Just In Case ~ A guest post by Moni Gilbert

Due to a system error yesterday that didn’t allow comments on this post I have chosen to repost it today in an attempt to fix the error and to give Moni the joy of responding to your thoughts on the subject.

We’ve all said it. “I’ll keep it just in case I need it again”. That moment of hesitation where our de-cluttering confidence wanes and doubt creeps in and prevents us from parting with something that serves no functional purpose.

Recently fellow 365’er Dizzy pushed me in the direction of a book called “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston, I bought it as an e-book as it was only $8.00 as it was not available in my local library. Karen talks about the reasons people hang onto clutter in chapter six and “Just in case” was especially interesting for me as it might as well be the family motto for many of my relatives.

Karen feels that keeping things ‘just in case’ indicates a lack of trust in the future.

We’re not talking about the necessities of life here, or something that has a high chance of re-use or an upcoming specific purpose – we’re talking about items where the words ‘might’, ‘maybe’, ‘possibly’ apply or where the scenarios or people are imaginary. They may even have names such as ‘someone’ or ‘somebody’ and the time frame for their use is usually ‘sometime’. My husband recently wanted to keep our Lego for our grandchildren. We have no grandchildren. They are imaginary people born to adult versions of our currently teenage children. What is reality is that we have a young nephew who will get hours of fun out of the lego now. I recently heard from a friend that “someone might want to use it someday” and although I gently pointed out that no one wanted it today, he couldn’t comprehend the idea. You can’t win them all.

Karen goes on to talk about how people worry that they will need something after it has been moved on, then sure enough, very soon afterwards, your subconscious mind will create a situation where you “need” that very thing, however obscure it may be. In actual fact you could have averted this need by thinking differently. This was very interesting to me as I have a friend whose work centers around the subconscious mind, and she has told me that our subconscious takes everything that comes out of own mouths, quite literally. Getting back to Karen’s perspective on this topic, it may on the surface sound like a good thing, something may get re-used, however, the 200 other items stashed in the household will not, and it encourages future hoarding. Most importantly it reinforces a frequency of not trusting, vulnerability and insecurity about your own future.

A light bulb moment for me recently was a 365er comment, I’m so sorry I can’t recall who – but please put your hand up and take a bow – that the things we get hung up on getting rid of, generally are worth less than $20. This is so true. The only item that I regret getting rid of in the last year is a ring binder, and when I say regret, it was more of a ‘damn’ moment, not sorrow. Only because 9 months afterwards, my daughter broke the mechanism on hers. Would it have been worth hanging onto the 10 or so empty ring binders just in case we needed one? It cost less than $5 to remedy and it was one less box hanging around my garage floor. Having clear space in my garage is certainly worth the $5 to me, it actually feels like a thousand bucks!

After reading Karen’s comments, I came to another realisation, over the last few months – obviously I have grown more confident in my de-cluttering – but I have developed this little ritual when I am umming and ahhhing over something where I say to myself “you know you won’t even miss it when its gone” – and guess what? I never do, in fact I can’t even bring to mind the items I said this about. Whether it is me programming my subconscious to not miss it, or very simply out of sight, out of mind, it doesn’t matter it is all a step towards this clutter free home I really want to live in.

Apparently the key to finding out if something is a “just in case” is to not worry about possibly needing it in the future…..find out! Get rid of it and see if you actually ever miss it.

What “just in case” item are you prepared to let go of?

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter items accumulating in or on the bedside tables.

Today’s Declutter Item

This little items had got lost amount some boxes in the garage. I found it while doing one of my periodical reshuffles  out there. After a quick double check with my husband, since it was something he owned before we were married ~ yes that long ~ it got moved to the donation box.

Framed Decor Item

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Trying a new recipe. Even though it didn’t live up to my expectations I was just glad to be adventurous enough to try. A few tweaks should make it better next time.

Happy 4th of July to all my American readers. I hope the weather is fine, the company is congenial, the food is good and the firework are brilliant.

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

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  • Positive attitude to decluttering Here is a great comment from Kimberley that I didn't want anyone to miss... "Selling vs. Donating….. When we acquire an item, there was an obvious need for us to do so, real or […]
  • Fourth Thursdays with Deb J ~ Does Your Home Match Your Lifestyle How do you live your life? Are you a person like me who used to have an active, busy life with work and other outside interests but now you spend the majority of your time at home? Do […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Very interesting post Moni. I enjoy the perspective.

