The 5 Items a Professional Organizer Would Never Get Rid Of (At Least Not Right Away)

As the founder of Get Organized Already, it’s Nonnahs Driskill’s job to help people live with less. “If somebody’s telling me that they’re ready to get rid of something, I rarely will say no,” she says. The professional organizer is used to talking people down from the “but maybe I’ll use it…someday!” mentality, so when we asked her what—if anything—she’d never get rid of, it took Driskill some time to come up with an answer. “I couldn’t think of much,” she admitted, but after careful deliberation, she shared a handful of items she’d absolutely recommend holding onto (at least for a little while). Heads up, some of these may surprise you.

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1. The Packaging On Your Latest Splurge

If—and only if—you plan on reselling a pricey handbag or lightly worn pair of designer heels down the road, it’s worth holding on to the box it came in. “Having that increases the resale value,” Driskill explains. “It makes the buyer feel like they’re getting a higher-quality item.” She emphasizes that you should only bother with high-end items—including fashion, tech and fine china—since all that packaging can quickly snowball into clutter.

what organizer wouldnt toss journals
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2. childhood Journals

You may cringe while reading them, but your old journals are worth keeping, for a few reasons. “If you took the time to write in it as a kid, that meant something,” Driskill says. These childhood journals can provide insight into moments you might not remember so clearly, help you reconnect with your younger self—and empathize with what your children are going through. “It helps me relate to my daughter more,” she adds. “When I read through them, I realize I changed my mind every day, like she does. I don’t remember it, but I have proof right there.”

3. Your Partner’s Stuff

You hate those grungy T-shirts your spouse refuses to retire; we get it. But that doesn’t mean you should sneak behind their back and toss ‘em when they’re out of the house. Chances are, your S.O. won’t just forget those things disappeared…and how would you feel if the tables were turned?

what organizer wouldnt toss loved ones items
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4. a Lost Loved One’s Personal Items

What about when someone you love has died, and now you’re faced with what to keep and what to toss? In that case, Driskill recommends waiting three to 12 months before making any keep-or-donate decisions on deeply personal items, like the dog-eared cookbook they scribbled notes in and their favorite pieces of clothing. (On the flip side, if it’s been five or more years, you may need an outside perspective to help you let go of items—and the guilt you’re feeling about letting go.)

5. A Container That’s Missing A Lid

If you have the space, dedicate a shelf to the “I’ll use this later” items your sensible side really struggles to part with, like an organizing bin that’s missing a lid. Maybe you’ll haul it out to stow tall vases or that tabletop Christmas tree and other holiday décor that wouldn’t fit in the box if the lid was on it—great! But everything on that shelf should have a theoretical expiration date. Driskill explains: If it’s been a year and you haven’t touched the items, it’s worth reconsidering. Otherwise, you’ve got a clutter problem waiting to happen.

candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...