Only weeks to go before we move, and the sifting and winnowing continues. In the past few weeks alone, we’ve divested ourselves of a futon sofa, chest of drawers, a rocking chair, three end tables, two exercise bikes, a stair-stepper, and another couple hundred books.

And there’s more, much more, to come. (How much stuff can one small bungalow hold? Trust me, you don’t want to know.)

But I’m getting better and better at letting go of things.

Not that it’s always easy to figure out what to surrender. But here’s a key question that helps with the tougher decisions:

Will my spirits rise when I unpack and see it?*

My heart spells out the answer every time.

Which is something to think about as I continue, in odd moments and hours, with this revision. Sometimes a new idea or scene comes to me out of left field, and it’s hard to know whether it’s a keeper, or whether it’s a will-o’-the-wisp. Sometimes I get stalled just trying to answer that question.

Maybe the better question is:

Do my spirits rise when I think of it?

Because I can’t always tell beforehand if I’m on the right path. But if an idea makes me happy, it gets me writing. And even if I don’t keep those particular words, I learn from them.

*I cribbed this question from a wonderful book called Scaling Down, Living Large in a Smaller Space. Definitely worth buying if you’re moving, scaling back, or just overwhelmed with stuff.