“But I paid good money for that!” (The Sunk Cost of Clutter – part 1)
This, despite the fact that they don’t love or use them. “But it was a gift! But I might need it someday! But I paid good money for that!”
Wait! WHAT? (Cue screeching phonograph needle on vinyl.)
You spent good money for that? Oh…well…that’s too bad. But so what?
This is what we called a sunk cost in the corporate world. It means you spent the money in the past and it has no bearing on the decision at hand. Don’t clutter your present with past mistakes! Forgive yourself and move on.Don’t clutter your present with past mistakes! Click To Tweet
Here’s an example from when I was writing multi-million dollar business cases for the telephone company (as described in my post Born to Organize):
If you need more space than you have for new telephone equipment you compare the cost of alternative solutions:
A) Construct a building addition to provide more space.
B) Remove old, antiquated equipment in order to free up space.
C) Install new, smaller equipment that takes up less space.
D) Some combination of the other alternatives.
In all alternatives, the original cost of the old, antiquated equipment is irrelevant (assuming it’s fully depreciated). Moot point. Sunk cost. Technically speaking, a sunk cost is one that cannot be recovered. And, indeed, some items are still worth something. But that would only be an incentive to sell them, not to keep them.
You don’t say, “Let’s spend millions of dollars on a building addition because I can’t bear to let go of the old equipment that we spent good money on!” You just don’t. It doesn’t make any sense.
So if you are worried about the amount of money you paid for all those craft supplies you realize now you are never going to use, or that piece of furniture you now hate because it no longer fits your decor and reminds you of your ex, don’t be.
The amount of money you paid is the same regardless of which alternative you choose now:
A) Keep it and let it continue making you feel sad, or guilty, and occupying space that you could be using for something else. (Not to mention all of the other costs of clutter.)
B) Let it go and reclaim the space, time, money, energy, and mental freedom for yourself!
That is not to say you have to throw whatever it is in the trash. As with everything you let go of, you can donate, sell, gift, or recycle it. But please be realistic about how much it’s worth if you are thinking of selling it. And don’t hang on to it forever just because you haven’t found the perfect home for it, or gotten around to learning eBay …or because you paid good money for it.
Are are you hanging onto something that you paid good money for but don’t use or love?
What is it? Is it time to let it go?
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Copyright 2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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