Do you have a closet full of clothes you haven’t worn in years? Are magazines piled on your desk? Maybe you are keeping that fabric, the appliance, those files, or that tool “just in case” you may need it some day.

You may not have thought about it this way, but you are afraid. No, it’s not the screaming-in-terror fear as something creepy inches toward you, but it is fear. It’s the nagging anxiety that whispers the same question every time you try to declutter: “What if I need this later?”

This fear is pervasive. TV shows are devoted to it. Hoarders makes us afraid that we are keeping too much, but Pawn Stars and American Pickers suggest that our “treasures” may be worth something some day. What do we do?

It’s time to hit the “I might need it later” fear with a good healthy dose of truth:

• Keeping an object does not guarantee you’ll have it when you need it. If you can’t find it (or forgot you had it), it still won’t get used.

• The 80/20 rule applies. If you use 20% of your stuff 80% of the time, you probably won’t use the item if you’re not using it now.

• You can’t predict the future. How do you know you’ll still want to make that craft when “someday” finally comes? Your interests may be completely different. Donate it today to someone who can use it.

• Stuff gets old, technology improves, and prices go down. Mom’s food processor still works, but it’s really heavy and bulky. Isn’t it time to let it go and buy a new one? (Christmas is coming….)

• In the case of paper (information): there is nothing new under the sun. That perfect recipe for Halloween spider cookies was in last year’s fall magazine and will turn up again next year too. Technology allows you to find information quickly when you need it. You don’t need to store it now.

• The “perfect solution” is an illusion. Most of the time something else can be used if you can’t find (or don’t have) what you need. There is more than one way to get it done.

• The stress of all that stuff is greater than the satisfaction of possibly using one item later. Clutter weighs you down, physically and emotionally. Letting go will make you feel better.

This month, confront the “I might need it later” fear. Start with a small area and apply some truth. Celebrate your successes. Tackle the fear of letting go. You’ll be glad you did.

© Renee Ursem, 2011

Author's Bio: 

Renee Ursem, Professional Organizer and owner of Get It Together, LLC in Las Vegas, helps people learn how to organize and maintain their spaces using simple, practical strategies.
Renee can be reached at Find her on Facebook ( and Linkedin.