What Do You Have That You’re Not Using?

Photo of VasesI am on a mission. I want to be able to say that everything I own is something I love or use. Over this past weekend, my family and I worked on dismantling my Dad’s garage. It was funny, sad and hard work all at the same time. Dad owned rental properties, so he had lots of “I might be able to use this” bits and pieces. For Dad and his profession, this made sense. For me, however, I want to have very little in the “might be” category, taking up space in my home and garage. So, here are a few ideas for your consideration. What do you have that you’re not using?

Vases. Do you have a collection of vases that have accumulated from receiving fresh flowers? They are probably valued at 35₵ each, so why keep them? Keep the vases that are special, the ones that are made of crystal, or the vases that were a gift. Donate the rest.

LPs. If you have the courage to dump the lot of them, then I am proud of you. If not, here’s one way to manage them. Start by sorting them into three categories.

Donate. These would be records you don’t care about.

Replace. These records are recordings you could buy in a current medium.

Irreplaceable. This takes a bit of time, but you can transfer the recording yourself or hire a service. Here is an article on how to do it yourself: http://homerecording.about.com/od/transferringvinyltocd/ht/vinyltocd.htm.

You can get rid of the first two categories altogether. Then, you need to decide if it’s worth your time to transfer the recordings. If you do, then you get to donate the turntable itself and make even more space available.

Coffee Mugs. I think it’s curious that people have an attachment to their oddball collection of coffee mugs. What is so special about a mug with an advertisement for a car dealership on it? Or, the world’s-largest-rubber-band-ball tourist site? I say, decide how many mugs you need, or what size shelf you want to dedicate to your mugs. Go through and get rid of the oddballs, plus mugs with chips and cracks. Get rid of them! You will be able to see and use the ones you love, and you probably don’t use the rest anyway.

Books. Books are a socially acceptable collection item. But, they can get in your way if you have too many. Here’s what I would like you to do. First, be realistic about the amount of space you have to store them. This does not include the plastic bin underneath your bed! Next, take a look at all of the books you have. Start with the paperbacks. If you have a collection of novels that you will never read again, they are no longer your friends; they are just taking up space. Take them to the used book store. Next, take a look at the hardback books. Are they reference books? Are they really timeless, or is the information outdated? Get rid of anything that does not provide the information you want. Pare down your collection until it easily fits into your book case. Next, breathe a sigh of relief.

Do you have items in your home that are sitting idle? What other categories do you have? How about tools, craft supplies, board games or picture frames? Can you make better use of the space they are occupying?


7 thoughts on “What Do You Have That You’re Not Using?

  1. denise

    It is definitely harder to edit … than add or buy something else. To release an item is kind of scary. REALLY GOOD THOUGHTS.


  2. Pam

    Any suggestions for an only child who has all of the family records, photos, files and mementos to deal with?? There is no one else to give anything to. Sometimes a house fire seems like a good solution!


  3. I do have a couple of ideas. First, toss any photos of unidentified people. They are not your memories, nor your family. Second, if you really want to reduce the volume of photos and records, you can scan them and toss the originals. One fellow Professional Organizer says she tears pages out of her yearbook, scans them, and tosses the book. You don’t have to go that far, but maybe it will give you the inspiration to think of what you could do. Just be sure you have a good computer back-up system, usually 2 different methods (one on-site, and one off-site).

    Hope that helps!


  4. […] “What Are You Not Using?” This edition helps identify categories of belongings that we tend to ignore, and in which we simply have too much. […]


  5. […] “What Are You Not Using?” This edition helps identify categories of belongings that we tend to ignore, and in which we simply have too much. […]


  6. I love to receive flowers, but why do they have to include a vase every time? Better question: why do I feel compelled to keep them?


    1. I agree! Perhaps if the vases were ugly, then we wouldn’t feel the need to save them. 🙂


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