There has been this growing need in me to rid our home of the excess Stuff.
As you know, I did a 40-Day Challenge last year, where I created a list of 40 places around my home that needed cleaned out. Like, serious tackling and organizing and folding and trashing and moving and cleaning. I actually enjoyed the process, and I promised myself I would do a similar challenge once a year. We have a large house and it is just full of Stuff, so I need to stay on top of organizing and cleaning it.
Except… I don’t like cleaning!
I’d rather spend my time doing other things. Like reading and writing and playing with my kids. But I have all this Stuff that I need to clean. Or do I?
What on Earth are we doing with all this Stuff?
We don’t NEED it. We are inundated with the Things that have accumulated in our lifetimes, from what we had when we met to what we are buying every day. Let’s not even get started on the attic full of Stuff from the BHE’s father’s house.* Then there are the things we’ve acquired since having children. Y’know, the furniture, clothes, books, toys, gifts, random colorful things that appear… I hear it gets worse when they start school. *freak out*
So, yeah, overload. I am a stay-at-home mom that overthinks and was starting to feel like I was drowning in Stuff, and I decided it was time to jettison what we weren’t using. Not clean it up, organize it, label it, pack it away, display it neatly, or whatever.
It is time to just get rid of it.
The first question I asked myself was what did I hate the most about my “job” as a SAHM. Simple. Laundry. Well, I guess I wouldn’t have as much laundry to do if there weren’t as many clothes, towels, sheets, et cetera around here. Seeing as I would need to convince my overly sentimental husband that it was time to start shedding the excess, I figured starting with my own Stuff would be best.
I did read Marie Kondo’s work on “tidying up” and decided to follow the guideline of taking everything out of my drawers and closet, tossing or donating what I hadn’t worn or didn’t fit or didn’t like, and then trying on every last Thing I had put in the “keep” pile. Let me tell ya: that pile shrank considerably.**
I worked my way around the house, doing a major sweep of the obvious Stuff. I loaded up boxes and bags of books I’ll never reread from our library, knick knacks that were gifts I never cared for sitting on the mantel, jewelry I don’t wear, blankets we don’t use, toys that haven’t been touched since they were unwrapped back at Christmas or birthday or the previous Christmas. Gone gone GONE because I’m done done DONE*** with all the Stuff and Things overloading our home and therefore our minds and hearts.
We are not materialistic people, so why on Earth do we have so many Things?!
In this round of the purging of Stuff, it did become apparent there were things we had to buy. The BHE cleaned out his clothing, too: he had many more drawers and an extra closet than I do. Seriously. He discovered that there were a few base items he truly needed or had to replace. So I decided to set a rule: for every one Thing you purchase, you must take out seven items.
If you need three new undershirts, you better be ready to toss or donate 21 other articles of clothing. If you buy a cutesy coffee mug, there are seven other cutesy, knick-knacky Things that MUST GO.
The number 7 wasn’t arbitrarily chosen, either. It is a number that is quite significant in the Bible. I’ve been trying to incorporate it more into our lifestyle and these changes. I feel that saying “five more minutes” or “ten Things” or “30 until dinner is ready” has reduced certain numbers to meaninglessness. You can say something will take you five minutes, like that’s how long you have until you walk out the door, but that time allotment has lost some meaning from overuse and could be a span from three minutes to 15.
Seven takes some thought.
Seven seems just so exact. You obviously aren’t rounding or suggesting a number in the ballpark of…but you mean precisely seven. Or a multiple of seven.
How many Things have you taken out of your life (and out of your way) today?
What is your goal of how much Stuff to get rid of this weekend?
*Ok, I’ll briefly get into it. My father-in-law (FIL) is a hoarder, plain and simple. Years ago, in an effort to help his father and work on his father’s house, the BHE went through a couple of the rooms that were just full of boxes of Stuff. What seemed to have any value was boxed up, moved into a storage unit, moved to a different storage unit, and eventually moved into our attic. I don’t want to stop to calculate how much money (and time!!) we’ve spent on all this Stuff that we don’t even want. Truly, the point in not throwing it straight into a dumpster or burn pile was to sell it. I can say without any hesitation or calculations that whatever money we may make off of selling all this Stuff would not equal what we’ve already paid for it.
**No matter how much weight you gain and lose or how you may weigh the exact same 10 months post-partum that you did before you were pregnant, your body isn’t shaped the same. It will never be the same, not after creating and sustaining another life. Sure, I can fit those Tommy Hilfiger jeans I bought when I was 19, but that doesn’t mean they look quite right nor feel in any way comfortable when I try to sit down. Key word here is “try”.
***Anyone else have a Modest Mouse song stuck in their head now?