Evicting Justin Case

Is there an extra person living in your home or hanging out in your office who keeps you from uncluttering? His name is Justin Case, and he sure does seem to get around:

“I should hold onto this, Justin Case.”

“One day I might need this, Justin Case.”

Caring for a person takes time, energy, resources, and space — and Justin Case is no different. Taking care of Justin Case means that you’re exerting your efforts on him and not spending time, energy, resources, and space on people and experiences that actually matter to you in the present.

People allow Justin Case into their lives when they fear the unexpected. There is a false sense of security that Justin Case will prepare one for whatever the future holds.

But, as Helen Keller so aptly explained, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

Now is the time to evict Justin Case from your home or office. Trust that you will be able to handle life’s unexpected bumps without all of the effort, space, and stuff that Justin Case requires you to maintain. Adios, Justin!

(Note: Evicting Justin Case does not give you license to stop taking responsibility for the things that do matter to you. Health insurance, food in the refrigerator, and spending less than you earn are examples of being responsible for the things you want in your life.)

39 Comments for “Evicting Justin Case”

  1. posted by Timo on

    Lol. Nice and right to the point :-)

  2. Profile photo of

    posted by Another Deb on

    I recently found a need for a tiny peg of wood I have been storing and moving for the past 20 years. At first I was so proud that I could lay my hands right on it, since I have been “organizing” it for all that time. On second thought, I realized that I had a LOT of other little pieces of junk that I have been storing and sorting through without the need for it in 20 years, both at home and in my classroom.

    As the school year comes to a close, I think I need to introduce that Justin Case kid in my classroom to my other good buddy, “Good Will”!

  3. posted by Rue on

    I thought Justin Case was that kid in the SafeAuto commercial? ;D

    That said, totally agree with this post. Unfortunately I know people who are big fans of Justin Case…

  4. posted by @MikeCase on

    I’ve never thought of ‘security’ as a superstition. Great post!

    Except for the part where you kick out my cousin!

  5. posted by Shalin on

    What a fantastic post!

    This give me an idea of basically getting rid of anything that I have no intention of using in the near-term or mid-term. And that if do have a “bullet-proof” justifiable reason for holding onto it for the long-term, it’ll all have to fit in a banker’s file box…

    The Helen Keller quote is great! …it makes me think all I really need to do is just take a step forward with genuine intention and a sufficient amount of a path will appear before me…

    Very best,
    Shalin

  6. posted by Eric Matthews on

    Great post!

    Justin sure gets around. I was sure he was living exclusively in my basement. Apparently he’s been all over the world. I’m willing to give up custody, since he’s making it hard for me to see my floors.

    Thanks for reminding me about him. I think I’ll start dealing with him this weekend.

  7. posted by Kelly on

    I loved this Erin, especially since my friend named their son Justin Case ;) I’ll let the kid know he’s in danger of eviction!

  8. posted by Elaine on

    What an excellent and timely topic. Justin Case results in people’s closets being crammed full of surplus items like toilet paper, which they buy in bulk, spurred on by coupons. “Justin Time” is a much more efficient guest, as we anticipate what we will need in the short term and buy it then. People are so afraid of running out. We no longer live a “Little House on the Prairie” existence, where we have to travel 3 days by Conestoga to get “provisions.” The only downside to this is more frequent trips by car … but we’ll do that anyway…

  9. posted by Lesley on

    @Elaine, I have to respectfully disagree. There’s a big difference between stocking up on needed consumables that are a great deal, and keeping items that are likely never used.

    I am a Grocery Game shopper. I have a large shelf in my garage and an extra freezer. Both are stocked with food my family WILL eat in the next few months. But I buy almost all of my grocery, health, beauty and other consumable items at a discount of 50 percent or more. (Monthly budget for all those categories is $350 for a family of four, including two hungry boys.) That is frugality and planning, not hoarding or buying unneeded items. (These are NOT Justin Case items. They are items we need and will definitely use. Does TP really go to waste at your house?)

    Sorry for the long response, but I’ve worked very hard to declutter and simplify in the last year. Buying needed items in bulk is not contrary to those principles if it helps my family meet our financial goals.

    In contrast, if I buy those items “Justin Time,” I will probably pay retail and waste a lot of dough.

  10. posted by Jay on

    Justin Case likes to help people pack their luggage for traveling. Send him elsewhere while you pack.

  11. posted by Sue on

    My daughter went to school with Justin Case; also A. Einstein and Polly Ester, and all three ran for student council. I thought it was a joke at first when I saw the signs on the corridor walls at school. Maybe there needs to be some uncluttering for new parents choosing baby names. I chose my daughter’s first name based on number of letters (five) and ease of showing her how to spell it when she learned to read and write.

    Great column, btw.

