Were there ever three other words that got more people into clutter trouble?
“I was gonna learn to paint so I collected all these paintbrushes, paints, books about painting, and canvases I bought on sale that are sitting, covered with dust, in my basement.”
“I was gonna start a jewelry making business, so I started collecting tools, stones, books about making jewelry, magazines about making jewelry, and display cases I was going to use at craft sales, all of which are now parked high up in the top of my garage rafters.”
“I was gonna start an in-home daycare, so I bought up toys on sale, including big climbing toys that fill a corner of my backyard to this day, but I never did get that business off the ground.”
Here's one of my own (many) “I Was Gonna” stories. Years ago, I read a book review in a magazine like Glamour or Mademoiselle (remember that magazine?) for a book about making your own wedding gown. So I special-ordered it.
As it turned out, not long after I got engaged I found my dream gown on a mannequin in a bridal store and it was only $50, so I snapped it up and thus didn’t need the book after all. But I kept it just in case.
A few years later my sister got engaged and I thought I’d make her a wedding gown, but I became so busy with my new baby that I quickly realized that I didn’t have time to take on such a project. But I kept the book so I could make my baby girl’s wedding gown someday.
And I kept that book for 30 years. Finally, during our big purge several years ago, I admitted defeat and donated it to the local Goodwill.
Since then, two daughters have gotten married. One eloped and the other wanted a specific gown that she saw in a bridal shop. So I never would have used the book anyways!
How many things do you have that are “I Was Gonna” items? Things you were gonna do but never did. Have you gotten to the point that you can admit that you’re never gonna do them? That you had good intentions but life got in the way?
It’s OK to admit that, by the way. It happens to everyone. The important thing is what needs to happen after you admit that you’re never gonna use that stuff:
You let it go.
That’s right, just move it along. Donate it, give it to someone who wants it, or pitch it (especially in the case of very old, dried-up tubes of artists’ paint.)
Let yourself be who you are today, not who you were back in the day or who you intended to become. The space you reclaim will be your reward.