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Managing the ‘maybe’ pile: a how-to guide.

the decluttering process Mar 11, 2019

So, what should you do with your maybe‘ pile?

In the last post, we reviewed the 3 parts of the decluttering process. If you’ve already started on a room, then you likely now have a pile or two maybes. In this post, I will walk you through some tactics that will help make the final determination.

When it comes to managing your maybe pile, it’s important to you have a system that will allow you to distinguish when something should stay or go. Use any of the tactics below to create your system.

Option 1: Out of sight, out of mind

How it works: take all the items in your maybe pile and bag or box them up. Label the container with details of the contents and store in a place that isn’t visible (under the bed, off-site, in a closet, garage). Then set a reminder 2 to 3 weeks out to donate the box. If you find yourself using any of the items, they can stay. If not, the container will be donated in its entirety on the date you’ve set.

Initially, the idea might seem overwhelming, but remember that items in the maybe pile either haven’t been used in 6 months or they no longer fit your lifestyle. If you haven’t used it in at least 6 months, then it’s unlikely you will use them in the following 6.

Option 2: Create deadlines and separation

This option is great if you think there’s a slight chance these items will be used. I’ve used this method several times and it’s great! More often than not I end up throwing out/donating these items, but it gives me the clarity I need to feel at peace with the decision. If the first option gives you some anxiety, then this tactic is for you.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Set the maybe items aside so that they are separate from the items you know you’re keeping.
    • For example, let’s say you’re on the fence about your shoes. Set the shoes in your yes pile on one side of the closet and shoes in the no pile on the other.
  2. Then decide how long you have to use these items before they have to go.
    • The time frame is totally up to you here. I recommend starting with 2 weeks and extending it to no more than 4. If the item(s) are not used within that time frame, then you toss them.

Option 3: Lend it and see if you want it back

How it works: take the item(s) in your pile and lend it to a friend. In a few weeks, whatever you don’t ask for they get to keep!

I use this method with my television. I was not sure I would never want to watch TV again and needed a way to keep it without keeping it in the house. Ultimately, I opted to let my boyfriend use it until I concluded I would no longer need it. 3 years later, he’s still holding on to it!

Pro tip: use this method with people you trust who will take care of your things.

And that’s it!

Keep in mind that you don’t have to throw away everything you choose not to keep. You also have the option of donating, reselling or thrifting.

What method do you like the most?

In the next post, we’ll dive deeper into the reflection process to ensure you learn all you can from your clutter!

Que-so goodbye,


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