Trusting yourself is key to the decluttering process.
On a recent Thursday night, I was working with G, a new client. We had piled a mountain of clothing - every last piece she owned - onto her bed. I suggested that we start with tops.
"Hold each one in your hands," I instructed, "and see how you feel." G picked up a black tank top and looked at me, wide-eyed, unsure of what to do next. How was she supposed to determine whether or not it "sparked joy"?
I asked her to find something in the pile that she absolutely loved, and to remember that feeling. That was easy; she quickly unearthed a floral sundress, and even her expression changed into a warm smile. She immediately understood the concept and started speeding through the decision-making process. The transformation, which took place in seconds, was incredible!
G told me that while she hadn't consciously realized this before, many clothes brought back strong, negative memories of a former relationship. Now that she acknowledged her true feelings (which, really, had been there all along), it was easy for her to decide what to keep. She let many items go, with gratitude for the lessons of her past. G had always been perceptive, but she finally gave herself permission to listen to her intuition.
On the surface, many of the items G let go of were stylish and in perfectly fine condition, some even NWT. They brought her back to an unhappy time, however, so she sold and donated them, in hopes that they would bring others joy.
Decluttering is such a personal, subjective process, and only you can discern what you need (or don't). Try to gently quiet the part of your mind that protests, "But I paid good money for it / barely wore it / am waiting for it to come back in style!"
If you pay attention to your intuition instead, you'll see that you already know.