Purge Log Day 5 – Emotional Blocks to Decluttering

I haven’t been as consistent with my purge log as I had hoped. Every possible win has thwarted me with one of several objections. The one which plagues me most: But what if I need it some day?

If you have a clutter problem (and honestly, who doesn’t?), an emotional block usually underlies the inability to deal with your “stuff”. There are even entire books written about it, such as Making Space Clutter Free (which I never did finish listening to…). 

My biggest emotional block seems to be the fear that I will need something and it will no longer be there because I finally threw it away. Yes, this has happened to me before. And other times, I have been grateful that I didn’t purge something because I ended up needing it. This reinforces my reluctance when it comes time to declutter. I keep thinking with enough practice flexing my decluttering muscles (as it were), I would get better at making these tough decisions. But everything seems too important.

Luckily I found a chance to practice recently in a relatively safe context. I had to dig out my external DVD reader for the annual install of do-it-yourself-tax-software. This gave me a good opportunity to purge some unneeded computer disks.

A box full of computer disks, desperately needing to be purged...but what if I need them some day?
A box full of computer disks, desperately needing to be purged…but what if I need them some day?

For your entertainment, here are some of the “treasures” I found tucked away in this box. Thankfully, I found myself able to let go of these goodies:

  • Drivers for hardware & peripherals we still have and use — but are available online, and install automatically when you connect said devices to your computer
  • Drivers for hardware & peripherals we no longer have
  • Software we don’t even remember why we have it 
  • Empty jewel cases
  • A Kaspersky rescue CD used (successfully) for a computer virus infection four years ago
  • A removable DVD drive for a laptop no longer being used… and even if it were, we now have a DVD drive that connects via USB. Come to think of it, I don’t even know which laptop the DVD drive goes to. Hmmmm….
  • Really…. really… really old computer games my kids used to play (of the educational variety)
  • Windows XP SP2 reinstall disks. Yes, really!
  • Install disks for software we no longer use… including Microsoft Office Pro 2003 (!)
  • An unopened copy of Norton Antivirus from 2011
  • Development software I haven’t touched in years (Dreamweaver 8, anybody?)

Alas, I still couldn’t part with several “but I might need them some day” category:

  • Disks with instructional videos (that I’ve never watched up till now, and probably won’t ever, because I’m sure anything I really need would be on YouTube anyway…but you never know!)
  • New writable CDs (even though literally no one uses writable CDs anymore, because we have thumbdrives now)
  • Recovery disks for old laptops … even though if the laptop crashed, I’d probably try to rebuild it from scratch, or trying installing a Linux OS on it, rather than trying to restore it to the factory settings specified in the disks. Mind you, this is for *old* laptops. Our current ones have recovery disks in very safe locations. 

The downside to this particular purge – all the disks already fit nicely into an opaque plastic box. The success hasn’t improved my organization or making my home look more open and spacious. And I only dig into that box once or twice a year, so it won’t save me any time trying to find things.

But it has strengthened my decluttering muscles… at least a little. Now I just need a few weeks to recover before tackling my next purging project!

What are you holding onto “just in case” that you could probably let go of?

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