The two main reasons that most people don’t get rid of stuff are that they represent memories of treasured moments or that you might need it one day. And I, too, do this so much of the time. I have been going through tons of stuff recently. Stuff in piles and piles…in the garage and basement…in closets…on the floor.
And what I’ve come to realize about the stuff that “I might need one day” Sure, I might need it one day. But why? There are three breakdowns (at least with me) of the “might need” tendencies. And identifying these will help me say goodbye to some of the stuff that keeps sticking around.
“I did need it”
I had the amazing towel holders for the bathroom. It wasn’t a bar – it wasn’t a ring. Those things are just too fussy for me (ha) – I don’t want to have to arrange a towel through something. I know, lazy!! But these were like a combo of those two things – just slide the towel on the side. And they were about the only thing I liked about the bathroom at the time. But then the tub got a crack – and 2 months later, we had a renovated bathroom. (started with the crack, then we just kept going) A bathroom I designed and was so excited about. Including new towel holding devices. So why keep the old towel hooks? I did love them and did need them. And (apparently) I’m really picky about what I put towels on. I think it comes from not wanting to find that certain thing that worked… again (more with the lazy!) I’m never going to put them in the “new” bathroom. And I have towel holding apparatus in the other two bathrooms already. Are the towel bars a treasured item? No. Bringing fond memories? Um, no. So why keep them? I did need them. I did enjoy them. They served their purpose. And I’m not going to use them again. Why hold on? Goodbye towel hooks. I wonder what else I have used and loved – that can go too?
“I want to need it”
This one is a tricky one. It’s more of wanting to want something. It’s that shirt that you thought you had to have, and it was on sale too. But when you got it home, it just didn’t work. Or when you find something and just settle and purchase it – instead of holding off until it’s the right time, place and price. Many of these things you keep because of the guilt of the purchase. Since you already paid for it, you just feel that you need to find purpose and life for this item. Those shoes that I bought for a special occasion. I had to have them – like they were required with the dress. But I did not like them that much. And they hurt. And well, they really didn’t fit. But I kept them to maybe use them again. Did I? No. They just keep following me around, staring at me, waiting to have a new life on my feet. But we both know (me and the shoes) that I’m never wearing them again. It would have been nice to love them and use them. Buying something – thinking it will infuse fun into your wardrobe or seeing how cute it looks on someone else. But in reality it never happens. When you see it in the closet, it just reminds you that you don’t love it. It’s not you – and it just sits there. Even if you really really WANT to love it, it’s never going to happen. And it’s just taking up space. That book you really wanted to read (or thought you should read). The These items are usually easier for me to give up, because when I take that second look, I know that I’m never really going to like this item. And that I probably never did. I just wanted to.
“I might need it in the future”
This is a little different than those other two. This is the true “I might need it one day” – and it usually is the one that strikes most often. The “OH NO, what if I need it in the future and I get rid of it now?!” These are the things kept for that just in case moment – something that might happen in the future. It has probably been used once or twice. And now it just sits there – just in case. I got rid of over half my cookbooks. I love to cook. I want to cook. And yep, I need to cook. But with the internet and limited time, the cookbooks aren’t realistic right now. But getting rid of them was hard… What if there was that ONE recipe that would change family dinners forever. And I just gave the cookbook away! What if I need that particular serving dish? Or pair of jeans? Or garden tool? And crazy things… like a washing machine adapter from 3 houses ago. That fear of “what if I need this in the future and I have to buy it again” – I might as well hold onto it… But doing that with a roomful of stuff just turns into a mess (just ask that corner in my basement). And even if you have kept it, you probably won’t know where it is when you actually need it. What is needed is prioritizing! Realitizing! (sure, why not) Then find what truly brings you passion. And what you truly need. This category is my toughest purge. Items that had very limited usefulness – they haven’t fulfilled their entire purpose. This one takes honesty. What do I really need RIGHT NOW?