If I’m going to keep an old pair of tennis shoes because “they’ll be great for working in the yard,” I should probably work in the yard.
I mean, it makes sense.
For years, I saved old shoes for gardening, without actually gardening.
Thankfully, my decluttering experience helped me to finally get to the point where I didn’t keep every single pair of old shoes that could, maybe, possibly be used for gardening. I made myself stick to one(ish) pair, and would (usually) get rid of the old yard shoes (that hadn’t been used for yard work) when I got a new pair of tennis shoes.
But as long as yardwork was hypothetical, I felt a strange need to keep them all.
This made decluttering the unchosen shoes harder than it needed to be.
I didn’t know what I needed, because I didn’t have experience doing the thing I was keeping them to do.
Getting rid of any old shoes felt risky. What if the shoes I declutter are actually better for the job than the pair I keep??
When I have no experience with the thing I’m hoping to do, I have no confidence about what I actually need to do it.
So it feels like I should keep everything. Just in case.
But as y’all know, I’ve been working in my yard more than I ever have before. Physical activity outside has been my sanity saver.
Now that my shoes are actually muddy, my brain has cleared on this subject.
The angst is gone.
I’m using these shoes for the purpose I had in mind when I kept them, so I know, for a fact, that they’re perfect. They’re comfortable and supportive, but can get dirty because they’re old and ugly.
They aren’t good for eight hour days at Disney (I learned this the hard way last December), but they’re perfect for a few hours of yard work.
Now, yard shoes aren’t an idea. They aren’t a what if.
I know what I’m looking for and I know what I need. I have experience.
Using It = Decluttering
I’ve talked before about using something as a way to declutter it. If something sits unused on a shelf, it is a what if. It’s an idea. An idea that’s taking up physical space in my home and has to be managed.
It’s an idea that falls out of an overstuffed cabinet and makes it harder to get to things I definitely use.
Once I use something, it’s no longer an idea. It’s real. And once I know what I really need in real life, I’m able to let go of the other possibilities.
Yay for that.