On a scale of one to ten, with one being something you think you absolutely cannot live with and ten being something you think you absolutely cannot live without, everything in your life falls somewhere on the Scale of Usefulness. Everything! From relationships and careers to the junk mail on your kitchen table and the mismatched socks in the laundry basket. Evaluating what you currently have can help you make emotional and physical space for what you really need.
Let’s get sorting.
LEVEL ONE: cursed things Banish these things. “I am gesticulating wildly because I cannot find the words to express my bone-deep horror and disgust when I think about this.” Examples: rotten leftovers, symbols of failure, exploitive relationships, and other carcinogenic influences
LEVEL TWO: taxing things Refuse these things. “If I must accept this, I will. Then, as soon as I am able to, I’ll have to find a way to get rid of it it.” Examples: debts of all kinds, anchors to dangerous places, projects designed to fail, and useless objects requiring complicated and expensive maintenance
LEVEL THREE: sad junk Pass on these things. “This is not something I will ever desire. But I pity it for its shameful and wasteful existence.” Examples: ugly furniture that smells, broken appliances, movies you don’t want to finish, clothes that don’t fit, and mediocre work
LEVEL FOUR: misbegotten waste Avoid these things. “Its aura is beige. It’s air-flavored. I already forget what it is, and I’m still looking at it.” Examples: promotional coffee mugs, files from boring projects long finished, white elephant gag-gifts, unrewarding obligations, junk mail, and boxes of stuff unopened since you moved years ago
LEVEL FIVE: useless clutter Remove these things. “This will only be useful to me when I donate it to some charitable organization for a meager tax deduction, or give it to someone who can put it to better use.” Examples: anything you have more of than you need, including linens, pants, chores, baubles, and meetings
LEVEL SIX: single-use objects Stash these things. “I am not sure what to do with at this oddly intimidating thing I might want to use someday.” Examples: kitchen gadgets, garden tools, coupons, warranties, holiday decorations, recruiters’ contact information, and interesting art supplies
LEVEL SEVEN: helpful staples Organize these things. “This is an unsung hero of my existence, something I keep within reach.” Examples: pens, notebooks, soap, friends, fresh vegetables, passwords, and keys
LEVEL EIGHT: comfort symbols Respect these things. “This makes me feel good and I want it to last as long as possible.” Examples: flattering photographs of people, places, and things you treasure, clothes that fit well, trophies you’ve really earned, and gifts given with thought and care
LEVEL NINE: hoarded stuff Manage these things. “It seems like a good idea for me to frequently and mindlessly acquire more of these things.” Examples: impulse buys, random downloads, free samples, books you’ll read eventually, Halloween candy, and dusty collections
LEVEL TEN: cursed items Beware these things. “I must have it at any cost. Please, take my soul, all my money, and this charming firstborn child.” Examples: status symbols, power over others, and other things you think will solve all your problems but really just create new one.