When you’re decluttering, sometimes it’s the quick decluttering tips that can make the biggest difference on your journey. Helping you clear the clutter faster and easier.
And the focus of today’s post will be just that! I’m sharing a quick tip about what to do with the stuff you find as you’re decluttering that you forgot you have.
Quick decluttering tips: what to do with stuff you forgot you have
We’ve all been there. You open a box you haven’t looked in for a while and think, “Oh cool, I forgot I even had this!”
It feels like you’re finding something brand new again. And it can be tempting to want to keep whatever you just found. However, this is a place where you can use today’s quick decluttering tips to help you declutter faster and easier.
If you forgot you had an item, that’s usually a good sign you can let it go. Clearly, you haven’t needed or been using the item if you didn’t even remember you had it.
When you come across items you forgot you had, take the opportunity to let them go. Reminding yourself you haven’t used, needed or even remembered you own it until you saw it again!
How to spot “forgot you had it” clutter
You often come across “forgot you had it” clutter in storage areas, unopened boxes in the garage or the back of a closet. You don’t forget about the things you use, need and appreciate often. “Forgot you had it” clutter is the stuff you don’t need, don’t use or don’t really love.
It might be stuff you thought you’d love and use often but don’t. Or stuff you found on sale and was too good of a deal to pass up. It can be extras, or items you stocked up on but have forgotten to use. Things you’re keeping “just in case”, or things you think you might need someday.
It might be the stuff in boxes that you don’t even know for sure what’s in the box. Or the boxes you’ve moved from house to house but never got around to unpacking them in between.
You can often spot “forgot you had it” clutter when you catch yourself saying something like, “I forgot I even had this!”. Or “Oh, that’s where this has been.” Or “Cool, I didn’t even know we had this!”
Challenge yourself to be ruthless
When you come across “forgot you had it” clutter, it’s an awesome opportunity to be more ruthless as you’re decluttering.
Get rid of the stuff you forgot you had to quickly and easily clear some clutter from your home. All while confidently knowing you won’t miss or regret it. You didn’t even know it was there after all!
Just remember, if you forgot you had it, it clearly tells you you haven’t used it, needed it, or even thought about it until you saw it again. You can confidently get rid of it, without worrying about regretting it. Because in your mind the item didn’t even exist in your home until you saw it again!
Getting rid of the stuff you forgot you had is a great way to make easy progress decluttering your home.
By forgetting you have it you’ve already time tested if you need the item or not. And clearly, if you haven’t used or needed it long enough that you could forget you had it, you don’t need to keep it!
Challenge yourself to be ruthless and clear the clutter you forgot you even have.
It’s like a built in “maybe box”
One of my favourite ways to be more ruthless when decluttering is using a maybe box. A maybe box is a place where you put anything you’re not sure if you should keep or get rid of. You seal the box and put it out of sight, with a reminder to revisit it in a month or two or more.
When you get the reminder, if you haven’t used, needed or even thought about what’s in the maybe box, you can confidently get rid of it knowing you’ll be just fine without it.
And when you have items you forgot you had in boxes, closets or cupboards in your home, it’s like they’ve been in a maybe box!
You have basically been living without the items (because you forgot they were there). And have proven to yourself you can get by just fine without them.
Challenge your memory
Another quick decluttering tip and fun way to challenge yourself to be more ruthless when you’re decluttering is trying to remember what’s in a box before you open it.
If you can’t name what’s in a box until you open it up and see the stuff inside, the stuff might not be that important after all. And is likely something you can easily let go of without too much difficulty.
Just remember, if you didn’t know you had it until you saw it, you haven’t been using, needing or wanting it and have been getting along just fine without it!
Use it or lose it
If you’re not ready to be that ruthless when you come across stuff you forgot you had, that’s ok. There’s another way to really put these items to the test and see if they’ll be something you can start using regularly.
The best way to see if the stuff you forgot you had will be something you can use and love is to start using them.
Challenge yourself to take those items out of their hiding spots and put them somewhere front and center. Then make an effort to use those items as often as possible.
Depending on what the item is, maybe give yourself a week to use the item. If you haven’t used it by the end of the week, get rid of it, confidently knowing it’s just not something you need or will use right now in your life.
Or try to use the item every day for a week. Simply getting into the habit of using it and making it part of your routine. After making an effort to use the item, you’ll usually know if it’s something worth keeping or not.
Pay careful attention to what you notice
You might notice that the item is annoying, frustrating or too much work to use/clean/maintain/etc. Showing you that it’s simply not adding enough value to your life to justify keeping it.
You might notice you just can’t be bothered to use the item in your daily routine. Or it’s just not realistic for the season of life you’re in. Or you might notice you simply don’t like an item or don’t actually need it. You might even notice that you only like a few of the pieces rather than the whole collection of items.
Whatever it is, putting the item to the test and telling yourself you’ll either “use it or lose it” is a great way to know if an item is worth keeping. After putting the items to the test and making an effort to use them, your decluttering decisions will be a lot easier to make.
One exception to automatically getting rid of anything you forgot you had is if you come across something you’ve been looking for but couldn’t find.
If you remembered you had it and have been looking for it, it’s ok to keep it. As long as you’ll actually use it now that you found it.
Put it somewhere you can see, find and use it easily. Then pay attention and notice if you are actually using it or not.
Just because you found it and think you’ll use it; doesn’t always mean you will use it. Put it to the test just like anything else. If you aren’t using or needing it even when it’s easily accessible and obvious, consider letting it go.
More than you can manage
Having stuff you forgot you even have or can’t find is also a good reminder that when you have too much stuff, it’s hard to manage and keep track of it all.
Things get lost and forgotten about when you have too much you’re trying to manage and keep track of. When you get rid of the excess and only keep the things you use, need and love, it’s easier to find what you need when you need it, access it and keep track of it.
Having less to manage not only means you can more easily find and keep track of what you own. It also means you’ll save yourself time, stress, frustration and even money when you’re not losing things, forgetting about things or are unable to find things.
Use it as a lesson moving forward
Once you start noticing the “forgot you had it” clutter in your home, you can use it as a great learning experience moving forward. Not only helping you be more ruthless decluttering now. But also, helping you be more ruthless about what you bring into and keep in your home moving forward.
For example, you can use the experience to help you make more intentional purchases moving forward. Really thinking through if you’ll truly use or need an item before you buy it. Reminding yourself of the things you thought you’d use, but ended up not being realistic for your preferences or lifestyle, and ending up as something you forgot you had in the back of your closet!
You can also use it as a lesson to help you be more ruthless when you find yourself keeping things “just in case”. Remind yourself how “just in case” often becomes the clutter in the back of your closet or storage room that you forgot you had.
It might also help you notice the times you’re just putting off making a decision about getting rid of something. Choosing to push it to the back of the closet where you’ll likely forget it’s there.
Instead, make decisions about those items now so you’ll never have to deal with them again later. Save your future self the stress clutter and unused items can cause and make decisions rather than pushing stuff out of sight to deal with later.
Quick decluttering tips: “forgot you had it” clutter
I hope today’s post and quick decluttering tips give you more tools to use as you’re decluttering and simplifying. And another strategy to use to help you be more ruthless as you’re decluttering.
Remember, if you forgot you even have an item, you likely haven’t used, needed, wanted or even thought about the item in quite some time. Let it go, confidently knowing you’ll be fine without it. Helping you take another step towards reaching your decluttering goals!