  12. posted by Skeemer118 on

    Throwing my two cents in on the stock piling & coupon use. :)

    I only purchase things in bulk that my family will use. For instance, we’ll use 10 cans of shave gel on closeout prices however we can’t use 10 tubes of toothpaste just because it’s on close out prices. I estimate how my family will use the product & the bottom line is if they can’t use it in a timely manner & it risks going to waste then it’s likely a waste of my money. However, I’m a couponer too & enjoy the challenge/game of saving cash. I never pass up a free or nearly free product no matter how many I have. I frequently give shower gels, soaps, & etc away to my parents or others who can use them.

    @ Elaine – Kudos to your Little House comment, LOL. Love it! You’re right, most people DO get in the car anyway to go places. Since I’m on a quest to become debt free though, these unecessary trips have stopped. Some of us do make concious decisions to avoid little trips to the store or town. :)

  13. posted by Marci on

    Loved this post! I am sending it straightaway to my Mom, who loves Justin like a son. Will make it known that he is not welcome in my home, either (but I think they both know that already.)
    IMHO, I don’t really think consumables, even bulk purchases, would fall in this category, since they are items you KNOW you will use in the foreseeable future. Justin Case’s items are more like Another Deb’s wooden peg, my Mom’s extra coffee carafes for the broken coffee maker (Justin Case she buys another of the exact same model coffee maker and breaks the carafe), and DH’s collection of 12 hammers (for a hammer emergency, I suppose.)
    Thanks for the laugh!

  14. posted by Chris2 on

    My Justin Case story

    When cleaning out the garage years ago I came across a snow shovel. My husband glared at me and told me I couldn’t get rid of it, which I agreed ‘Justin Case.’

    A couple of years later we had the worst snow storms in over 30 years and snow shovels had sold out all over the city. I was glad that I had kept our shovel for Justin Case! On the other hand, this weekend I am going to sort through dozens of measuring spoons that I seem to be overly attached to ‘Justin Case.’

  15. posted by Mara on

    Justin Case is my father’s twin brother. It’s taken me a lifetime to learn how to live differently than they do!

  16. posted by Miss Margaret Picky on

    I will evict Justin Case as soon as I get a round tuit!

  17. posted by Sassy on

    My Dad loves Justin Case just like a son….

    He keeps telling me that some of his things are worth a lot of money, but I keep telling him that I hope the charity shop appreciates them as I won’t be keeping them…

  18. posted by Andy on

    I think the trick is to juggle the relationship between Justin Case and Justin Time. There’s a balance to be achieved. Justin Case is steady, reliable, sometimes a bit of a bore, sometimes even suffocating, but definitely useful to know at times. Justin Time is new and kind of thrilling (to many of us anyway lol), daring, even reckless, and often forces us outside our comfort zone, but if we’re willing to face our fears, Justin Time can show us a whole new way of life that’s more enjoyable and productive than we ever imagined.

  19. posted by The Simple Dollar » The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: David Cameron Edition on

    […] Evicting Justin Case The problem with “Justin Case” is that he often lives in storage lockers, adding to your monthly bills. (@ unclutterer) […]

  20. posted by daiyami on

    The problem is, Justin Case is right too often. In addition, getting rid of Justin Case has a pretty high cost, while the *marginal* cost of keeping Justin Case is often pretty low. For example, I have a pair of snazzy gold dress sandals that I have worn maybe 3 times in the last 5 years. Something I could get rid of, right? But, 1) having that pair in reserve means I exert zero effort in wondering whether I need fancy-dress shoes 2) considering that I am storing and toting around 20 other pairs of shoes that I regularly wear, keeping a 21st box is FAR less than the time, energy, and resources it would have taken me to go buy a pair of shoes to go with an outfit every 5 years.

    Do I need 20 pairs of shoes? No. But since I am regularly using them, they aren’t clutter. Should I be willing to accept just wearing completely wrong shoes with an outfit? Maybe that is the price of an uncluttered life.

    It’s also really tough to evict Justin Case without sending him straight to clutter our landfills.

  21. posted by erin on

    Justin Case is my husbands child from before we were together. I’ve been slowly moving him out over the years.

    My father also brought his son, Justin Case, into him and my mother’s relationship. She seems to have successfully moved him out.

    Life is simpler when he is not around.

  22. posted by Kelly (Your Life, Organized) on

    I love this! If you don’t know where the problem is, you have NO chance of fixing it! Giving him a name makes sense because it makes it real. Awesome!!

  23. posted by chanaleh on

    @daiyami: I don’t think this principle necessarily applies to specialty items you use rarely but predictably. Consider, by contrast, a pair of shoes you had to match a dress that no longer fits, but you keep them Justin Case you end up with ANOTHER outfit they go with….!

