by Susan McCarthy
Everyday practice: Making one decision now saves you from making a hundred decisions later on when you rediscover all the things you set aside.
While you’re decluttering, do you ever pick up an item and say, “Well, I should hold onto this just-in-case I need it someday”? You may feel somewhat virtuous that you are planning to use this item. You are keeping them out of a landfill. You will save money someday because you’ll need the item and you won’t have to go out and purchase them.
You return the item to where you found it.
There are a lot of ways to handle ‘just-in-case’ items.
Do a Gentle Declutter of Just in Case Items
I think one of the trickiest parts of holding onto just-in-case items is that if you ask traditional decluttering questions such as, “do I need this?” or “do I want this?” you can answer, “yes.” Even if you ask, “do I use this?” you may say, “well, I could,” thereby justifying holding onto the item.
So, I’m suggesting that when you encounter an item that you feel you should hold onto ‘just-in-case,’ you ask the question, “what could I use this item for?”
Store Items to Encourage Them Getting Used
You don’t have to go out and buy storage bins or boxes; when possible, use those you already own. And, this is a case of where bigger isn’t better. You aren’t going to dump all your just-in-case items in a single bin. If you are going to keep at item, consider why you want to keep it. You are moving that item out of the amorphous ‘maybe’ category and deciding how it could be useful to you.
For storage, think cardboard file box and not 18-gallon bin. In most instances, just-in-case items are smaller items. If you filled a large bin with all these little things, it wouldn’t be easy to find anything in there.
Sort just-in-case items into categories – costumes, craft items, school project stuff. Label the box. Store these boxes together in a resource area. This could be a shelf or two in your garage or a corner of your basement.
If you can’t decide how to categorize an item, consider that even if you needed it five years from now, you wouldn’t be able to find it because you won’t know where to put it. Toss items that defy classification. Otherwise, you are holding onto the item because you don’t want to make a decision; not because you think you can use it.
Minimize Your Collection of Maybe Stuff
By sorting your just-in-case items into a labeled box, you are accomplishing a few things:
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The Organized Squirrel, Susan, shows you how acorns (small habits) can grow into oak trees (a better life).