I am torn between three sides of myself when it comes to keeping things. One side is sentimental, one side is cheap, and one side is minimalistic.
The sentimental wants to keeping things that I don’t even like all that much just because someone gave it to me or it belonged to a loved one.
The cheap side wants to keep things just in case I need it later. We don’t exactly have tons of money laying around, so wouldn’t it be smart of me to keep ahold of all my kids’ baby clothes just in case we have another. Then if we do have another baby I won’t have to worry about buying new things and will be able to save us money, right?
The minimalistic side of me just wants to get rid of everything.
(Just some of the milk glass I inherited from my mom and grandmother)
Since I have some obvious conflict going on here I had to come up with some questions to ask myself when deciding whether to keep something or get rid of it. Most of these questions are pertaining to the types of things that get stored. Things that take up space in a box under my bed or in the closet. I have different questions I ask myself when I'm going through our clothes.
-Would I take it with me if I were moving abroad? Shipping stuff is expensive, so is this thing worth holding on to and spending money to ship somewhere? Moving abroad isn’t something that we are planning on doing any time in the near future, but this question helps flesh out just how important that thing is to me. If I’m not willing to ship it, then why am I storing it in my closet now?
-Would I want to pay to store it if I were moving abroad? If my goal in keeping it is to save money by not having to buy it later just in case I need it, then how am I really saving money if I am paying to store it? Even if it's not being kept in a commercial storage unit in town, if I have to consider getting a bigger place for us to live in just to fit all of our stuff then keeping it really is costing us a lot of extra money.
-Would I be sad if it burned in a house fire? I know a lot of my stuff would be missed, but if I won’t miss it, or be sad if it burned then why am I holding on to it?
-Can someone else use it right now? This is a big one for helping me get rid of my “what if I need it later” stuff. Why am I hoarding it when there is someone out there with a need for it right now? And along these lines, am I really trusting that God will provide for future needs if I’m holding on to all of this stuff for “just in case”?
-Will I use it within the next year? Sometimes I get hand-me-downs for the kids that don’t fit them yet, so I’ll need to store them for later use. In that case are these things that my kids will grow into in the next year? If so, we can keep it, if not then it goes to someone else with a need for it right now.
-Does it actually hold some sentimental value? I am a sentimental person and I like having things around me that have meaning to me, so I’m ok keeping things that really mean something. I don’t want to change who I am just because some blogger out there says I shouldn’t keep anything without a function. I like décor, but not from Walmart, I want it to have a story. So, for this question I evaluate things by how special it really is to me. I can’t keep everything that belonged to my grandmother, and she isn’t IN those things, so I should only keep those sentimental things that really and truly mean something to me.
-What will happen to it all when I die? I don’t want to leave my family with endless piles of junk to go through and likely just throw away. If I don’t like it, don’t use it, won’t use it in the next year, and no one else is going to want it then, really, WHY am I holding on to it? Why am I just storing it for it to be thrown away after I’ve died?
I have gone through my things before and let me tell you, it feels GOOD! It’s so relieving to look around and not see clutter! Seriously. Except, I’m not good at it and anyone that knows me well is probably going to give me the side eye just reading this. I am a packrat by nature so decluttering is HARD. And these questions are designed with me in mind. I know what to ask me to get me to try to see through my hoarding tendencies. These questions may not help you at all, so you’ll just have to come up with your own. ;)
And one more thing. Getting rid of stuff can really be hard sometimes, so I do allow myself to keep things I'm not sure of and reevaluate later. Next month, or next year I might be ready to let go of it. Allowing myself some grace here helps decluttering to not get too stressful for me.