Updated: Nov 24, 2019
We’ve all said it. ‘No, let's keep that, just in case’. I wonder how many times we’ve subconsciously thought it or openly expressed our desire to keep something, and then to this day, never used it for its intended purpose. We call these ‘just in cases’. This popped up the other week and i am inclined to share as my partner and I now have this as a running joke. Whenever one of us says those magical words ‘just in case’, the other one repeats it in a ridiculous voice. I can confirm we are hilarious.
18 months into minimalism, something has changed. I am more aware, more conscious, more intentional and more mindful of what is adding value. I look back and now recognise what was going on. Each time i was presented with an item that i wanted to keep, just in case, I had invented a scenario where the item would feature, prominently. There were positive and negative scenarios born from my own imagination which convinced me that i would be wrong to throw it away. So there it would stay.
It was the 1%. The highly unlikely time where one of the things would be required. I’d have it there, ready to go, fully prepared. 99% of the things may not get used and they’ll take up space, but you never know!
Surely this wasn’t a huge deal, the just in cases are not holding us back or anything like that. They were out of sight, out of mind, not bothering anyone. Well this is what i thought until i looked for something in our footstool and my partner said that the stuff in there was stressing her out. To be honest it was a bit of a mess but it was all just in cases that had always been there, hidden, nobody would know, someday, maybe they’d come in handy.
But when we had an opportunity to explore the scenarios attached to each thing, it became clear that the just in cases were the gateway to the deeper fear of missing out. The fear that if i discarded something, i’d potentially miss out on a great experience or have to pay again for something i already owned, which would then make me feel inadequate or stupid for getting rid of it in the first place. Someday, maybe i would need them so i wouldn't have to deal with that fear or expense.
The 3D glasses from the cinema - We kept these just in case we go to another 3D movie. We will go to the cinema again soon and invariably you’ll be given a free pair. In any case, i guarantee that we would forget to take them anyway.
The Poker chips - This a good one. I have two sets of poker chips (i bought another set because i forgot i already had a set), felt for the table and 3 sets of playing cards. I kept these because one day, i will host a poker night with my friends. We’ve done a couple before (2009 and maybe 2016?) so maybe they’re worth keeping. Looking deeper into it, I kept them all so it gives me a catalyst to suggest it and hang out with my friends. We don’t need poker to hang out and we do regularly anyway. No one has ever said that they really fancied playing poker. Someday, maybe?
8 plug extension boards - Yes that's correct, eight. Three are currently being used alongside the 20+ plug points in the flat. These have accumulated over the years but you can never have enough plug boards, right? To use all the plug points and the 4 extra points on each of the boards, i’d need in excess of 50 things to plug in at one time. That was never something i had aspired to but you never know, i wouldn't want to be found short if 50 people came round and they all needed to charge their phone at the same time. You know, someday, maybe.
Playstation 3 headset charger - Good times playing Call of Duty with my friends. I still have the PS3 but i sold all the games because i didn't play them. Last time i used that headset was probably 2012. But you never know, i may buy more games and use it again and relive those fantastic experiences with my friends. Someday, maybe.
Novelty games, HDMI cables, spare furniture bits, 3 tape measures of different lengths, the list goes on.
There's a 1% chance that ‘someday’ may come around and then, and only then, would you potentially feel the gratification of holding on to your own just in cases. But what i found was that the 1% never comes and the stuff just gets amplified into memories (the good) and made up negative scenarios that you start to worry about (the bad).
‘Just in case’ may not work for me anymore. I have yet to be put in a situation where i looked back and cursed the fact i got rid of four extra allen keys or two picture frames. That 1% day may come, and if it does, i have the ability to go to a shop or order it online to get it delivered the next day. All done with intention, within a short amount of time and a small amount of money.
Negative invented scenarios gone, good memories remain, no longer someday, maybe, but today 100% in control.