Help! I Can’t Stop Holding Onto “Just In Case Stuff”

Help! I Can’t Stop Holding Onto “Just In Case Stuff”

We are probably all guilty of holding onto some things “just in case” we might need them or want them.

I get it! I’m guilty too! I still have a hard time getting rid of my business suits although I rarely wear them anymore.

Sometimes we DO need to be prepared in the event that we need some of those things, but it is also possible that we tend to hold onto too many “just in case” items. For example, “Do I really need 10 business suits or could I just keep 2 or 3?

There are definitely two sides to the story…

I’m going to make the case for both sides… a case FOR and a case AGAINST holding onto possessions “just in case”.

The case FOR holding onto “just in case” stuff

  • For certain, we SHOULD hold onto important paperwork to avoid issues after our death

I.e., Mortgage documents, trust documents, living will.

  • For sure, we SHOULD hold onto some meaningful mementos from our parents and loved ones who have passed

I.e., My dad’s collection of walking sticks.

I.e., My mom’s teacups.

  • For sure we NEED necessary cooking utensils for everyday needs.

I.e., Pots and pans, bowls, dishes, cooking and eating utensils.

  • But is it really necessary to hold onto all of those things just in case?

I.e., 7 wooden spoons or four sets of measuring cups?

If you think about it, there might just be a few too many of those “just in case” items sitting around your home.

The case AGAINST holding onto “just in case” stuff

  • It weighs you down having to store them and maintain them.

Too much stuff causes overwhelm and stress, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It prevents us from being productive and able to focus.

I.e., Old receipts, and outdated appliance manuals.

  • It takes up valuable space.

How often do I need 10 business suits that take up valuable space in my closet, making it hard to find clothes that I do want to wear?

  • Your kids will have to sort through all of it when you’re gone.

They will wonder why you held onto your high school yearbooks and college textbooks.

Do you really need those extra outdated power cords and old phones?

  • It costs precious resources.

If you want a simpler, less cluttered life, recapture the time, money, freedom, and energy from storing “just in case” stuff.

You can see that we can argue both sides of this case.

  • A case FOR “just in case” items.
  • A case AGAINST “just in case” items.

But if you are motivated to start decluttering your home so you can have a simpler life with less, and if you want to start relieving yourself of some of that “just in case” stuff, these 3 steps will show you how to let go and be free of the “just in case I need it mindset.”

Help! I Can’t Stop Holding Onto “Just In Case Stuff”

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3-Step Guide to Set You Free From “Just in Case” Clutter

1. ASSESS your excess “just in case” piles.

Walk-through you’re home, room by room, one area at a time

Create piles of all of your “just in case you need it stuff.”

  • Basement: old paint cans, rusted tools, bins of nails and screws
  • Garage: multiples of shovels, rakes, hoses
  • Attic: children’s clothing, toys, furniture
  • Desk: old wires, tech stuff, old phones
  • Bookcase: college textbooks, high school yearbooks, VHS tapes
  • Cosmetic drawer: old makeup, dried-up lotion
  • Junk drawer: takeout menus, coupons, flyers
  • Closet: business suits, dressy dresses, high heels you never wear

2. ADMIT that your “just in case I need it piles” really mean that you probably never use it or need it

(5,10 years? I don’t even remember that I had it.)

  • How likely are you to need it or use it again?

(Will that size 6 dress from 10 years ago ever get used again?)

  • Admit to yourself that this clutter is weighing you down and that it’s been holding you back from living a clutter-free life

3. ASK yourself these questions

  • What is the worst-case scenario if you let it go?

Could you replace it, rent it, or borrow it if absolutely necessary?

Do you really need 7 wooden spoons or could you make do with 3?

  • Does it add value to your life?
  • Why are you still holding onto it?
  • What emotions have made you hold onto it? 

Guilt, fear, overwhelm?



If you let it go, who might need this more than you do?

Your trash might be another’s treasure.

How could you more effectively use the freed-up space in your home?

If you struggle with holding onto things that you might need “just in case,” try these simple steps that will help you learn how to let go so you can free up space in your home and at the same time help someone else in need.

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