HOW TO DEAL WITH “SOMEDAY” CLUTTER
Decluttering efforts are commonly derailed by the infamous decluttering foe “someday”, as in “I might need this someday”. If this happens to you, read on to discover tips and strategies to get past the hypothetical “someday” and start enjoying a decluttered space in the present day.
What Is Clutter?
Clutter is anything you don’t presently use, need or love. Keeping items because you might need them “someday” prioritizes an unknown tomorrow over your life today. The clutter adds stress and frustration to your daily life and keeps you from moving forward.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to be prepared. But there’s a difference between keeping items you’ll realistically use in the near future, and keeping everything because you might, one day, possibly, potentially, have a use for it. The former supports your current lifestyle in a clutter-free way. The latter keeps your space cluttered and prevents you from living in the present.
Why Do We Keep “Someday” Clutter?
So, how do you overcome the “someday” obstacle? You begin by understanding it’s generally fear-based: fear you’ll suffer somehow in the future if you don’t have the item. Either you won’t be able to do something because you don’t have it, or you’ll have to spend money to re-purchase it.
Keeping “someday” clutter is also often tied to environmental concerns and living sustainably. These are important goals that should be pursued by everyone, but they don’t require you to keep everything you already have.
You can sustainably declutter items by selling, donating, or recycling them. The bigger environmental impact will be made by making more intentional purchases going forward.
Now that we understand the “why”, let’s move on to how to let go of “someday” clutter
Will You Realistically Need The Item?
Ask yourself if there is a real chance you’ll use it someday? Answering requires you to honestly examine your “someday” scenarios and determine whether they’re probable, versus possible.
Possible means something could happen, probable means it’s likely to happen. For example, when you buy a lottery ticket, it’s possible you could win, but not probable.
A “someday” scenario that’s theoretically possible, is not enough. If it requires more than moderate changes to your current situation, it’s not probable and you should really consider letting the item go.
Maybe There’s A Reason You Don’t Use It?
When was the last time used the item? Make a point to use or wear the items over the next few weeks or months. You may be reminded the reason you don’t use the ice cream maker is that it’s too much work and you’d rather just buy your ice cream at the store.
We often keep things because we want to be the type of person who makes their own ice cream but in reality, we aren’t. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, but it’s also very freeing to let go of those items and make space for the things that support the type of person we really are.
Could You Use Something Else?
Sure, apple slicers, avocado slicers, cheese slicers, electric carving knives and mini food choppers are nice, but you can also replace all of these with one or two knives.
Could You Borrow Or Rent The Item?
If you really needed the item, could you borrow it from a friend or family member? Or rent it? Hardware stores rent items like tools, ladders and lawn care equipment. Another option that’s becoming more common is a “Library of Things”, a place you can borrow items from such as small kitchen appliances and tools.
Ask yourself if the space and peace of mind you’d gain by letting go, is worth a possible (not probable) rental fee?
How Easy Is The Item To Replace?
Consider the monetary value of the item and the time and effort it would take to replace it. If they are all low, let the item go.
What Do You Gain By Letting Go?
Everything you keep takes up valuable physical and mental space, as well as time, energy and effort to clean and maintain. Keeping “someday” items leaves less of these limited resources for you and the things you truly use, need and love.
What’s The Worst That Could Happen?
I declutter regularly and have never regretted letting go of an item. Twice I have gone to use something and realized I didn’t have it. Both times I solved the issue by using something else.
The clutter-free space and peace of mind I gained by letting the items go were worth the few minutes it took me to figure another solution out.
The Maybe Box
If you’re still having trouble letting go, try a “maybe” box. Put the “someday” items in it and schedule a reminder in the future to return to the box. If you didn’t use the items, you can confidently them go.
Just remember, the goal is to clear the clutter so a reasonable timeline is important. While I encourage 1 to 4 months depending on the type of item, 1 year should be the maximum.
All 4 seasons and all holidays, gatherings and celebrations will have passed. If you haven’t used the “someday” items, it’s a strong indication you don’t need them.
“I might need it someday” is a common decluttering obstacle. Following these tips and strategies shifts your focus from the hypothetical “someday” to your actual present day, allowing you to finally declutter your space.
For more on decluttering, click here for general tips that make the process easier, here for tips to overcome feeling overwhelmed, and here for tips to deal with decluttering guilt. Check back on July 2nd when I’ll be sharing tips and strategies to deal with decluttering sentimental items.
What’s a “someday” item your holding on to? Let me know in the comments below.