As most people know, I recently moved after 15 years in the same house. We literally took truckloads of donations to the mercy mission and put out bags and bags of trash for what we couldn’t salvage. I moved into that house in 2000 and even though I had lost everything in a fire 6 years before as well as been screwed over in a divorce, somewhere and somehow the entire house was stuffed with ‘stuff’. My husband moved into this house with me in 2008 but he didn’t bring a lot with him, mostly sentimental things he had kept over the years and some odds and ends furniture and tools.
Fifteen years of gifts, shopping, inheriting heirlooms and just in general being given stuff that family members no longer wanted and were sure we could use. Throw in the fact that my kids are now adults and one had moved home from college bringing back all her stuff. I always prided myself on being able to donate things I am not using. I would periodically go through my clothes and belongings to weed out items that I was no longer using. However, I wasn’t as ruthless as I had believed.
When we started seriously going through what we owned, the thought of having to move it to a new house gave us the motivation to really cull the herd of possessions that had accumulated over the years. Odds and ends that I had earmarked sentimental but could no longer remember for the life of me why they were sentimental got donated for someone else to use. I went through a kitchen gadget phase. Quesadilla maker? A wok? Something I no longer remember what it was to be used for? All went into the donation pile. Clothes that I had before my second marriage ended? Donated or tossed if they were worn out. The fifth and six set of nesting mixing bowls? Donate. Fifteen pie plates? Saved my favorite few and donated the rest. Since when am I ever going to make fifteen pies at once? Rusty old scratched and dented cookie sheets? Tossed. I’m not sure what I thought I was going to do with those.
You get the idea. Moving into the new house, we had so many boxes even after our ruthless purge. We have made a pledge that we would never get like that again where we have so much stuff that we can’t even move in our house. If something comes in, the something goes out. I find having a house with space, limited knick knacks and no clutter makes me happier than one with a bunch of crap teetering around me, threatening to collapse at any time. So far, I have only found a few minor things I missed but was easily able to make due with something else or nothing at all. It is nice to open my kitchen drawers and not have to dig for 10 minutes looking for that one small thing. It’s lying right there in the open not buried under a menagerie of wood, plastic and metal doo dads. Though I will admit my “junk drawer” is full already. I need to go through it and relocate some of it to a different place, probably the shop where the duplicate hand tools can go.
It is amazing how little you truly need but our mind tricks us into thinking we need way more than we do. Sales, commercials, popular trends, magazines, gifts, so on and so on all end up filling our drawers, closets and every possible empty space with stuff. I even cut down on the number of pictures I hung on the walls though I have a larger house to limit the business of my environment. The more I have, the less creative and productive I find myself. I have been looking in some of my kitchen cupboards thinking that I need to further streamline what I still own. There is so much I never use. I still feel like I have too much stuff.