Can You Trust It?

Figuring out who and what to trust is never easy, and the onslaught of information associated with the current situation has rendered this task more difficult than ever. Every day we interact with people, information, and objects that may, or may not, be reliable. Still, it behooves us to do whatever we can to base our decisions and actions on sources that we believe are dependable.

While trustworthiness is a trait most commonly associated with people, I had an experience the other day that reminded me that the question of trust applies to many aspects of life. Stuck at home like so many others, I decided to reach out to someone whom I had not contacted in a long time. I thought this “stay at home” period might offer a great opportunity to reconnect. I searched my contact list and found an unidentified email address that I thought belonged to the individual I was hoping to reach. The problem was, I wasn’t sure if this address was current. I didn’t want to send an email to the wrong address – that would be embarrassing! I tried searching through my “trash” and “sent” mailboxes, but nothing turned up. Ultimately, I didn’t trust the address, so I didn’t’ use it.  

[In case you are wondering, I ended up finding the person through a social media channel.]

This experience got me thinking about what habits, people, and belongings we might keep around us that we honestly don’t trust enough to employ. As I pondered this question, I realized that there are a number of reasons why reliability might be called into question. For example:


Why I might doubt trustworthinessSuch as...
I believe a source has questionable
or self-serving motives
• Articles, podcasts, news stories
• Friend/family gossip
• Spam phone calls/emails
• Unsolicited advice
• Advertisements
• “Sponsored” social media content
I believe the item may be past its useful life• Old glasses and/or contact lenses
• Dated travel/restaurant guidebooks
• Dated maps
• Textbooks >5 years old
• Rickety furniture
• Unidentified/old phone numbers and addresses
• Old medication
I’ve had a prior bad experience using it• Recipe “fail”
• Device that never worked
• Snack I opened but didn’t like
• Book I never finished
• Unflattering hair, nail, or makeup color
• Frustrating customer experience
• Shredder that always jams
• Unbalanced scale
I know I’m not using it properly• Periodically used calendar/planner
• Unclean/ill-cared-for tools and equipment
• Overloaded circuit
• Car with “check engine” light on
I’ve never used it before,
so I don’t know whether it will work
• Appliance/gadget that’s never been opened
• Recommended “shortcut” I’ve never tried
• App or software that was downloaded but never used
• Item purchased online with few customer reviews


Isn’t it interesting to consider how many things we hold onto that we would be reluctant to use or act upon because we doubt their reliability? As I often tell clients, anything in your life needs to “justify its real estate.” This includes physical space, mental space, and time. For instance:

If we’ve made a few recipes from a cookbook that turned out poorly and/or looked nothing like the photographs, maybe it is time to pitch the book.

If we wouldn’t trust our old guidebook to make travel plans, but instead would look on Trip Advisor, why keep that book around?

If we would never use an appliance, gadget, or tool because we don’t know how to use it properly, do we want to commit the time to learn or would we rather pass it on?

If we are clicking through to articles, but then discounting their content as false, why are we wasting our time reading?

The truth is, we all have limited space, time, and energy. Consequently, it makes sense to surround ourselves with people, objects, and inputs that we trust and use. We may hold onto some items for nostalgic reasons, but in general, anything that doesn’t meet these qualifications can be released.

*     *     *     *     *

Can you think of anything you have kept in your home that you don’t trust?

20 thoughts on “Can You Trust It?”

  1. The idea of how trust plays in our decision-making and habits is a fascinating observation. I often think of the trust we have with people. As in, do we have a trust-worthy relationship and rapport? It’s something that I value deeply and work to create. And I suppose there are things or processes I rely on but hadn’t considered the “trust” aspect until I read your post. For example, I rely on the “2Do” app that resides on my iPad and iPhone. I “trust” that it will cue me when needed, correctly record the items I want to keep track of, and be available when I need to enter or retrieve information. I TRUST that it will work. I TRUST that it will assist me as needed.

    In terms of your question- are there things we have in our home that I don’t trust? I’m going to have to go on a hunt. At this moment, nothing comes to mind, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It’s a different mindset or lens to consider.

    1. I love your comment about the 2Do app. I think one of the reasons you trust it is because you use. The two kind of go hand in hand, don’t they? If you sometimes put items in the app, but other times wrote them down on scraps of paper, you couldn’t be sure that what the app reminded you to do was complete. Almost any system we put in place can work, as long as we commit to using it properly.

