Cleaning Out Your "Someday" Stash

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By Mandy Pinkston; Certified Professional Organizer at Major Mom Liberator- Denver
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“But, I Might Need It Someday…”

This is often the response I get to the simple question, “Do you use this?” I’ve asked many of my clients. It is also a topic that comes up quite often in social settings by people intrigued by my profession.

the conversation usually goes something like this: “Oh, I could really use you! I have so much stuff in my (fill in the room of their choice). Most of the stuff I don’t even use, but you know, it’s hard because I might need it someday.”

Fact: Most households have the "Someday Stash"— items stored in closets, stashed in basements, and stagnantly sitting in garages for "someday."

So, how do you decide what to keep and what to let go of when sorting through those items? 

 

First, think about what is in your Someday Stash?

  • Hobby supplies. You know, those things you'll do in the future when life slows down, right?!
  • Recreation equipment
  • Clothing
  • (Fill in the blank here...) I know you have more!

 

 

Let's not ignore why these items are challenging to let go of, even if we haven't used them for years:

  1. They're in perfectly good shape and have lots of life left in them.
  2. The items were given to you.
  3. Certainly they could be repurposed.
  4. You don't want to give it away and then have to purchase it again in the future.

Take a deep breath, and don't worry, I am not going to tell you to get rid of everything in your Someday Stash. That is for you to decide. 

 

 

Instead, here are some considerations as you're contemplating:

  1. They're in perfectly good shape and have lots of life left in them.
    Exactly. That is why someone should be using them. Let go of your unused things (to friends, family, neighbors, or donation centers) while they are still perfectly usable and before they are destroyed. Too many times, my team of Major Mom Liberators and I have been organizing garages and basements and found items ruined by moisture, mice, or other elements. Linens, clothes, books, toys, and more went directly in the trash. It might be easier to let go of things in that condition, but it's sad to see the waste.
  2. The items were given to you. 

    I know, this is a hard one! You don't want to hurt the feelings of the gift-giver. Gifts are given to us to express gratitude or to celebrate an occasion. We need to be grateful for the sentiment, yet the questions "Do I love it?" and "Will I use this?" still apply. Do you remember the birthday gift you gave your sister three years ago, or the Mother's Day gift you gave six years ago? Chances are you don't. And chances are others don't remember what they gave you either. If you inherited the items, is it your responsibility to decide what happens to the items or to be the forever caretaker? Did you ask for these things or were they given to you by default?
  3. Certainly they could be repurposed.
    We recently replaced several single-pane windows in our house with new, modern windows. As a crafty person, I could have created some clever home décor or side tables from the old windows. Questions I asked myself: Do I have other projects that are more important to me? (YES) Am I willing to take the time in the next year to make something with these windows? (NO) Do I want to store these or would I rather have a de-cluttered garage (you know my answer!) I asked my Facebook friends if anyone had a use for the windows. Friends who live three blocks away are using them to build a greenhouse. The perfect win-win. They got great free materials; we get free herbs!
  4. You don't want to give it away and then have to purchase it again in the future.
    When do you (realistically) think you'd use these items? Is it an instrument you played years ago? Why haven't you played it in the past ten years? (consider passing it on) Is it a crib and you're planning on a new baby soon (good idea to keep it!). Clothes that are two sizes smaller than your current size: Are you living the lifestyle to get to that size? (yes, keep; no, they go).