The idea that we paid money for an object (or experience, as with the movie) is not a valid reason to hold onto something... The money has already been spent. We can't go back in time and unmake a purchase no matter how much we all would like to. Therefore, letting an object's purchase price be part of our decision to keep it in the future is irrational. We've stopped evaluating the current merits of the object and are instead evaluating costs we can't recoup. This line of thinking is so prevalent that it is studied in economics and is called the sunk cost fallacy.Here are a few more reasons to study economics and some of this economist's thoughts on simplicity.
Simply stated, if you don't have use for an object, then the real value of that object to you is zero -- not what was spent on it when you bought it. You don't need it and you don't really want it. Instead of holding onto it, you should consider donating the object to charity or selling it to someone who places a higher value on the object than you do. I enjoy knowing that something I once enjoyed has been set free into the world to be valued by someone else (or at least that's what I tell myself when I part with the clutter).
Reminding ourselves about the sunk cost fallacy is one way to get past the "but I paid a lot of money for it" excuse for holding onto things we no longer value or need. Although it's a difficult task, it can be helpful when tackling an uncluttering project to keep in mind the current value of an object, not its purchase price.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Studying Economics To Help Get Rid of Clutter
Not only can studying economics help make you happier and earn a decent living, it can help you declutter too! (Although the offices of some of my profs seem to contradict this notion.)