  2. I definitely have had my fair share of items in the past that I have not trusted and ended up having to get rid of. Most recently, I went through some books I never read and didn’t plan on reading anytime soon. I donated them and hope that someone else will indeed read and enjoy them. I mean just because they weren’t my first choice to read doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t get pleasure out of reading them.

    1. Perfect example, Janine. I always say, “Books are the ultimate reusable.” It is just silly to think that we are going to like a book better the second time we read it than the first. That just rarely happens. If you start it and don’t like it, no guilt, just pass it on. I’m cheering you over here!

  3. “Do you trust it?” really could substitute for a lot of other questions we ask our organizing clients, couldn’t it? Right now I’m thinking of a pile of magazines or newspaper clippings. Sure, they take up space, and they’ll never actually be read, and the same, better, or more current info is available online. But, “Do you trust the information in that pile?” adds another consideration that clients may relate to.

    1. Exactly, Hazel. Perhaps just another question to consider as we evaluate belongings. If we don’t trust it, and won’t rely on it to perform it’s intended function, then perhaps that can give us the needed permission to let it go. Sometimes just going at a challenge from a different angle can provide the motivation we need to make a tough decision!

    1. I was working with a client (back in the day when I was allowed to leave the house!), and he had a vast collection of graphic arts books. We both thought that they could be used by someone else, as graphic art doesn’t change, right? When I contacted a local community college, she was interested, but not in all of them. We needed to make a list of the titles and dates so she could discern whether or not they would still be useful to their students. Most reference materials have a shelf life, either because the content expires, or because we can access the content in an easier fashion elsewhere.

  4. It’s hard for me to trust anything I hear on the news these days. I wish I could have some confidence in what I am hearing.
    Interesting topic – trust. I was trying to learn something on my own this morning and I don’t trust that I did it correctly. It’s technology related and I don’t trust myself in this realm.

    1. I’m having some technology challenges today myself. Technology is always the hardest, and there often is no one to ask for help. I think the entire thing has gotten beyond the ability of the basic user, especially when something goes wrong. Argh!

  5. Thank you for this deep dive into trust. It’s been on my mind as well. I appreciate how you have taken the topic of trusted sources to another level. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Trust is so important for decision-making, isn’t it? We’ve gotta trust our tools and sources, or we either won’t use them or will be vulnerable to error.

    1. It’s funny how many old resources we tend to keep on hand. I’ve been going through mine as well. If I won’t pull out that resource when I need it, but instead will use another source, then it is time for that one to go!

  6. Such excellent points. One “trust” factor I keep coming back to is, “Do I trust that this resource is giving me something I need and want?” It might be a perfectly amiable person hell-bent on getting me to volunteer my time, a newsletter that keeps showing up in my inbox, using valuable mental energy as I keep avoiding reading what I know I won’t ever act upon, or a resource in the house that I could trust to work, like a lovely soufflé pan, if only I could trust myself to ever actually make a soufflé! Sometimes, the reliability of the item has more to do with us than with the item itself, so we have to give ourselves permission to recognize that we’re not the right owner/confidante/user for it. And that’s OK.
    Julie Bestry recently posted…Paper Doll’s Ultimate Guide to Organizing a Virtual Field TripMy Profile

    1. Yes, so true Julie. Sometimes it is about simply recognizing we aren’t willing to invest the time/energy to use something properly. If we can’t use it properly, we shouldn’t use it at all.

  7. I learned a long time ago that trust is when words and actions match. That refers to people, information- lots of things. I try to listen to what I know, the hard facts about what I learned. If services, the media, resources or products etc. have shown me otherwise, then I don’t trust it.
    In my home, I’ll toss products, recipes even clothes that don’t deliver what they promised.

  8. I haven’t even thought of that, but yes, the things I use incorrectly. There are a lot of those. And I agree about “sponsored” social media content. Even as a blogger! That’s why I keep my FB profile as just me, I make sure to have organic IG content, and I have my Friday blog posts which are so heady.
    Lately I’m having trouble trusting any news sources.

    1. I love that you are still just writing for your pleasure on Fridays. You always have something insightful and meaningful to say!!

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