That might come in handy

Let me start by saying this: I like the Japanese decluttering book. I haven’t even read it yet (#25 on the hold list!) but a few months ago I started asking if particular items brought me joy when deciding whether to keep them and it was SO helpful. I’ve now progressed to the point where I regularly find myself using an item and realize unpromped this doesn’t bring me joy. This item has always annoyed me. The freedom of realizing I can just get rid of it is amazing.

All that said, the ‘always be prepared’ mindset of this article is me to a T. You know what else brings me joy? Fishing something out of the donate box because, independently of putting it there, you’ve just found the situation for which you really do need it. Not ‘well I found this, so it’s like free shopping and I can enjoy the thrill of a new thing,’ but actual ‘ugh, I need something for this situation. If only I had…oh wait! I do! And I very nearly didn’t have it anymore!’

I’m addicted to this high.

This is a multi-layered anectode, so bear with me: somehow, between garage sales and Christmases and birthdays, Paul ended up with a massive amount of 4T pants. So many that I only put half in his drawer, storing the other half in his closet. A big no-no for declutterers, but you know what? He’s a three-year-old boy. A few weeks ago, almost every pair of pants in his drawer spontaneously tore right across the knees. 4 pairs gave out in the same week. Instead of bemoaning his lack of pants, I gleefully threw the old ones into the ‘Goodwill recycling’ box and got out a whole new set. Free pants!

But that’s not even the win – as referenced, I keep a box in the basement of torn or stained clothes. When the box is full it goes to Goodwill, who will take such fabrics for recycling. The pants have been in there for about a month. They really should have left my house by now. But they haven’t. And we’re going to family camp this weekend. Family camp, also known as mud, dirt, and torn pants weekend. But Paul already has torn pants. I don’t have to sacrifice new pants. I can just dig these out of the box! Which I did!

I’ve had to be very stern with myself for a very long time now: you don’t need to keep ripped or stained clothes “just in case.” When has just in case actually happened? Did you really wear those old t-shirts to the gym? Or did you go to Old Navy and buy pretty workout clothes? (Which you also didn’t wear to the gym, because you don’t go there, but whatever.)

Are you really going to know that today is the day the kids are going to devise new levels of clothes-destroying games while playing outside? Or is that day going to blindside you while the old clothes you saved for them ‘just in case’ sit in their closets?

So out the door all the stained clothing goes. I don’t need this, you say! I can live without it! I want to have less stuff! And then ‘just in case’ comes to pass and the high of having exactly what you need exactly when you need it causes you to want to keep everything you’ve ever had forever.

I hope that book comes in soon.