    • Hi Cindy – reporting in that a post you wrote back in May on stationery is still my ongoing project. Unfortunately it kind of dominoed into a much bigger project encompassing the entire room that my desk at home is in. Fortunately it included decluttering the filing cabinet to the point where we now only needed a concertina file. Unfortunately that meant finding somewhere new for the printer – you know how these things go. Every step forward seemed to generate a step sideways.

      Then last week we had the desk looking like something out of a office furniture catalogue, the tv was moved into a new better position that there was more space, the kid’s student desk that they just dumped everything on was gone, sofa turned on a jaunty angle with cuisions sitting nicely. Hubby even finally got around to replacing the missing curtain slider/hook thingees so that the curtains hang properly and moved the pictures heights and locations to suit the new layout.

      I was as happy as a clam until hubby noted “room looks great, but it just makes everything in the bookcase look more untidy”. And he’s right dammit. So Project Bookcase now underway.

      • I love this, Moni. 1. it’s great you got so much done. 2. It’s great your husband noticed the bookcase. 3. I think this shows how once you start it always leads to more.

        • Thanks Deb J – would have been nice to bask in the loveliness of the rest of the room for a while longer before I started pulling things apart. 🙂

          Unfortunately the bookcase in question is the last one standing of the previously 5 in the household – lots of books have gone to a charity book sale and lots of the kids books were sold on trademe but there are some left overs which we have to keep for now. Living in this bookcase are the last books (we have e-readers) along with family videos to digitised, the cd’s to be sorted thru ie the ones not already loaded onto our iTunes to be done so (been working on that one this last week) and then the cd’s to be boxed and stored (due to copyright laws we still need to own the original cd’s for proof) and photo albums where I have to re-continue a project I started two years ago to make sure all our photos have digital copies loaded to the ext hard drive.

          So rather time consuming projects each on their own and ones I’d hoped to be tackled last. Life has ways of shuffling the priority queue doesn’t it?

  2. First thought when I red this post:
    Dear all, please never ever keep Lego for your children or grand children. I grew up in the 80s and had to play with my Mom’s Lego from the 50s… I wish I had less but better Lego.
    Sell items when there is still a market for them. Don’t keep the stuff until it’s worthless. I’m very sure – children of your children won’t like to play with your children’s stuff…
    It’s in your hands to leave your children not with a big mountain of stuff.

    • Hi Chrissie,
      wow, Lego from the 50s actually would be worth a lot now! But of course unless one plans to become an antique dealer and wants to wait 20+ years you are absolutely right. Some things will prove to be timeless, others won’t but might be cherished by kids or grandkids – BUT who is to know? For every item you save that will bring joy years or decades later there are dozens of others that won’t be liked in the future and could make some kid happy NOW.
      My personal rule for keeping toys: I kept what I (I!) really liked to eventually pass it on some day but I am mentally prepared that my treasures might not appeal to future generations. It’s ME who is not ready to let go. I know that and it’s fine for me that way. Keeping things always is about ourselves, I think, even if we pretend it isn’t.

      • Good advice Ideealistin. “Just in case.” also works for “I am keeping it just in case it is worth something one day.” which is probably the most insidious that “…just in case my chidren/grandchildren want them on day.” reasons.

        • I just heard from a friend who also has older teens who have either left and returned though planning to leave again or otherwise are about to leave for the first time. Her philosophy is that her house is not a Museum of 21st Centurury Consumerism nor is it a shrine to her children’s childhood. Please take your stuff as you leave!

          • I have to agree with that Moni. If my kids want their stuff saved for the grandchildren they can save it at their own places when they leave home. Mind you both of them say they are never having children so that makes it easy. If the change their minds later then too bad.

      • Hi Ideelistin – I agree with you 100% I like your philosophy “I keep what I like” – yep its your house. About 10 years ago my parents downstairs storage room was flooded during big regional floods, my mum rang upset because there were a couple of boxes of my stuff and it had had to be dumped in the clean up. I assured her it was ok because if I’d really wanted it, it would have been in my house! She was silent for a minute and then burst out laughing as it hadn’t occured to her that was why I hadn’t collected it.