  24. posted by Nancy Shohet West on

    I’m the opposite of the Justin Case set: I jettison everything in sight at the end of the day, based on a simple albeit morbid principle that I apply to every piece of clutter I come across: If I dropped dead, could I justify someone else having to deal with it? I blogged about it here: http://writingrunningraisingki.....orbid.html

  25. posted by The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: David Cameron Edition on

    […] Evicting Justin Case The problem with “Justin Case” is that he often lives in storage lockers, adding to your monthly bills. (@ unclutterer) […]

  26. posted by Cheryl on

    Justin Case lives in my house. He shows himself in the form of..
    – Newspapers accumulated over the summer for use starting the fireplace. Are we not going to get newspapers in the winter – when we USE the fireplace?
    – Books piled on the end table Justin Case I get a few minutes to read. Would they not be better on the bookcase? Can I not pull one down when I have the time?
    – Computer disc drive pulled out of an old, crashed computer. If we need to replace a CD/DVD drive, are we not going to want a new(er) model to replace it with?

    Justin Case can stay in certain instances, we will consume those 25 rolls of tp purchased for pennies because Justin Time is not always reliable. Look at the shelves of the grocery when a storm is predicted. The tp shelf is the first one empty. :-)

    There is a difference between being prepared and being cluttered.

  27. posted by Shy on

    Justin Case absorbs time, energy and value. For some people it might be worth it, others realize that the money saved will not equal the aggravation of living around “Justin Case.”

  28. posted by Wendy Wilson on

    Hmmmmmm, several members of our family have had a Justin Case living their homes.
    I’ve been giving JC notice, but he’s been ignoring me lately. I do try to clean up the papers and magazines, but at least I’m down to two subscriptions! Newspapers go to the puppies at the shelter, magazines to the nursing home. But, seriously, I need to deal with the 5 lb weights on the kitchen counter……….and use up my fabric stash like crazy in charity quilts!
    I already HAVE a round TUIT, a potholder I made for my M-I-L, and brought back home after cleaning out HER house! Maybe I should make more and give them away!

  29. posted by All Kind Mortgage » Blog Archive » The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: David Cameron Edition on

    […] Evicting Justin Case The problem with “Justin Case” is that he often lives in storage lockers, adding to your monthly bills. (@ unclutterer) […]

  30. posted by Carol Cripps on

    @Wendy Wilson- I love the idea of “Round Tuit” potholders. What a great yarn stashbuster and charity fundraiser! Gee, I get to (partially)evict Justin Case, and help out a local charity at the same time. Win-win in my view.

  31. posted by gypsy packer on

    Justin Case and I are old buddies. When numerous bushels of fruit became available for free, in the jars they went, even though a single woman can only consume so many. During a period of unemployment, I had that fruit for breakfast six mornings a week, and it always tasted great. Justin makes sure I keep the closet, pantry, and storage chest filled with tomatoes, green beans, berries, and all sorts of salsas and relishes.

    My toolbox is joint property with Justin, as are the computer repair courses. And, yes, he lives at an inexpensive storage locker, waiting for the day he can share my own home again, instead of a domestic’s room. He guards the art,antiques, and few small family heirlooms, and I haven’t the heart to evict him, since he may be useful for a rent reference some day.

  32. posted by The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: David Cameron Edition | Frugal Living News on

    […] Evicting Justin Case The problem with “Justin Case” is that he often lives in storage lockers, adding to your monthly bills. (@ unclutterer) […]

  33. posted by vegeater.com » Blog Archive » Stuff. And De-Stuffing. on

    […] of keeping this item outweigh the cost of moving and/or storing it? f) Does this item qualify as a Justin Case? If so, he is not your friend, and he is likely easily replaceable if the imagined need were to […]

  34. posted by Bruce on

    […] Evicting Justin Case The problem with “Justin Case” is that he often lives in storage lockers, adding to your monthly bills. (@ unclutterer) […]

  35. posted by Operation Nuke and Pave» Blog Archive » Goal: Catalog And Cull on

    […] Clutter: this is the pile of stuff that’s lying around because we feel that it may serve some purpose in the future.  And, by gum, it can be one weird assortment of junk, if we’re honest.  Just with a quick […]

  36. posted by Welcome to minimalistsurvival.wordpress.com! « Minimalist Survival on

    […] in case the first one gets lost or broken? Should you buy a home in the mountains to hunker down in just in case disaster strikes? Or should you prepare yourself to be ready no matter where you are? Having food […]

  37. posted by Lessons From Moving All My Gadgets | Digitizd on

    […] Don’t make my mistake. Identify what everything is for, and if you won’t definitely need it someday, get rid of it. If you can, use a site like Gazelle to sell your old tech, and you’ll even make a few bucks off your old junk. It’ll make for less clutter and less annoyance finding what you actually do need, and it gets rid of that annoying guy, Justin Case. […]

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