Decluttering Fear: It Might Be Worth Something Someday

One of the biggest battles people face when it comes to letting go of an item (or purchasing an item) is that deep held belief that it might be worth something someday. Not only do we tend to this thing where we over-value our belongings simply because they are ours, but we also tend to forget to remember what our own definition of valuable is. If you struggle to shake free from that fear that you could be missing out on a potentially huge monetary gain, hopefully this little story about my Spice Girls dolls can shed some light on the subject.

They’ll be worth something…

When I was in 6th and 7th grade, I was wildly obsessed with the Spice Girls. So much so that I had a closet filled with platform shoes. To be clear, no one else in my friend group, or my entire school for that matter, was rocking this same style of shoes. I was on a solo mission to bring as much Girl Power to Junior High as possible.

Knowing this, you can imagine how psyched I was to learn that they were releasing Spice Girls Barbies!

With a little patience and a lot of schmoozing my parents and grandparents, I had the entire collection of Spice Girls in no time. Make no mistake, even though I had entered Junior High, wore platforms every day, and had a cup size bigger than most of my teachers, I was most definitely still a kid at heart.

My grandma’s basement was filled with my dolls, Barbies, and other fantastic tools of make believe. The best part was, I used each and every toy to its absolute fullest potential.

This is part of the reason why I allow my kids to enjoy their experience with stuff rather than limiting their toys. I don’t buy them the toys they request beyond birthday and Christmas (sometimes not even then), but I have simply allowed them to enjoy what they choose to enjoy and let go when they choose to let go. Our unfinished basement is filled with dollhouses, dolls, and dress ups and they are being used up, loved on, and thoroughly played with. It’s awesome.

That’s why, upon the purchase of these Spice Girl Barbies, I couldn’t fathom why my parents would say to me one of the most painfully ignorant things I had ever heard.

“Keep them in the box. They’ll be worth something someday.”

Getting my Spice Girls’ worth

I attempted to oblige my parent’s request for all of 6 seconds. Did they actually expect me to just plop these things on a shelf and stare at them until I was 40? As if!

Last I checked dolls were toys and toys were meant to be played with, not to be stored in boxes in hopes of some potential future payout.

At the time, most of the items that accumulated in my mom’s house were going to be “worth something someday,” and while I was super jealous of how much money she was going to bank on her Princess Diana beanie baby, 11 year old me simply didn’t care.

My only mission at the age of 11 was to totally bask in the joy of brand new toys.

Every day I would set my Spice Girls up on stage, pose them, brush their hair, and when I was feeling extra spicy, I would even swap their clothes and shoes! I took pictures of them, and made movies of them dancing while their songs echoed in the background of my shotty camera work.

I played with them so much their hair matted, accessories got lost, and when I reached whatever age I was when playing with dolls finally lost its appeal, those girls had seen it all. They had performed on stages around the world, worked out the fights the real Spice Girls couldn’t work out, and experienced what it was like to wear one another’s shoes. (Get it?)

Today I decided to check on eBay to see how much these Spice Girls are “worth” these days. They are listed between the prices of $70 and $200 – for all 5 in mint condition.

Now, considering that some of them are sporting their KMart price tag for $12.99 this means that brand new all of them cost a grand total of $65. Let’s say, best case scenario, I was able to hang onto them and get them for the maximum amount of $200, which seems unlikely.

This would have meant I would have needed to:

  • Not play with these dolls as a kid
  • Spend careful time and effort to maintain their boxes
  • Store them and move them the 9 times I moved since purchasing them
  • Set up an eBay account
  • Take the time to take photos, write descriptions and list them
  • Continue to store them in mint condition until they sold
  • Bring them to get shipped once they sell

Call me crazy, but the time (literally years), and effort put into carting these dolls around with me for 15 years in order to make $130 doesn’t seem worth it.

Little me, little 11 year old me and 36 year old me are in full agreement that those dolls served their purpose, and we’re OK with skipping out on $130 if it meant 130 hours of pure, Girl Power playtime.

If you hang onto clutter or purchase things because they might be worth something someday, read this for a new perspective.
Image from Distractify

The cost of $130

I tell you this story to illustrate a point about worth and how we often perceive it wrong. So often in our world, the only focus put on worth is that of monetary gain, but our time on this earth is worth so much more than that.

