Throwing stuff away, but what if I need it some day? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 01:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm seriously cleaning house right now as we get ready to move. I have so much stuff in the basement, and I've already thrown and given a lot away.

Now I'm down to stuff that I haven't used in a loooonnnggg time -- maybe over a year or two (or three), but I plan to use someday. Should I just give it away? I guess my hang-up is that I'll eventually need it, and then I'll have to go buy it again, which means I threw money away.

It seems like as soon as I get rid of something, I wish I had it.

I'd love some advice from you mamas. What are your decluttering rules and how do stop the voice that says, "What if I need it," or "What if I have to buy it again?"
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#2 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 01:59 AM
 
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I get that voice as well. I make seperate piles, things I know that I definately will not use again, or am not that fond off and I know I can part with easily. The things that I'm unsure about, I put in another pile with a time limit of revisiting it to see if I still want it. I've discovered that once it's boxed or bagged, I almost always end up getting rid of it. Yes, once in a while I wish I'd kept something, but the vast majorty of the time I'm glad to see it gone. We just moved a couple of months ago, I moved many boxes that were my "maybe" stuff, I ended up going through all the boxes after we moved and got rid of it.

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#3 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 02:19 AM
 
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I get that voice, too, even though I describe myself as a minimalist. After years of decluttering and keeping it that way, there has only been one time I've actually regretted having chucked something. Bought another, it was $8 *yawn*. So go ahead, get rid of that stuff!!
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#4 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 04:10 AM
 
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I try and give as much away on freecycle as I can. I figure that I'm passing on my stuff to someone else that needs it, and if I ever need it again in the future I can request one on freecycle again. I will probably never need 99.99999% of the stuff I give away again, but that's how I make myself feel more comfortable with it.
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#5 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 04:14 AM
 
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I put a price on it - what would it cost to replace if I did need it? I figure that the storage has a cost. If the replacement is $8, and I doubt I'll ever use it, I throw it out. If the replacement is $50 or it is not availible, and I think there is a 20% chance I'll need it, I keep it.

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#6 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 04:15 AM
 
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Well, if you keep it in your basement, and don't know where anything is, chances are you'll end up buying another one if you need it anyway!

Don't throw anything away- give it away. Then if you need something again, ask for it on Freecycle and/or scour the thrift stores.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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#7 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 05:02 AM
 
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My rule is: If I haven't worn it, played with it, used it or eaten it in a year, then you won't miss it so GET RID OF IT!

Avigayil
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#8 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 07:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinkltoes
My rule is: If I haven't worn it, played with it, used it or eaten it in a year, then you won't miss it so GET RID OF IT!

Avigayil
I pretty much have to agree with that. If it's been down there in the basement two or three years, you obviously don't need it, right? If you needed it, you would be using it, and that would mean you'd be keeping it somewhere you could get to it more easily. That you aren't using it, or even keeping it where you can get it easy, hints that you aren't too likely to wake up tomorrow and discover the need to use it--after all, you haven't done so for the past 365 or so "tomorrows."

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#9 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 10:01 AM
 
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If you haven't used it in over a year, it's unlikely you'll ever use it. I'd pass it on to someone else. The only exception I can think of is emergency supplies.
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#10 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apricot
I put a price on it - what would it cost to replace if I did need it? I figure that the storage has a cost. If the replacement is $8, and I doubt I'll ever use it, I throw it out. If the replacement is $50 or it is not availible, and I think there is a 20% chance I'll need it, I keep it.
I like this line of thought. Somebody told me to remember once that stuff takes up room and should be earning its keep for rent.
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#11 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 07:22 PM
 
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I agree. If you're not going to use it in the immediate future, and you haven't used it so far then it really doesn't need to stay in your house.

It can be really really tempting to hold on to things 'just in case' but that's not necessary 99% of the time - and that's how the cluttering gets hold...
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#12 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 07:24 PM
 
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I have this problem, too.

For instance, I have snow pants and snow jacket that I would use if we ever went snowboarding again. BUT, we haven't been snowboarding in 4+ years and I don't really like it that much anyways. I'm just about ready to donate or sell them.

If we just got rid of everything that we haven't used in a year, it wouldn't make 100% sense. We haven't been camping in over a year, two years really, because we haven't gone since DS was born. But now that he's a bit older, we're about ready to try it again. Tossing all the camping gear would not have made much sense.

Same with my tennis rackets, cleats for ultimate, softball glove ... haven't had time to play, but I'm going to play someday, really!
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#13 of 17 Old 08-14-2006, 08:02 PM
 
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I think of it like this, if I have an item i can sell it for $20 (or whatever) then if I ever need it again, I can just buy another used one for $20. I haven't lost anything and likely I've sold off a lot of stuff I won't need, so I've gained space and money.

If I can't sell it, then I give it away and chances are I can find a free one later on.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#14 of 17 Old 08-15-2006, 08:48 AM
 
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I have that same problem!!!
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#15 of 17 Old 08-15-2006, 03:31 PM
 
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Sometimes I do just keep things. It has happened to me a few times that I've gotten rid of something because I am not currently using it, even though it is something I love and then we move and I wish I had it again.

I love getting rid of stuff and sometimes do a bit too much of it. Just to say I am not a packrat (dh is!).

But for example, I have a small two shelf wall shelf stored in the basement right now that I am not currently using but was using up until last May when we redid the bathroom. The thing is I love this little shelf, it just doesn't go anywhere in our house right now. But our house is still in process so I can see using it again at some point. Since I do have the space to store it (and that is key), I keep it. I doubt I could find that exact same shelf again if I wanted to.

Things like sports gear for sports that I haven't done in a few years I do often get rid of (ie. rock climbing) because I figure if I got into it again I would buy new gear anyway because 1) things degrade in storage and might not be safe to use anymore and 2) sports gear is always improving so I would want newer, better gear anyway (this is not a hard and fast rule but one thing that I use to determine whether to get rid of stuff or not).

Agreed about passing things on to bless other people, too. I do weigh the possibility of my wanting the item again in the future versus someone being able to use and love it now.

Allison, mom to ds born May 2002
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#16 of 17 Old 08-15-2006, 09:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katiecat
Things like sports gear for sports that I haven't done in a few years I do often get rid of (ie. rock climbing) because I figure if I got into it again I would buy new gear anyway because 1) things degrade in storage and might not be safe to use anymore and 2) sports gear is always improving so I would want newer, better gear anyway (this is not a hard and fast rule but one thing that I use to determine whether to get rid of stuff or not).
Thanks for your thoughts on sports gear! This is definitely the one place I hold on to stuff and now I have a few more things to think about. One thing is that we really haven't been doing that much sports since we had our DS, but we are starting to pick back up, so I am glad we held on to most. I do have rock climbing shoes that I didn't use for 2+ years, but recently used them 3 times in the last 6 months, so I'm glad I held on to those.
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#17 of 17 Old 08-16-2006, 03:24 AM
 
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I know I'm in a serious decluttering mood because with each post I read, I though 'hmmm, I have X...I can get rid of it!'

The Flylady has a good way of thinking about this (and I've read it many other places as well, Karen Kingston talks about it in her books on space clearing and decluttering): by holding onto stuff you aren't using, but 'might' need in the future, you aren't trusting yourself or the universe that you'll be ok and have enough.

I like the idea of passing things on via Freecycle...what goes around comes around! (I've given many things on Freecyle and currently my living room furniture came from Freecycle)

Mom to DD1 (11/1999),  DD2 (07/2003), and DS (11/2012), all born at home and cloth diapered. 

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