A guest post by Cindy Bogard
Darling you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
Should it stay or should it go? Who hasn’t asked that during their decluttering efforts? One things I think we need to keep in mind while decluttering is the future usefulness of an item. Now I’m not trying to enable those who say, “Perhaps I can use it later…My sister’s husband’s next-door neighbor might want it … You just never know ….” I’m talking about hanging onto things, possibly things you haven’t used in a while, if you can clearly identify a time when you anticipate using them and if you can store them without inconvenience.
In an earlier post, Colleen identified one of these circumstances in her life. In anticipation of her daughter moving out of the house, Colleen had saved housewares she no longer needed to help her daughter set up he first household. Yes, the items were stacking up (in boxes in the garage, as I recall), but they had a purpose, just not quite yet.
Recently I’ve tangled with a few of these objects. The closet in the girls’ bathroom is a storage closet. One shelf is for their towels, and the rest is general household storage, including our soft camping equipment (sleeping bags, air mattresses).
Dan and I talked about everything I thought was extra, and he agreed, it should all go. It was me who hesitated when the time actually came. First I pulled down all the camping equipment. Remember, this is for 4 people: 4 sleeping bags, 4 air mattresses, 2 sleeping pads, 2 tents (and neither is the big family tent that we use when we camp). Hmmm, a bit overstocked, and I must tell you, I was shocked to find two tents. One was my two-person tent from before Dan and I were married (unused for the past 12 years), and the other one was a mystery to me … even to Dan! I immediately thought that I should get rid of both tents and the two extra sleeping pads, although I really wanted to hang onto my tent, which was quite expensive and very nice, almost sentimental clutter, I think you could say. But, more than what you need is clutter, right? So out it should all go.
I sure was grateful that stuff was still in the house when I got an email about a week later letting me know that it was time for Ranch Romp, a weekend camping trip of the 5th and 6th grades. The teachers needed two-person tents, and since the girls would be carrying in their gear, sleeping pads rather than air mattresses. In addition, since Clara has diabetes, I would come out to the camp in the evening and spend the night to monitor Clara’s overnight sugars. Suddenly, I needed a two-person tent and two sleeping pads.
Clara and I checked all the gear: The mystery tent was missing stakes. The remaining tent and the two sleeping pads were fully functional, despite age, probably because they are high quality goods and stored in the house, rather than the hot garage or attic.
Ranch Romp was a great success, and I continued musing over these extra camping items. “Should I stay or should I go?” It occurred to me that since my family goes camping twice a year with a group of five other families, and the oldest girls are now approaching 11, they would probably love to have a tent all to themselves soon. Sure, it’s not necessary, but it’s fun and, for them, another step toward independence. I decided that since Clara will go on Ranch Romp one more time and then Audra will go twice, the extra gear is well worth keeping. Five years ago, maybe not, but I hung onto it long enough (before I knew better, of course), and now I can see a need for it. (Except the mystery tent. Out it goes.)
If I didn’t have these things, would I have been heartbroken when Ranch Romp came around? No, other parents or the school could provide the tents, and Clara and I could have slept without sleeping pads, but I did have them. For now, I see the future usefulness of these items, even though they had been unused for a decade. All this camping equipment is stored on just one shelf, and it’s not creating clutter, preventing me from accessing other items, or falling on my head when I open the door.
I think if you’re in a toss-up about something ask yourself (and answer honestly) “Even though I haven’t used this in the past decade, can I identify a specific time in the future when I will use this again?” If you’re still stymied, move onto other, move obvious choices. You can always swing back around later, and maybe you’ll realize that what seemed like a “Should I stay?” is really a “Should I go?” Don’t worry overly about making a wrong choice; although The Clash sings “If you say that you are mine / I’ll be here ’til the end of time,” your stuff doesn’t need to be.
Decluttered from Cindy’s today: an ice cream ball and rock salt, donated to a neighbor.
ITEM 304 0F 365 LESS THINGS
These candles are a little too ugly now to put out on display and they were just hiding away in a cupboard so they can go
5 Things I am grateful for today
- That Liam had a good morning even if doing graffiti on his bed sheets is a little naughty. It was his friends that gave him the marking pen not me.
- All the support of family, fellow bloggers, my reader friends, our family friends, strangers and anyone who has sent kind words and messages of support and prayers.
- That Rachel in bed 10 showed signs of awaking from her sleep today after two weeks. It was wonderful to see the happiness on the faces of her family and friends.
- Liam’s wonderful friends who come to see him as often as they can and treat him like nothing has happened. Liam is always in a better frame of mind when they are around.
- That my husband has a month off work so we can get through this together.