What if I need it someday?
That one question has us paying for bigger houses and storage units. It has us living in cramped and cluttered spaces.
So let’s talk about keeping things “just in case” and see if we can stop the madness 🙂
These are the three questions I think about when I’m tempted to keep something just in case I might need it someday.
Stop Keeping Things Just in Case
1. If I needed it, could I find it?
Keeping something just in case I might need it someday does me no good if I can’t find it when I need it.
I’ve seen people with garages jam-packed with tools and storage tubs that aren’t organized at all. So when they go to do a house project, they might have the nuts and bolts that they need, but it would take hours to find them in that mess. They end up buying new ones instead.
I’ve seen people with storage units who literally don’t remember what’s in there. They just think it’s important. If they need something in there, they’d have to unpack the whole unit and dig through each box to find what they think they own. Instead, they usually just end up purchasing it again.
We’ve been guilty of this too. For a long time, we didn’t have our storage boxes well labeled and organized. There were times that we needed a certain cord that I was sure we had somewhere, but I couldn’t tell you which box it was in. We just went and bought it instead.
Now my goal is to be able to find anything in our house within 5 minutes or less.
If you want to keep something in case you might need it, it needs to be well-organized and easy to find.
2. How much would is cost to buy another?
I don’t like to keep things just in case unless they’d be very expensive to replace.
Keeping buckets of inexpensive craft supplies that I might want to use someday isn’t worth it to me anymore. Even if they are organized so that I can find them, I know that I could easily go spend a few bucks on what I want. I only keep the supplies that I use often.
When we moved, we got rid of a lot of tools and yard equipment that we’re going to have to purchase again soon. We decided that for the money we would spend on a storage unit for six months to a year, we would be able to just buy what we need again. It wasn’t worth it.
3. What are the chances that I’ll need it? And is it actually a “need”?
Ok, now if you’ve made it past the first two questions, here’s what we really need to think about.
What are the chances that I’ll actually need it? And is it actually a “need”?
If something has been in storage for years, what would cause me to suddenly need to use it all the time?
For a while, I had a spare blender in storage. It didn’t work that well, but what if I needed it? So here’s my thinking process: I don’t use a blender very often. The only way I would “need” this one is if I’m in the middle of blending something and my current blender somehow completely dies. Even then, the one in storage isn’t that great. Plus, a decent blender isn’t that expensive. Guess what’s not in storage anymore? a blender 🙂
We decluttered our clothes a lot the last time we moved. We had been keeping a lot of old, grungy clothes and shoes for messy house and yard projects. But really, how often do we need those things, and why would we need five sets of grungy clothes? I kept one set of “project” clothes and one old pair of shoes for each of us. For the couple of times a year we need them, we’ll make it work.
Things like old movies, clothes, duplicate tools and appliances, old electronics and cords…
You could literally go a decade without needing these things.
I don’t keep many things “just in case”.
When we went through things we were storing, we found that technology had changed and the old electronics and cords weren’t of any use, clothing in storage can start to smell a little funny, and we would rather go buy a new small appliance that works better and is less expensive than what we spent last time.
In the almost seven years Austin and I have been married, it has been very rare that we have needed to use something we kept just in case. Honestly, I can’t think of anything that we’ve gotten rid of that we really regretted. I’d rather have our home be less cluttered so that we can find and use what we do need.
⇒ What are you hanging onto just in case?