Sometimes the choice to keep or toss something is easy: I love it! I use it! I need to keep it! OK, obviously a keeper. Put it away, or create a home for it.
Sometimes it’s not so easy, though: But it was a gift…but I paid a lot of money for it…I can’t decide…sigh…
What do I hear most often from clients? “But I might need it someday!”
Well, yes, you might. Or maybe not. Let’s think about that for a moment.
Ask yourself these three questions:
- What are the realistic chances that I will need this someday? (If you don’t know, just take a guess. 20% is a fairly low probability. 80% is getting closer to certainty.)
- What is the replacement cost of that item? (Consider the time involved, the financial cost, and the energy required. Do not use numbers, just use your gut.)
- How much space would be recovered if you were to let it go? (If the item is tiny, the incentive to let it go is reduced. We want the biggest bang for our decluttering buck!)
One more question:
What is the worst thing that might happen if I needed this someday and no longer had it?
If you still can’t decide:
How much is your clutter costing you to keep?
For those who enjoy and relate to visual aids, and because I can’t help my little engineering self, here it is in chart form, followed by a few examples (scroll down a bit, past the big blank space):
Camping equipment: Somewhat expensive to replace, but your chances of ever going camping again are only about 10% due to your current age and health issues. Plus it takes up a lot of space that could be used for something else. And you would rather stay in a cabin, if you’re being honest. TOSS (If it turns out that the camping equipment has deteriorated after being stored in a hot garage for decades, the decision becomes that much easier.)
Empty boxes and plastic or paper bags: Easy and cheap to replace. Difficult, in fact, to keep them from accumulating without a system in place. Space potentially freed up = a whole kitchen cupboard plus 50 cu. ft. in the garage. Chances of needing them again, though, are nearly 100%. So, can you manage with fewer? Say, a bag of bags and a box of boxes? KEEP a limited quantity, and TOSS the rest!
Sewing Supplies: Leftover scraps and materials from former sewing and quilting projects. Half finished projects you started decades ago. Yes, you could finish them, but ask yourself Is it Really Worth Doing? Chances of needing the scraps again, or wanting to finish the projects is only 20% because, for one thing, you are really more interested these days in making jewelry and would like to free up more space for that. TOSS
Sewing Machine: No, you don’t sew much anymore. But you do use it occasionally for clothing repairs and alterations. It’s cheaper than hiring a tailor each time you need one. You have the space for it. KEEP.
Does this help you decide? Please leave a comment and let me know!
Copyright 2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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