I Just Might Need It!

Phyllis Inspiration 37 Comments

I come from a long line of people who never throw anything away until we have exhausted all possible uses for something. There are probably three pairs of jeans in my closet that I am saving just in case I need to paint something. Not to mention the other jeans that are being saved in case I lose weight and get back into them. I am sure we all have a collection of beautiful clothes that will be there when we hit our goal weight. I dust mine off every now and then.

When it’s time to throw away a coffee can, I have several minutes of soul searching before I can part with it. Never mind that there are several in the basement already saved. Each one is evaluated for its future use. Ziploc® bags, goodness those are tough to throw away too. Shopping bags with handles, grocery bags, Cool Whip containers, and empty jars are among my prized possessions.

My sweet husband will not throw away a T-shirt or a pair of socks, as those are perfect for polishing something or washing cars. There are cans of screws, nails, and assorted little metal things that really have no identity, but they are being saved because we might need them.

We are the ultimate recycling clan. But the day is coming when I will be cleaning, getting rid of things, and keeping the clothes that actually fit (which probably won’t be many!). I have shoes that have heels so tall I couldn’t walk in them to collect a million dollars if offered. Gone are those days. I always enjoy looking through the exercise clothing that I bought so that I could be prepared for any weather when we walk. Since that requires going outside, those don’t really get used much either, but those must be saved, as I have to amend my exercise plan. Let’s don’t talk about that today.

I have tiny giblet scraps of fabrics from sewing projects that I am saving because I might need them…..for something. I keep telling myself that I should make them into a quilt, but I would have to make 15 quilts to use them all. Besides, I already have three quilts started. The ribbon remnants have their own drawer in my sewing room along with snippets of embroidery threads.

I have resolved to share the things that other people can use and enjoy. Cleaning out and reorganizing is very therapeutic. I love finding new homes for my things that have spent enough time with me. It has actually become fun. My sewing remnants and extra fabrics have found their way to the home of a young girl learning to sew. My tall and exotic shoes are now on the feet of a gorgeous young woman that works with me. I have given dishes to friends and family who will enjoy them. And my clothes are going to organizations that actually give them to people in need. If you look at this as a sharing experience, it is fulfilling.

Why not try it? Take one closet and begin there. Don’t look at the whole house as a project, just one closet or room at a time. That’s where to begin!

Tell me, what do you save for “someday”?

Comments 37

  1. I totally agree with decluttering and cutting down on possessions. My friend says all this excess takes energy from us. On the other hand, why not use some of it? I keep all those bits of ribbon, silk flowers, tissues etc. Well this spring they came in handy while creating our baskets to auction off for our Relay for Life event! We had such fun going through the box of ribbons, silk flowers, laces and so on to decorate each basket theme with the right colors, etc.

    So let’s pass on our stuff to others, but let’s also use our carefully saved bits and pieces. Make a card and glue stuff on it to decorate. (buttons make great faces and bits of fabric can make a hat) Get out your beautiful bottle and decorate it with bits of lace, ribbons, papers and beads (check out pinterest for lots of ideas). Decorate a wreath with old costume jewelry, make pillows of old sweaters and scarves. Make a collage or craft a button bracelet with your collections. Have fun! Use it up!

    On the other hand, in reflection of many of your posts here, I spent a day with my mom and her overflowing papers. We recycled about three years of Scientist magazine, which arrives weekly. She decided that she would never read those old issues. We recycled a lot of other old papers (some to the shredder) that were in piles everywhere, and filled that huge recycle bin to the brim. I am grateful we could spend some time together while making her living room nice again.

  2. BEST journal entry yet!!! Ditto to all the comments….hey, we could be members of the I might need it club! I have been trying to gift, donate and throw away for about 6 months now…..lost my mother in law almost a year ago and my mom 2 1/2 months later….I was the only one left in my family to go through my childhood home……thank goodness I have 2 sister in laws!! Its the time of our lives…..getting rid of things is tough, but a wonderful feeling when it is gone….. I still have a basement filled with treasures, but as I continue to dig through things I might need, or that are just to sentimental to get rid of, I organize things in tubs and label them with every item in it. One day when I realize I DON’T NEED IT….I will just donate the tub….until then……