Some people might hear that and go, “Yes, our time is worth more than that, but it’s still money!” Oftentimes, these are also the people who are skipping out on things like investing, and making passive income. These are things that can easily earn you $130 every single day without having to do absolutely anything – let alone cart around some pop star dolls from the 90’s.

If I had proudly displayed these dolls in every home I have lived in since I was 11. If they had brought me straight up joy for 15 years and then one day I decided I was ready to part with them, listed them on my already set up eBay account, and then shipped them out with little effort, then maybe $130 would feel a little more like a perk rather than a giant time suck, but that wasn’t the case for me. Read: An Unused Item is Already Garbage

What is worth to you?

So many times people accumulate things, or struggle to let go of them because of this myth of potential monetary worth. Chances are you know someone, or maybe are someone who has fed into this belief. If so, can I make another bold statement?

It’s not just one thing that has been carted around for years because it might be worth something.

The people I have come across in my life who carry the belief of, “It might be worth something someday” often spend money frequently on things that offer a potential payout, store these items in their home adding to the clutter, and never ever sell them. If they do sell them, they may only get their money back, or maybe earn a slight profit.

However, if the money spent in the accumulation of all of these potential investments was missed throughout the years, or added to financial hardship, was it worth it?

If these items added to the clutter in the home which increases stress and decreased space for family gatherings, was it worth it?

Was the time spent finding, purchasing, storing, maintaining and selling this item worth it?

That’s up to each of us to decide.

Choosing your worth

Today, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does worth mean to me?
  • What are the things I value most in my life?
  • Does my home and lifestyle reflect this?
  • Have I been tricked into believing my worth or values lie elsewhere?

At the end of the day, we each get to decide what worth means to us, where our values lie, and then we need to get honest with ourselves about what areas of our life simply don’t measure up. This goes for thing like clutter that might be “worth” something someday, but can also extend so much further than that.

If you hang onto clutter or purchase things because they might be worth something someday, read this for a new perspective.

Investing in sure things

OK, so you might understand that there are bigger things in life than money and monetary gain, right? Cool. Me too.

However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t need money to live or that none of us actually enjoy getting more money, of course we do!

What I’m suggesting is that we stop putting our potential profits into total gambles, like toy collectibles, and instead entrust our financial decisions to proven financial payoffs like high-yield savings, investing, and making passive income.

Below I’m going to share with you some of my favorite blog posts about how to get started easily in all of these areas:

All of these are methods and strategies I have used and applied to my own life that continue to pay out every day versus hanging on to a bunch of stuff that hopefully, fingers-crossed, might earn me $100 20 years from now.

Living with what pays off right now

After going through your list and determining what you find valuable and worthy in your life, how can you begin to love-on these things and put your energy and time toward them starting right now?

What in your home is serving you immensely right now?

Who or what do you have in your life that adds value every day? Are you able to put your focus and attention in these areas?

Whether or not you are someone who has been hanging onto stuff for a potential future payout, taking the time to shift our focus toward what truly matters to us in life is something we can all benefit from.

If you do happen to be someone who has a big pile of, “Stuff that might be worth something,” I would love it if you would ask yourself if what that stuff might be worth actually lines up with your idea of what worth truly means.

The next time you find yourself getting swept up in the rush to buy something because it might be a potential collectible or “worth something” someday. Remind yourself that you have made the decision to only spend money on the things that are truly worth your money and offer you a payout that is aligned with your values and how you want to show up for your life.

Declutter prompt 

I’m sure you know where I’m headed with this week’s declutter prompt.

If you have anything in your home that you keep putting off decluttering because you think it might offer some monetary payout in the future, might I encourage you to do one of two things.

  • Simply donate this item(s)
  • List it already

You can try to sell these things for what they might be worth if you can’t fully commit to simply donating, however, I would still encourage you to give yourself a selling deadline.

If in 2 weeks that item is still sitting around collecting dust and taking up space, un-list it and donate it.

The letting go process of items like these can be extra difficult because we have led ourselves to believe that we will gain something from it or get something back. The reality is this rarely, if ever happens and the only thing we usually ever cost ourselves is the peace that comes from parting ways.

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If you hang onto clutter or purchase things because they might be worth something someday, read this for a new perspective.

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