As I was moving things and putting clutter in its place one day I had an epiphany. Our family and our society in general has a vast amount of thing that we keep “just in case”.
*Just in case we have company we keep an array of serving dishes kitchen ware and even extra chairs. We have company about twice a year and it’s always a casual gathering.
* We keep an insane amount of tools around just in case something breaks. We live in an apartment complex that has a maintenance man.
*Just in case the furnace or electricity goes out we have extra blankets, candles, and matches. Go back to the part where we have a maintenance man and family less than ten miles away that we could stay with if we needed to.
*In the event there is nothing on cable, Netflix, or the computer we have an enormous library of DVDs. We wouldn’t want to say, talk to each other?
*Just in case the stores all run out of clothing or we don’t do laundry for three weeks we keep enough clothes to adorn three people each with some left over. Spacebag anyone?
I could go on and on. You get the idea. Some of our parents and Grandparents have the excuse that they went through the last World War when things were rationed. I’m not saying that couldn’t happen but the likelihood of us having some warning would be pretty good. I do believe in being prepared and that some people do find comfort in keeping a survival kit which seems reasonable. When looking around your home makes you restless and you have to take time and energy on a regular basis to move things around its time to rethink your stockpile.
Think about what is reasonable to keep. Here is a list of questions I had to ask myself:
1) Do I really need three types of glasses in two patterns? How many people actually use them at once?
2) Do I need china? How often do I use it?
3) Do I use any of the formal dinnerware I have?
4) How often do we really have company and could I borrow things when I do have company?
5) Do I need a sandwich maker, electric can opener, electric grill, waffle iron, or other counter top appliances?
6) What can I do without?
7) Have I used it in the last year? last six months?
8) Do I really like this or do I keep it around because someone gave it to me?
9) Do I keep this much stuff because I pile dirty dishes in the sink?
10) How much food is reasonable to store at one time?
I cleared my counters and donated a crazy amount of just in case to the local rescue mission store. It feels good to cook simply now. When we have company we like to have potlucks, ice cream socials, and finger foods. We buy paper plates that we can recycle and we don’t stress over cleaning up a big mess. We actually get to visit with our guests.
Each situation brings your own questions to ask yourself as well. You can get rid of a little at a time if you want. It doesn’t have to be a big momentous decision if you can’t bring yourself to deal with that. Small steps towards having less are still moving in the right direction towards simplicity and having less stress in your life. If you find yourself to be a “just in case” person ask yourself what brings you so much fear? You might be surprised at your answers.