July 14, 2014

Reader Question – How Can I Let Go of This When I Might Need It Someday?

Photo by Pixomar

Whether I’m working with clients or speaking to a group, people ask if there is a rule about how long to keep items that haven’t been used in a long time. Many people believe that the time period is one year. Some say six months.

I say that you need to create your own rule, based on how you use things. Maybe one year isn’t appropriate for something like skis, because last season there wasn’t enough snow or you were committed to a project at home or at work and couldn’t get away. If, however, you find yourself making excuses for not using an item year after year, it may be time to pass it on to someone else.

Look at your lifestyle. If you used to be the one who made Thanksgiving dinner, but another family member has taken on the responsibility, do you need to keep that huge roasting pan? If your children are grown but you still have bicycles with training wheels in your garage, can you pass them on to someone who can get some value from them?

Instead of worrying that you might need something “someday,” consider whether you could benefit the space that thing is taking up now. If you really did need to use it once every few years, could you borrow or rent one? There are Web sites that allow people to swap tools, appliances and other items with their neighbors; in addition to the sites that will rent things.

Before you buy something you might need infrequently or decide that you are going to hold on to something you don’t use often, take a look at your community’s online bulletin board, freecycle, craigslist, or look at one of the Web sites set up for people to rent items for a short term.

You might even try renting things you have that you don’t use. You could use the extra space and someone else could use the item.

Organized by Marcie TM: Save time and money by letting go of what you don't need and finding room for what you value
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