The ‘I might need it someday’ problem! (And how I discovered how to make Yorkshire Pudding Animals!)
One of the biggest achievements as a professional declutterer is helping someone drastically change their mindset. This takes time, patience and trust but once that change switch is ‘flicked’ there’s no going back! Once clients see another way of doing things they feel free from their old ways of thinking that have kept them stuck and unable to properly declutter or let go.
One big obstacle of thinking to overcome is the ‘I might need it some day’ issue. We keep endless amounts of stuff that affect us NOW and everyday, on the (usually remote) possibility that one such occasion may arise where we need it. Maybe it’s ensuring you have costumes for World Book Day, maybe it’s that random screw you found with no idea where it came from, or maybe it’s keeping the older version of something to use as a ‘spare’ should the new item get lost or broken.
So how do change this way of thinking without it being detrimental to every day life? It’s quite simple. It’s remembering that keeping these things IS ALREADY DETRIMENTAL TO EVERY DAY LIFE RIGHT NOW. The occasion that you’re keeping it for may never actually happen but the space that the clutter is taking up is definitely an issue now. It’s like going through 12 pens where the ink has almost run out to find the one that works fine. Discard the other 11 and you’ll find that one pen is easier to find, works first time, saving you time and effort and you know when it’s about to run out so you can buy another and bin the old one. You don’t actually need a ‘just in case pen’ or 11 just like it!
So this is the point where you’re thinking ‘oh Heather, that’s going to be expensive. I will just have to buy everything again, what a waste of time/money!’. I get your point but bare with me on this, remember I am 3 years along from where you are now. I know what works! Trust me on this. Remember how the method I use is based on KonMari, which focuses on what items spark joy and what to keep rather that what to get rid of. An item can spark joy because of its function, so for example if you’re not sure if a vacuum cleaner sparks joy, try living without it for a month. Use alternatives, like sweeping brushes etc. At the end of the month wouldn’t you be happy to see that vacuum cleaner back? Now consider that there are always alternatives once you’ve decluttered. So that kids costume that might come in handy one day, if you didn’t have it I’m sure your imagination could create something out of other things in the wardrobe. That odd screw you found? If you figured out where it went and needed one a trip to B&Q wouldn’t be that difficult to sort it out. That ‘spare’ you kept just in case, it’s fine to discard if you could replace it easily and with not too much hassle or cost. So for example if your current glasses broke, would you actually go back to the ones you wore 3 years ago or would you simply take them to the opticians to get fixed or take it as an opportunity to splurge on a new pair?
So what’s this all got to do with animals made out of Yorkshire puddings? Well when I decluttered I threw away all my baking tins, except the animal one pictured as MiniTingle really loves it, and if I’m honest it makes me smile too. Baking however does not spark joy for me at all. At Christmas I was in charge of cooking everything except the Yorkshire puddings as my mum said she’d make the batter. So here we were 10 mins before serving up and my Mum asks where my bun/baking trays were.... and then I remembered. In a charity shop somewhere 😂 Now in future my mums could always bring hers from her house (so remember you can always borrow items, you don’t always have to have things yourself!) but that didn’t solve the problem right that minute when we all wanted Yorkshire Puddings!... until I remembered the animal bun tray.... so we had Yorkshire pudding rhinos, lions, elephants and giraffes with our dinner! And You know what? That’s our new Christmas dinner tradition, as they really made us smile. It’s not always a disaster making do with what you have and having a decluttered life, sometimes it makes you create and you make unexpected happy discoveries!