Hoarding or treasuring? 10 great excuses to have a clear-out today
When you look around your home, do you come up with 100 excuses why you should keep all your junk? Or can you say, hand on heart, that everything there is something you really need to own? And that everything you don’t actually need is something you love, that brings you pleasure every time you see it?
I thought not – nor can I!
Let’s be honest – we’ve all got far too much stuff. And a lot of it is a total waste of space, money and energy. So instead of excuses to keep everything, let’s find some excuses to clear out the clutter and make space to enjoy the possessions we genuinely treasure.
1. I might need it – you never know when these things will come in handy
So, what you’re saying is that you don’t need it right now. Can you think of a future time when you’ll be likely to use it? If you didn’t have this item, have you got something to use instead? If so, you can let this one go.
2. It’s not worth much now, but it’ll be worth a fortune some day
Or will it? And will you be still alive when that day comes? Recently, I sold some jewellery and household items which came from my great-grandmother. Most of the items were only worth about £10 each – about $15. And that’s after one hundred years!
Can you foresee a time in the next few years when the item might increase in value – when the next film in the series is released, or when a famous person dies? Will that increase in value be enough to make up for the inconvenience of storing it all those years? And when that time comes, will you be able to find it in time to sell at the best time, or will it be stuck under a load of other boxes in the attic?
So if you’re going to keep something until it increases in value, make sure it’s worth hanging on to. Otherwise, you’d probably do better to sell it now and put the money in a savings account!
3. I’ll keep it as a spare one
If your washing-machine breaks, do you have a spare one standing by? Of course not. You’ll manage without for a few days, until you can get it mended or buy a new one. Well, if you can manage without something as important as a washing machine, the chances are you don’t need this ‘spare’ item either.
4. I don’t have time for that hobby, but I still enjoy it
Can you rearrange your life so you do have time? The truth is, you already have spare time now, but you choose to spend it on other things instead of this. Think about why that is. Perhaps this hobby isn’t an important priority to you any more. Also, think about how much space the hobby equipment is taking up while you aren’t using it: a couple of items in a drawer, or an entire cupboard?
5. It’s still in good condition
The condition makes a difference as to whether you could sell the item, give it away or chuck it in the bin, but it doesn’t affect whether you need it or use it. So don’t keep things just because they aren’t damaged.
6. No one else would want it
So what? No one appointed you the President of the Society for Unwanted Stuff. It’s not your job to provide a home for everything that no one else wants, only the stuff that you want. If no one else wants it, and you don’t want it either really, it’s probably a piece of junk. And how do you know no one else wants it? Try a local freecycling website – you’ll be surprised what other people want.
7. It’s a family heirloom
Sure, it’s lovely to feel that things will be passed down through your family and treasured forever. But if we all kept every single thing our parents and their parents owned… you can see where I’m going with this. Be selective – only keep things your family will genuinely be glad you kept. Otherwise, they’ll chuck them out anyway once you’ve gone, and you’ll have stored them dutifully all those years for nothing.
8. It’s part of my collection
Are you really a collector, or has all that stuff gradually accumulated around you? If you don’t have any expert knowledge of the items in your collection, you probably aren’t that interested in it. Why not get rid of the ones you don’t care about – or the whole lot?
9. I’m keeping it for ‘best’
What counts as ‘best’? If you don’t bother getting your best china, silver and glassware out of storage when your favourite people come to dinner on Christmas Day because they’re only family, what counts as a ‘best’ occasion? How often do those occasions occur? If you don’t wear your best clothes, watch etc to an important job interview, when will you be likely to wear them? If you didn’t have your ‘best’ stuff, would you even notice?
10. I don’t need to get rid of it – I’ve got plenty of room for storage
Just because you own shelves and cupboards doesn’t mean you need to fill them all up! Perhaps you could get rid of them as well. If you have a huge attic or basement, you might never actually need to get rid of anything, but remember these can end up as fire hazards or accidents waiting to happen.
So start your clear-out today – and enjoy a simple, streamlined life.
Need more inspiration? I’m writing a book about clutter – sign up to Emily the Dodo today and I’ll send you the details when it’s published.