This is a tough question, right? Really, we can justify anything if we try hard enough. The key is to get into the habit of really, truly asking ourselves this question. This is my first step in evaluating anything I bring into our lives (free clutter is just as bad as clutter you paid for!).
My mother was an incredible role model for this growing up. She rarely purchased anything, usually explaining it by saying “It is neat/cute/cool, but I don’t need it.” And just like that, she’d walk away from the purchase. I had a very hard time understanding her mindset. My mother would never describe herself as an intentional minimalist … it just came very naturally to her.
I have been very organized since I was a young child, but it wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I made effort to minimize my life. And boy did that change things. More room to breathe, more space to relax, more time (because there is less to clean) and not to mention more money in my pocketbook. And it is contagious. The more I decluttered, the more I wanted to get rid of.
This concept works best when applied to things before they come into your life. Once something is already in your house, it takes a slightly different method of deciding whether or not to keep it. We’ll get to that soon.