Three Dangerous Words

No, not “I love you,” though they, too, can start all kinds of mischief.

The dangerous words I have in mind are words that are not a problem when used in moderation and with awareness, but dangerous when applied too often. I’m thinking of “just for now.”

I hear it regularly. When I ask a client where they would like to keep something, the answer may come back, “I’ll put it here, just for now.”

One good definition of clutter, advanced by organizing pioneer Barbara Hemphill, is that clutter is nothing more than deferred decisions.

So here’s the test: if you tell yourself, I’ll do it this way “just for now” or I’ll put it here “just for now” because you’re in the middle of a big organizing project and the object’s final home hasn’t yet been decided and depends on other decisions before it is possible to assign a home, then it’s probably okay to assign a temporary home just for now. (You can see that this doesn’t apply to many circumstances.)

If you tell yourself, “I’ll do this just for now” because you’re too tired or overwhelmed to make a final decision, notice that. When will you make a final decision? What additional information do you need before you can assign the object a home or decide to discard it at last?

“Just for now” is a phrase that must be used with caution and awareness. If you don’t know where something belongs, that’s okay. You can figure it out. If you need help to figure it out, that’s fine too. Just get that help from an accountability partner — friend, non-judgmental colleague, or professional organizer — as soon as possible.

Don’t let “just for now” become a euphemism for “I can’t decide.”

Have you heard any dangerous words lately, from your mouth or someone else’s? Let us know what to look out for! Leave a comment here.

Note: the photo is a dictionary given to me by my editor at the Davenport (IA) Times Democrat (now the Quad-City Times), Janet Grimley, in 1972. The definitions are often out of date, but the book still gives joy.

One Response to Three Dangerous Words

  1. You’re absolutely right, “Just For Now” signals a decision waiting to happen. Or, in my case, a sign that I’m really tired 🙂 But even then, I know that I’ll only have to put the object back in its correct place tomorrow…

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