Monday, September 5, 2011

Decluttering Update

What a lovely, end-of-summer-break weekend it has been! I know this because I have been looking at the sunshine and flowers out my windows as I sit inside for the third day in a row, caring for my sick little one. It's not so bad; she is feeling better now after spending Saturday vomiting and Sunday with a fever. Today she is perking up, fever is gone, and she is finally eating a little again. I am taking advantage of the 3-day "pajama day weekend" by catching up on housework and the endless loads of laundry. I am ready to get back to my usual schedule though and so is my daughter. Hopefully she will be back to 100% and ready for school tomorrow.

The decluttering is going very well. I'd really like to be able to put my hands on any item I am looking for within 15 minutes of trying to find it, instead of staring at heaps of boxes and thinking, "is it even really in here somewhere?" I have collected a lot of *things* over the 22 years since I first got married. I started my marriage bringing boxes of college-girl junk with me... textbooks, teddy bears, loads of cassette tapes featuring Twisted Sister, Weird Al Yankovich, Poison, and Bon Jovi as well as tape recordings my ex-boyfriend and I sent back and forth to each other when we were apart for a year (back in the dinosaur age before email). After 8 years of marriage my husband moved out and left an awful lot of stuff. I had loads of sad memories, wedding cake toppers and trinkets, things left by my stepkids, and all my ex's random junk. Years and years went by and I saved everything from my own four children including all their baby clothes, blankets, toys, books, drawings, Pokemon cards, Cub Scout badges, baseball mitts, and rock collections. Even the foster children I cared for left their mark with discarded toys, outgrown clothes, handmade gifts and reminders they were once mine. Every job I had left me with things like t-shirts, ID cards, and other work-related items that I saved. I remarried and the influx of *stuff* was astounding: I had decluttered once before, got about halfway done and then all the remaining space was taken up by moving truck loads of boxes from the new (somewhat of a hoarder) husband. A new baby added lots more *stuff*. Even the pets we have had over the years left reminders like their old tags and collars and chew toys that went into boxes in the garage. To me, all this *stuff* seemed like a collection of the days of my life... each bit a memory I was not willing or able to let go of.

I have been letting go, lately. Even things I thought I would save until the day I die no longer have such a hold on me. I think about what my kids would do with these items if I died. For most things, they'd have no idea if it was just a random junky trinket or something with special significance. They'd throw them away or send them to Goodwill. And the few items that are truly meaningful to me that I would want to hand down to them (and would be meaningful to them as adults if they knew the backstory) would get lost in the sea of junk. So, I am saving the things I really care about and planning to tell my kids about those things and why they are special. Other things, I am taking pictures of so I save the memory without cluttering up my space. And the rest can be sold or donated to someone else who will make good use of them. That, I think, is a healthy approach that will get me to my goal.

Dinner tonight is going to be taco salad again. It's a meal I really enjoy and is easy to make from leftovers. I use 5 ounces of cooked lean ground beef/turkey mixed, and put that over a salad of Romaine, garden tomatoes, and light salsa Ranch dressing. I am looking forward to it! No sugar, pasta, or bread is on the menu today.

That's it for now. Catch you later!


Karen said...

Taking photos of treasures and then letting them go is a great way to honor the memory and keep the piles and boxes low.

Good for you! Loving that digital space is cheaper and electronic storage is more do-able.

RhubarbLady said...

I echo Karen-some things can be let go after taking some pictures. So glad you wrote this post-I have things that I've "inherited" from friends and relatives. I have no memories of my own with these items, have never used them and have no background stories and yet I'm still storing, moving, keeping them around. I've started a big donation box and I have a garbage can. Your post reminds me that less is often more if the less has significant meaning and substance over the quantity of the more.

Neesha said...

I've been meaning to comment for a bit now, but haven't had a chance. There's something I've noticed about my weight loss, perhaps it will make some sense to you or others. I have noticed that when I lose weight with low carb, it comes off ridiculously fast (like a few pounds in a couple of days). Likewise, it comes back just as fast. However, when I have lost weight going low calorie and with balanced meals (though with lower carbs than the USDA recommends), that weight tends to come off ridiculous slowly, like sometimes only 2 or 3 lbs a month. However, that weight seems to stay off. I've lost about 60 lbs in this method, those have never come back. However, any lbs that I have lost low-carbing...those are all back. Just an observation from my own experience, thought I know we're all different.

timothy said...

i learned that the memory will ALWAYS be there whether i have the useless crap attached to it or not and others have their own memories to treasure so i got rid of most momentos long ago. it freed up space for more books! lmao which will undoubtably be donated to goodwill or the trash heap when i die and i'm ok with that. but i LOVE the photo idea!

Cluttery McGee said...

I am still NEEDING to learn the lesson of 'the memories are there even if the cr*p hath been given away"

Lisa said...

That is awesome. I am REALLY bad about getting rid of my kids stuff. I should learn by your example. :)

Anonymous said...

i realize this comment is a bit late, but i wanted to applaud your efforts to simplify and eliminate uneeded *stuff*, your remark about the children having to inherit and make choices instead of you is especially true and poignant. a sign of a thoughtful and caring mother. this "getting rid of stuff" is hard to accomplish (for me, anyway), because it feels like letting go of old dreams for my life. (but opening room for new ones.) getting prepared to leave my home of 35 years to go find work elsewhere...well, your post touched me deeply. i'm glad your work in that regard (uncluttering, etc.) is progressing so nicely for you. best wishes as always. peace. <3

Steelers6 said...

Hi, girl. As always, I am cheering you on in the decluttering dept.

I may have mentioned how I am viewing things similarly..just feeling lately that the things I keep are things my kids will have to deal with and sort. STUFF. I'm trying not to eventually put my STUFF on them.

I have so far to go. And this hinges on that, and can't do that til that is done so that I can store those there...bleh. But, I have been hauling A LOT out and donating good stuff to Goodwill. Not even going to save anything for a yard sale. Just getting it OUT! Go us!
fondly, Chrissy