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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Simplifying my stuff

Yesterday I talked about how our family has so much stuff. I'd prove it by taking a picture of my garage, but frankly, I'm too embarrassed.

I think it occurred to me that we have too much stuff when I helped my daughter clean her room and she couldn't get everything in her drawers. Her room was a disaster because I caught up on laundry and she had no place to put anything. My friend only lets her kids have 14 outfits each. At first, I thought it was horrible, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me. That leaves the kids plenty of variety, and it's not overwhelming. I haven't convinced my kids to get on board with this yet, but we're working towards it.

I asked the kids to go through their rooms and put everything they didn't want anymore in a box for charity. And okay, I bribed them. For every 30 items, they get $5. So far, we're up to somewhere around 200 items. I think I should have gone with my gut and said every 50 items. Yikes! I'm going to be broke.

As I sorted through their discards, I counted somewhere around 20 toy horses. And that's just what they got rid of! Trust me, they have plenty more. (Before you think I spent tons of money on them, let me be clear and say I buy 95% of their things secondhand!) Still, though, that's money I spent. Each time, I was excited to find something my kids would love.

I'm learning, especially as I see just how MANY things my kids have, that it's really not a question of what they'll love... there's a lot of things they want, and almost nothing they NEED. My 7yo wants almost every toy in the toy department. She'd love most of them. But what am I giving them by giving them that toy? Especially when she's already overwhelmed by the mess of things she already has.

So now, before I take out my wallet to get my kids something new, I ask myself, what need does this item meet? I'm amazed at how easy it is to put the item back and move on.

Yesterday, I got rid of five pairs of shoes. One pair is really cute, but pinches my feet, and I hate wearing them. So why keep them? I'm giving them away, and someone better suited for those shoes can enjoy them. The others? Old tennis shoes I've kept around for when I need yucky shoes instead of my day to day shoes. One pair is a good idea, but FOUR?? I threw the others in the trash. Now all of my shoes fit in my closet.

I got rid of the pants I hope to wear again someday. If I'm ever that thin again, I think I deserve to celebrate by buying new ones! Ditto for the tight shirts, and every other outfit that no longer fits.

We still have a lot of junk we don't need. But as we continue this year and into the future, I am trying to look at everything I have with an eye as to what need that item meets. It's okay to have some things because you love them. But when I look at the things in my house, I don't want it (or my life) to be cluttered with things that don't add value to my family.

Do you have a plan for getting rid of the junk in your life?

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Good for you. I have too much stuff too and am also on a declutter mission. When I was in Europe earlier this year, I spent time staying with friends and was struck by how simply they live ... and how much easier life is. Easy to keep a tidy house when there isn't a bunch of clutter. Easy to decide what to wear when everything fits right and you have a limited selection of outfits.