      • Just have to say that having attended weekly antiques and collectables auctions on and off for the last five years I can tell you that keeping something “just in case ” it becomes valuable is most likely a waste of time and energy .Yes it may increase in value – but by how much? Items need to be in mint condition and as someone else said in regard to toys they not only need to be in mint condition but they need to have their original packaging and any instructions. You can’t expect an old box of miscellaneous Lego to have any resale value. And regarding other collectables – same thing- need to be in mint condition but also the increase in value is hardly ever to going to be subsantial enough to be worth hanging on to it. Better to move things on – let the items be enjoyed by someone else. It is not worth cluttering up your house for the sake of a few dollars.

    • Hi Chrissie – our lego was pretty hotch potch but a good mix for starting Jake’s new collection.
      When my son was about 5 I asked my parents if they still had my brother’s lego (they keep most things) but turns out when they shifted towns they’d given that away. Mum pointed out that it was either bought in the 70’s so there was brown, orange and mustard yellow lot and they bought more in the ’80’s which was all fluro pinks and yellows – she thought we’d want to buy something nice and ‘in the now’ for our kids. So we did. And I swear my hubby and his brother got just as much fun unpacking the 2000’s kit, in fact I recall my wee son not really getting a look in.

      • just in case it’s worth something someday – guess what: The 50s Lego is still existing and I’m sure my stuff from the 80s as well…. maybe I’m a rich girl and just do not know? Will check Ebay… 😉

  3. That book was one of my first to read down my decluttering path. I thoroughly enjoyed it! The printed version is a comfortable size with a very calming cover. I think I’ve read it 6 times by now.
    I thought about keeping some stuff for grandkids, ut at some point had the revelation that I have younger neices and friend’s kids that can use it now… and there they went! (With the exception of a few particularly beloved items that fit in one bin for “me”) I bring the bin out at least once a year to play with them… my kids think I’m nuts, but I really love it. And if my sister is around she enjoys the trip down memory lane too.
    Other “just in case” items aren’t quite so easy to part with for me. I have an old paint can FULL of miscellaneous metal bits and clips that I dig through when I find I need an odd thing-a-ma-jig to fix something. Of course the office supplies too. BUT I am much better about pens and paper than I used to be.

    Thank you for the kick in the pants this morning. Just in case is truly not a big deal, you are right.

    • Hi Creativeme – I haven’t finished the book yet as (predicted by the author) I needed to stop and do some more work on some problem areas before proceeding to the later chapters. I don’t know if I’ll go the whole hog on Sheng Fui but I will certainly be adapting a number of principals, and am really enjoying the different perspective.

      I had a great moment last weekend a friend who I haven’t seen in a while visited. She asked me if we were shifting out. I said no but why? She said because the place looked so empty. She got a big hug from me and was told that was the best compliment ever.

  4. Good lord yes! I remember someone I know lamenting about her crib being retired after 4 kids and not wanting to see it go. Someone else mentioned keeping it for grandchildren. Gah!

    Aside from all the storage needed from keeping kids stuff for 20 years or longer, aside from the hoarding, the increased fire risk in your stuffed house, the fact that the crib will likely be considered outdated and unsafe in 20-30 years time, and used cribs are a dime a dozen; your kids will probably not want that crib or all the other stuff you’re keeping for them and their kids that don’t even exist yet (and may not ever exist, after all, it IS their choice to have kids or not and many people don’t nowadays).

    Stop keeping stuff for your (future) grandchildren. There is SO much stuff available at yard sales and through borrowing that if and when you have grandchildren visiting you won’t be completely out of toys to offer when they visit. Many toys will degrade, old ones may be possibly made with unsafe materials, leaded paint, etc.

    If you have one or two very special toys your child loved and want to keep them, fine, but to keep everything stored in boxes is insanity. Things can be sold or donated to charity. Many needy people would love to have the toys and baby furniture now.

    My mother has been bringing things for my daughter, things that she herself loved from my childhood, like a porcelain doll in a small bassinette, and I really didn’t want it. It’s more storage in my house. The things I took with me when I left home with were what I wanted. If I left it behind when I moved out, it’s a good sign that I didn’t and don’t want it.

    But now, the things SHE loved are my clutter. It’s another gift with conditions.

    It should be a golden rule: Don’t keep things in YOUR house for OTHER people.

    • Hi Kim you are so right. We are not even allowed to sell baby baths, cribs/cots/bassinets, car seats or prams at the thrift store chain that I volunteer at. I personally think this is insane. People aren’t given the opportunity to decide for themselves whether something is safe of not. We are over governed where health and safety is concerned these days not to protect ourselves but to protect the seller from being sued by people who can’t think for themselves or are just hoping to make a quick buck.

