NYC Subway Tokens…and Organizing

Don’t worry, this isn’t really a detour from organizing because we can’t even hop the A train uptown with my NYC subway tokens. Please let me explain…

My NYC Subway Tokens and Organizing


People often think that professional organizers want you to get rid of everything in order to get organized. Nope. 

You might feel pressure to get rid of the things that are important only to you when downsizing. We definitely don’t want that!

During certain times of the year, like around the New Year, you might feel a tug to toss everything for a fresh start. That can be a good thing if it helps you find the important things in your life.

My NYC Subway Tokens…and Organizing

Recently one of our clients was moving to a new home, and it was hands down the simplest move we’ve ever done. While he was emptying out his desk (which went to donation), we came across a New York City subway token that he was ready to chuck in the trash, so I offered to buy it from him.

vintage NYC Subway Tokens and Organizing


I don’t need a third NYC subway token. I accidentally ended up with two of them after the system stopped selling tokens in 2003. Don’t look now, but that was 20 years ago!

Would you expect a completely (mostly) practical professional organizer like me to have something as impractical as two subway tokens that can no longer transport you anywhere? And before your mind goes there…NYC subway tokens are each only worth about $3. You might find NYC subway tokens sold online as necklaces for about $40, but by the time you add the chain, the marketing, the holding costs, and the postage, they are still only worth about $3 each.

And yet, I hold onto mine. I like them because I like them.

NYC Subway Tokens and Organizing


They remind me of good times in the big city.

They are a small, silly memento that I keep with my small jewelry collection. Maybe you assumed I’d have a large jewelry collection after reading about exactly how many clothes I own, but I assure you, my entire jewelry collection is tiny, so I see those tokens almost every day.

If I were to downsize today, I’d probably take them with me. Or maybe turn them into necklaces and give them to friends.

If you’ve got rooms full of “subway tokens,” they might feel more like a burden than a happy, silly little thing that makes you smile. If you are trying to declutter, look for those happy, silly little things that make you smile and keep them. Once you have identified them, it’s easier to get rid of the elephants in the room, those huge pieces of furniture that you don’t want, but you feel like they are just too heavy to move. The elephants came into your life and your life. They can leave when it’s time to part with them. We’ll talk more about them soon.

I’m guessing a few of you lovely readers have your own subway tokens. Even more of you will never have had an NYC subway token in your hand, but you’ve got some other small, silly thing that is only important to you and makes you smile.

Keep the things you love when organizing and decluttering. Organizing, at its heart, is about making room for things you love.

No matter when you found us, catch up with all of the New Year’s organizing articles here.