"But I Might Need It Someday!"

A classic Tip of the Week from July 25, 2004

"But I might need it someday!" These six words entice many people to keep things they aren't using, don't have room for, and might not even remember they have. What do you do about the stuff--often in perfectly good shape, and possibly even of some value--that you've been keeping around because you might need it someday? 

I encourage my clients, when faced with a pile of "might-need-its," to ask themselves these questions about each object: 

  • When was the last time I used it?
  • What might I need it for? When might I need it?
  • If I did need this object again after I got rid of it, how easy would it be to get another one like it?
  • Which is more valuable: knowing that I have this object on hand should I ever need it, or creating a living/working space that's free of clutter and of things I don't use on a regular basis?

These questions can be deceptively difficult, but they're often useful in terms of providing some perspective on the benefits of getting rid of the things you don't often (or ever) use, even if they might come in handy someday.