      However you are also right about older items possibly being made of unsafe materials like lead paint.

      The other golden rule should be if you do give things you have kept for other people then they should be given with the message that you are free to pass them on if you don’t want them or give them back.

  5. I thought I was the only one who received the response when trying to comment, of “Gnarly, Dude”, ha! ha! Moni, I have been a fan of Karen Kingston for a long time. Don’t get me started on the “Just in case” syndrome. Some things are definitely practical to save even if not used regularly, holiday decorations come to mind. But saving (fill in the blank) just in case, is pure scarcity thinking. And, we are depriving ourselves of the opportunity and pure joy of passing the item(s) on to someone who can benefit from using it/them NOW.

    • Hi Kimberly – when I said “Just in case” should have been the family motto for our relatives I wasn’t joking. There are hoarders in the family tree. (Ironically the family motto, when translated literally says “Refuse to mature” – which by the way also fits).

      Yes somethings are definately useful because they have an anticipated re-use and that’s actually great because it reduces the number of things bought and discarded.

      I have a relative who has in his garage an old washing machine and an old dryer. Neither work. He’s had them there since my kids were little because one day they might leave home and would be able to use them. Well I doubt there are parts available for them and the cost of the actual repair would probably be more than buying new or a more recent 2nd hand. Unfortunately no convincing him to let them go. It would have been better at the time to sell them while they were reasonably up to date and buy the kids some of Lego – which would then be passed down to my nephew for more use.

      • The motors in those machines have probably seized up by now from lack of use anyway. I had a dryer that went into storage for four years and when I got it back I had to replace the drive belt because it had set hard in the triangle shape of the position it was left in on the drive wheels. The next time it went into storage for seven years and every time I turned it on it would trip the fuse so this time it had to go.

        • Hi Colleen – exactly! And who is to say that they will want something so old? Or that if they go into a flatting situation that they will actually require a washing machine? They may need to contribute a fridge or a sofa.

  6. Good info, Moni. “Just in case” is such a big part of my mother’s generation. In her eyes, if you have an item, keeping it is better than getting rid of it and maybe needing it later. For her the money is already spent and why spend again. In some ways she is correct. Younger generations can have much more of a “replacement” mindset. It’s easy to just get tired of something and replace it with something new. I”m thinking maybe the answer is that no matter what you buy make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and with the long term in mind. For example, I have a friend who is planning to get some bookcases from IKEA. There’s nothing wrong with that. BUT, she then said they would “do” until she could find and afford something she likes better. My suggestion is that maybe she needs to hold off until she finds what she really wants. It may take a while longer but in the long run it will save money and will also save the environment. We are too impatient. I’ve been bad at this. I bought all sorts of storage items to use for my scrapbooking supplies. I’ve probably redone my storage systems 3-4 times in the 12 years I have been scrapbooking. I bought supplies indescriminately and then had to find ways to store them. I was addicted and didn’t give much thought to what I was doing. If I had reasoned it out more I would have gone about it much different. Instead I got caught up in the fun of it and let myself be led around by the nose by the industry for quite some time before I really got a handle on it and become much more strict about my spending on supplies. We are a “get what we want” society and that is many times not a good thing.

    • Hi Deb J – we have all been there, which is why we all ended up here! I’ve always been intrigued by scrapbooking but I just knew it would be my ultimate downfall.
      I sew ballet costumes for end of year concerts and that in itself generates enough bling and trims and feathers and goodness knows what. I got rid of a lot earlier in the year and it felt so good.

      • Moni, I think there is some genie out there that makes our craft supplies multiply. If you are like me, you get rid of a lot of it and next thing you know you feel like you haven’t rid yourself of anything. I can see the evidence of all that I recently got rid of yet it seems like I still have so much. I may have to have another go at it.

        • If you are like me Deb J you probably just do still have so much. I am content with what I have reduced mine to and am not going to beat myself up about what is still there. If I get the urge later on to get rid of more I will.

    • Beautiful Deb J, you have hit the nail on the head about how we become cluttered in the first place and end up with all those I might need it someday items. Most of which we didn’t need in the first place and really never will.

