“Have you seen the paring knife that was just in the dishwasher?”
When I looked up, I realized my family members were assembled in the kitchen, staring at me.
They were staring at me because they were well-acquainted with my 2017 commitment to decluttering.
“Yes,” I said, clearing my throat and screwing up my courage. “I threw it away. We have a new knife set and the paring knife was from the old one. I didn’t think we needed it.”
“We did.”
I’ll spare you the details of the conversation that ensued, but I wanted to share the solution with you—which, as it turns out, was an excellent idea that came from my youngest daughter.
She said, “Why don’t we get one of those big, clear bins from Target and set it in the corner of the room and throughout the week each of us can put stuff in that we think we don’t need or want anymore and then once a week we can all go through it and empty the box, either by throwing the stuff away, dumping it in a pile for a garage sale, or putting it back where we got it from if someone still wants to keep it. That way we don’t get rid of anything that someone else wants to keep.”
Before you can say Minimalism, she and I were in the mini-van on our way to Target, where we bought a clear, white bin that is now sitting in the corner of our living room and already has stuff in it. Naturally, the goal would be to declutter so much that, eventually, we get rid of the bin as well!  But until then, no one will feel like his or her possessions will be thrown away without permission and/or approval. And we’ve agreed that every Sunday, we will all meet and take some time to go through the box. This Sunday will be our first attempt at this new household decluttering ritual, all because of a $12 bin from Target.
And you know what else I got while we were at Target?
A new paring knife.*  TZT

*This is actually a very important point when it comes to decluttering. There WILL be times you get rid of stuff and go for it later. But I promise you that, much like the paring knife, there is very little that cannot be immediately and inexpensively replaced. But checking with family members is a good way to avoid trashing sentimental or irreplaceable items. But if a paring knife brings back particularly emotional memories, perhaps you have more pressing issues than decluttering. 🙂