  3. Bless you for sharing this subject. We are empty nesters living in a house that is way too large for us these days. I suppose we’re waiting for the grandchildren to begin to arrive! I have closets and closets bulging with clothing that I’ve only worn once or twice and will probably not wear again. I too have beautiful exercise clothing gathering dust. I’ve been getting more serious about sorting through and donating the clothes that I know I will never wear again. I’ve even begun to pass on designer dresses that I wore to work before my 30 year old was born. My brother brought home dozens of scarves from the Middle East. They’re not a design that I would wear, but I was loathe to part with them. My oldest and dearest friend’s response when I mentioned this was: “don’t be afraid to donate them, they may change someone’s life”. I thought if I had donated them I was being disloyal to my brother, but my dear friend make this comment, it was like a door had been opened. I came home, sorted through and folded all the scarves that I knew I would never wear and without guilt I donated them to an organization I knew would pass them on to those in need. Thank you Phyllis. This has been a tremendous help! Deena

  4. I’ve reached a point in life where I am just over the stuff. Over the last 6 months or so I have been methodically going through our home and divesting all the extra things stored away or kept for “maybe some day I’ll need it”. The local charity guys and I are on a first name basis at this point lol. Turns out a few weeks ago we found out that we will need to relocate for my husband’s work. What serendipity! So this week I have been on my final push to get rid of the last non-essential, unused things and I can tell you it is a really freeing feeling! I still need to go through my craft room closet one more time, but I think we are actually in good shape for moving and hopefully downsizing a bit too. I agree, keep the really good and/or meaningful things and pass along the rest!

  5. Regarding Phyllis’s comment about giving clothes to an org that actually gives the clothing to needy people, can someone give me some names of those orgs? When I asked two clothing drive groups who are always calling me for donations what they did with the clothes, they said they bundle them by size and sell them as a lot. I want women to actually wear my clothes that are in style and in excellent condition, not to have them sold. I appreciate any information. Thanks so much. Always love these posts.

    1. The Salvation Army is a wonderful organization that sells the clothing if it is in good repair. They also employ people who are recovering from addition and are “down on their luck.”

    2. Do you have an Assistance League, YWCA (not M), church guild or Goodwill nearby? There is a group called MEND nearby that takes good clothing and gives it only to their deserving clients. Maybe there is something like that near you. Most Rescue Missions have a thrift store where their clients can “shop” as well as the community. The clients are usually given a gift card to cover their “shopping” so they can get clothing for themselves and their children at no cost. While the community shops and their purchases help to support the Mission. There are some Veterans’ groups that will pick up, but I am not familiar with how they distribute. Most of these places will take clothing, books, decorations, dishes, notions, glassware, purses, shoes, hats, frames, vases, etc. Some will take furniture as well.

      Thank you for passing on your items to those in need. They could be someone else’s treasure!

  6. I am the same way about things that can reuse but my husband thinks that I am crazy to keep a coffee can! When I use one I always tell him that’s why I keep them!! We all need to downsize before something happens to us and our children will have too do it!!!

  7. Having had to dispose of my mother’s and aunt’s belongings that no one in the family wanted, and having helped a friend downsize to move in to Senior Living, I am now taking a good look at what I have. I ask myself if my family is really going to look at an item as a treasure. If not, it goes to the Thrift store. As for the clothes that I was going to fit into one day, Gone! I feel like my house breathes so much easier now.

  8. My parents often over saved a lot of stuff because they grew up right after the depression, and it made the house feel crowded. Now I live in a small apartment and keep things minimal, only what I truly love and use. I kept my grandmothers’ silver because I loved the pattern and we hand wash dishes. We didn’t keep her place settings because they can’t go in the microwave and my husband is not comfortable washing such dainty pieces. Somehow the silver still works with my simple Ikea dishes. The one item I do tend to overdo is earrings, I love to wear so many styles with my super short hair. Fortunately I have a large enough jewelry case to hold them, but have made a resolution of one in and one out from now on.

  9. I’m definitely a saver…both practical and sentimental. I still have in my possession my maternal grandmother’s elementary school report cards from 1908 and on, my grandfather’s university reportcard that was in booklet form with comments from his professors, the list goes on. I am,sadly, the last keeper of family things. I don’t think my son or nieces are very interested in preserving all this,but I can’t bear to throw anything out. I have every card my son made me for birthdays and Mother’s Day…he’s 24,I keep letters, cards and gifts from friends. I recently discovered a dime rolled up in a tiny piece of paper with a note written on it from my classmate in elementary school! And yes, I have plenty of glass jars too…because you never know when you might need one!!

  10. Okay, I’ll say say it…I kind of envy those of you who have things saved from your past generations! :o)

    I have nothing from my grandparents, and my goodness, I would be thrilled to have my great grandmother’s wedding dress, or anything vintage like that. I love Victorian furniture, too, but we never see anything like that around here even it the antique stores. It’s always been a very rural, poor area here and no one really had much.

    So treasure some of those family things, ladies!

    My own personal saving issues have to do with big glass jars. You don’t see them much any more, which makes me even more inclined to hoard them!

