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  • Writer's pictureHeatherAnne Norbury

Creating Space and Peace: Decluttering for a 'Someday'-Free Life

hands holding wood blocks that spell out SOMEDAY

Are you surrounded by many items you're convinced you might need 'Someday'? You're not alone if you find it challenging to part with things cluttering your space. Many of us struggle with decluttering due to the fear of discarding something we might require in the future. The good news is there are effective strategies to help you streamline your possessions and create a clutter-free, stress-free living environment.

The notion of 'Someday' is a subtle yet significant source of feeling stuck in the clutter of our lives. When we cling to items with the rationale that we might need them someday, we're worried that we'll regret parting with that item at some nebulous point in the future. What this reveals is our fear of suffering in the future if we lack that possession. However, we often overlook that to encounter this suffering, we must find ourselves in a situation where the item is genuinely indispensable—a scenario that rarely materializes. The likelihood of needing those 'Someday' items is usually relatively slim. Recognizing this can be a liberating realization, offering us the confidence to let go and declutter, knowing that the burden of maintaining countless possessions for an uncertain future is often more oppressive than the occasional need for an item we can readily replace or borrow.

The Dollar Amount Rule

It's common to hesitate when decluttering because we fear wasting money. When you declutter an item, it's important to remember that the money spent on it is already gone, making it a sunk cost. You're not wasting anything by letting go; you're reclaiming space and simplifying your life.

To tackle this problem, set a specific dollar amount as a threshold. If an item costs below this amount, it's often more economical to part with it and replace it when needed. For example, you could decide that any item worth less than $20 is fair game for decluttering.

This approach not only helps you let go of items that don't hold significant financial value but also gives you the freedom to invest in higher-quality items when needed. When contemplating whether to keep an item, ask yourself if you'd be willing to spend that money to replace it if necessary. You'll find it easier to part with items when you realize you can easily replace them.

The 24-Hour Rule

Another effective decluttering strategy is to set a time limit for replacement. If you can replace an item within 24 hours or less, it's usually safe to let it go. For instance, many household items and clothing can be easily purchased online or at local stores. Adopting the 24-hour rule prevents you from holding onto items that can be swiftly replaced and free up your space. Remember, this rule is not only about decluttering; it's about simplifying your life and creating a serene living space. Note that the time frame of this rule is up to you. You might like 12 hours or 48 hours, and that may change from item to item.

Borrow or Rent Instead

If you're hesitant about decluttering something because you believe it's costly or inconvenient to replace, consider the option of borrowing or renting in the future. Many items, like power tools, seasonal equipment, and specialty kitchen appliances, can be borrowed or rented as needed. This reduces clutter and saves you money in the long run.

Various platforms and local services facilitate the borrowing or renting of items. You can tap into this sharing economy to access items when required without the commitment of ownership. This approach is beneficial for things that are seldom used, as it allows you to enjoy the benefits of these items without the burden of storing them.

Things to Consider When Decluttering 'Someday' Items

Now that you have these decluttering strategies in mind, here's a list of a few more things to consider when you're decluttering and worried about needing something in the future:

Frequency of Use: Consider how often you use the item. If it's been gathering dust for years, it's a good sign that you won't need it in the future.

Need vs. Want: Distinguish between items you genuinely need and those you simply want. Prioritize the essentials and be more willing to part with the "nice-to-haves."

Multipurpose Items: Favor items that serve multiple purposes. These versatile items are more likely to come in handy in various situations.

Space Considerations: Think about the valuable space an item occupies. Is the space it takes up justified by how often you use it or how essential it is?

Functional Condition: Ensure that the item is in good working condition. If it's broken or not functioning correctly, it's less likely to be used in the future.

Outdated Technology: Be especially cautious with technology and electronics. Old gadgets may become obsolete, so consider whether it's worth holding onto outdated devices.

Emotional Attachment: Assess whether you're keeping something solely for sentimental reasons. While sentiment is important, you can consider taking photos of sentimental items to preserve the memory without keeping the physical object.

Expiration Dates: Check for expiration dates on food, cosmetics, and medicines. Expired items are not only useless but can be harmful.

Seasonal Items: For seasonal clothing, decorations, or equipment, ask yourself if you used it in the past season. If not, it may be time to let it go.

Duplicates: Review if you have multiple items that serve the same purpose. Consolidate and keep just one high-quality version.

Lifestyle Changes: Take into account any significant lifestyle changes. If you've downsized, retired, or moved to a different climate, your needs may have evolved, making some items irrelevant.

Hobbies and Interests: Consider if your interests and hobbies have changed. Items related to past interests may not have a place in your current life.

Safety and Health: Ensure that the items you're keeping won't pose a safety or health risk if used in the future, particularly important for chemicals, expired medications, or damaged goods.

Legal Documents: Keep essential documents such as passports, birth certificates, and insurance policies. Store them in a secure, easily accessible place.

Digital Backup: For paper documents, consider scanning and saving them digitally to reduce physical clutter.

Get a Second Opinion: If you're unsure about an item, ask a trusted friend or family member for their opinion. They can offer a more objective perspective.

Trial Separation: Try a trial separation if you're reluctant to part with something. Box it up, label it with a date, and store it out of sight. If you haven't needed or thought about it in several months, it's a sign that you can let it go.

Remember Your Goals: Recall your decluttering goals and the benefits of a clutter-free space. This can motivate you to make more decisive choices.

Donate or Sell: If you're hesitant to discard something, consider donating it to a charity or selling it. Knowing that the item will benefit someone else can make it easier to part with.

Don't Rush: Decluttering is a process, and taking your time is okay. You can start with less emotionally charged items and work up to more sentimental possessions.

Remember, decluttering aims to create a more organized and stress-free living space. Making thoughtful and informed decisions about what to keep or let go will help you achieve that objective while minimizing the risk of discarding something you might need in the future. So, start decluttering today and embrace a simpler, clutter-free lifestyle!

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