Over the years I have read a lot of decluttering books, blogs, articles. I have listened to people talking about their own journey and heard people give advice. Almost every single person, regardless of their methodology, rationale or philosophy advised people to have three piles: In, Out and Maybe.
I have never had a Maybe.
When you are decluttering a drawer or a cupboard you are examining not only physical stuff but also your emotions. Even if the drawer is in the kitchen there will be an emotion attached to they stuff you are putting through your hands. The meals you have cooked with that whisk. The kind thought behind the gift of spiraliser you have never used. Examining your emotions is part of the process. Accept the emotion, accept the memory and unless it meets the pre-Raphaelite code of “do you believe it to be beautiful or know it to be useful” then let it go. There is no inbetween.
So why have a maybe box? Because you haven’t completed the journey for the item. You haven’t decided it it is either beautiful or useful and so you put it in the maybe box. I can guarantee that almost all if not all of that box will never make it out of the door. The mere fact that it has gone into Maybe is proof that you are not ready to let it go. So why pretend?
Furthermore, you come to the end of the declutter that day and feel great because your drawer is now clear, neat and ordered. There are things that have been thrown away and some put in a bag to go to charity (tomorrow not sometime next week….!) and then there is that Maybe box. You have to find somewhere to put the maybe box, probably somewhere you can’t see it so you forget about it until the next declutter.
Over the course of the month, things from the Maybe box will work their way back into that drawer and it is no longer neat and ordered but reverts back to its original state. All that work for so little return. That wonderful feeling you had when you first decluttered that drawer comes back to haunt you and worse you tell yourself that decluttering clearly doesn’t work, at least not for you. And you give up.
All because you had a Maybe box.
Be strong, let it go or keep it. The important thing is to not only make the decision but to know why you have made it, in fact once you have done that the decision is not only easy but becomes a no-brainer.