November 14, 2007

A Ramble about Clutter

Iroquois Beach, Hawaii,Photo by mandolin davis on Flickr

I recently read Peter Walsh's book, It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff. Peter is an organizer on TLC's Clean Sweep, one of the few shows that could make me consider having cable tv in our house. I love watching people clean out their homes and get rid of stuff that just weighs them down and gets in their way. Peter is a master at not just showing you how to declutter, but explaining why you save the things you do. Knowing why can help you let it go and prevent the collecting of it in the future.

Even though most people say our house is not cluttered, I think it is. We just do a good job of hiding and STORING the clutter. Those people also don't look in our closets, cabinets and drawers. Like so many people in America, we have too much stuff.

So, I'm in the middle of a major clean sweep of our house. I've done this before as the boys outgrew toys and our needs changed, but I'm going even deeper now. I'm getting rid of stuff we just don't use, and some of it is stuff that I've saved for years.

I'm also making my mother nervous, "You aren't getting rid of anything important, are you?" Important= anything that came from our past. Yes, I am. After 30 some years, I've decided to get rid of my Chrissy doll, my fisher price schoolhouse, and several other old toys. I have taken care of them through 7 moves and 17 years of marriage and I'm done. (Don't worry, Mom, I am keeping some old dolls and toys, just not so many)

I don't need to keep 25 things that belonged to my grandparents when having just 4 or 5 will help me remember them. The other 20 items can go to siblings and cousins. Holiday decorations that we don't put out anymore? Gone. Books we don't read anymore? Gone. Games we don't play anymore? Gone. Clothes we don't wear anymore? Gone. You get the idea.

The more stuff I box up for charities, family, and a possible yard sale, the better I feel. If you want to try it, I've found several helpful articles about decluttering online. If you have any good decluttering stories, I would love to hear them.

Related post: Living and Traveling Simply

I'm sharing the above picture because that is where I would rather be than dealing with all my stuff.