Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just In Case

It is time to review the 'just in case' rationalization of clutter, the theory by which many people hold on to things because 'you never know'. This rationale is an obstacle to organization -- let's see why.

Someone who thinks "This might come in hand someday!" may fear that they'll never have the resources they need if they let go of any possession, no matter how worn, useless or superfluous. Sometimes the person didn't have much as a child and are making up for all the years of not having material things. The Depression Era mentality or frugal clutter personality is the idea that nothing should be wasted; the person has specific perceptions of value. If you have heard or find yourself saying "You never know when I'll need ________" or "I might use this someday", then you have experienced this mentality. Perhaps people experienced a time when they had to make do with very little and learned not to throw anything away. Although keeping everything may have served them well many years ago, their circumstances have changed.

Which isn't to say that being practical is a clinical disorder. It is just that it's possible to survive with less, and we don't need to have so many extras around. In this day and age of recycling and eBay, it is possible to have others make good use of what you have stashed, and it's possible to find/buy items again if necessary. The rule of thumb is to keep what you realistically need and get rid of all else that is taking up space and adding to visual and mental clutter.