Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Too Much Stuff

I've been thinking a lot about this post over at Melissa's place and her response to me. I have too much stuff. I am not good at getting rid of it. Why? Am I actually attached to the stuff itself? Does having extra stuff just make me feel secure and prepared? Does getting rid of it make me feel guilty in some regard? What would my life be like if I did have less stuff? Would I feel less secure, or would I actually feel more free? Would I have more time and money to devote to the things I actually have and love? And what about the kids' stuff? Truly, I don't have a lot of NICE stuff. Why am I not more selective about what I surround myself with? Is there a way to fix this?

How would I feel if this happened to me, to my family? Would the stuff matter? From Edie's posts it feels like, "No. Absolutely not. Only.... sort of."

I don't want to surround myself with things just because they seem to "appear" or because I think I might need or want them later. I want less things and I want more experiences. So how do I get from where I am to where I want to be? With what measure do I select the things I choose to keep from clothes to cds to dishes to fabric scraps to things of my grandmothers'? How do I get rid of things without offending people who gave them to me or without feeling I'm losing some connection to a person or place or memory or that I am being negligent or wasteful? How do I manage to learn to say "no" more often when things are offered to me?

I don't have the answers.



Melissa Crowe said...

I REALLY hope I haven't stressed you out! I know you don't need another thing to worry you're doing wrong!

Here are a couple more thoughts:

1. I still struggle with some of this--namely turning down things I don't want, but it gets easier the more you do it. And sometimes, when I can't really refuse, I pass the thing(s) on, and no one has ever seemed hurt or even aware of this re-giving.
2. I think I can absolutely promise you that if you got significantly down the path of loosening your grip on a life of useless or just unnecessary (or at least unwanted) things, you would indeed feel freer. I don't like to promise if I'm not sure. I'm sure.
3. What happens when you get really radical about this--at least what has happened for me--is that you actually stop wanting things. It's almost like magic. I am virtually empty of that constant longing for stuff, and it feels FANTASTIC.
4. I have several boxes in the basement filled with things I've been carrying around for years, and as far as I can tell, I am perfectly happy never seeing any of it. It's my goal this year to reduce it to THREE boxes maximum of keepsakes and doodads. Wish me luck!

(No joke, my word verification is "sympler.")

TK said...

I'm in a similar position with too much stuff in my house. Last month I bought the book "It's All Too Much" by Peter Walsh. He's the guy that hosts Clean Sweep on TLC. His book has been very helpful because he gives you a game plan for how to deal with all of the issues that you list in your post. I've been able to clear 9 bags of trash from my basement and 2 carloads of donations. I also made a pretty good dent in my kitchen. I still have a long way to go but I feel like I have a plan.

Check it out on Amazon, you might find it useful.

BTW I love the playlist on your BLOG. It's nice to have some tunes while reading. Sometimes I leave it on in the background while I clean the kitchen.

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

If you find the answer let me know. Not an hour ago my husband handed me 20 years of homemade cards from the children that he no longer has room for in the office and I wandered around the house for awhile with them in my hand before I stuck them in a random cabinet because My trunk full of memories is full. I tend to mostly own things I love and identify with people, places or occasions that mean something to me.

I have learned to say no to other peoples offers though. My sister and my MIL love to try to clean out their closets at my house. I finally drew the line when I realized my sisters coat from 1978 had been hanging in My closet for 5 years.

P.S. I Got A 25 Year Old Pair of Roller Skates! Got a Key? I lUv YOu.

Jen said...

Oooh! I am the queen of getting rid of stuff! Seriously, my husband has to say "Please don't sell this, give it away , or pitch it". It is cleansing for me to get rid of stuff. I feel free. We should talk girl... email me.

Artfulife said...

I read Melissa's post too & it has given me food for thought. I can't even tell you how grateful I am that you shared the story of Edie. Send me a line later & I'll tell you why. It all comes full circle. I love the thought of simplifying. That's my goal this year. So far it's proven to be a wee bit harder than I thought. But I keep trying & that's half the battle right? Right?

Scented Sweetpeas said...

I know what you mean and I dream of having nice things only surrounding me but the reality is with kids it is hard to do. For instance, I would love a beautiful selection of cushions but then I would have a panic if the kids played with them and I don't want to be that sort of mum :-) hhhmm difficult.

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

I struggle with it too, although have been more brutal with purging lately. And it feels SO good.
You might not have the answers...yet..but you will. The rest of us could give you suggestions (get rid of 4 items per day. Start with one drawer. Pick the room you most want decluttered. Tackle it hard core one weekend...and so on), but likely, you will find what works for you and it will just happen because you need and want it to.