Minimalism: Use it or Lose it!
A great decluttering tip to adopt during your decluttering journey is the “use it or lose it” concept. This is nothing new in the decluttering world - I feel like everyone has talked about it, but I’ll walk you through my thought-process behind it and maybe it will help you adopt the approach.
According to Cambridge dictionary, “use it or lose it” is a statement:
“used to describe something that you must use by a particular date, or you will lose the opportunity or right to have it.”
The way that I see it is that, if I’m decluttering and I come across an item that “I don’t want to waste” by donating or throwing out, it’s time to implement Use it or Lose it!
Why is this item unused?
Do I hate the smell? Did it irritate my skin? Is it nice to use? Is it expired? Is it hidden and out of reach? Did I forget I had it?
How can I use this item?
Is this an item I can use in a different way (ex: if I don’t like a face moisturizer, can I use it as a body moisturizer to use it up)? How can I change the storage of this item to make it easier for me to use? This could be as simple as moving it to the very front of a drawer. The last part of this is creating a habit surrounding the use of this item.
How am I going to implement this item or product into my daily routine?
I try to take a very practical approach: what am I going to change in my life to make sure I do truly use this item. There is a reason it’s in the back of a drawer, unused… right? In order to justify keeping it, I have to think of how I will implement it in a daily or weekly routine to ensure that there is no way it will be pushed to the back of a drawer again soon. For me, I’m currently using up a glasses cleaner that I forgot I had… I didn’t want to throw it out so now I’ve integrated it into my work-from-home routine. When I’m waiting for my computer to turn on at the start of the workday, I clean my glasses now.
Is this item worth re-jigging my everyday routine to integrate it?
It’s important here to be really honest and realistic with yourself. For me, I really need to admit that I’m not the type of person who will use a product I hate completely up… usually it just sits there until it expires, leaks or breaks. So it’s better to just pass on that item or throw it out that let it take up space.
I find it’s really easy to let go of an item if I don’t even want to create a new habit to use the item. If I’m not willing to integrate an item or product into my routine, or even entertain the idea in my mind - then I will never use the item and it’s time to “lose it.”
I hope the flowchart graphic I made can help you determine if you should use it or lose it!