  7. Yes thanks for a chance to leave a comment after all and great post Moni! it is definitely a case of “my house my rules” when it comes to Lego – as soon as the children left home I banned it and gave away whatever was here .I’d spent more than enough years tripping over it and picking it up little bits of Lego here there and b.everywhere! I’m sure its a wonderful creation but I am SO glad to be free of it.Having got that off my chest – I do have a lovely collection of tried and true childrens toys for the grandchildren – all beautifully sorted in stackable clear plastic boxes.They are all things which I love too and they are a pleasure to keep .My grandaughter loves to chose a box to play with when she comes and being the darling that she is she happily packs it up again too.After having the house full of childrens stuff for so many years I must admit its nice to have a few carefully chosen quality toys which are neatly contained and stored when they are not being played with and enjoyed. Looking forward to reading the book – a lot of Feng Shui is really good common sense – that we have somehow forgotten or not learnt.

    • Hi Jez – Lego is an awesome toy for kids, but my goodness it goes for miles. I have memories of working an evening shift one winter when the kids were little, coming home in the dark and cold and as we didn’t have carpet at that stage (hence the extra evening shifts to pay for it cash) I took my boots off to walk down the hall quietly and left the light off. Turns out all the lego was scattered down the hall and I stood on every single piece. So that’s my fond memory of lego.

      • Moni – you make me laugh ! I used to work late shifts too and I can just picture the scenario.

        • Hi Jez – I tried to tell my hubby to just sweep it – literally with a broom – back into the lounge if he didn’t want to pick it up, but he swore it migrated during the night.

  8. Really enjoyed your words of wisdom Moni. So glad I can tell you that after yesterday’s system glitch :).
    My linen cupboard should have been called “the just in case closet” after removing the “just in case” sheets, quilts, towels etc it is now a functioning storage space.
    I am about to declutter my kitchen storage container space, You know the “Tupperware” type containers that multiply and lose lids? The containers that house leftovers in the fridge until they eventually get thrown away. Some of these are great, especially the “sistema” ones made in New Zealand .
    I like how grandparents , like Jez have a box of toys for the grand kids to play with at their place. It teaches kids that not every toy belongs to them. I have kept my son’s Woody and Buzz Lightyear just in case…
    I have survived over a month without my own car, without missing out on daily visits to the coffee shop, Dr and Dental appointments , a night out in town with old school friends and making the grocery purchases. I walk more and I know my life has changed.
    Moni, I like the idea of decluttering words or phrases in our lives , just in case is on my hit list. Thank you again for sharing. Cheers.

    • Hi Wendy – I definately do know all about food containers that seem to multiply! We actually took all of ours out, recycled everything broken or brittle. What was left over we halved and freecycled half and returned half to the cupboard. It sounds radical but a lot of containers had been used to store “stuff” around the house especially in my craft cupboard. Our plastics cupboard had gotten to the point where it was sooooo full it was scary to open, now we seem to have the right balance of containers and it is easy to maintain. Yes at the time hubby said why don’t you keep them just in case you do need them again, but I would have just had to store them somewhere, and plastic does start to break down so better they moved on. A food technology student grabbed them so I feel glad that they’re certainly going to get their use!

    • Hi Wendy,
      I am so glad you are managing well without your car. I am not able to drive mine at the moment because of the operation I just had, trouble is I am not allowed to walk far either but it hasn’t really cramped my style. My friends are happy to come by and pick me up for coffee or lunch out and hubby and I grocery shop on Sundays anyway. I just need to be a little more organised that usual and things run pretty smoothly.

    • I too understand that plastic container thing. We had a cupboard FULL of the Gladware containers yet Mom would use deli containers from the store for things. I told her we needed to get rid of those and start using the ones from Glad. We still have way too many in my thinking but at least we have made a start.

      • I too culled my ‘tupperware’ box yesterday (none is true Tupperware!). I took two containers back to a friend, that I’d borrowed when I made bulk meals, and another back to Mum’s. Mine are mainly from soups etc (ie started life from the shop with stuff in it). I mostly use Pyrex with plastic lids for meal leftovers (which there always is, as I’m alone, and cook for 2-4-6 when I do cook). I feel more comfortable with glass to reheat stuff. So the ‘tupperware’ is mainly for little things – left over chopped parsley, or garlic butter, or some cubes of palm sugar (things I know I won’t be heating). Despite this strategy, as I explained, I still had too many to fit in my ‘box of paper’ box I store it in!

