Where did we get all this ^%$* ?

Maybe it’s because I don’t intend to stay in the house I live in forever. Maybe it’s just all the crap that’s been going on lately, but the clutter is beginning to drive me mad.

Do you ever walk into your house and look around and say–where the &*%# did all this $%#^ come from? I did that this morning. Honestly. Where did the kids and I get all this crap?

See, part of the problem is that I am was a nomad. Before having kids, I bounced around a lot from place to place and travelled light. One thing is for certain–children are stuff magnets. You can’t walk into a store or go to a friend’s house without them returning with something.

(okay so all the shoes are my fault.)

The problem, as I see it, is that if I am ever going to do another of my fantastically long moves that involve ocean or air travel–99% of all this crap has to go. Either that or I need to purchase a mansion, and hire and aircraft carrier to bring our stuff to the new location.

I remember when I moved into this house. It seemed huge. Truly. Enormous. Four children later and a few acquired pets and now I am lucky of I can find a place to sit. The only room in the house that is clutter free is the library/office and this is only because I can’t identify my own chaos as clutter. I have heard the words book hoarder from my mum. Maybe two aircraft carriers.

I digress.

Big Surprise.

So the point in this entirely pointless post–is that I’m wondering how much of this stuff we really need to exist? There are five people, but there are like a hundred coffee mugs. I’m the only one so far adventurous enough to drink coffee–especially the way I make it.

There are five people but there are wardrobes enough for all the naked villagers in the rainforest. (Not talking about my shoes.)

There are five people but there is enough linens to cover the world end to end twice.

There are five people but there are enough books to —oh never mind that one. (Okay please except the books and the shoes from stuff to get rid of.)

What do you do to take care of clutter? Do you do a clean sweep every few months or weeks? Do you go nuts once a year and mass delete half the items you own? Or are you like me and don’t think about it until it becomes apparent you are a lazy procrastinator?

Help me peeps.

I’m getting buried and I’m not even dead.

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65 thoughts on “Where did we get all this ^%$* ?

  1. It’s an ongoing problem. My husband has a thing for estate sales and will buy because it’s such a good deal, not because we need it. We have two storage sheds, half a barn, a warehouse (really) and several additional storage spaces to hold all the stuff for our home and businesses. Just this week, he said, “You know, we don’t need most of this crap. I think half of it can be thrown away.” I smiled, batted my eyes, and said “Really. Are you sure?” He started throwing it away that day.

    I’m at the point where I don’t need anything beyond basics, but then again, all I ever do is throw on a pair of sweats, go into my office, and write. 🙂 Good luck with it.

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  2. My motto is this: If I haven’t used it in the last six months and I am not likely to use it in the next six months, out it goes. It is just stuff. I give it away or sell it. Now, if I could just get my husband to agree, maybe we could walk through our garage…the one I know we will never again park a car in.

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  3. I am not a saver – my other half thinks every scrap of every single thing should be saved “just in case” though – but I have forced him to keep all his stuff in the barn – if we ever move, he’s on his own with that mess. But even as a non-saver, I find I accumulate too much stuff. I am excluding my books from that list – because, well, books are in a category all their own. I still go through my junk, er, stuff once a year and throw away, give away, sell it. And somehow I ended up with a bunch of my daughter’s stuff and grandson’s stuff. I need to have a garage sale – soon! Hey, maybe you could come buy some of my stuff and take it off my hands. Heck, just come and take it – no charge to a friend!

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  4. I love going through stuff and getting rid of it. Haha. I go through my clothes at least every three months. I’m a minimalist. I hate dusting and i like when everything has its place so sometimes I’m tempted to just chuck it if it doesn’t have a place! My Step-Dad is the worst. He got rid of a bunch of stuff that my Mum actually needed and used regularly because he’s such a minimalist. My husband isn’t as minimalist as me and he can see a use in almost anything – it’s taught me a lot about recycling. He’s not bad though in that he’s a hoarder 😉 Our old washing machine drum is now our outdoor fire drum!

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    • If i could find a use for this stuff I would probably try to turn it into something. With me though I procrastinate too much. So, if i keep something I intend to use later chances are it will just be sitting for the rest of my life lol.

      I just don’t see where we came up with all this stuff. My dad is a bit of a hoarder, but my mum is minimalist. It works out for a nice balance for them. Maybe I should recruit my mum:)

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  5. So with you on that. When my wife and I lived in Florida, we gathered a lot of stuff. Then we moved back to my parents’ house and realized how much crap we had. We have stuff packed away in the basement for years, gave away half of our stuff, and live in a room that has stuff (books & DVD’s) crammed into every space. I don’t even use most of it.

    The coffee cup thing is annoying too. One person in this house of 4 adults and 1 toddler drinks coffee. One person has daily hot chocolate. I occasionally have tea when it’s cold, but I make the cups last. We can barely fit all of them onto one shelf. I figured out why a few months ago. People keep buying us coffee mugs! Every year there are 2-3 new coffee mugs in this dang house.

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  6. Sounds like these coffee mugs are breeding like rabbits! Forget zombies… coffee mugs will soon be spilling out into the street hungry for humans! The SKY is FALLING!! lol.

