5 Reasons Not to Save Stuff for Later

Are you guilty of hanging on to things that you don’t use because of the belief that you “might need it someday?” It’s a common problem that leaves people dealing with a bunch of clutter.

This is especially a problem for people who are trying to save money because they believe that as soon as they get rid of the item they’re going to need it and they’ll have to go out and pay cash to replace it. The truth is that you rarely ever need this stuff and you may be losing money by keeping it.

Here are five good reasons that it just doesn’t make sense to save stuff for “someday”:

1.  It takes up room. You have to find a place for every extra item that you have. Many people have storage rooms, garages, attics, extra bedrooms and even full storage lockers filled with stuff. If you didn’t have stuff in here, you could make use of those areas and maybe even make some money off of them. You could rent out the extra bedroom or the added parking space to people who would use them. You could use those spaces as an office and get a tax break when you’re working from home or give up your art studio and work from the attic. Instead you’re just filling that space up with stuff.

2.  It takes up time. Imagine how much time you’d have if you added up all of the time that you spend sorting through your junk to find what you need, organizing it, moving it around the house (or from an old house to a new one) and cleaning it off when it gets filthy. That’s leisure time that you’re wasting right now.

3.  You end up with doubles. People think that they’ll save things for that one day when they need them but what ends up happening with people who have too much stuff is that they don’t even remember what they have. When they need something, they go out and buy another anyway because they’ve forgotten that they already have what they need (or they know they have it but can’t remember where it is). Then you have twice the junk!

4.  You can get cash for it now. A lot of the stuff that you never use could be turned into cash that you can use today. Sell it. If you really need it again later then you can always buy a replacement and consider yourself financially even.

5.  Reducing clutter reduces stress. Don’t you feel better when there’s less clutter around you? When your desk is all cleared off and your inbox is empty, your mind feels clearer. Imagine taking all of the things that you don’t need and just getting rid of them. You’re de-cluttering your life and it feels good!

This was a guest post by Kathryn Vercillo. Kathryn is a writer for Promotionalcodes.org.uk which gives away free promotion code deals (like this hotels.com discount code) and also publishes a frugal blog.


  1. We’ve started evaluating what we keep. Do we seriously need to fill up our crawl space with stuff we haven’t looked at in years? Some of it is in boxes still from two moves ago…

  2. I’m guilty of saving old magazines that I always say I’ll “read again some day.” But what I’ve started to do is scan the articles I really like, save them on the computer, and then throw the magazine out. I’m free!

  3. Oh, Dear Lawd, Yes – DH (an electrician) used to be in retail remodels and he was a grade-A scavenger of materials/demo’d equipment – as much would come home with him as left on the job it seemed! 12′ by 4′ MDF boards – these retail for $50 a piece and we have about 30 in our garage; spools of wire – we could outfit an office complex with the wire or sell the copper for 100s, I’m sure. He did re-claim some stereo equipment from a Pimpercrombie remodel that he actually installed in our house – we now have a full-house integrated sound system that would cost $4000 if we had purchased it. But the rest of the stuff just takes up space – but now that he has an office job, the in-flow has stopped. But he can’t turn down refrigerators – we just got a new/used medical frig (with glass doors like they keep samples in at the lab?) delivered from one of his old buddies who thought he’d like it! That one’s going on craigslist this weekend…

  4. Your point about ending up with doubles is so true…. when my grandma passed away we found 32 pairs of scissors in her house! She would lose a pair and then just buy new ones.

    Your post is a great reminder to keep things in perspective. You have to think about wants vs. needs even with the stuff you already own!

  5. Interesting. I agree, but it’s not that easy. There are at least 5 good reasons to keep stuff around.

  6. Another good reason to give it away, is to bless someone else.

    Saving all those baby clothes, when your youngest in 5? A single mom about to give birth would really be blessed by those clothes. Look into your local pregnancy crisis center.

