As I talk to my organizing clients about why they keep as much as they do, I often hear them say "It would be a shame to let anything go to waste". The irony here is that they are, in fact, wasting an awful lot by hanging on to so much stuff.
Wanting for Space: People end up calling a professional organizer when they run out of space to contain all of their saved items. Tubs of toys, mounds of maternity clothes, years worth of unread newspapers and magazines flood the homes of my clients. They admit that they really don't have a use for it, but they might someday. So they end up sacrificing their space in the present time for a situation that may never come. In the meantime, the clothes, toys and magazines that could be used by someone else, are sitting unused, wasting precious space.
Wanting for Time: When people have too much stuff, looking for things takes a lot longer than it should. Even if they are somewhat organized with their extras, having too much means more maneuvering, reaching and digging to get to what they're looking for. And that's if they're organized about it, which many aren't. They literally have to go hunting for necessary items, wasting minutes and even hours that could be better spent doing something more useful.
Wanting for Money: When people misplace or bury necessary items in their clutter, they often end up replacing them. Scissors, light bulbs, batteries, can openers, even gifts for other people! The cost of these items adds up quickly. Then the home becomes cluttered with duplicate items for which there is no space. Another big cost is wasted food. People often prepare too much food with the intention of serving up the leftovers at another meal. If you find yourself repeatedly wasting leftovers, it may be time to reconsider your meal plans. Purchasing in bulk can be costly too. Products expire in the back of the cupboard or in the deep freeze because they are forgotten or unreachable. One more thing about wasted money... I often joke with my clients that any loose change I find is mine to keep. We laugh about it, but there are times when I find several dollars worth of loose change in just a few hours of organizing. How much could we find if we had time to declutter the entire house?
It truly is a shame to waste items that are still useable. But if they are not useable to YOU in the near future, they are wasting your resources. Their usefulness is being wasted by sitting idol in your home. There are so many people in need! Consider donating some saved items to someone who can use them now. You will be blessed in the future with new clothes and toys. Magazines will continue to be delivered to your home, fresh with current ideas and activities. Donate your backlog to libraries and schools that can't afford them. Check the expiration dates on your food items. If something is close to the expiration date, and you can't use it, prepare a meal for a friend or family member, or donate it to a food pantry to be used by someone who is hungry now. Free up your resources so that you can enjoy the present. It's rare that donating your extras to those in need will leave you wanting in the future. In fact, your generosity will likely cause your heart to spill over with good feelings - something you can never have too much of!