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Just in Case…

Happy New Year! This is the time of year when many people make resolutions. They resolve to lose weight, get fit, quit a bad habit or two, save money, and clean out! Professional organizers typically get busier at this time of year, and as we work with folks who are ready to purge, one phrase continues to come up: “just in case.”

What does this mean? Well, clients will say to me, “I should keep that (you can fill in just about any word here) just in case.” I get it. You’re thinking: “I have not worn that dress in 10 years, but (BUT…this is where the hesitation comes in) maybe I’ll need it someday.” This applies to so many items: bread makers, paper cutters, sewing machines, fondue pots, extra dishes, china, shoes, bags, hats, furniture, and more! But (now here’s my BUT…) those things are taking up a lot of space. At times, they are taking up so much space that whole rooms have lost their original function.

It’s my job to help clients see that they are not losing anything by donating or purging the items; in fact, they are gaining new space, peace of mind, a sense of calm and success, and freedom from the burden of stuff! I sometimes tell clients that if they were to build an addition onto their homes that is the same size as the space that we uncover in an organizing session, it would cost them over $10,000, but with a professional organizer, you end up paying a lot less, and you learn strategies for keeping clutter at bay! You also don’t need to live through weeks of construction at your home. Clients also gain a new appreciation for the things that they do decide to keep. And many of my clients have said to me after a few sessions, “I have not bought anything new since we’ve been working together! I realize now that I don’t need to fill my life with things that really don’t bring me happiness.” I also believe that the feeling you get when you declutter is similar to losing about 10 pounds. You feel healthier, lighter, happier, and more confident!

Clients also realize that they don’t need and have not missed those items that they originally thought that they’d need “just in case.” Many clients tell me months later that they do not regret donating their old clothes, household items, furniture, and more. They love their new space! And they gain a determination to keep their homes clutter-free! I love to hear these stories! You can find some of these quotes on my social media pages…

Here are some things to keep in mind if you feel that you cannot part with something because you think that you just might need it in the future:

  1. If it’s something that many friends, neighbors, or family members own, then if you really did need it in the future, you could borrow it. Think: crock pot, blender, fondue pot, bread maker, etc.
  2. Sometimes in life it’s good to take little risks like donating something that you want to keep “just in case.” Little risks help our brains grow and feel better when we have to take bigger risks. Getting out of our comfort zone is a good thing. So maybe right now, you can start by getting rid of a few things even if it feels a bit uncomfortable. You’ll be OK; moreover, you’ll feel empowered!
  3. Ryan and Joshua of have a rule that they call the 20/20 rule, which basically says that if you can replace the item in question for less than $20 and in less than 20 minutes, then it’s OK to part with it. Basically, it’s easily replaceable! So instead of stressing over getting rid of it, you can find some comfort in knowing that if you ever HAD to have it again, you can get it for less than $20 and in under 20 minutes.

I like to share these and other tips with clients when I work with them. Life is stressful enough without worrying about constantly moving stuff in your home to do basic tasks like making dinner or working at your kitchen table or getting ready in the morning. Don’t we all want our homes to be a place of peace and comfort and not stress and frustration? It’s 2019, and it’s time to let things go. You can do it!

Cheryl Russo

January 2019

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