Use It or Lose It: The Case for Giving, Donating or Selling Instead of Storing

The following post is from Rachel of The Minimalist Mom:

Use It or Lose It: The Case for Giving, Donating  or Selling Instead of Storing at lifeyourway.net

source: Rachel Jonat

The phrase “Use It Or Lose It” came to mind recently as I organized our cloth diapering supplies.

They had been boxed up for close to two years and after one wash the elastics in the legs and back fell apart.

Admittedly, I was surprised.

I had naively thought that those sweet pocket diapers were eagerly waiting for our second child as much as I was and would be in as good a condition as when I packed them away.

The truth: the elastics had been aging even without use. Even the PUL outer of one of the diapers had felt the effects of time and the waterproof layer was separating from the fabric.

Time, gravity and the environment will age your things even if you’re not using them.

Those clothes you boxed up for a former or future lifestyle, they’re wearing out even if no one is wearing them.

All those someday items, the ones in your garage, attic, and in your most visited drawers and closets, they are all aging.

And if and when someday turns into today, they may not be of use to you or anyone else. Damp, mice and moths are slowly eating away at so many boxes of household goods stored for that day when they finally might be of use. Often that day never comes or arrives well beyond the expiry date of the contents.

It can be better to loan out, sell or give something away while it still has life to it, than hold onto it for years and years without using it.

It not only feels good to clear a bit of clutter, it feels great to know your things are being used and appreciated.

Here’s the other saying I now think of when I consider putting things away for “someday”: A Bird In Hand is Worth Two in the Bush.

I’d rather help a friend or have some money in my Paypal account or know that a charity was finding a home for my stuff, than box a lot of it up with the hope that we will someday use it again.

Lucky for me my cloth diapers are back in working order after I exchanged the old elastics for new, but I know not all of my things can be refreshed or repaired after a few years in storage.

With that in mind, I am again just keeping a small amount of baby items and clothes for when/if we have another child. I’ve also given myself a deadline for using them. If we haven’t had another baby by then, or aren’t close to it, they will be out the door.

I am sure it will be an emotional day when I part with our infant gear for good, but it will hopefully also be a happy day: I’ll be helping another family welcome a new baby.

How do you decide what to give away and what to store away for someday?

Rachel Jonat is a world medalist rower turned marketing professional turned SAHM/writer. At The Minimalist Mom, Rachel writes about living a rich life with less stuff. Currently living on a windswept island in the middle of the Irish Sea, Rachel owns two pairs of jeans, loves taking the bus and is attempting to become a tea drinker.
  • eleanor

    The deadline idea is a great one! I have some really nice organic nursing tops and though I’m still using them I am conflicted about whether to keep them just in case or sell them. They’re SO expensive ($70+ each!) I’ve limited myself to keeping a small tote of my baby’s infant clothes and now that she’s a toddler, I keep one manilla folder of art/cards/ small mementos for the year and once it’s full, I edit it at the end of the year and keep what held up over the year or is extra special :)