No Excuses series (part 1): "I might need it some day"

31 January 2017

This is the first in a three-part series of posts debunking the three excuses I hear most frequently from clients for wanting to keep items they no longer use or love.

When I work with clients on decluttering, we discuss their goals and motivations for letting go of excess. They understand that it makes most sense to hang on to meaningful items, not those that are sitting idle. Yet it’s not unusual for a client to want to keep an unused item that’s perfectly good because “I might need it some day.”

I usually push back, particularly if we’re dealing with severe space constraints and the need to let go of a lot of stuff.

Here’s what I say to those clients when I hear, “I might need it some day.”:

  • How likely is it that you’ll need it?
  • If you decide to let it go and you do find you need it, are you able to get another one?
  • If you keep it, will you be able to find it when you need it?

That last question is important, because if a client is keeping a lot of those “some day” items it may be difficult to organize the stuff they keep in a way that will allow them to find everything.

Here’s the thing about perfectly good items that aren’t being used. If they’re perfectly good, somebody else can use them. Rather than having them sit idle, taking up space, it’s better to contribute to the greater good by donating them and letting them be used. If you hang on to them until a future decluttering session and then decide to let them go, they may be less valuable or useful to others.

Basically it comes down to a couple of things:

  1. Your goals for decluttering and getting organized. If you’re trying to create space in your home and life so that you can find what you want when you want it and live with ease (my definition of organized), then storing a lot of unused stuff might well get in the way of that.
  2. A fear of regret. I think a lot of us live in fear of regretting our decisions. If you do find that you let go of an item that at a future date you could have used, you may feel a twinge of regret. But you’ll get past it. Hanging on to unneeded items is a pretty high price to pay to ward off future regret, in my opinion.

I have seen over and over how living with less makes one’s life easier. A great first step toward living with less is letting go of the perfectly good stuff you don’t use.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of the No Excuses series: “I paid a lot for it” and “It was a gift.”

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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