    Have so much kitchen stuff (pots, dishes, etc.?) Donate to a shelter that helps families get into apartments. Same goes for nice towels and linens you no longer need.

    Even worn towels and linens are welcome at animal shelters.

    Low income schools can benefit from all those children’s books your kids no longer read.

    Low income daycare centers and senior centers would love some of the craft supplies you and your kids no longer use.

    A family who has no car and may be looking for work can use your car if it is still running and it is not your main car anymore. Hey as an extra bonus clean it, get an oil change, and fill it with gas before you sign the title over to them!!! (Someone did this for me once when I had no car, the car lasted over a year, but the kindness will never be forgotten.)

    Blessings others really blesses me as well!!!
    (Just make sure the stuff is still in good usable condition, not just junky.)

  7. Tired of drowning in crap, but don’t know what to do? Take a deep breath and dive in for 5 minutes. I promise you won’t die (unless you start an avalanche of course).

    Pick a drawer or a closet and aim to unload 5 or 10 things a day. When you get a tiny project done it will inspire you to do even more.

    That being said my husband owns not one, not two, but three lawnmowers so who am I to talk???

  8. I always keep stuff because I think I’ll need it someday. I don’t forget that I have it, I just forget where I put it. To me, this is extra frustrating because I waste my time looking for it only to have to go out and buy it again when the search turned up empty. Maybe you’re right – I should just throw it out to begin with.

  9. I always have that mentality with decorations or old books and what not thinking that I can find a cool place for it later.

  10. I give away, recycle, reduce, reuse or donate 27 things a month. this number works for me- i do not know why. It is very easy to drop stuff in the “bag” in the bottom of my closet. At the end of the month, it’s donated to a charity that serves women and children.
    You can follow my progress at my website.

    I absolutely love this post. Reducing clutter really does reduce stress.

  11. To add to #1, if you are paying for a bigger house, bigger apartment, or storage unit just so you can keep the junk, then you are paying more monthly in mortgage or rent for a roof over a bunch of stuff you don’t use and don’t get to take with you when you die one day. When packing for a trip, someone said to me that he packs as much for three days as for three months: everything he owns. While that is extreme, I really respect the idea of having what you need now and the memories/mementos in your heart and mind.

  12. It is expensive. I just looked at the junk my dad has stored for the past 25 years. He is chairbound and can’t get rid of it himself. I think that it will cost me over a thousand dollars in hauling fees to have it taken to the dump. That doesn’t count the junk in the garage, floor to ceiling.

  13. I enjoy following your blog … great insights. This post especially hit home. Just wanted to let you know that I’m linking to it on my blog to share with my readers. We all need reminders, encouragements, and challenges in this area!!!

  14. As a renter, I’ve learned to give up too much stuff a long time ago.
    There’s nothing worse then moving and having to take several van loads of your stuff.
    Also, most of the things I have are second-hand anyways, so I’m not too attached to them.

  15. I compulsively throw things out. I hate clutter. I read somewhere that a cluttered house equals a cluttered mind. And I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve regretted it! I’m always looking for things, then I remember they got given/thrown away. So I’m learning to hoard, in balance. The pay off is that we’ve been able to construct frugal solutions to problems we’ve had around the home lately with $0.

  16. Nice points…. I know I’ve accidentally bought doubles of two books I already owned! But that’s partly because I had moved and still had kept my old books at home… if I could, I’d own next to nothing, I love the minimalist lifestyle. But every career has its required tools of the trade that you need to have on hand to stay current, etc., unfortunately:)

  17. This is so true! I will pack stuff up in a box in the basement and not even realize I have it until am moving. If I don’t know about it, I don’t need it! Clear the clutter, clear the mind!

  18. This is so true. I have lost things in the clutter that is our house, including library books. I’ve also purchased gifts that have gotten ruined before I could give them . . .

  19. Thanks Kathryn, this is a great article. Love the bit about Reducing clutter reduces stress, I know exactly what you mean.