You typically don’t want a stranger in your house for long!  You love having friends in your house.  And acquaintances…well you may need to think about that one in order to make a decision.

Author and professional organizer Judith Kolberg recommends using a “Friends-Acquaintances-Strangers” game when you are making decisions about groups of items you would like to declutter and organize.

In this game/strategy, you approach your collection of like-kind items in this way:

  1. First, you identify all your “Friends”. What “qualifies” an item as a “Friend” is up to you…you’ll find yourself naturally gravitating to items which you like. You just go with your gut and pick your “Friends”. Don’t worry about why. Putting those “Friends” aside for safe-keeping can also help eliminate that anxiety many people have about decluttering, that pressure you put on yourself to have to “get rid of everything”.
  2. Next, you identify the “Strangers” as items you really don’t want to be in your home at all anymore. Typically, these are items that go directly into the garbage. If they are no longer functional, that’s an easy toss. It’s best to discard/recycle these and get them out of the house right away, so you don’t second-guess yourself.
  3. What’s leftover are “Acquaintances”. Since you didn’t identify them as “Friends” they most likely do not “spark joy”.  These would be good candidates for the donation pile. As with the “Strangers” you discarded, a best practice with donations is to get them out of your home straight away so you don’t second-guess your decisions and allow things to creep back into your newly organized space.

Let's consider an example with organizing your pants.

  • A "Friend" would be a pair of pants you wear all the time and that you love.
  • A "Stranger" would be a pair of pants that is ripped beyond repair or has stain on it, rendering it "un-donate-able".
  • An "Acquaintance" would be a pair of pants that has a style, pattern, or cut that doesn't appeal to you and that you don't feel great wearing...it's still wearable and may appeal to someone else, so it goes in the donate pile.

The power of this strategy is that you begin with selecting the things you like .This helps you feel more calm about the process and, therefore, more clear-headed to make decisions.

Let us know how it works for you by sharing in the comments below!