Reason #1 We Can’t Rid of Clutter : “But I Might Need It Later On”

Us during our child-less years in our apartment kitchen

Reason #1 : But I Might Need It Later On!

I used to have this pressure cooker that I was afraid of. I am not talking about the popular electric Instant Pot that is all the rage right now. This was back in 2006 and Instant Pot did not exist yet. This was one of those aluminum pressure cookers you use on the stove top. I bought it because two work colleagues raved about their pressure cookers during a conversation we were having about cooking. They talked about how it cut their cooking time by half and helped make amazing soups. “I like soup” I thought. Off I went and bought myself one.

The first and only time I tried to use the pressure cooker, the darn thing hissed and rattled furiously. I honestly believed that it was warning me of my imminent death. “THAT DAMN THING IS GOING TO BLOW UP AND TAKE ME WITH IT!” I thought.  I quickly turned off the stove and ordered take-out. The pressure cooker was cleaned and put away the following morning. I thought that I will one day muster enough courage and try to cook with it again. Well, that didn’t happen. That thing comfortably sat in my cabinets unused for a good 3 years. This was during my married without children days where we lived in a 700 square feet apartment and I had yet to discover simple living/minimalism. I eventually got rid of it by donating it to a thrift store.

The pressure cooker wasn’t the only thing I was storing for that one day I wasn’t certain would ever come. I had clothing, crystals, dishes, etc that I stored for just ‘in case I need it‘. They all sat in my apartment’s closets and cabinets useless and taking up precious real estate for years!

I usually find that thrifty and practical people tends to do this the most. I am one of them. We mean well and we think that its smarter and thrifty to not get rid of something we might need in the future. Why risk having to buy again if we already have it? It makes sense but if you really consider the math of the amount of work, time and space required to store and maintain something that’s used so infrequently or never at all, it bears the opposite result. Storing and maintaining something that is used POSSIBLY ONCE every few years is NOT practical, thrifty nor smart.

Another thing to consider is that we tend to forget things we don’t use often and end up buying duplicates.  My husband does this a lot with pens and pencils.  He works in IT and doesn’t really write a lot. Instead, he uses his tablet, smart phone or laptop to take notes. Once in a blue moon he’ll decide to write.  When that itch comes, he can never find a pencil or pen because he doesn’t use them often. Trust me, we have them. We have MANY of them. What does he end up doing? he goes to Staples and comes back home with a bag of multiple pens and pencils. In his head, we don’t have any at home and he is being helpful. I get annoyed. We argue. I make peace with it. Within a few days, he stops writing again. I end up adding those new pens and pencils into this shoe box where I store all our writing utilities. I tell him about it and he forgets. We wait for his writing itch to resurface a few months later and the cycle begins all over again.

I learned that if its an item that I haven’t used for two years or more (thats 730+ days!), I’ll probably will never use it again. This is especially true for things that take up a lot of space. I live in NYC and space is a hot commodity. I can either rent, borrow, or buy used if I happen to need it; or buy new if it doesn’t cost too much.  Once done with it and I figure that I will not really need it again till another 2-3+ years, I would donate it again.

So remember, if you haven’t used something for 2 years or more, then its time to let it go. Don’t let those things live in your space rent-free.

Happy decluttering!

2 Comments on “Reason #1 We Can’t Rid of Clutter : “But I Might Need It Later On””

    1. Oh Yvette. I can say thats ALL of us! I still have a few items that I have yet to purge but really should (KitchenAid standing mixer, etc)! Its a process!

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