  9. Thanks for this post, Moni. I enjoyed it very much.

    As for toys, there are lots of my old ones stored at various attics around the country – due to me growing up with divorced parents living quite far apart and a rather far off grandma who all have stored some of my old toys. The funny thing is that I am not allowed to declutter those (at least at two of these three houses), even if I try. They are all sitting there for imaginary grandchildren (i.e. my imaginary children), but I guess, if and when those children become reality, I will get a chance to gather some of those toys and eventually get rid of a couple of them. There are some nice ones though, like a wooden doll house my grandpa made for me, but there are also masses of lego etc. of which I think I don’t ever want my kids to have as much (especially if they aren’t as scattered across the country for them).

    However, this advice applies to so much more. It helps me a lot with decluttering things that I like for some reason but just have too many of, to think of those who can actually use it now and will use it every day.

    • Hi Sanna,
      as long as the various packratty family members don’t lament about the toys I’d call it a day. After all it is them who want to keep it and not so much you so in your place I wouldn’t feel too responsible anymore. However, as soon as they ever complain that they can’t put something up in the attic because “all your stuff up there, Sanna (sigh sigh)” … They (will) get what they ask for 😉

    • Hi Sanna – I’m glad other parents have imaginery grandchildren – I was stunned when I heard that come out of my husband’s mouth as our youngest is 14 and oldest 17 – so not the time to be wishing for grandchildren!!!!!

      The doll’s house sounds lovely. You reminded me of my one which was quite simple really but I enjoyed never the less. My girls had a Barbie fold up version that has since gone onto my eldest niece and is making its way down thru her sister and now onto younger nieces by my other sis-in-law. Starting to look a bit tired though, but what excellent value to go thru 6 girls.

      Now that I think about it I’m actually glad it was something so ‘dispencable’ – nothing I would feel attached to ie wanting to make a family heirloom out of – it has had a lot more fun this way.

    • Hi Sanna,
      I agree with Ideealistin on this. If they are keen to keep the stuff then it isn’t problem. So long as they aren’t blaming you for their clutter then everyone is happy. And like you say if the items end up back with you then it is up to you what you do with them.

  10. oh my goodness – we did the ikea bookcase thing and now 5 years later we finally got the ones we really wanted- anyone want some ikea bookcases? – hubby says its great, we can get more books – i hope he was pulling my leg. I never meant to become part of today’s consumable society yet here I am…

    I also love Karen Kingstons books although not read that one. This was a great post – thanks Moni. I have been discovering that my dad has kept our old toys and books (the ones that escaped the car boot sales I did when I was in my late teens) and is now trying to give them to my sister for her kids, then when she says no, he brings them here to leave for when my neices and nephew come to visit….and then he gives me the guilt trip for not keeping my dolls house etc – honestly – where was i supposed to keep these things in the intervening 25years and more to the point – why would I? I released the majority of my toys when I left home so that other children could enjoy them. And now I am so so glad that I did!
    ps the books dad has kept that were mine – smell – fousty old book smell, not good. And the couple that I had kept for me, my nephew didn’t want to read – no pictures, poor Paddington Bear, my hero but not theirs, lol.

    • Hi Fruitcake – I have one small box of toys for when my young nieces and nephews come to visit, but every visit I seem to eliminate something – nothing major – just something that takes more effort to pick up or is painful to stand on. I’d forgotten that about young children.

      Eeeeuuuuwwww musty books. Sorry for the reaction but a relative tried to give me a box containing a set of 1970-something encyclopaedias recently. Is the word not out that I’m getting rid of stuff? Anyway I didn’t have the heart to explain about google and wikipaedia so I took them and sent them directly to the recycling centre. Goodness knows how many more years they would have sat mouldering if I hadn’t.

    • As Ideealistin suggested, look on the positive side your secondhand bookcases might save someone else from having to buy new. This attitude to justify constantly swapping old for new but on the odd occasion it is harmless enough.

      As for people laying guilt trips on you over getting rid of things you no longer wanted, just ignore that and carry on living your life the way you want.

      • Ikea stuff moves quickly in the freecycle world, and you could even try selling it. I couldn’t believe a colleague who thought it was cheap enough that he’d buy new (sure, it’s cheap, but second hand or free is cheaper!?!?) This is the same bloke that’s ‘redo-ing’ all his living room furniture in his new house so it all matches (I’m not a huge fan of matchy matchy – I mean, sure, goes together, but from a set… I’m running for the hills!!)

