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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How to Get Rid of Aspirational Clutter

   I've been doing a series of posts about decluttering which is the first step to getting organized.  Getting rid of stuff can be hard and there are different reasons we hold onto things.  Finding out why we are still holding onto something can help us let go, make room for today, and get organized.

Generally we hold onto clutter for one of 5 reasons:

1. We just can't resist a freebie or a sale. (Bargain Clutter, find out how to overcome it HERE)

2.  We hold onto keepsakes and sentimental items because we're afraid to let them go. (Sentimental Clutter, read more about it HERE)

3. We like to have a lot of stuff around. (Abundance Clutter and what to do about it can be found HERE. )

4. We think we "might need it someday." (Aspirational Clutter)

5. We don't know where to start!

I've been going over what we can do to overcome each type of clutter.
 Links to the rest of the posts in this series, can be found at the bottom.

ASPIRATIONAL CLUTTER is when we save something because we think we "might need it someday."

You could also call it:

Think about the items in your home that you never use, but would like to someday. When is someday?

Valuable space is being wasted because you think you might use that item.  But you'll say, I can't get rid of that, "I might need it".  And yes, in a few years, you might need that fancy dress or car seat or whatever.  However, by the time you might use the item, you may find that its condition is no longer good enough.  And all those years of storing it, moving it from one house to the next, tripping over it in the basement, crowding out other things, in all those years, someone else could have gotten good use out of it, or you could have sold it and made some money from it while it was still usable/desirable.  

Mary of has a personal story about this type of clutter:

Basically she says that as they struggled through infertility she attempted closure by slowly purging her baby equipment from her older children.  There was one thing she kept "just in case", a baby bouncer seat.  After several years, she was trilled to find out she was pregnant.   You would think that this is a happy ending and a case for keeping things “just in case”, but that is not the end of the story.  The bouncer that she was saving for all those years, was no longer usable.  And what's more, because she tried to keep it, it was deprived of being useful for someone else.  
To read her complete story you can find it over at her blog HERE.

Mary also says:
" There is so much stuff all over our homes that we are keeping “in case”, and these things are lowering in value every second they aren't being used by someone who would appreciate them. By the time we get around to decluttering them, because the time will come, they are completely useless. Clothes being given to the needy are so much more useful if the clothes are still in style. And that doesn't apply to just clothes. So many things lose relevance the longer we wait."

Of course there are some things that make sense to keep, like our 6 yr olds clothes to pass down to our 4 yr old.  But there are so many things in our homes that do not make sense to keep.  And that's why I agree with Mary's motto:  
"When in doubt, get rid of it."
Most things can be easily and inexpensively replaced if we eventually do need it again.  Of all the things I've purged, I can only think of one thing, one thing! that I regret getting rid of.  But I don't regret it so much that I've gone out to buy another one, so maybe I don't need it after all.  .  

Here's a few more tips on how to overcome Aspirational Clutter:

1.  Don't buy new stuff unless you have plans to actually use it.  And make sure those plans are realistic.

2.  If you still have trouble parting with things, box it up and store it out of sight.  If you haven't needed it in 6 months, get rid of it.

To read the rest of the series check out these posts:

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