Is Your Unfinished Project Really Worth Doing? (The Sunk Cost of Clutter — Part 2)
My client and I are sorting and purging her belongings. We come across some fabric she has had for years. Decades, in fact. She puts it in the KEEP pile, saying, “I always thought I could make something out of this.” Not being a sewer, or a quilter, she does not otherwise have a stash of fabric she is attached to. I say, “Yes. You could. But do you still want to? Is it really worth doing?” It is a serious question about whether it’s worth it to HER, neither a judgment, nor an indication of whether or not I personally think it is worth it. And that’s all it takes. She puts it in the DONATE pile.If your unfinished project were really worth doing, wouldn’t you have done it by now? Click To Tweet
Many of us hang on to things because of our original good intentions. Or because we think we should…we should keep it…we should finish it… we should be the sort of person who would accomplish such projects…we should still be the person who formerly accomplished such projects.
In my post But I paid good money for that!, I talked about the financial sunk cost of clutter. A sunk cost is an investment you made in the past. Investments can be time and energy as well as money.
When deciding between alternatives it is irrelevant what came before. In this case you are trying to decide whether to keep/finish a project or let it go. You can either:
- Keep the item (or supplies for a project) and let it continue taking up physical space and nagging you mentally and emotionally about not having finished it or fixed it.
- Make a plan (or set a S.M.A.R.T. Goal) for completing the project or fixing the item.
- Let it go and reclaim the space, time, money, energy, and mental freedom for yourself!
Deciding What’s Worth Doing
I’m all for finishing projects that are worth doing. Next time you are faced with an unfinished project ask yourself:
- Does it support the life I want to be living now? (Have you determined what your priorities and goals are for this stage in your life? It’s OK to change your mind about old goals and projects!)
- What additional costs will be required? (Don’t forget the hidden costs of clutter.)
- Can I afford the financial cost, and does it also fit into my emotional, physical, and time budgets? (How else might you like to be spending these precious resources?)
- Do I know how to do it? Will I need help? (It’s OK to ask for help.)
- If it was for a gift, will the recipient still appreciate it? (Or, was it a baby blanket for someone who is now a teenager?)
- Is it really worth doing? (You are the only one who knows for sure.)
If the answer is no, donate the materials, give them to someone who will appreciate them, sell them, recycle them, or throw them in the trash.
And consider this: If it were really worth doing, wouldn’t you have done it by now?
Do you have an unfinished project you are hanging on to? What is it?
Is it really worth doing? Are you ready to let it go?
Please share in the comments below!
P.S. The image is from Why You Need a Project Box and a Master To-Do List.
Copyright 2015-2016 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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