  11. Oh, Phyllis, I have been thinking in what area I need to start with to begin downsizing. This message today is sooooo timely! Obviously, I am not as disciplined as I thought if my closets are any indication.

    Thank you for reminding me that This Must Be Done and how good I will feel Afterwards!!

  12. I have helped clean out the homes of three family members-my mother, my sister, & my mother-in-law. This has made me much less sentimental about “stuff”. My sister-in-law kept asking me if I wanted things from my mother-in-law’s home. My answer was a firm “NO”. I am going through my things one small area at a time, as Phyllis suggested. I do not want my loved ones to deal with this when they are grieving.

  13. Let it go, let it go, let it go! I agree with Mary, don’t leave this chore for your family. Curate often and severely. I had been the keeper of all family hand me downs, my weekend antiquing obsessions and three kids just out of college. I retired, sold a very big house in 2 days, closed in 30. It went to regular auctions, antique auctions and a come and get it if you want it post to family which, I might add, yielded very few who came and got anything. Seems they just wanted me to keep all their junk, haha. 2 semis of furniture and antiques, 14 pickup truck loads to goodwill, and I don’t miss a thing!
    I got almost nothing for current furniture, and it was good contemporary furniture and I live in Denver, a very high growth housing market The only antiques that held their value were Mission Arts and Crafts pieces and rustic toolboxes, tables and benches. Nobody wanted the Victorian, the antique China and silver, figurines,the beautiful big carved sideboards, slag glass lamps, good oriental rugs..I was amazed how little value these pieces had! I had always thought that I had collected antiques that would hold value, but young people who are feathering their nests don’t want this old stuff, they want mid century modern or modern and their places are too small to hold many of the big antiques.

    A little tip: I used FaceTime to show any family member a realtime picture of items I was storing and wanted to get rid of. Almost every time I heard the words, yes I want to keep it, I just face timed them to really let them see their treasure. Most of the time, the answer was no. One of my kids said she just couldn’t part with squiggly bear until I sent a pic to her of squiggly bear. He was a quick no! This was very effective!

    Once all this was over, and I was in my new house with just the pieces that made me happy another blow hit me. I had arranged all my new furniture and put out all my ironstone, my collection of wooden bowls and my arts and crafts pottery. Immediately, I realized how much I didn’t want the clutter in my life anymore so I kept putting them away piece by piece because they just seemed out of place.

    My kids now love coming home to such a clean, bright space. They used to call my house “a museum” . I know this is very hard to do, and my deadline really helped, but I couldn’t feel lighter and happier in the end. I urge you to do the whole house. You won’t believe how easy it is to clean, how nice it is to have some clear surfaces to work on. And how much ch more you really see your house, not your stuff.

  14. Try living in a family home with a couple hundred years of things that might be useful! Skeleton keys! We don’t even have that kind of door any longer. Drawer pulls, trunk hinges, and on it goes. It’s nice to know we aren’t the only people who save things that could be useful. I always thought it was a Yankee trait, apparently not! I have given away the clothes I can’t wear, but what to do with clothing from 1840? My great grandmother’s wedding dress?

    1. Try a local historical society or museum, or even some of the bigger, nationally known ones. It’s often hard to find clothing from those eras, especially pieces in good shape.

  15. All my keepings are almost the same as you! You have definitely given me courage and inspiration to keep going and totally finish all the cleaning out tasks that I have started and not followed through with more times than I care to remember! Thank you very much and many blessings to you!

  16. Lol! We’re definitely related & share this gene! I started pulling out shoes & clothes from my closet last week & am still in the process of cleaning out! Found 2 t-shirts I love (size 2X, I’m in a large now) I’m finally able to pass on to someone needy. I bought them in Myrtle Beach when we took our girls & their families on vacation. One of my daughters reminded me that was 9 yrs ago!
    Having fun playing/trying on everything!

  17. I, too, was born with “keep-itis” as my mother always called it. She said it came from Daddy’s side of the family (of course). I do try my best to clean out things from time to time, especially since we downsized a few years ago. My favorite place to acquire more stuff is estate sales, and the best ones are the ones where people never threw away anything!

  18. Thank you for sharing as I’m trying to declutter too!I’ve been through settling family estates and it’s horrible to be left with such a heartbreaking task.!

  19. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get more replies to this blog than to any other blog you’ve ever published! A place for confession and sharing our personality disorders! Good work!

    1. AMEN! As a school library media specialist, I always have these enormous expectations for the 2 months of June and July! But then there’s the trip to the beach, a sorority convention, several birthday luncheon celebrations, the 4th of July, dinner and movies with friends and all of a sudden it’s the beginning of August. Back to school! You are right! Make a list….one small area per day and MARK IT DONE! No FB or computer time until that is accomplished! And will I EVER finish the needlepoint canvas I’ve been working on for 3 years? Time to finish spring planting today!

