Decluttering Tip #5: Your keys meant it when they said “do not duplicate.”

Did you ever move into an apartment, get handed your keys, and read the “do not duplicate” statement stamped on them with a bit of frustration? (And then like me, did you run out to the hardware store and immediately get them copied?)

They keys were right. I’m realizing that keeping duplicates typically just wastes space and energy.

Last week I found that I owned 13 baking dishes. I can tell you that I also own seven pairs of gloves, over twenty pairs of shoes, over a dozen mugs, at least ten jackets, enough lipstick to wear a different color every day for more than two work weeks…you get the point. Don’t even ask about my handbag collection. Therefore, I must learn:

Don’t keep something if you have another item that serves the same purpose. 

Don’t take this as a rule, but instead as a guideline. Sometimes having two items isn’t necessary but sure is nice. For example, my husband and I keep two vegetable peelers. Why? Because when we’re peeling fruit to can, which happens several times each year, we’re both peeling at the same time. Peeling 25 pounds of peaches is a lot more pleasant when you’re not sharing a peeler.  But do I need four peelers like my mother has? No!

Same goes for shoes. I could live with one pair of black heels, but I have a nasty habit of breaking bones in my feet and my pants have been tailored to different shoe heights. So, I plan to whittle my way down to somewhere between two and five pairs of black dress shoes of different heights and styles. I own ten right now.

Go easy on yourself. Living more simply is not going to happen overnight and it will happen more slowly if you make yourself miserable in the process. Crash dieting only makes most people want to overindulge afterwards, right? So don’t throw out all of your shoes at once. Or all of your DVDs. Do it one at a time. You’ll get there eventually. Did you even notice the duplicates were gone?

(Occasionally there are some things that it is wise to keep duplicates of. Ironically, keys are one of these things. I do keep a spare house key key in a safe location in case I get locked out.  So far it’s only happened twice. However, I’m not sure I need to keep keys to my old apartments anymore. Fortunately, I’m not the only one who has had to conquer that habit.)

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