3 Things You Might Regret Decluttering… Eventually

published May 16, 2021
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I love to declutter and I love to write about decluttering. It’s not because I’m an expert at it, though. While some people seem to be naturals at not hanging on to things, getting rid of things is something that I have to work hard at. I need to remind myself that beauty is often revealed through editing, that the sensation of breathing room is often achieved through physical empty space, and that I really don’t want to spend my precious hours and days managing things

Getting rid of stuff (whether through donations or passing things along to family and friends) is nice, I know. On the other hand, I’ve also learned through my mistakes that there are certain items you may very likely regret having let go.

None of us want to use our home as a storage unit, but recognizing that there are some objects that naturally come in and out of rotation with the changing seasons of life can help keep us from decluttering remorse. Other objects have sentimental value that we might not appreciate until down the road. 

Here are three sorts of things you might regret saying goodbye to.

Credit: Sarita Relis Photography

1. Baskets and Other Small Storage Items

This was a lesson I learned really quickly during the pandemic. I had recently given the green light for my husband to take a giant bin of baskets and small organizing bins to the donation center. I really regretted that decision when I suddenly needed to corral home-based school supplies. As we started using our house in a different way than we ever had, I wished I could pluck a basket or two out of my collection to hold everything from canned goods in the kitchen to the blanket that kept getting left on the back porch. I realized that, pandemic life or not, baskets can make quick order out of messes created by things that need to be left accessible — and I will never flippantly get rid of one again. 

2. Sentimental Kitchen Items

This one is tricky, and I’ve experienced it from both sides. Did I ever use the shells my grandmother served tuna with breadcrumbs on, on Fridays during Lent? No, and I didn’t need to keep those. But do I regret getting rid of the ‘70s-era yellow salad bowl that held every single salad I ate in my grandparents’ kitchen? Often. Kitchens are full of so many memories, and some of the items associated with cooking with loved ones are worth keeping. My own mother kept a spatula that one of us bit while we were licking frosting or whipped cream. The tiny half circle of teeth marks is an etching of the past. As a mother myself, I understand this and hope I would do the same. Whether they are items that bring back memories from the past, or that will house memories for your future, think twice before getting rid of any kitchen items that embody touching reminders of days you hold close to your heart. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh

3. Entertaining Pieces and Decor

This category includes items like small neutral vases and candle holders as well as serving platters and utensils. While you might not use your platters and accessories often (especially these days!), having them to pull out when you host not only saves money on disposable or new items, but also plays a subtle-but-significant part in the backdrop of your holiday memories.

It might not make sense to keep your rarely-used servingware in the kitchen — you don’t want to clog up spaces that are accessed daily with cumbersome items that get in the way — but consider storing these large items in under-bed bins or on those top shelves in the closet.

My best tip: Make sure your “keeps” are informed by a sense of how you decorate for special occasions, that you actually have the storage space to hang on to them, and that they are well-organized so you remember you have them and can easily access them when it’s time. 

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: 3 Things You’ll Regret Decluttering… Eventually