  20. Looking at the comments and what you said, I am beginning to think this would be a woman’s trait. However, I went out to the garage to find a nail to hang a picture and low and behold it must be catching as my husband has stacks of things accumulated over the years. I never could find the right nail and had to ask him for one, he went right to it. We all have our own system of saving. We downsized to a smaller home, half the size of our old one and I was pushed into cleaning out, my daughter the watchdog came and made me do it.
    The joke was on her though as this year she downsized and found out how hard it is to let go of some of these treasures. My hubby knows if he needs thread, string, piece of material, all he has to do is ask, even small pieces of wrapping paper, really small.
    But you are right it does do the soul good to give things to thrift shops and help people out when your neighbor who does make quilts all the time, a piece of material or thread she can put to use. I never turn down an offer of people to give me things as I find a home for them if I don’t need them for my stash.

  21. Oh, my! If there was ever a blog that described me, this is it! Our church has a garage sale 2x a year and I pry some things out of my hands here. Books! I have so many books. A lot of them are in bookshelves in my bedroom-5 book shelves in my little room. Not to mention the stacks of books in my to-be-read piles! I do have several shopping bags in the closet full and ready to be donated, but I might need to go through them to be sure that there is nothing I might want to read again or might have mistakenly found their way to the closet. This secret addiction keeps me from judging others who might have mini or major hoarding problems! Thanks, Phyllis, for great entertainment and ideas!

  22. We recently downsized and we sent items of value to an auction house. Other perfectly good items were donated to a good cause and will help other families in need. It has been such a freeing experience for me. My family has also had to handle several family members’ estates upon their death and I know what it is like to have to go through all their belongings. I don’t want my family to have to do the same. We now are enjoying our smaller home with much less clutter.

  23. Oh Phyllis I sooo understand!!

    My favorite story is when my dear sweet Mother passed away, we all gathered at her home for a traditional Irish wake and then after burial gathering. I’m sure some of your readers know that entails both laughter and tears, story telling and lots of food and drink.

    Well, food was catered and as it was being placed on the kitchen counter and tables, our son-in- law went to the stove turn on the oven to heat something a bit more…

    At least 5 voices yelled STOP at the same time…saying did you check the oven before turning it on??!!?? As he jumped…. turned around with a confused look…. While opening the oven door…..
    He looked back he saw the reason for our exclamation… Bags of chips, nuts and various snacks were stored inside. (We all knew she baked little ….. But entertained frequently and the oven was a great place to store goodies and she didn’t fail that party either. ) Through our tears…. We all had a good laugh…..and I know she was looking down on all of us saying… “Well! You never want to run out…. And you won’t at my home!!”

  24. Oh my! Phyllis, I have the same personality disorder! My late husband was convinced I am a bona fide hoarder…I would almost agree except most of my hoard is out of sight. Thank goodness! I have all the same items you mentioned except the sky high heels. I gave those up decades ago as I have no desire to suffer broken bones! I too inherited this problem. My maternal grandmother was the same way. She was born in 1881 and when she died in 1976, there was a treasure trove of items from the 95 years she had lived. God bless us, we do preserve the past.

  25. Phyllis, I too am a keep because I might use it kind of girl. However, a few years back I joined a philanthropic organization that helps kids and to raise money they have a thrift shop. I work two times a month in the store. I take a box of something most times that I work. It does feel really good to see my things go to someone who has picked them up and is taking it home as their treasure. It is easier for me now, but I still have a house full of treasures, ha. Take care.

  26. I am right there with you, Phyllis! I am cleaning out things I have saved forever, and finding great new homes for them. It’s the ultimate recycling, and it frees up space and makes me feel so organized. And you are right, it’s sharing. Love it!

  27. What a joy to know someone besides me saves more things than necessary.
    Turning 90 in Dec. has seen many of these treasures passed down to my grand and great grand children. But some will just have to keep living with me in case some day I need them.

  28. I can *so* identify with this. The mini bottle of syrup from Cracker Barrel? I must have dozens of them, “because they’d be such cute little table favors or individual flower vases. Someday.” Of course, when my husband and I downsized, put our home on the market, and moved into our 450 sq. ft. fifth wheel RV, I had to purge a LOT (most) of that kind of stuff. And living in smaller space doesn’t mean I don’t actively collect less . . . it just means that I have to reevaluate a lot more frequently! But those Cracker Barrel syrup bottles? They’re intact . . . because I’m thinking of throwing this picnic-style tea party and they’d be so cute . . . LOL! 🙂

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