Collection of cobalt blue bottles.

Lightening Your Load

95% of my fellow New Yorkers could be moving things they don’t need or use.


  • 67% are keeping them “in case I need them in the future.”
  • 56% are holding onto them for sentimental reasons.
  • 25% say they are keeping them only to sell them.

The stories may vary from person to person, but the facts are overwhelming. The vast majority of people are trapped in a dead end loop that doesn’t serve them and keeps them stuck.

To break free from the herd and join the liberated 5%, here are 7 simple questions you can ask yourself before you throw another useless thing into a box and move it one more time.

1) Do I absolutely need to have this?

2) Do I have other similar things, and if so, how many do I need to have in total?

3) What clear and useful purpose does this serve in my life today?

4) Where exactly will this live in my new home and do I have room for it?

5) Is it fully functioning or does it need to be repaired in some way? If so, how long has it not been fully functional? (If more than 1 year, let it go.)

6) Am I only keeping this for someone else? Do they know it and want it? (If they are adults, ask them. If they don’t want it, let it go.)

7) Am I only keeping this to sell it? (If so, investigate the secondary market for the item and make your decision based on what you discover, not a story you have about supposed value.)

To simplify your life, you need to refine the idea of need vs. want.

Most of us are fortunate enough to have our basic needs metfood, water, clothing, and shelter—and we can easily confuse ourselves into believing that something we want is something we need.

That confusion starts you down the path to clutter, disorganization, and frustration.

Use the questions above to help you view your possessions through the lens of need vs. want and you will quickly learn what should stay and what can go.

If you need help finding movers or temporary storage facilities in your area, SpareFoot offers great resources at multiple price points—just remember, off-site storage isn’t a substitute for making real decisions and simplifying!

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About The Author

Andrew Mellen's picture

Andrew Mellen is an organizational expert, public speaker, and the #1 best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!

Andrew has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide to declutter and simplify their lives while regaining time for the things that matter.

A sought-after authority on organizing and productivity, Andrew's addressed audiences from The Great British Business Show to TEDx. 

Corporate clients include American Express, Genentech, NetApp, Time, Inc., and the US Depts. of Education and Homeland Security.

The media has dubbed Andrew “The Most Organized Man in America.” He writes a featured column called “Ask The Organizer” in Real Simple. In addition, he has written for and/or appeared in: The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, America Now, The Lisa Oz Show, The Nate Berkus Show, Oprah & Friends, Martha Stewart Living Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, CW11, HGTV, DIY Network, LiveWell Network, KnowMoreTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Family Circle, USA Today, GQ, InStyle, All You, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Healthy UK, American Way, numerous trade and travel publications, and NPR.

He leads workshops and speaks internationally while maintaining a private practice working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, trade associations, and non-profits to CEOs, award-winning filmmakers, and authors, as well as overwhelmed parents everywhere. 

In 2013, Andrew founded Unstuff U®, the world's first completely virtual personal organization training center, offering classes, workshops, and other online resources for businesses and individuals. 

Andrew is a member of the Experts Collective and serves on the faculty of the New York Open Center in New York City. He speaks frequently on the intersection of spirituality and organization at places including Omega Institute, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, All Saints Church, JCC Manhattan, and the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, among others.

Previously, Andrew was an award-winning playwright, actor, producer, and director and the former Artistic Director of Alice B. Theater (Seattle), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), and Shuttle Theater Company (New York). He is a contributing author to Yes Is the Answer: (And Other Prog-Rock Tales).

Andrew lives by his motto: More Love, Less Stuff!® 

Find him on the web at

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