Clutter & Guilt: What To Keep & What Not To Keep?

Sometimes it can be very challenging to decide what to keep and what not to keep, when the inspiration to do some de-cluttering strikes.

Having recently explored the relationship that can sometimes exist between guilt and clutter, I thought it was also appropriate to acknowledge that there is also another emotional factor that can sometimes come to play in the process of de-cluttering: The-Some-Day-Factor.

Is this familiar to you? Do you struggle with The-Some-Day-Factor also? Do you even know what it is?

The best way I would describe this potential influencing thought, which can often strike when doing a sort and purge, is like this:

Some day will I/the children/my husband/my extended family/my close friends need this?

Some day will I suddenly think how UNFORTUNATE and how REGRETTABLE it is that I parted with this particular item?

The-Some-Day-Factor is a form of guilt that can easily take over and start to drive and direct the process of sorting and purging. It can become a driving guilt and anxiety-driven directive that starts to put in place hindrances, anxieties, fears, excuses and concerns that start to direct the process of sorting and purging.

Yet, to what advantage?

The-Some-Day-Factor is relying on future telling. It is endeavouring to try and determine the what-ifs of the future. It is endeavouring to determine ahead of time what may or may not prove to be of use. Yet, there is a more important factor to be considered.

What is more important than looking ahead, you may well ask? What is more important that taking some steps to be prepared?

What is more important? NOW is more important.

Now, is more important? Yes, NOW. The present moment, the present time.

If we get too carried away storing up for the future all sorts of things associated with thoughts about what-ifs, if we keep piling up things for when-I-have-time, when-I-have-more-energy, etc...... all of that DOES have a huge impact on the present and the current experience being had.


You can literally end up surrounded by things that ONLY have some value and purpose DOWN THE TRACK. You can end up losing the advantageous gift of space and energy NOW.

Sometimes it can be incredibly hard to truly know when and how to draw the line with regard to stockpiling things away.

What you may see as stockpiling - which of course sounds so wonderfully like being prepared and organized, others may simply view as hoarding. They can look on and wonder why you have inflicted on your current experience, things that have NO current specific use, NO current specific purpose or reason for being evident in your household's physical environment NOW.

Where, oh where, does one draw the line?

Drawing the line can be very difficult. Particularly if anxiety or a little fear have been enabled and allowed to creep in to influence the decision making process being engaged in.

There are several means of helping to try and determine what levels of stockpiling can reasonably occur. Perhaps one of the best measures and means is to think in shorter increments of time, rather than in too huge a measure of time. Rather than stockpiling clothing for your little ones through to teenage-hood, simply aim to put aside items for a season or even just 12 months ahead.

The space and resources you have CURRENTLY are a very realistic guide to go by. If you have space NOW for one container for each child, then that is your limitation. Rather than collecting dozens and dozens of books in a series you want your children to read at some point in the future, look to set up a request through the local library WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT.

Another means of helping to try and determine what levels of stockpiling can reasonably occur, is to consider the reality of the actual IMPACT this will have on your current actual physical environment. Every physical and dimensional item we bring into our homes and therefore our lives has presence. It is literally taking up space, if not ground, NOW.

How truly important is that particular item to the actual immediate space and environment you choose to live in right now? What impact is it having or going to have? If it is in all honesty a source of irritation, due to having to manoeuvre things past it again and again, consider simply getting rid of it!

Value the effect visually uncluttered walls, shelves, drawers, cupboards can have on you NOW.

Value the rest, the greater sense of balance and serenity you can get to experience in a de-cluttered physical space right NOW, within your own home environment.

Be honest about how things look visually. Be honest about how the actual presence of those extra items make you feel.

To look at it, do you feel rested? Does it conjure up feelings of peace or instead feelings of anxiousness? Do you feel you can truly relax or does it keep you feeling somewhat on edge? Are you truly, truly optimising the use of that space by choosing to house that item in it?

Seriously examine what is motivating you - is it fear, is it guilt, is it anxiety?

Are those really the best motivators to be motivated by, in all honesty? Would you want a loved one to be motivated by them? Surely not! You would surely wholeheartedly desire other emotions to direct a loved one.

Sometimes it can be truly helpful to put a time-frame in, as a means of guidance also, when facing the question of should I keep or not keep this particular item.

Things change, circumstances change, our taste and preferences change, as do the dynamics of our households. These are all very real and important things to weigh up and seriously consider, when determining whether to stockpile and squirrel specific things away.

Every thing has a shelf life, so to speak. Let that provide you with the freedom to sort, to purge and therefore remove, pass on or simply trash.

How can you truly predict that that very item you were so keen to purchase last year when on sale is still going to have the same appeal in two years time, when you get to the 'Some-Day-Factor' actual day of reckoning?

Will you have down-sized, lost weight, gained weight, have been made redundant? Will you actually be living in the same house or even the same community? Will you have a family member keen and ready to do the very thing that you have had squirrelled away for just-a-moment-as-this IN THE FUTURE?

To keep or not to keep? It is an interesting question and consideration when delving into a time of focused de-cluttering and re-organizing. May wisdom provide a sound and reality based answer.

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