by Susan Caplan McCarthy
I remember my father returning from a trip to a local discount store with a shopping bag filled with new bath towels and washcloths. Instead of saying something along the lines of, “now we can finally toss out those old, worn, scratchy towels,” he’d said, “keep using the old towels until they wear out some more. Then we can use these towels.” !?
Have you ever done something like this – saved something new for “later?”
Maybe you got a nice candle and thought you’d save it for a special occasion. Then, one day, you rediscover it and noticed that the color was off and it no longer had that lovely smell.
Or, you bought a new top … and then you saved it so it would stay in good condition. And it hung in your closet, with the price tags still attached, for two years.
Maybe you remember someone’s story about finding a bottle of perfume – nearly full – on their grandmother’s dresser and they thought that she had probably saved it for “occasions”, instead of enjoying it every day.
Why do we hold onto things that are meant to get used? Maybe we feel that it would be indulgent to wear a silk scarf to run errands. Or we feel we don’t deserve to use the expensive lipstick someone gave us as a gift.
We wait for special occasions – but forget that we’re saving these things.
Saving things, waiting for just the right time to use them, is another take on just in case items. While we don’t know when we could use a just in case item, ‘someday’ items can usually be used right now.
As you go through your home, if you discover something that you’ve been saving for someday, consider that today is some day and use the item. Wear that sequined top that you love but never have enough events to wear it to under a jacket or cardigan and add a hint of sparkle to your workday. Use the cloth napkins stitched by your grandmother when you’re eating your tuna fish sandwich. Treat yourself to a bath using the expensive bath bomb.
Things don’t last forever. They get forgotten, pushed behind other items.
Enjoy it now – even if its just new bath towels.
Because when I was emptying my parents’ house, do you know what I found in one of the bags tossed in a corner of a room that had been turned to a storage space? Yep, those never-used new towels.
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Susan Caplan McCarthy
I help people focus on what's important to them by guiding them through clearing clutter and distractions from their lives. I teach decluttering and organizing skills through articles; books; courses; speaking engagements; as well as virtual coaching sessions.