January is the perfect time of the year to organize which is why many of us…
Stuff, stuff, stuff. All of a sudden I’m noticing it all over and it’s making me twitchy.
- Maybe it’s because we have baby cakes on the way soon?
- Maybe because every time someone comes to visit our house I find myself apologizing for all the clutter and making mental notes to get rid of the crap?
- Maybe because I DON’T think two people should have 1800+ square feet filled as much as we have?
Whatever the reason, I’ve been purging and de-cluttering quite a bit these days.
I know many people have a hard time with stuff in their homes. A very good friend of mine is getting a divorce. It’s sad to see something like that happen, but mostly – like many changes in life- it will be for the better. In thinking about how she will organize a home that will now only be shared with her children, she said to me the other day:
I don’t know why you have such an easy time getting rid of stuff. I keep everything. I even have clothes from high school!
My response was, you can’t let the stuff take over your life! So after we had that convo, I thought I’d share why I have no problem getting rid of things, even things you love.
I’ve written about how to get rid of stuff before and how to repurpose things, but living in a clutter-free and minimal-stuff environment takes some work. It doesn’t just happen after you see something on Pinterest about organizing and think it’s going to magically happen in your home. You actually have to do something about it! I’ve found that these few guidelines help me:
Be careful about what you bring into your home.
This includes what you buy, pick up off the curb for free, what your other family members bring home, and what other people give you. Quite simply, the less you bring in, the less you have. Being clutter-free can start here.
Think about how you use the items in your home.
Are they good for you? Do you absolutely love them? Do they match your current style?
It is true that if you don’t use something withing a year that you should get rid of it. I say a year since this can include holiday decor. If you have items that don’t get used or displayed within the course of a year – the truth is you don’t need them.
Don’t forget, the extra stuff you have in your home takes up:
- Space and Money – Which you pay for in time, moving it, electricity to see it, heat to warm it, store it, etc.
- Time and Energy – Thinking about it, wondering what to do with it or how to get rid of it.
- Emotion – Feeling guilty about having it. Not being sure what to do with it, etc. Nobody needs to feel guilt about a physical item.
Basically – this stuff you have lying around isn’t free. Which brings me to – how to get rid of stuff. See my post on that here. Now onto why I have no problem getting rid of stuff. Here is my rationale:
- I’ve moved three times in the past 9 years. This may not seem like a lot but it is enough. The packing always goes on and on and even when you think you don’t have a lot of stuff, wow how it adds up right? Moving is a pain as it is, why not make it simpler on yourself and take only what you need.
- I have a “Live Simply” mantra. Too much stuff, drama, things to do are not good for people in general. I’ve been though enough in life to realize enough is enough and that comes with the physical items too.
- I’d rather spend my time with people than with my stuff. Thinking about it, moving it, dusting it. Even though we have items on display on shelves, I always am getting rid of things we don’t need.
- My style changes a lot and some things I used to like, I don’t like any more. Just like life changes, so can your stuff. Don’t keep the old, make room for the new.
- I’m done being embarrassed about the state of my home. When people come over I want to feel proud of how we live and life is too short to make excuses for why the very environment you live in is in disarray. Living happens now!
Here is an example of my rationale. This past week I listed three items for free on Craigslist. Why free? 1. Because I knew they weren’t worth much, 2. I know that someone else would be happier with them than I was, and 3. They took up room in our attic and we didn’t need them anymore.
Now we: 1. Have lots more space in the attic. 2. Don’t have to haul them down 2 floors and into a truck them if we move. 3. Don’t have to think about them and try anymore to get rid of them. It’s a certain kind of freedom and I’m enjoying it.
I’ve also gotten rid of:
- Old shutters in the attic I thought I was going to do something with – No use keeping it if I don’t like it
- A door mirror we didn’t need – I have others
- Cushions for the patio furniture I replaced – why keep old things when you replace them with new things?
- The faucet we took out of our upstairs bathroom for renovation – List these items for sale or give them away
- Bags of smaller items like frames I don’t need, binders I cleaned out of my attic and other excess stuff
Basically, I clean things out all the time. Do you? My friend Ann Marie at White House Black Shutters has a 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge to help people clean things out one bag at a time. Read about the challenge here, there are some great resources for purging the excess stuff.
Do you have trouble getting rid of stuff? Why do you think that is?
Tell me your problem getting rid of stuff and we’ll help you clear the clutter!