When I go on vacation, I like to pack extra clothes—just in case. Sometimes those extra clothes are useful, like the dressy top just in case we go out to nice restaurant, or the sweatshirt just in case it turns cold. But more often than not the extra socks, T-shirts, or jeans return home unused.
A few extra clothes aren’t a big deal on a weekend trip, but those three little words can lead to all sorts of problems if we apply them to every item we are tempted to keep.
What just in case really means
I was challenged to rethink what the phrase means when it comes to holding on to our stuff. Just in case easily becomes an excuse…
- For procrastination
- To avoid letting go
- To give in to the fear that I might not have enough someday so I’d better stockpile now. (Remember how that worked for the Israelites collecting manna in the wilderness?)
A few examples of how I discovered just in case was sabotaging my thinking. I found myself keeping…
- Books on medieval history just in case I decide to start writing books set in that time period.
- A novel my friend loved just in case I ever feel like reading it. (If it’s been sitting around for two years, let’s face it—I’m never going to feel like reading it. Time to be authentic about my particular reading tastes and send the book on to someone else who will actually enjoy it.)
- A seven-year-old dress just in case I need to wear it again. (Um, I now have other dresses that look better on me.)
- Old sneakers just in case I need to do a messy job such as painting. (Good idea, except I recently threw out four pairs of old sneakers. One pair of old shoes is sufficient. Ditto for jeans and sweatshirts.)
- Empty shoe boxes. The sturdy kind. Just in case I need a nice box to put something in.
If my son and I went to a Buy-One-Get-One-Half-Off shoe sale, how many empty shoe boxes are currently in the house? A) two B) four C) at least eight D) Anyone want to build an shoe box fort?
- I’m not even going to bring up Amazon boxes. Ahem. NEWS FLASH: Empty cardboard boxes are easy to come by. Unless you are packing up the house, you don’t need to stockpile.
- A closet full of old costume pieces. (If I no longer direct high school plays, and my children are out of college, the likelihood that “Oh my gosh, I need a costume—tomorrow—for my group presentation” is pretty much nil.)
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Where has just in case wormed it’s way into your thinking? Are you ready to join my in my newest Live Intentionally resolution?
I RESOLVE face reality and admit that JUST IN CASE is an excuse to keep a lot stuff I don’t need. I further RESOLVE to slash those words from my list of allowable reasons to hold on to things. If I can’t think of a better reason than JUST IN CASE I don’t really need it at all.
Do you agree?