it. Be fearless! Trust that you are strong, intelligent and beautiful person who will make the right decision every time. Let me tell you that in my 5-years of organizing no one has ever come back to me and said they wish they didnʼt let a particular item go. In fact, just the opposite. They usually say they feel free and in control. Wouldnʼt you like to feel free and in control? Make a few decisions, stick to them and I guarantee you will feel great. Afraid maybe at first, but then great!

In closing, I did find a black pair of shoes that I love. I returned to the mall on a weekday (with very few people), was well rested and knew exactly what style I was looking for. I trusted myself and knew that I would make the best decision and I did.

Hereʼs to all the strong, intelligent and beautiful people making decisions.

Certified Professional Organizer®, Tiffany Engler, loves to help her clients break large and overwhelming projects down into smaller and more manageable steps. Her Professional Organizing Company, Your Life Organized, specializes in basements, entire
home makeovers and coaching. To meet the team and see before and after photos visit

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3 Responses to Keep or Not Keep: 4 Tips to Making Good Decisions

  1. Tiffany Engler June 30, 2012 at 12:41 am #

    I’m glad you like the ideas Ellen and Mary.
    Thanks for reading.

  2. Mary Bartos Kincaid May 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    This is a good idea. The 4 tips are a great idea.

  3. ellen levickis May 14, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Thanks for the help re: Be aware of your first thought and consider going with that decision. I sometimes make a big event out of trying to decide whether or not to purge something from my house.

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