When it comes to clutter, I can be pretty ruthless. I don’t like excess stuff hanging around, and I’m not very sentimental.
Still, everyone has a blind spot when it comes to accumulating junk. My Achilles’ heel is saving unnecessary and sometimes random stuff just in case.
I get this from my dad, who once took a three-day sailboat trip and brought (wait for it) three suitcases. His boat-mates thought this was so hilarious that the eleven other people on board all put on his clothes and there were still two suitcases of clothing left.
Then they ran all his boxers up the flagpole, for they were good friends who knew how to properly mock someone who brought an obscene amount of luggage on a three day trip.
“What’s with all the sweaters, Paul?” asked friend. It was July. The high was 85; the low 82. “Afraid there might be a hurricane?”
For my dad it’s clothes. For me it’s books and kid stuff. What if I need that freshman biology textbook someday? What if my son notices that I culled his 9,548 Matchbox cars down to only 6,431 and he never forgives me? What if I decide I really want to read the Derrida I skipped in grad school? (Ha.)
I save things, just in case.
But my just in case stash was threatening my bookshelves, my kids’ bedroom, my sanity, and my soul.
Where does it end, when you’re saving junk for every eventuality?
The Minimalists talk about “just in case” items. They believe the words “just in case” are the most dangerous in the English language. I’d personally disagree there, as I believe “He’s got a gun” and “Your sister’s becoming a vegan, I need you to talk to her” are significantly more dangerous. But the Minimalists do have a point.
Their policy on “just in case” items—those you haven’t used recently and aren’t very likely to need anytime soon—is: if you can get it in under 20 minutes for under $20, get rid of it.
That was the permission I needed. And oh, it was glorious.
What “just in case” items can you get rid of this week, to free up some space?