Monday, September 27, 2010

A Clean Slate

I am SO SICK of having so much stuff. I've really been trying to declutter and get rid of stuff over the last year. We had a couple of yard sales, put a lot of stuff on craigslist and really pared down. BUT, we still have sooooooo much crap. Every room in our house has literally twice as much stuff as it should. Its stressful and hard to put stuff away because there isn't room. On the one hand I think I'm pretty good about getting rid of things, but then on the other hand I always think "oh, I could sell this" or "we could use this in a bigger house" "I could paint it/turn it into something/" or "it would cost $XX to replace this" "I might use this later."

I'm ready to just get rid of it.

It doesn't matter if our extra bed sets are expensive and they would look cute if we changed the decor in our room. Its ridiculous to be saving sheets for a twin bed when WE DONT HAVE ONE. I can't fit anything in the linen closet!

I am also very guilty of holding onto things for Some Future Yard Sale. Basically half of our basement is stuffed w/ "yard sale" boxes. I was reading a thread about what the minimum amount of money ppl would have to make to consider having a yard sale. Most people said nothing under $250 because the hassle, time, and storing the stuff in the meantime just wasn't worth it. There were a few ppl that were super poor and said $50 because they would be able to take their kids out to eat which they could never afford otherwise. That got me thinking, we don't need the money, its absolutely ridiculous for us to be storing stuff in the basement for a yard sale that isn't even planned. Not too mention that if Jerad worked on a weekend he's make way more than we'd make at a yard sale which would be just as much "work."

I want us to be able to walk through our house and love every room instead of being stressed by the crap.

I want a space that works for us. Right now we have a beautiful guest room, but the only thing it gets used for is me piling laundry on the bed (because our closets and dresser and so full its a pain to put the clothes away). We nixed the office to create a Nursery for Marshall and we need office space way more than we need a guestroom. We're planning on getting rid of our guest bed and turning that room into an office/playroom with a sleeper sofa so that we can still accommodate guests when we need to.

This weekend Jerad and I are going to go through every room, the basement, and the shed and throw everything we don't want in a trailer, donate what we can, and trash what's left. On the one hand yes it sucks to get rid of that we could probably sell, BUT is the money really worth all the hassle of trying to sell it, letting a stranger in our house, and not being able to put our rooms together until its gone?

Our new rules are going to be
"don't buy anything that I don't have a place in mind for it to go"
"one thing out for every new thing in,"
"get rid of anything that hasn't been used in 3 months."

The only exception would be stuff that only gets used infrequently but we "need" (like christmas decor and camping stuff), baby stuff we will use for future children, and a few keepsakes like the porcelain doll from my grandmother.

I know I could cut my crafting stuff and books waaaaaaaaaaay down too.

Our space needs to be functional and relaxing not be stuffed to the brim. How nice would it be to have a basement that had ROOM in it? Anyways, that's my plan for the weekend.... to Clean Sweep. I'll list the big ticket items on CL this week and whatever doesn't sell can just be carted off.

That all sounds fine and dandy but then there's Christmas right around the corner. I'm getting nervous just thinking about it!

I'm writing this here so that I don't chicken out and change my mind. We're planning on getting rid of probably 30% of our stuff without [hopefully] looking back.

Everyone told me I'd stop caring about cleaning as much once the baby came. Um, NOT TRUE. I care just as much, yet I don't have the time I used to. Before I was able to dust every knick-knack and decoration weekly, and keep everything organized. Not so much anymore.

I am determined to not have more stuff than I can take care of.

Here is the list that we'll be using to decide what to keep:

Good Rules of Thumb:
* get rid of anything that requires you to purchase some kind of organization item for it. chances are, you don't need that crap to begin with.
* anything that ends up covered in dust--if you really loved it that much, it would get more attention.
* anything you can always find at goodwill for under a buck that you hardly ever use anyway.
* Get rid of duplicate things you have from when you got married that you thought you'd keep both of in case one broke
* Get rid of that box of stuff (or basement/garage of stuff) you might try to sell someday.
* get rid of stuff that just never seems to find a "home".
* get rid of "some day" things, as in "SOME DAY I'll use this for xyz".
* Get rid of things you would NOT want to pack up and have to move if you were moving to a different home.
* get rid of all of the boxes that haven't been unpacked yet from the last time you moved.
* things that "can be fixed" -if you haven't fixed it by now, it's probably not going to happen.

