Friday, June 6, 2008

In the mood to ...

... simplify. Yes, I am in the mood to simplify. To pare down my stash of stuff. To eliminate the clutter that surrounds me. It's been a nagging feeling the past couple of days, this need to purge.

Last night, while eating dinner and then helping Shawn install our air conditioners, I looked around each room that I was in and pondered what could be gotten rid of. In each room, it took me less than 1 minute to come up with at least 5 things that we can live without. Things that haven't been touched since they were acquired. Things that have lost their usefulness. Things that can be recycled.

What kind of stuff are we talking about here? Clothing is a biggie. Also some kitchen items. Lots of textiles - sheets and towels from the 60s and 70s. Old sewing/quilting/needlepoint/etc patterns and such. Peanut butter jars and old coffee cans full of nails. Nope, not kidding.

It's actually something that weighs somewhat heavily on my mind, mainly because it feels overwhelming and to some extent smothering. And at the same time, there are two sides to this.

There is a HUGE part of me that just wants the stuff GONE. Throw it out. Put it out for recycling. Just GONE, and gone NOW.

But then there is the part of me that says, hey - someone might find a use for this or be willing to pay good money for this. This is the part of me that brings up donation, yard sales, E-bay.

These two sides of the issue fight with each other. One means an instant fix to the problem. The other seems better - more right. It lets others get to use the stuff, rather than just sending it to the landfill. Or, it might give us a few extra pennies in our pockets if we opt for yard sales or E-bay. But it's a lot more work, this second side. Yard sales are a bit of a pain, although I'm truly amazed at what people sell at them (good and bad ... and ugly). E-bay is intimidating because I've never sold on there before, and have only successfully bid on and won 1 item.

There are other issues, too. Some of the things that I want to get rid of were gifts. There are some pieces of clothing that Shawn got me that haven't been worn in at least 3 years, but I know he will not let me part with them easily. Also, there is a huge part of me that says, "You might need / want this again someday." That part is genetic, and a problem for both Shawn and myself. We both are pack rats and come from families that are full of pack rats. And then there is also the issue of having to do this for not one, but two houses. And up in the Poconos all of this is made harder - there is a lot of stuff sitting around that we don't know the story of. We don't know how it came to be in the family. We don't know if it is worth something (financially or sentimentally). We don't know if pitching it would cause Karma to come around and bite us in the tush.

Oh yeah - and in case you hadn't noticed - I over analyze things like this A LOT. Definitely not helping the situation.

So any advice would be appreciated. Insights on how you've simplified your life, or places I could go for inspiration and advice. Help me dig out from under the excess stuff in my life.


Alexis said...

Laurel- some of it might take some time- but in the end decluttering your house helps in decluttering your life! Jeff and I are naturally clutter free people- we just don't like extra stuff that has no purpose or meaning. Minimalists! I would go with option two- while it may take longer, you will almost certainly find someone who can use almost anything you have! And I have heard E-bay isn't that tough- so go for it!! Pocono house sounds a bit more tough- but just work through it slowly.

Nancy said...

Hi Laurel, your blog looks great! I have the opposite opinion of Alexis...I say throw it out! This from someone who has piles of stuff in the garage waiting for the yard sale. In the end, I don't really think it pays off and you still have all the stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hi Laurel,
I purged alot last year when I did my kitchen and I am glad I did it is so much easier to clean. I just threw everything out.
Love the colors in your blog

MelB. said...


Not all of it will bring a buck at a yard sale or ebay. Look hard at the potential value. If it has very little monetary value...throw it out or donate it. Start now. You will feel so much better getting rid of your Sctuff! Then you will have more room for all your SCRAPBOOKING stuff...

becky said...

Hi Laurel...I must agree with the consensus, toss it. If someone else can use it, donate it (this is what Jason and I do with our clothing) Ebay is nice, but if I'm short on time, I just do the donating route. No follow up with the sending out. Good luck with your purging, it's such a great feeling to walk into a clutter free room.

SS said...

When The Hub is at work, and I'm at home. That's when I get a biggie trash bag and go through my closet. If something hasn't seen the light of day in ONE year, it's gone.

(Now this won't apply to things that are too fun: the sparkly leopard capris that I bought for $5 because they'd make the perfect Peg Bundy costume. Or the really nice stuff like dressy dresses that you only wear to weddings or on cruises. If they still fit, that is.)

If you're on the fence, then try stuff on. If you're not completely in love with how you look in that sweater, OUT.

I can get gone the stuff that's from my MIL that I'll never wear that way, too.

Then I start on HIS closet. He only gets a phone call asking something like: "You never hide any money, documents or presents for me in the pockets of your old clothes, do you?"

That's code for "That horizontally-striped sweatshirt from your mother that makes you look like a bee with glandular issues is out the door to Care-n-Share. Don't even look for it. It never should've touched human flesh, and it will never touch yours again."

Jen said...

I've seen the dumpster"S". I shouldn't be allowed to comment! tee hee tee hee!!