90/90 decluttering rule

The 90/90 Rule For De-Cluttering

February 18, 2024
decluttering 90/90 rule
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

Well, it’s still winter ladies and gentlemen and we are still stuck inside. So why not organize and de-clutter a bit? Or a lot? A few weeks ago, I talked about the 20/20 rule for de-cluttering (link to that blog is provided below). Created by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists, the 20/20 rule consists of asking yourself two key questions while de-cluttering your home: Can I replace this item for less than $20, and can I replace this item in less than 20 minutes. Well today let’s talk about another rule created by Millburn and Nicodemus: The 90/90 Rule for De-Cluttering.

90/90 Rule of Uncluttering
Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

What Is The 90/90 Rule For De-Cluttering?

The 90/90 Rule for De-Cluttering is similar to the 20/20 Rule. I’ve seen it applied to kitchen clutter, wardrobes, even cell phones. So what’s it all about? The 90/90 Rule states that when you look at the things you are attempting to de-clutter you need to ask yourself two questions: 1. Have I used this item in the last 90 days? and 2. Will I use this in the next 90 days? According to Millburn and Nicodemus, if you answer no to both those question you rid yourself of the item. I say, not so fast guys…

90/90 rule for toys
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Best Categories for The 90/90 Rule

I see the wisdom of the 90/90 Rule. At my retail store, Consignments Ltd., people bring items in to sell. We give them 90 days from their appointment date to do this. Often times, at the end of the contract period, when they come to retrieve the item or two that hasn’t sold, they don’t even remember the item. No kidding. It’s out of sight out of mind for so much of the stuff in our lives. So, if you haven’t used it in 90 and can’t see yourself using it in 90 more, well… This applies especially to many household categories that tend to get cluttered. For example:

  • Everyday and Work Clothing: The stuff you wear, day-in and day-out. Or DON’T WEAR. Because that’s the point.
  • Kitchen Gadgets: The juicer! The cheese grinder! And that god-awful bowl that you received as a house-warming gift and haven’t used once. You know your go-to’s and your “forgot-abouts.”
  • Most Kids’ Toys: If they haven’t cried because they couldn’t find it, or they’ve relegated it to under the bed, it’s probably safe to ditch or donate. Also, any toys that are no longer age-appropriate are fair game, pun definitely intended.
  • Furniture You’ve Relegated to The Basement: If you are temporarily storing furniture because you’re painting, that’s one thing. If your basement has looked like a consignment store for the last 6 years, that’s another. (And maybe you should call us for an appointment, LOL).
declutter with 90/90 rule
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels

Items You Shouldn’t Apply the 90/90 Rule

That being said, there are a bunch of items that this rule should NOT apply to, unless you’re really into kicking yourself with regret on a regular basis? I would NOT apply the 90/90 Rule for De-Cluttering to any of the following:

  • Memorabilia: Photographs, love letters, special cards and sentimental gifts should be handled with more care than this rule allows for.
  • Special Occasion Clothing: Fancy dresses or suits fit for a wedding, dressy overcoats and accessories should all be excluded from this rule. You may only use these once in awhile, but you sure don’t want to have to buy them again when you need them.
  • Children’s Sentimental Items: Don’t throw out that Pillow Pet if there’s any chance your adult daughter will one day want it. Just mail it to her instead. For younger children, keep a stash of once loved items for the “Just in case they have a melt down” moment. When they grow up, see above suggestion.
  • Seasonal Items: holiday decorations, holiday linens, holiday dishes, etc. should all be excluded from this rule. Instead, go through them once a year, about a month before the holiday and bring the unwanted items to your local consignment store. See: How Consignment Works: A Beginners Guide for tips.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by your stuff, try the 90/90 rule for de-cluttering. I used it on my closet and have a pile of clothes going out to show for it. Let me know how it goes? Oh yeah. Here’s that link I promised: The 20/20 Rule For De-Cluttering – Does It Work?

Have a lovely Sunday, my friends. Marianne

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