* Consider taking a photograph of a momento then getting rid of the actual momento.
* Get rid of ANYTHING that does not bring you some joy when you see it or use it.
* Get rid of gifts you don't like and things you keep out of guilt or obligation
* Get rid of anything that reminds you of someone who doesn't make your life joyful
* Get rid of thank you cards, birthday cards...that don't really have special meaning
* Get rid of things that make you feel like you're not the person you want to be (those reminders of things you'd love to do but never have time to and that only drain your spirit/energy)
* Get Rid of Anything You Don't Need or Love, things that aren't "you".
* If you pick something up and wonder whether you need it, you don't. The things you truly need and love - you know that without hesitation.
* Ditch all your dried flowers.
* Get rid of balloons that no longer stay afloat

* Get rid of kitchen appliances you use less than, say, once a month
* Anything in the kitchen cupboard (dishes, canned goods, utensils, you name it) that haven't been used in a year. (Other than the forspecial china and silver).
* Get rid of all but four pot holders
* all the extra measuring spoons and cups
* All those knives that don't really do it. you only really need 2.
* the cookie cutters that are never used.
* Get rid of food in the pantry that has sat there for a yr (find a new owner or toss it with an expired date)
* most of the tupperware can go

* Get rid of clothes you don't look good in, don't fit right, or you don’t love.
* Ugly, stained, ill-fitting, maybe someday I'll wear it again, itchy clothes. (keep one set for painting and crud)
* Get rid of clothing I won't wear or haven't worn in 2 yrs
* Get rid of the orphan socks and pairs of socks with holes in them - they're useless!
* Undies with holes even if they will last another year
*Get rid of all towels that are holy or frayed or excess (keep enough for 2 per person and 1 for the pets)
*Get rid of all bedding sets (keep 1 for myself and 2 per child)
*Get rid of your fat clothes, your skinny clothes ... dress the body you have and love it
*Get rid of hand-me-down clothes that you don't even like!
*Get rid of the 8 or 9 boxes of fancy baby clothes that will never be used

* Get rid of books/magazines you don't read all the time, will never read again, or no longer interest you (what's a library for after all?)
* Get rid of outdated reference materials
* Get rid of pictures and artwork you have no place to put - if you like it, then find a place for it - take something you like less down, but if it doesn't have a place what good is it?
* decorations you don't love
* craft supplies you aren't using
* Get rid of scrap wood from that last project, unless you have an actual plan in mind for it.
* Get rid of scrap fabric.

* all the extra markers and crayons. keep one set of new.
* Get rid of dried up play dough.
* Get rid of happy meal toys, toys that are overflowing out of the toy bins, toys the kids don't even know they have, noise-making toys that require batteries!
* all but 25 favorite toys for each kid (sets count as one thing). This one is hard.
* Stuffed animals. They are nasty and collect dust. Keep one or two special loves. but not 50.
* Get rid of poorly written, insanely annoying or duplicate kids books.
* Get rid of broken crayons (yes, I know you can melt them to make block crayons. If you were going to do that, wouldn't you have done it already?).
* Get rid of things you have been collecting to do "recycled art" with your kids, unless you actually plan to do it this week. There will always be more.

* that bunch of random floating pens--give em to the grocery store clerk
* All those screws and nails that are leftover from everything. Can never find the one you want anyway.
* Get rid of blurry or bad photos (especially if they're duplicate prints), unless it's the one shot you have of a momentous event.
* Get rid of at least one rubbermaid of the Christmas decorations you don't like that have been heaped upon you because your inlaws can't imagine that maybe you want a simple Christmas.
* Get rid of the 9 extra cameras that haven't been touched since the digital camera was purchased.
* Get rid of the two "spare" computers that barely work, take 10 minutes to boot up, and sound like jet engines when they run.
* Get rid of the "spare" furniture (that entertainment center) that has been sitting in the garage and storage area since move in day, extra furniture, the ugly chair in my bedroom
* Get rid of junk mail!!
*Get rid of all outdated toiletries and make-up, products (cleaning and body) that are unsafe and lotions and potions you no longer use
* Get boxes loaded with books, DVD's, cd's and clothes OUT of here, before I start going through them and "finding" things I "need" to keep.

**Toss it means get rid of it in some way--thrift store, friend, whatever. The garbage can is a last resort.**

If it makes you feel bad in any way, toss it.

If you can't find a home for it, toss it.

If you have a nicer one already, toss it.

If you don't have an immediate need for it or a real future need, toss it.

If you have to think about it too long, toss it.

If you don't love it, toss it.

If you wouldn't buy a replacement if it were lost in a fire, toss it.

If you're holding onto a gift out of obligation, toss it.

If it'd be really easy to replace it should the need arise for it in the future, toss it.

If it's broken and you don't want to repair it, toss it.

If it doesn't fit your vision of what your life should be like, toss it.

And, of course, everything MUST have a home. Even things that are not put away very often, CAN be put away. If a thing doesn't have a home, it becomes a nomad. Nomads create visual clutter, and visual clutter will very quickly become actual clutter.

And one more thing ...

Get rid of stuff you hang onto just because you spent a lot of money for those things, or someone else spent a lot of money for those things. If it doesn't work for you, get rid of it, even if it was expensive. Keep the lesson but not the item.

If you made it this far, congratulations!!! I'll post an update soon and pics of our new, simpler spaces. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Morning Glory said...

This was refreshing to read, and gave me a sense of freedom. I will refer to this blog often to keep on track with my goal of "buy what you need, want what you have".