Monday, February 11, 2008

It's All About The Stuff!!

At least, sometimes it feels that way.

Do you ever feel overburdened by things, paper.... stuff? I know I sure do. I've been on a decluttering mission for a few years, but it seems that I take two steps forward and one (sometimes two) steps back. I make a little headway, but then more stuff just appears. Either its a conspiracy to make me crazy or it multiplies in dark corners!

It's hard to admit that maybe, just maybe, I'm the source of the problem. After all, who wants to be the source of all that brings angst into their lives? Alas, it is true. I really am the source of all that is cluttered. I find that in my effort to not throw things away, to save money, to be prepared, to (insert excuse here) I accumulate more and more. Sometimes it's a great deal and I have to buy one, or two or ten of whatever it is. Sometimes it's something I really did want but didn't plan for where to put it or what to get rid of to make room for it. And lastly - the hardest one of all - it's something that someone is giving me. This is particularily true for the things that I'm given for my son. Grandparents, friends, acquaintances seem to buy, share, hand down all sorts of wonderous stuff that finds it's way into my home. Granted some of it is particularly beautiful stuff, but I don't differentiate at the door.

I've come across a great book for someone like me - good enough that I actually went right over to my bookshelf and got rid of 1/2 of the books that are supposed to tell me how to get organized, uncluttered, financially free and all that great stuff. If they are on the shelf, well, they are obviously not working! It's Peter Walsh's "It's All Too Much" and the title just sang to me as I walked on by. I recommend this book as it has you examine what you want out of life before you tackle the stuff. It's not about finding great storage, it's about examining your relationship with things and your own sense of control in your life. Very powerful words in this little book. My one issue is that he talks about trashing things with great abandon. For me, if it has life left, it is to be reused. So I ask that if you follow this path - find ways to share what you let go of, rather than sending it to the landfill.

So as my journey begins, what to do with all that Stuff is going to be the issue. I was saving it for a garage sale, but as the boxes get higher, I'm not sure I want to store it until late spring. I've decided that I'll put what I can on consignment and unless I find a place to keep the boxes that's out of the way, they will be donated. It's more about living the vision, than making a few bucks out of my old stuff. I'll also do some research to see if there are any places that can use what I have or where I can take things.

For anyone letting go of things consider used bookstores, thrift stores, consignment shops, transition houses, church projects, homeless shelters and animal shelters. All of these places are available as an outlet for your used items. There are even some charities that take old stained clothes if they are good for rags as they sell the material by the pound to buyers. Look into it in your city and see how little you can throw away, while at the same time letting go of a great deal.

My journey will really take off in March as I have designated March as the big letting go month. I'll definately keep you posted on how it goes. So far I have four garage sale boxes, two ebay boxes, a stack of books, a few items of clothing and some odds and ends to send back to their owners - all waiting to go. And by the way, I did get rid of that fish tank - it's now happily esconced in a long term care facility for the residents to enjoy.

3 comments:

jen x said...

I've been following your blog and enjoying it a lot. Delighted to see the book recommendation -- my house needs this!

Brenda said...

Jackie,

Here's a great link for you if you haven't already seen it:

http://www.storyofstuff.com/index.html

Brenda :)

RJ said...

Brenda - Thanks for this link - an amazing site - and one that I'm going to share in another post so it's easily seen and passed on to others.