I do not want to hear ‘if you haven’t used it in a year, throw it out’

August 7th, 2008 by Reinder

It's said mostly about items of clothing in your closet, but I've heard some radical declutterers apply it to just about anything. It's bullshit. I have personally brought back items of clothing from retirement after 5 or even 10 years. For example, I used some of my gnarliest old band sweaters for winter running early this year. The big old drawing table in my bedroom has been gathering dust there for years and years now, but when I'm done moving my stuff out of the studio I'm leaving in a month or two, that'll be the one I keep (if anyone is interested in buying the lightweight white drawing table that I'm now using in the studio, please let me know). Typically, if it's still functional, I'm not going to throw it out. There's stuff I want to sell on eBay though — but "did I use it in the last year?" is not a criterion. Rather it's "would I want to keep it if I moved house?" The answer is "no" for some items I bought in the past year, and "yes" for some items I haven't even seen since moving into my apartment.

(This has been on my mind on and off since I started decluttering in earnest back in February, but this post was triggered by a line in this post, which is otherwise pretty good)

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2 Responses to “I do not want to hear ‘if you haven’t used it in a year, throw it out’”

  1. Waffle » Blog Archive » Decluttering, tightwaddery, time management, organisation - it’s all one, really Says:

    [...] The other day, in the midst of what looked like becoming an ongoing conversation about tightwaddery, I posted about decluttering for the first time in months. That’s no coincidence. There are four aspects of my life that I tend to get antsy about at the same time: money, clutter and mess in the house, my terrible time management, and my terrible organisation. These subjects are closely related: my disorganisation and clutter affect my ability to budget effectively; my poor time management affects my ability to budget, but also my ability to increase my income and my ability to fix the other problems. [...]

  2. Waffle » Blog Archive » The one-year rule is all wet, part II Says:

    [...] proof that “If you haven’t used it in a year, throw it out” would be a very bad rule for me to follow in my decluttering efforts: three albums that are in [...]