  11. Hi Fruitcake,
    don’t be too harsh on yourself for the IKEA bookcases. Five years without bookcases at all would have driven you insane. And also, it is okay to change our minds, even if we despise the dark sides of our consumer society (well, at least according to me). Pass the bookcases on (they might even sell well, they do around here at least), most of the bookcases actually are part of the decent stuff IKEA produces and might still have lots of life in them in somebody elses home. I was thrilled to find some used Ikea furniture for a fraction of the original price when I moved into my first apartment. I am still in this apartment and things have been changing bit by bit over the years according to needs/likes, meaning some pieces (Ikea and non-Ikea) left, other pieces came (maybe slightly less Ikea – but maybe that is only something I would like to believe either …)

  12. As far as saving old toys to make money from them in the future, they need to have the box, instruction manual and be practically new! When my boys get done with toys, they are good enough to be passed on to another kid, but the complete set, boxes and many of the manuals are long gone. My mother-in-law saved many of my husband’s things and many of them did not survive the years well. The crayons were hard, the clothes were disintegrating, the books were starting to fall apart and the toys that were made of metal I was scared they might have lead paint! Back in the 70’s the legos he had only came in 3 colors (red, white, blue) so they paled in comparison to the legos of today as far as my kids were concerned.

    • Hi Henave – the lego that is out there even today is so much cooler than what my kids had. None of what I passed onto my nephew made up a set anymore, I would describe it more as a bag full of plastic building debris. Much more exciting to get a new set and just use ours as fill in stuff.

  13. Here’s a serious “use it someday” stopper that I have. I keep books I haven’t read and CDs I am not listening to because I will want them when I get to the Old Folks Home. Your post made me realize that if I don’t want to listen to them now, I doubt I’ll be interested then. I’ll play the old favorites I play right now, the ones I want to sing along to. Thanks!
    Jean and Wendy (still planning for Norfolk; should we tell our husbands or will this cause needless domestic panic?)

    • Hi Jean & Wendy,
      somehow I think you are never going to need the old folks home and if you do you will be too busy having fun to be bothered reading or listening to your music.

  14. Julia St. Charles

    Just in case! That’s the most common thing I hear from friends and family. The kind of things are typically items bought for a single purpose: holiday decor, for example. People end up with box upon box of holiday decor, save it “just in case” and just buy more the next year.

    At our house we do not decorate per se for holidays. We own a nice red tablecloth which is festive for Christmas, Thanksgiving and other “dinner” holidays. There is NO reason to have special casual dishes and decorations for the fourth of July, St. Patricks Day, what have you. Own plain white serving dishes and casual dining items and use them for every get together. Decoration for every conceivable holiday is one of the biggest clutter-makers there is, and “oh but I might need the Fourth of July potato chip bowl one day” is a classic example.

    Thanks for this good piece today!

  15. Hi Moni,
    The local library had a copy available of Karen’s book, so I checked it out. An interesting read. Right now I’m more than half way through it. There are a few points that I had never come across before nor even considered but that totally hit home (and I’m taking action on those). Karen covers A LOT in her small book. It’s a bit overwhelming to take in all the concepts, ideas and theories about Feng Shui & decluttering in one fell swoop. I’ve had to read the book and digest all the information one chapter at a time.

    All in all the decluttering effort for me has been best with a once a day approach and making daily life changing HABITS (stop ‘pleasure’ shopping, REuse, REpurpose, REcycle, REfuse, etc).

    Overall I’m very impressed with your review, that you took a situation as Karen mentioned in her book and related it to your family. Well, thanks again for sharing your book review with fellow 365’ers.

  16. I’m thinking the Legos–“saved for grandchildren”–should go–they are red, white & blue. Grandboys all have some of their own, and don’t play with these. Grandgirls never touched them. One daughter insisted we keep those and the building blocks (those have been culled over the years and the grandchildren actually love to play with them–probably too low-tech for them to have any of their own). I did buy used low-tech toys to have here when they were small–pull toys, old style Fisher-Price radio, phone, jack in box, doll & quilt, toy dishes, toy iron, balls, etc. but these went to the thrift store as they aged out of them. Now when they visit they bring their own handheld games, smart phones, etc. The two smaller boys play with our outdoor dog.