I like stuff. Sometimes I am even enchanted by it! (Well, you may have guessed that!) Just for fun I regularly switch out the bits that are displayed on our mantel. Right now I have a handmade thrift store vase with bay leaves, a tiny rummage sale 1940s bisque doll and an eBay 1900s carved box. Nothing that cost a lot. Just simple, humble things that appeal to me.
But I have been less-than-enchanted this past year with having too much stuff in our house. Despite the fact that I take bags of stuff to charity at least four times a year and try to be thoughtful about what I bring into the house, some areas are too darn cluttered. The truth is, I find the clutter emotionally and physically draining and visually disconcerting. I know it’s time to tackle the problem.
I’ve done “possession purges” before, but there are some things I have trouble parting with. Here are some of my excuses for hanging onto them.
Excuse #1: I may want to use or wear it “someday.” Sound familiar? Do you notice that “someday” rarely comes! I haven’t fit in my black leather pants for six years. My husband hasn’t worn his dusty wing-tip shoes in about eight. That basketball in the garage hasn’t been used in ten years (or more!). Why are we saving these things??
Excuse #2: I paid “good money” for this. I have a pair of barely worn high heels. Thanks to increasing arthritis in my ankles, wearing them again is not even an option. Yet they are still in my closet because I paid a lot for them. So are two blazers that need tailoring. One is a fabulous vintage designer jacket with huge 1980s shoulder pads. I can’t wear this till I get it altered but it’s been hanging in my closet for two years!
Excuse #3: My daughters might want these when they move out. Hmmm. Even when my oldest daughter had her own apartment she didn’t take our old Corelle Ware plates. My youngest daughter who lives in an off-campus apartment doesn’t need them. Why am I saving them??
Excuse #4: But I inherited this! I have been able to let go of some of the things I inherited from my grandmother, mother and aunt, but it’s tough. Sometimes I feel guilty…which is ridiculous.
Excuse #5: Wait, I could sell this. While true for most things, sometimes I think the right option is to give it away. Get it out of the house. Bless somebody else with it. I’ve already started to offer things for free to my neighbors on Nextdoor.com.
An “Excuse-Buster” Idea: Pretend You’re Moving
I have a number of books on decluttering and minimizing belongings that have all been useful in their own way, but I read something recently in “The Wabi Sabi House” by Robyn Griggs Lawrence that intrigued me…
Every six months pretend you’re moving. Do you really want to haul out six boxes marked “miscellaneous stuff” or ask your friends to carry all those crates of books?
I thought about that and decided to take it a step further. Let’s say you’re moving 3000 miles away. Since packing and shipping costs are so expensive you want to downsize as much as possible before the move. What would you pack and what would you get rid of? As you handle each item ask yourself: Do I want to pay money to move this? Do I want to start my new life with this item? This could make the decision-making process so much easier. So far here’s what would be on my bye-bye list.
Stuff to Get Rid Of
- worn towels and linens
- clothes I’ll never wear
- DVDs I’ll never watch again
- old dishes
- kitchen gadgets we’re not using
- high heels that my feet won’t tolerate anymore!
- books I’ll never read again
- misc. mugs and cups
- misc. knickknacks
- unused sports equipment
- old pens and pencils
So the question remains for me, if I wouldn’t want to start a new life with this stuff, why I am allowing it to clutter and hamper my life and happiness now?!!
Starting This Week!
So this week I am going to be very intentional as I sort through stuff. I’m going to try to be as ruthless as I can!! I’ll also be going through unlisted store inventory. I know some things I’ve bought in the past may not be worth the effort to sell online.
With the blank slate of a new year, it feels like the perfect time to get rid of the excess (no more excuses) and start 2017 lighter and freer…and more able to appreciate what we decide to keep.
Are you with me??
- “It’s All Too Much” by Peter Walsh
- “The Joy of Less” by Francine Jay
- “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo
- Becoming Minimalist – “Creative Ways to Declutter”
- Zen Habits – “18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess”