I Can’t Part with It – By Cindy

Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom

True confessions time: I can’t get rid of part of something. I can get rid of all of it, but not part.

What in the heck do I mean? For years, I had a matching coffee and side table set. At some point, I stopped using the side table, but I couldn’t part with it. After all, I still had the other piece and was using it. What if I changed things around again and wanted to use it again? Even after years? It could happen.

Well maybe a piece of furniture does seem reasonable to keep. After all, I would not have been able to replace the table should I have want it again. But what about these things? Years ago, I was given a food processor. It came with four blades. I have only used two of them. Ever. But I keep all four of them because I still have the other part.  I bought the guinea pig a new cage, and it came with a ramp and a small second floor platform. Although guineas do enjoy climbing things, we feel it takes up too much room in the cage, but because I have the cage, I still have the ramp and platform. I still have the other part. I’ve had the same comforter set for years. When I purchased it, I also got a shower curtain with the idea that I could turn it into valances. At least eight years have gone by, and I still have the shower curtain. Why? Because I have the other part.

Why do I do this? I’m perfectly comfortable completely getting rid of something. I suspect that it’s because I sell many things when I’m finished with them. Even things I give away, I realize may be more valuable to the next owner if they have the complete set. But also, I think it’s because I fear changing my mind and not having the other pieces. Often, one can buy the whole but not the part. While I can buy a new guinea pig cage, I cannot buy a new ramp and platform, and I’ll certainly never be able to purchase additional pieces for an eight-year-old comforter set. (Even Ebay can’t help you with some things.)

Is this sensible or is it foolish? I don’t know, but you can bet I have the other part.

Today’s Declutter Item

This was a DVD that Liam had from a subject he did in school. I doubt he even looked at it.

DVD 12102011

Things I am grateful for today

  • Remembering to take a book back to the library- it was due on the 5th of January, my bad.
  • Chancing the rain to take a walk – I didn’t get wet but i wouldn’t have minded (I think I have a case of cabin fever meets PMS).
  • Bridget (my daughter) managed to evacuate from down town Brisbane and arrive home safely- the flooding in Queensland is spreading over a wider area every hour.
  • Liam co-operating with a little more decluttering
  • The good response to the mini missions – Thanks readers you make blogging fun.

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It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.

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  1. I know what you mean about the parts! I have that problem too.
    Prayers for those in Australia and Brisbane, I have a friend in Brisbane and have sent her an email today asking if she’s ok. Though I guess folk won’t necessarily have access to the net and it’s the least of their worries!

  2. What a terrible terrible time their having, I can’t imagine it.

  3. Colleen, I’ve been wondering how close the flooding is to you and certainly thinking of all those who are affected in any way. I hope things improve very very soon.

    Cindy, you’re not alone in that problem. And even if we eventually pass the item along, sometimes it’s impossible to find the part we’ve been saving, right when we need to. Using “we” maybe too generously here 🙂

    • My problem is probably more remembering that I have the additional piece rather than finding it, but you make a good point Jo. If you don’t even know it’s there / can’t find it, what good is saving it?

  4. Colleen, I’m glad your daughter arrived home safely. My thoughts are with those suffering from the flooding.

  5. Cindy, I heartily agree with the concept of saving all, not parts. The next guinea pig to use the cage may want the ramp. The bedspread may be passed along one day and that person will be thrilled with a matching shower curtain. Have to admit I do the same thing myself with things when I can.

    Flooding, severe storms, shootings—a lot of folks need our thoughts and concerns, don’t they? It also makes me more grateful that my only problem this morning is very cold temperatures. My family is warm inside, including the cat we just rescued.

    • Thanks Susan. While writing this post, I realized that probably half of the parts I have make good sense to keep. The other half…maybe not so much.

  6. As I read this post, I was thinking, ‘I don’t keep the parts’; then I realized that I have the straps for suitcases, the never used double boiler for one of my pans, and several other things. Yeah, I keep the parts too. I think we all do, on the premise that we’ll either use it later or want to pass on the whole when we’re done with it. From now on, I’ll be more mindful of what I’m keeping and where I’m storing it.

    Colleen, I’m relieved that your girl made it home safely.

    • Straps for a suitcase – there’s a good one. Since I wrote this, I’ve been trying to give away the ramps for the guinea pig cage, but so far, no luck.

  7. Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes for those affected by the terrible flooding in Australia at the moment. Towns in Central New South Wales are also being affected now as the situation spreads in to new areas.
    Just to give you some idea of the magnitude of the area involved – Queensland’s land area is 1,730,648 km2 (668,207 sq mi) about half of that is being affected. In comparison the land area of Texas (USA) is only 696,241 km2 (268,581[2] sq mi). that means the area being affected is larger than the size of Texas.

  8. Cindy, I swear that if I am OCD in any way, it would be this–I cannot split up sets. It’s like hacking off a limb or something, I just get all weird about it. Even after our gigantic purges this year, I still have a few things in the basement which are unused, probably never used, but they are part of the set belonging to something that is very much in use. Aaaaarrrrrggghhhh. Maybe someday I will lighten up about it?

    Very glad to know that Bridget made it home safely. 🙂

    • I wrote this post 6 weeks ago, and I’ve thought about sets a lot since then. I’m not sure it’s such a bad thing. Take each case individually, that’s my thinking now.

  9. Colleen I’m still recovering, but much better now. Hope to be back online full-time soon. I had no idea about the floods. I do hope your family continues to be safe and I will be praying. I’ve been complaining about the snow and ice here, as I can’t get off my hill in this weather, but at least when the sun returns it will melt. Very good post today!! ♥

    • Thank you.

