My mother is now a proud Grandma. In a few short weeks her grand-daughter is coming for a visit and my mom was shopping for some toys at the store. I said to her, “What about all my old toys in the basement she could have those.” Her reply, “ Those are all old and dirty, I want to get new ones.” While I don’t disagree the question begs, why have we been keeping my toys stored in the basement for 30 years? (I love you Mom)
Sure I am partly giving my mom a hard time, but we often keep things “because we might need them” or “so-and-so may want them”. Yet when the time comes along they are out-dated, destroyed, gross or just plain not relevant any more. Make sure you ASK the person you are saving things for if they will want/use them. And really think it through. This can apply at home or work with such things as: magazines, books, reference materials, journals, conference books, old equipment, artwork, toys, clothes, furniture and more.
For example—many of you save furniture for your college kids. With the money/time/effort it cost to store the furniture all those years wouldn’t you be better off just buying them some great used furniture when they need it? Food for thought…..
Many of my clients mention to me that they are keeping certain items for their kids. It could be artwork, toys, keepsakes or even furniture. While this is a super sweet thing to do, make sure you are not passing the burden of clutter to your kids. Are you just saying that because you can’t part with the item yourself or is it truly useful to your child? Have you asked your child if he/she really wants the item? And if your child is out of college and living on their own– why do you still have their stuff? They are adults and it is time for them to be in charge of their own items. But first and foremost be honest with yourself and your child before you decide to keep something “for your kids”.
Note: This also applies in a work setting. Don’t keep things because you think you are supposed to. Ask your supervisor what you are responsible for keeping. Make sure the item is necessary first and then being kept by the correct department or person.
Do you have an item that is just too precious to part with, but too bulky to realistically keep? Take a few photos of the item; write down the story that goes with it or the sentimental value, and put it in your scrap book or photo album. Then donate, sell or toss the large item.