Isn’t predicting the future the biggest wish for those of us who struggle with clutter?
But it isn’t (technically) possible.
So my default answer to the question, “Will I need this someday?” was always maybe.
And my house filled up with maybes.
But 55-90% of the time, those maybes should have been nos.
Over the past eight years, I’ve decluttered a ba-jillion maybes, and I’m excited to say that I have learned to (sortof) predict the future (somewhat).
Not precisely or exactly or perfectly or always. But I can usually, in a vague way that lets me relax and let go of stuff, predict whether or not my home and life will be better or worse for having kept something that once would have seemed impossible to not keep.
This non-life-altering, but strangely-automatic-to-keep, totally reusable gift card box.
As I was decluttering last weekend, I came across it. It’s small and cute and was in perfect condition. And I will almost surely give someone a gift card within the next few months. So I headed to the box in my closet where I keep gift wrapping stuff.
Because if I was looking for a gift card box, that’s where I’d look first.
But then I hesitated. Because even though the answer to my first decluttering question was so automatic that I didn’t even have to ask the question, my future answer to the second decluttering question came to me equally clearly.
I knew, without
a much doubt, that if I were to run across this box in a future decluttering project, my answer to if I needed this, would it ever occur to me that I already had one would be no.
I predicted the future, and identified this item as clutter before it ever gained a place in my home.
I know that a gift box is not a life-altering decision, but it’s one small item that would have definitely been a maybe in the past along with fifty-thousand other definite maybes. All those little maybes together added up to one very cluttered and overwhelming home.
So I choose to see each moment of predicting the future as a win. Because every item that leaves my home (any item that leaves my home) is a decluttering win.
But how did I predict the future?
I decluttered. Again and again. And answered the second decluttering question again and again.
And all that decluttering in my past, all those decisions and realizations about the mass of things that cluttered my home and made life harder to live, allowed me to more realistically predict the future of the things that are coming into my home.
It works on stuff that’s harder than gift boxes, eventually, but even just working on the piddly stuff makes a huge difference.
Keep decluttering. You’ll gain this super power, too.