- Alli Beck
Try our W.A.S.T.E. method for editing your belongings
The editing process can be surprisingly painful, confusing or frustrating for people. It can be difficult to think logically during this process. We all tend to make emotional decisions about buying items, so it is no different when we are choosing to keep or get rid of them.
It’s hard to let go of our belongings. They came into our life for a reason, so how do you know when it’s time to let them go?
We have a useful system that makes the editing process a little easier. Next time you are editing your closet, a junk drawer, or another area of your house, try our W.A.S.T.E. method.
The W.A.S.T.E Method:
W: Is it Worthwhile.
An easy place to start is to look at the condition of the item. Is it broken or threadbare? Has it lost any of its function due to age or use? If it is a piece of clothing, does it have any holes, stains or pills?
If the item isn’t worth saving, toss it. If it is, move on to the next four questions.
A: Again. Will you use this item more than once?
Often we acquire items for a specific purpose during a specific season of life. Maybe you were working on a project and needed this specialized tool. Or maybe you had a special event you needed it for, such as a bridesmaid dress for a wedding.
Be honest with yourself: Will you really use this again? Sometimes we invent scenarios in our mind where this could possibly become useful. But it is a long shot.
If the item would take work or alterations to get it to the point you would use it again, think twice. We all have the best of intentions, but usually those kinds of things end up sitting in drawers waiting for that day for years.
If you know in your heart you probably won’t use it again, get rid of it.
If you will, move on to the next question.
S: Somewhere else. Can you find somewhere else or borrow it if you need?
It’s possible this item could be useful to you again. But maybe the opportunity is so seldom, that you could borrow it or find it somewhere else. It’s not worth storing something you only use every five years.
If you have a way to get it somewhere else, why not sell the item and borrow it when you need it again? That way you will still have an opportunity to use it, but without it cluttering your closet.
T: Toss. Will anything happen if you throw it out? If you need it for tax or legal reasons, keep it.
Ask yourself, what would happen if you tossed it and then found you needed it again? Is it a document that you might need for tax or legal reasons? Would there be a consequence if you got rid of it?
If so, then it makes sense to hold onto it. But there are few items that fall into this category. Most things you can scan and file electronically.
E: Entire. Do you need the whole thing, the complete catalog, or do you just want one page?
Is this something that can be taken apart so that you can keep only the part you need? Saw you are keeping a catalog or a manual. Tear out the alternative languages and just keep the English portion. Or just save a few pages that have what you need.
Then throw the rest out.
Next time you are editing your belongings, don’t rely on your emotions or willpower to help. Instead use our W.A.S.T.E. System to help you make thoughtful and logical decisions about what to keep and what to toss.
Once you’ve edited, it’s time to clean! Try our cleaning schedule checklist.