    • Hi Betty Jo,
      I am glad you are starting to feel better I missed you and was getting worried. The floods are awful but as Aussie are tough little cookies so we will bounce back. I am well away from the trouble but my family are mostly within reach of the floods but not really in danger luckily. I feel for those who aren’t so lucky!

  10. It’s tragic what is happening up north. I’ll be praying for you all.

    Good post Cindy. You always come up with something unusual but relevant! I got rid of all my food processor attachments recently. Got the fp as a wedding present 14 years ago and never used the extra stuff. Boxed it up a year ago to see if I would use it, but no. And can I say: I really don’t miss them at all and have no regrets. I say: just do it once, as an experiment and see how you feel 🙂

    • Hi Loretta,
      It is hard to turn off the TV news coverage because new problems are developing all the time. Which reminds me I must phone my sister-in-law and see how things are out her way.

      I like the idea of experimenting with feeling when it comes to decluttering things. Almost like breaking yourself in slowing and seeing if you survive the ordeal, I like it.

  11. I used to have the same problem. If a part came with a piece of equipment I had a hard time releasing it. Even after being minimalist for a good long time I recently found parts to a razor that I no longer owned! Not the razor, just the extra attachments for it! Whew. I’m glad that’s over and done with. I no longer feel imprisoned by parts! I can toss with abandon!


  12. Tanja and Loretta, I guess the wisest course of action it to consider each item on a case-by-case basis, just like everything else that might be decluttered. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Colleen and I really appreciate it.

  13. Cindy, I feel I could have written that post myself. I have the very same problem, but I had never addressed it head-on until I read your post. I have several possessions that I use part of but not the whole, but do you think I’d get rid of the parts I don’t use? Not at all! I think just like you that if I sell or give away such and such an item, the new owner will appreciate having a complete set. Or I might use it or need it “some day”. Hey, wasn’t that one of Colleen’s mini missions? But I hadn’t thought of breaking up a set. Horrors! 🙂 I have determined I will be more aware of this mindset and consider each item on a case-by-case basis like you suggest. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    Colleen, I will certainly keep the flooding situation and the people affected by it in my prayers. I am glad you and your family are safe. Thanks for keeping us updated on the situation.

    • Hi Di,
      thank you for your thoughts and prayers for the flood victims. Big sections of Brisbane went under today and about 1/3 of Ipswich went under last night. Our Prime Minister visited the area today to lend her support and pledge funds to help the victims. Brisbane may not peak until tonight or tomorrow and they are expecting it to be worse than the 1974 floods which are the bench mark for flooding devastation in Queensland. I hope they are wrong and it doesn’t get that bad. The chief of the defence force is heading the relief effort and his mother’s house went under in Ipswich last night. So no-one is immune to the situation.

  14. We’ve been in the midst of a big purge over the last several months, and we’ve been getting rid of tons of stuff. I’m trying to think of any cases where we’ve had sets or pairs of things. We broke up a set of pots and pans, we had two sets, and occasionally use the large soup pot from the 2nd set. So we kept the big one and sold the rest at a garage sale. Other than that I cant think of any sets we’ve broken up during our purge and declutter.

    I’m not opposed to breaking up a set, I think it’s more like I hadn’t considered breaking up sets of things. I’m going to pay attention to sets as we continue with our big purge. Thanks for bringing this up.

    I’ll keep those affected by flooding in my prayers.

    • Hi Freedom,
      thank you for your prayers for the flood victims. The news is good this morning as the flood peaked at 4.6m last night which was lower than the disastrous floods of 1974. Still a big mess to clean up though and a lot of people who will be without homes for a while.

      I will let Cindy respond to your comment on the post as she wrote it.

    • Mindfulness. That’s really what we need in terms of purchasing and purging, isn’t it, Freedom.

  15. Denise Yribarren

    Hi Colleen,

    Yes, the faces of the sweet little orphans certainly does motivate me!

    About myself: I am 60, Married for 30 yrs, 3 grown children (1 still at home). I try to make most of my food from scratch (OK I buy bread when I’m really tired). I provide day care for a toddler.

    I have conscientiously worked to establish a peaceful environment in my home. I thought I was tidy but there were still stuffed drawers… That’s when you provided help!

    I have been reading your blog for the last 6 months. I look at your blog first as I drink my morning coffee. Yes, please feel free to mention anything I discussed in my last e-mail.


    Add by Colleen
    Denise also sent me this email I felt it should be shared…
    Dear Colleen,

    Thank you for all your ongoing inspiration.

    I am very pleased with a big achievement. I am helping a neighbor who
    is trying to provide baby clothes and baby formula for an orphanage in
    Tanzania. In order to raise money for formula, we are having a large
    yard sale. If this wasn’t the greatest motivation to go thru closets,
    drawers, even the garage. I’m sure I ended up with 50+ items for the

    This was a very effective way to convince myself to de-clutter!

    • Hi Denise,
      I am so glad to be able to share your email about what you are doing to help your neighbour to provide for the babies in the orphange. if that isn’t good motivation to declutter I don’t know what is. Good for you and i wish you good luck with the garage sale and with you decluttering. I glad I am giving you some good ideas or where to look for the clutter.
      Colleen 🙂


  1. […] a set, group or collection of items where you use or enjoy some pieces but not others. Here is a post from Cindy that explains what I mean but it doesn’t give any advice on how to convince yourself to let go. […]