Dealing With The Difficult Maybe’s
Even if you are decluttering your home with the very best intentions there is one category of possessions that can suddenly derail you or stop you dead in your tracks
You may have encountered this already.
It’s a maybe possession.
Those maybe possessions can be like hitting a concrete wall in your clutter clearing process.
What are Maybe possessions?
Maybe’s can be things you have bought, inherited, been gifted or chosen. If you look a little closer you my find there is a lot of ambivalence, doubt and procrastination around this category of possessions. They are hard to declutter.
They take up too much space or don’t function as you want them to and are the things you really don’t like to look at or use.
Yet the idea of letting them go creates so much stressful emotion it feels impossible to let it go.
Some maybe possessions I’ve encountered in peoples homes are:
- Wedding gifts that have been stored in a garage for over ten years,
- Clothing that doesn’t fit and hasn’t been worn over five years
- Furniture that no one in the family likes but keeps because they have it
- Inherited furniture that is stored in a shed and none of the grandchildren want it
- Dusty damaged craft projects that haven’t been worked on for years
- Excess kitchen ware, books tools and building supplies
The common factor with all of these maybe’s is they take up space, they end up in storage. They are not used and no one really wants them.
Decluttering your home of the Maybe’s is difficult because they bring up fears and worries making it impossible to make a clear headed clutter free decision.
They get shoved into the backs of closets and cupboards, boxed and hidden in basements and garages. They Maybe’s can be things you have bought, inherited, been gifted or chosen. They are the things you are ambivalent about, take up too much space or don’t function as you want them to.
The problem with Maybe Possessions
They don’t improve the quality of your life or home. They create more indecision. They are the deal breakers when you are decluttering any area in your home.
Once you start a maybe collection it can begin to take over all your space.
You start delaying making decisions
You keep things and make clutter excuses
The maybe’s won’t fit into your goals of decluttering or any version of creating more time, space and money.
You’ll know you hit a maybe when you start thinking like this.
Maybe I’ll get rid of this, I never really liked it but.
Maybe I should give this away. Yes I should give it away, just a minute maybe not
Maybe I will use it but I haven’t in two, three, five years
Maybe I’ll keep this for my children; although they have all told me they don’t and will never want it.
Maybe it will fit one day
Maybe I can force myself to use this because I paid good money for it.
Maybe if I put it here or wear it with this it might look nice.
I might maybe let go of those gifts I’ve stored for over a decade
It was used once two years ago; maybe I should keep it in case they want to use it again.
Sometimes the guilt of wanting to get rid of a gift, the disappointment of wasting money, or the stress of letting go of something sentimental can make you hang on to things you don’t want.
How to Declutter your Maybe Possessions
There are a few ways to deal with these tricky maybe situations.
The easiest solution is to create a Maybe Box. Put this box in your basement or garage and write maybe.
Put your maybe items in and make a promise to yourself. Give the item two weeks in the box, look at it again and ask yourself these questions.
Usually by this time the emotional connection has diminished a little and you can look at this item more logically than emotionally.
You may even find you wonder why you wanted to keep it in the first place.
This strategy is very good for those “I might need it one day items” we all hang on to but never use.
It works with any items you know you want to get rid of but have that nagging worry feeling if you let it go.
Principal of Keeping One
A second solution is practicing the Principal of Keeping One.
This is a great strategy when you are struggling with similar but multiple items and can instantly free up space create wherever you are decluttering.
It also reduces the stress of letting go because you are not getting rid of everything but keeping the one item from the group that you use the most or like the best.
If you are at the beginning of decluttering this strategy is very effective.
Put the group of similar items together and choose one.
So if you are looking at clothing you have never worn with price tags on them, keep the one you like the best and get rid of the other ten dresses with price tags you have never worn
If it is kitchen utensils put them in a group keep the one you use the most.
If it is sentimental items group them together keep the item you love the most.
This can be used with tools, toys, dishes or china, unfinished craft projects and clothing.
Use the maybe possession
The third solution is to bring the maybe item out of hiding and use it. This is the real test as to whether this item adds value to your life.
Take your maybe and use it, wear it, hang it and see if you like it.
This can work with clothing, shoes, artwork, furniture, books just about everything.
If you love using it, looking at it, wearing it and showing it keep it.
But if you response is I don’t know it I like and you have the urge to put it back into storage change that urge to giving it away.
Decluttering your home is a lot easier when you have some specific strategies to deal with those maybe’s.
Copyright ©2012 Jane Alais