    I usually throw out things every 3 months are so. I now have a new habit that I don’t buy things if I know I won’t use it that much. It’s amazing how clutter still happens though…

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  7. I’m a whole lot older than you (going on 58) so I’ve had to think about this. We did move out here five years ago, and I took that as the perfect time to downsize, hand stuff over to my kids that they wanted, rent an antique booth in a mall and sell what was worth selling, and donate a lot more. I was spurred to do this by hearing my college roommate tell me of her struggles with her parents and their stuff. They had the idea to move into a retirement home, but left it too long, and her mom got Alzheimers. Each object had to be examined, debated, a list run over of who might want each thing that none of her own kids wanted. That story helped me a lot as I was trying to decide whether I needed to keep this or that–I just thought of my kids having to go through it all some day.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have enough kids’ books to stock a small town library! A visiting pastor recently almost swooned over my husband’s theological library and said he’d only ever had one bookcase-full of books–not 6 bookcases’ worth. When it comes to downsizing in our house, books are non-negotiable! 🙂

    I still hang onto some not-quite-so-fat clothes that I hope I might get back into some day . . . I’m trying to be honest, first of all. Secondly, I tell myself that if I get rid of them now, then if I ever DO get that skinny again, I can go out and buy some more. It helps me weed out.

    Maybe if you have a really honest-in-a-nice-way friend, she could help you evaluate what you have and why you keep it. I don’t have a friend like that, but I try to be that voice in my own head. I wish I had someone to help me sort it out and get it out of the house, though–not just move it to the garage or the hay barn!

    I recently did help one of my sisters clean her house. She was verging on being a hoarder, including stuff covered in cat hair and cat pee that was piled all over, waiting to be donated. It took me eight hours to clean her bathroom. (I KNOW your house isn’t anything like THAT!) I don’t know what her house looks like now, but I hope I helped her over a hump and gave her the boost she needed to get going. I wish I could come help you! (It’s lots easier helping someone else than doing your own stuff!) 🙂

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    • Having a friend help is a very good idea. I think i get sentimentally attached to things because they remind me of other things and maybe the impartial view of someone else might be a huge help.

      I lost my husband a few years ago and I still haven’t touched some of his stuff because every time I looked at it I would have a mini meltdown. That has passed, but I still haven’t done anything with it. The garage is the worst of it, but there is a lot of mine and the children’s stuff in it as well so I guess I just need to do it.

      I really should donate some stuff but I hate the idea of giving even a thrift place stuff they can’t find a use for and I am terrible at car boot sales.

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      • Ionia, I’m so very sorry about your husband! What a terribly hard, hard thing to go through and be raising your kids alone. You are one courageous lady! I can totally understand why you can’t go through his stuff.

        I had a garage sale (I think what you call a car boot sale) with a friend once, and she made tons of money. I got almost nothing. That was the last one I ever did! And I totally agree, thrift stores don’t need our junk, because they actually have to pay money to get rid of what they can’t use.

        Your stuff will be there waiting for you when you’re ready to tackle it. 🙂

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  8. I have the unfortunate habit of going through once a year or so and throwing out all the stuff I think we no longer need, which inevitably leads to me looking for an item a month or so later, only to realize I threw it out! The clutter no longer bothers me, but I can do without the dog hair-my yellow lab sheds non-stop, each week the equivalent of a pomeranian-usually in my family room alone.

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  9. LOL, I read this hot on the heels of putting down an Erma Bombeck book – seemed like a natural transition! And yes, I know the feeling of clutter. Every now and then our adult son comes over when I’m not here and tidies up a little, i.e. he throws out things he feels I don’t need and that he wouldn’t want to be left with if his parents up and died! Oh well, it’s a painless way of decluttering. By the time I realise something is missing I won’t need it any more.

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  10. Did you sneak a peek into my house? I did a major overhaul/toss party and was doing really well with not accumulating stuff – outlawed gifts at christmas and birthdays from friends, etc, but it just keeps growing. Time for another party!

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  11. I swear that my stuff transforms into rabbits when I leave the house! It just must because when I come home there is more stuff than when I left! I have actually donated a lot of my stuff in my last couple of moves. I severely downsized when I moved where I live now. Everything I own has to fit in one bedroom – and yes I said “everything.” This made me really buckle down and be picky about what I kept and what I gave away 🙂

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  12. I reckon we are hard wired to accumulate uff and I always feel a bit “free fall” in my stomach when I declutter. Having said that I identify as a minimalist and regularly take bags and bags to the thrift shop for donation. My hero flylady said “keep it if it is useful or makes you smile” You deserve a medal having any hint of order with 4 kids. I am reading your webpage at the moment before I tackle a huge mountain of paper clutter. You have inspired me to be ruthless. One must be ruthless in order to kill clutter and take it to charity quickly so you feel good knowing you are helping others. fair dinkum!

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  13. When I went to University, we took everything up in one car. Not a big car, just normal. Coming back, I had to leave half my stuff at a relative’s house and pick it up in a van when I went back for the Graduation ceremony. Even now, a year later, I sometimes go rummaging for something in this big red suitcase, and just go “Why do I still have this?”, before throwing it back in. I am terrible at throwing things away. And the house if just full of books, from both me and my mum. She keeps having a go at me about buying more. Whenever I move out, I can imagine I’ll have to throw the majority of my stuff out. Did clean out my clothes a while back – it made a lot of difference. At least now I can fit my clothes in my drawers. Yet they’re still full.

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  14. I try to follow the rule where when you bring something new in you get rid of at least one thing. I think I do an ok job of it. Except it never seems to be good enough. So, I try to do a clean sweep and go through as much as I can every year. You would be surprised by how much lighter you will feel, and you will find stuff you forgot you even had.
    The time when it really hits you is when you have to move. I hate moving a bunch of stuff.

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    • This is so true! Even after cleaning up before a move from the old house I still thought the same thing while unpacking in the new one. Where did this come from? What did this used to be part of. Sigh.

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