Why We Keep Things We Know We Will Not Use | Me In Order

Why do we keep things we know we will not use? Some cannot find it in themselves to purge their items even if they are taking up space.

I woke up this morning and went into my bathroom cabinet to brush my teeth. Day in, and day out, I repeat this routine and the same unused face wash sits there; almost staring at me and beginning me to use it.

I’ve used this face wash before and found it rough and course on my skin; it also had a distinct smell that I couldn’t place…and definitely didn’t want on my face. But instead of throwing the face wash away, I tucked it into the back of my cabinet where it will sit for years to come…or at least until I decide to move out of my apartment.

Why do I, and so many others, hold onto items we don’t need and items we know we will never use? I know that I will not use this item…however I do not want to toss it. Maybe because it was expensive? Or maybe I think one day I will need it for some reason?

There are countless reasons why we as humans hold onto our items and find it difficult to purge. As expert organizers at Me In Order, we stand by our motto of living a clutter-less life. However, even organizers (like myself) fall prey to not being able to let go. I took it upon myself to dive in and find out why we do so.


1.“You never know what could happen…and what you will need when it DOES happen”

Sometimes, we just love the feeling of being prepared. We feel secure when we have items in the back of our cabinets or extra sets of items in of emergencies. No one wants to be that person that wishes they had something during a time of need.

This is why we stock up on batteries during weather warnings; 2-for-one Family Size Triscuit cracker boxes; even 100 rolls of toilet paper…we have the fear of not being prepared. It is definitely important to have emergency items just in case, but you want to avoid being too over prepared.

Let’s face it…. how many times in your life will the average person really need 10 flashlights? It doesn’t matter; some truly people feel that they really DO.


2. Sentimental value

It is difficult for some to part ways with items; especially when they hold or have held sentimental value.

For example, my mother decluttered all of our Christmas decorations this year and found it very hard to toss out old decorations that we have had for 20+ years. I understand; sometimes we just can’t cut ties with our items. In order to live a truly peaceful life, you have to decide that only some things are meant to be kept; not all things. My mother knew that if she kept holding onto our old, broken, out-of-date Christmas decorations that it would cause her more stress than relief.

By only keeping a few items from our childhood, she still has that sentimental value and also has the peace of knowing that she now doesn’t have to deal with 20+ boxes of the same items in a box collecting dust in the attic.

However, it is harder for some to part ways with their items; and we as expert organizers have to recognize that. We take it upon ourselves to guide our clients respectively in the right direction as they decide what they want to keep and what they want to toss. When you are clearing out old items that have value, it’s important to recognize that these are just things…it’s the memories that last.


 3. Guilt when it comes to expensive items

After doing some research on why we hold onto items we know we will never use, it became apparent to me that I was holding onto my face wash for this reason alone: I didn’t want to toss out my expensive face wash for fear and guilt that it would be like throwing away the amount of money I spent on it.

By keeping my unused face wash stored in the back of a cabinet, I can justify to myself that I have kept my investment in this product and that I haven’t wasted my money. However, in reality, I have NOT kept my investment and I HAVE wasted my money…simply because I never use it.

Unfortunately, we are going to take risks and buy items that do not work for us. You can use my example as a case and point. I took a risk and spent a lot of money on something I don’t like…and that’s okay. Maybe there is someone else out there who will like it better. Now that I have recognized my WHY, I can formulate a plan to gift someone else with this nice, expensive face wash.

I hope you will use my own reflection as a course of action for your items that are sitting in your cabinets, or closets, or garages. Sometimes, we just need to recognize that it’s okay to not be prepared; it’s okay to cut ties with an item that once held value; and it’s okay to make a bad call on an expensive item. As long as we learn to accept that, we are on our way to a more peaceful and clutter-free life.

Me In Order is here to guide you in any way you need to start your organizing project. If you are interested in learning more about how to hire an expert organizer, check out our Ultimate Guide To Hiring An Expert Organizer , or contact us today!




Order University Content Creator


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *