Minimalism | Letting Go Of "Just In Case" Objects



To date, I've spent quite a few hours in my home decluttering and removing things that no longer needed to be there. I've spent even more time thinking and speaking on minimalism. And do you know what the biggest anchor for me is when I'm clearing out the clutter I've accumulated in my space? The "Just In Case" items. The items I may not be using right now, but maybe I should keep them because...well, just in case. For some people, this is an easy task. Some find it harder, and still others find it nearly impossible. Their excuse is often times, "You never know" or "Maybe one day I'll use them." The clothes you are not able to currently fit into but maybe one day you'll get there. The craft supplies you've been saving to create something super crafty at spur of the moment. Maybe even the extra gardening tools you have stored in the shed but honestly, don't you always buy your vegetables from the store? This seems to be hard because it forces people to look at what really matters. It means you have to be honest with yourself and admit who you are. It may feel a little sad to get rid of the jeans you wish you could still fit into, but maybe once you clear the clutter out of your life, you'll have more time to workout, and then you can buy new pair. I'm not going to argue that you will 100% guaranteed never need those items. That would be pointless and I cannot foresee the intricacies of your life moving forward. That is all completely for you to decide - it is your life and you know deep down what you truly do not need laying around the house any longer. However, I am going to encourage you to let go of those "just in case" items anyway. Here are four reasons it's time to let go of some of those "maybe" items.

There's an extremely good chance you will never use that item (again). 
Ok, let's be honest. Despite what you may think now, you probably will not use that item again - at least if you haven't used it within the past 1-2 years. (Think: extra towels just in case you have guests over, the key that hasn't belonged to any lock in recent history but what if suddenly does down the road, board games you haven't played in years, that monkey shaped cake pan sitting in your cabinet because you never know when someone might want a monkey shaped cake, the fax machine collecting dust in your office space just in case faxing ever becomes a thing again, a stack of magazines from 2005 just in case you want to skim through them and pull the interesting articles from). If for some reason you do get rid of something and need to use it again, you can always just re-acquire or even borrow from a family member or friend.

Consider the cost of keeping the item 
Biologically speaking, the truth is that humans have evolved to be more motivated to avoid pain than seek joy. In other words, as a species we naturally give more weight and energy to fear of having to potentially re-acquire something than to experience the pleasure of uncluttered space. What is left unconsidered, though, is the hidden pain of keeping so much stuff around; the burden to maintain and upkeep these items just so they can sit around, left unused a little longer. We don't consider the hard decisions we have to make (like spending a gorgeous weekend cleaning up the basement or garage). Maybe you're looking to move and you find the perfect home except there's one thing: there isn't enough storage space for all of your storage.

Experience the joy of knowing what you do and don't have
It's a nice feeling to actually know what you do and don't have without having to go look. Imagine you need a black dress for a dinner party you're attending this weekend. You're pretty sure you have one so you look in your closet. Then you look in your dresser just in case you hid it away in there. It's in neither places so perhaps you check the storage box containing some of your extra clothes. Or is it possible you leant it to a friend awhile back? Maybe it's in the laundry room. Or is it really in your closet, just way in the back? 20 minutes later you're frustrated and still don't know where your black dress is. Maybe you gave it away last year? Rather than holding onto the extra clutter, make it a habit to release excess items so you know right away what you have and what you don't have. Stop wasting your time searching for something. It's unbelievably liberating.

Leave room for yourself to grow
Whenever we hold onto items just in case, we are locking our future selves into a certain way of being. However, one of the most beautiful things about being human is that we are constantly evolving as people. Our hobbies, habits, and priorities are constantly shifting and varying as we move forward through life. When you keep old items just in case, you're committing to staying in place, to maintain those same exact interests or to live in the same space. Letting go of the maybe items allows you to be more flexible and flowing, to grow and to change.

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