To purge or not to purge – that is the question!

Decluttering and getting organised is high up on the to-do lists of many people, especially when the urge for spring-cleaning resurfaces. However, when it actually comes to decluttering, the question of what to purge is not always an easy one. Furthermore, there is no one-fits-all solution.


Young woman think with yes or no choice looking up isolated on white background

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Every organiser has her or his own approach to help clients with making decisions. Whatever method or organiser you use, something they all have in common is the first step, which is …

Creating a vision

Vision concept with hand pressing a button

If you don’t know where you want to go, you most likely won’t arrive, so take some time to really think about how you want the space to look and feel. What activities are you going to do in that space? What colours would you like to see there? How do you want to feel in that space? You even might want to think about how it should smell.

The clearer your vision, the easier the next step, because every time you need to decide whether to keep something or not, you have to ask yourself whether it has a place in your vision. If not … you know the answer!

Now, you’re in the middle of decluttering and you feel stuck because you’re not sure whether to keep a certain thing. Here are some questions to ask yourself that might help you make a decision:


Does it spark joy?

Joy concept, watercolor splashes as a sign

Marie Kondo came up with this question (creator of the KonMari method and author of the books ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ and ‘Spark Joy’). I really like this approach, because it’s about focusing on the things that make you happy and bring you joy. It really is a change of mindset, which is why I reckon it’s so powerful.

However, sometimes there are things that might not bring joy, but we still want or have to keep them. This is totally ok. As I mentioned in this post, there is no KonMari police who will tell you off if you keep something that drags you down. In that case, further thoughts might be necessary to make a final decision.


Do you need it?

We all have things that don’t spark joy, but we simply need them: for example, a work uniform. We have to keep it, no question. However, we might start and try to think differently about it and be grateful that we have a job that we like and that pays the bills (if this is not the case, you might have to rethink the job). So, indirectly, it can still bring joy.

Paperwork is a biggie, too. Some things can’t just be thrown out; we have to keep it for legal reasons. I’ve yet to meet a person who finds joy in tax-relevant documents … Maybe you could keep the documents in a beautiful folder that sparks joy, instead.

Other examples might be a toilet brush, furniture or kitchen appliances. We all need these things, but few people can afford to throw them out just because they don’t bring them joy (also think about the unnecessary waste!). However, maybe you can replace certain things over time. I guarantee you: if you start using the ‘joy-question,” your shopping habits will change, too.

If this hasn’t helped so far, I always like to use this question:

What’s the worst thing that can happen if you don’t have this item anymore?

worst case scenario - risk concept

Usually, the answer to that question is not very dramatic. Even if you lose or throw out your passport by accident … it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it would be absolutely annoying and would involve time, effort and money to replace it, but it’s not impossible to do so (I would still recommend holding on to it, keeping it in a safe place and preferably have a digital (and of course backed up) copy!).

Please note that – in my view – the above tips don’t count for sentimental items. This is a whole different issue, and I’m talking more about it in this post and sharing some tips.


If you still struggle, I’d like to ask you this:

  • When did you use it last?
  • Is it working?
  • Do you have another similar item?
  • How many do you need?
  • What else can you let go to make space?
  • How hard is it to replace?
  • Is it making your life better?


I’d love to hear from you about what question/s work for you when you need to decide whether to keep something or not. Please use the comment function below.

Looking forward to hearing from you – happy decluttering!





The Australasian Association of Professional Organisers ( is hosting the National Organising Week from 7 – 12 March 2015. This year, it’s all about wardrobe organising and I will run a little challenge during this week.

Sign up here to participate:




3 keys to organising your children’s sports gear

Most children these days will sooner or later be involved in one or several sports which in itself can be an organisational challenge for the whole family. Part of sportive activities also involves looking after sports gear which can be anything from really small to rather big and also expensive equipment.

Organising Sports Gear Pinterest Original

I never really gave much thought to the concept of children and sports except that it’s a good and healthy thing. As it happens, I became a soccer mum because Mr. 11 has loved ballgames ever since he learned to walk. Throughout the last few years he’s had several soccer training sessions per week, and of course a game every Sunday. I have to admit: I was rather glad that his brother chose not to do soccer as well, as this would have become quite an organisational challenge. Instead, he practices Judo, and they both have swimming lessons for a fraction of the year.

Of course, we support our children in their sport activities and we invest quite a bit of time as a family. However, I also find it important that children learn from an early age that we don’t do everything for them. Organising their sports gear independently is one of the many things they can learn early on. Here’s how:



Have a home for everything

This is a very general rule that, of course, also applies to sports gear, however big or small. When deciding where the sports gear will live, consider these aspects:

  • Size and numbers – how much space is it taking up and how many do you have (maybe you can get rid of some)?
  • Seasonality – is the gear used throughout the year, or can it be moved to a different place when not used?
  • Shape – some things take up a lot of space due to their shape (e.g. balls).
  • Ventilation – think shoes … it’s better to keep them in a well-ventilated container and room.
  • Accessibility – make sure the children can access their gear without your help.
  • Dirtiness – how dirty is the equipment? Let soccer boots live in the garage or the entryway so your child doesn’t walk through the house with them.
Storage diynetwork

courtesy of


Storing sports gear

Make it easy for your kids to put their gear away. It doesn’t need to look great; it just needs to be accessible and practical.

Possible storage options and some examples of what you could use them for:

  • Clear plastic containers (shoes, balls and pretty much anything)
  • Wire baskets (things that need ventilation)
  • Racks or hooks (helmets, skate boards)
  • Umbrella stand (cricket bats, pool noodles, hockey sticks)
  • Net bags (balls)
  • Special hooks (bikes)
  • Special bags (swimming gear)
  • Laundry baskets (balls, shoes, helmets)

If you need more inspiration, have a look on Pinterest.


Image courtesy of



Routines around sport activities

Another key to achieving organisation success is having a routine before and after sport activities. Let your kids prepare and pack everything they need for the activity, including water and snacks – of course with your help depending on their age. You also might want to create a checklist with your child.

Using our family as an example, this would be:

  • Take off soccer boots in the garage
  • Put them on the shoe shelf in the entry hall
  • Put drinking bottle in the kitchen
  • Put sports bag away in the laundry (where it lives)
  • Get undressed and throw everything in the laundry bin (or hang on the wall rack in the bathroom if it’s wet)
  • Take a shower and get into pyjamas or fresh clothes



Extra Tip

Clean and polish sports shoes before you put them away for the next season. Otherwise, the leather will dry out and the shoes will be too uncomfortable to be worn.


What sports do your children pursue and how do you organise their equipment? Make life easier for the family by applying these organisation tips to your household today!

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