Touch Everything: Why It's a Great Decluttering Tool

One of the things I particularly like about Marie Kondo's approach is her insistence that you touch each of your possessions as you declutter.

Many of us have well-organized homes and extensive storage solutions.  Some are even carefully styled and color-coordinated.  We might think, "Look how neat and tidy my home is.  Look how attractive my clothes closet/pantry/linen closet looks!  I don't have a clutter problem!"

But when confronted with the challenge of actually touching each and every thing we own, we balk.  We panic.  We feel overwhelmed with the impossibility of handling every item.

styled shelf

Let yourself feel overwhelmed.

Some studies show that the average American home contains 300,000 objects, from sofas to serving spoons.  That's 300,000 items to hold and evaluate.  To decide:

  • Do I need or want to keep and use this? 
  • If I'm not going to keep it, should I donate, sell, or discard it? 
  • If I am going to keep it, is this the optimum place to store it?  Is it easy to access and put away again?

If your first thought is a sinking feeling that you just have too much stuff to go through the effort of putting your hands on each individual item, then you probably need this process even more.

If nothing else, the sheer volume of your possessions may convince you that you must declutter.  It might also convince you that:

  • you need to stop shopping for fun and buying things on a whim
  • you can stop worrying about keeping things "just in case," because you have way more than enough

You might even realize that all of your mementos and collections are a jumble in your mind, unable to get attention, inspire memories, or give you any enjoyment because there's so much you never even notice any more.  Too much is buried in a box, stuffed in a closet, or part of a crowded display.

I dare you.

Go ahead.  Touch everything.  Decide what to keep and where to store it.  And do everything you can to add things to your "remove it" pile.

Related article: The Declutter Dare

Updated May 2023


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