Do You Suffer from “But I’ll Need It Someday Syndrome”?

When choosing whether to keep or discard something, ask yourself: when will I need this? If you can’t think of specific time, let it go.

Young Man Sitting at a ComputerLook at what you have—and think about what you NEED.

Often when you’re at the start of a cleaning or organizing project, the sheer amount of stuff you need to weed through can feel overwhelming. You might be asking yourself, “How did I accumulate so much stuff?”

Don’t feel too bad if you have more things that you can actually use. Many people do. In fact most of the clients I work with encounter this very same problem. As a culture, we are extremely acquisitive. We are focused on getting more things, and we have no built-in mechanism that alerts us to when we have enough stuff—let alone when it’s time to let go of the things we already have.

One of the biggest culprits in encouraging our hoarding tendencies is what I like to call the “But I’ll Need It Someday Syndrome.” In truth, every single thing that we have, no matter when we acquired it, could be useful to someone, someday, under the right circumstances. The question to ask yourself is not whether it will be useful someday, but whether it is useful to you today or in the foreseeable future. If you can’t see yourself realistically using it or needing it in the foreseeable future, chances are it’s something you can let go of.

As you are weeding through your stuff and you feel the But I’ll Need It Someday Syndrome coming on, try this exercise: can you identify a specific time within the next six months when you might actually need the item in question? If you can’t think of a specific instance—not, “I might need this,” but, “I will need this”—then it’s probably something you can get rid of. Sure, everything might be useful someday, but we are looking for specific “somedays.”

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