Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Possessing or Possessed?

I am (again) on a mission. My goal is that in the next two months I will go thru every single item in my home and decide whether to keep it, donate it or toss it.  I started this weekend, going thru half my kitchen cabinets and all of Zach's clothing.  I ended up with 4 bags of trash, and 3 bags of clothing/4 boxes of kitchen items donated to Goodwill.  Thanks to my hubby, it's all GONE (either on the curb or at Goodwill).  What prompted my mission?  I won THIS Dave Ramsey Starter Set, and have begun reading The Money Saving Mom's Budget.  Now I'm inspired.  I haven't started with the Dave Ramsey set yet, but am completely enthralled with The Money Saving Mom's book!  I got thru Chapter 2, and stopped, as she advises not to go any further in trying to streamline your budget until you've streamlined your home and removed all the clutter.  Her theory is that it's all tied in together, and it makes sense to me!
Here's what I realized in just the small amount of de-cluttering I did this weekend:

  • It's incredibly liberating to toss things.  Over the years I am appalled by how much STUFF we have accumulated.  I'm overwhelmed by the sheer volume of STUFF I have in this 2,400 square feet.
  • What child needs 35 t-shirts?  (YES - I counted!  Zach had 35 simple t-shirts in his dresser/closet.  And that's just the short sleeved ones!  Don't judge me too harshly, before you go thru and count the number of shirts in your kid's closet.  Go ahead and do it right now.  I'll wait.)
  • When you have so many things you literally cannot see the forest for the trees.  Zach wears the same 4-5 shirts every single week.  They are his favorites.  Everything else sits in the closet/dresser causing clutter.  I would hazard a guess that he had not worn HALF the stuff in his closet.  It was filled with old hand-me-downs, and stuff I'd bought DIRT CHEAP and couldn't pass up on the deal.  Let me ask you (OK, I'm really just talking to myself here) - is it a deal if it's never worn?  Isn't that just money wasted?  After my cleanup, he looked thru what was left, and it was like he had a whole new wardrobe of clothes.  He didn't even realize he had half this stuff (it was so cram-packed in his closet he couldn't see it).
  • Every day I cursed my "Tupperware" cabinet (I use that term very loosely, as none of it was actually Tupperware).  It was so jam packed that I could never find what I needed when I needed it.  Stuff would fall on me, I could never find the right lid to fit the container I had in my hand.  I had old, stained, nasty, cheap plastic stuff in there I have no idea why I was saving it.  Old butter tubs?  Yep.  TONS of those Hillshire Farms lunch meat containers?  Uh huh.  So I meticulously went thru it all and kept only the best stuff.  Everything else went in the trash.  Lids are ON the containers.  It's all stacked up neatly and organized.  I kept about 1/3rd of what I had, because seriously....how many plastic containers does a person need?
  • I got rid of all the old sippy cups. I finally came to the realization that my youngest is SEVEN, and my TEN YEAR OLD should NOT have a sippy cup. This is me doing a happy dance that I will no longer have to mess with trying to find the right little plastic thingy for each cup!  I replaced them all with nice, new eco-friendly cups I just got from the Shopko sale.  LOVING the new cups!
  • I also got rid of all sorts of junk that I bought but rarely (we're talking every few years) used.  Now some nice new family can enjoy my George Foreman grill, air popper, Dora/Scooby Doo/Spongebob muffin tins (YEP - I had all three.  I am an overachiever!).
I am REALLY wishing that I had taken BEFORE photos, so you could see the dramatic difference.  But I was like a woman possessed.  I had a small window of opportunity while Tim was flying kites with the boys, and I JUMPED ON IT.  HERE is what my cabinets look like now:
This is just a START.  While I should be feeling a big sense of accomplishment, I'm really just thinking about all the OTHER cabinets and closets I need to go thru.  What keeps coming to my mind over and over is how every time I do this I feel so much free-er (I know, that probably isn't even a word!).  Which begs the question....is all this STUFF possessions or is it possessing you.  The Park house is beginning to feel a lot better WITHOUT all this business.  Over the last 6 months, Tim & I have been trying to make a conscious effort to downsize.  Not for economic reasons (although that is a nice byproduct!), but for our own sanity.  The more possessions you have, the more you have to worry about.  The more things you have, the more things that need repairing, replacing, more stuff to put away, etc.  And I'm rapidly discovering that the less stuff you have, the more you appreciate and take care of (and actually USE) the things that are important to you.  I'm really trying to fill our house with items that are important to us, and getting rid of all the other stuff that just takes up space.  Unfortunately it seems to be a never-ending process.  But you gotta start somewhere, right?  I've begun my baby steps this weekend.  I'll keep you posted on my journey!



37 comments:

  1. Stuff is stuff is stuff. I am right along with you on cleaning out the clutter (and reading Money Saving Mom's book). the dramatic change that can come with just getting rid of stuff brings euphoria! I never knew I would be so much happier with LESS stuff! Less to care for, less to trip over, less to worry about. It truly is life changing.

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  2. Inspired by Crystal (Money Saving Mom's) minimalist wardrobe... we are trying to minimize our children's wardrobe. We are overwhelmed by the laundry on the floor, the laundry in the laundry room and the clothes hanging out of their drawers. We have decided to have 7 complete outfits for daily wear and 2 church outfits, and 5 pairs of pajamas--- and that's it. It's been a little easier said than done... I've only completed the process for one son and I ended up with a few more than 7 shirts (because I figured at this time of year he needed long and short-sleeved.) However, it's so much easier to deal with his laundry and I'm excited to do it for my other kids ASAP!

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  3. Very inspiring! I am a very good thrower-outer, but there are still lots of places that need sorting out in my home. I had to laugh at your sippy cup toss out and margarine bowl discards. I have lived through these moments too. Doesn't it feel great to get rid of things? I wish you had taken before pictures too, your after photos were great.

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  4. This is awesome. I do a big decluttering at least once or twice a year and there is still always things that need to go.

    I need to get more vicious with my kids clothes, as you mentioned, my kids seem to only wear the same three or four outfits, so why do they think they need 20?:)

    Fabulous post!

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  5. I love throwing things away! There's nothing like the feeling of uncluttered peace! I try to fill a bag each week with at least 10 things we can donate and then I drop it off at our local thrift store as a donation each weekend.

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  6. It is always great to get rid of the extra excess crap. We have been doing that slowly over the past month too.

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  7. I hate clutter so I am constantly going through things and throwing them out or giving them away.

    I have a two year rule. If you haven't used it in two years you don't need it.

    Stopping by from the 100 Comments event.

    http://www.AsToldByLisa.com

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  8. Love this post. Way to go. I love decluttering. Stuff does tend to own you when you have too much to take care of or shift around. I love moving and love getting rid of things that are not being loved and appreciated or used. Good luck and hope to hear more about your purging. :)

    100 comments event-

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  9. Congratulations! Isn't purging the best feeling? I love Money Saving Mom - have been a reader for years!

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  10. Wow, you still have sippy cups? My youngest is 7 and those were thrown out years ago!! lol .. I keep too much crap, especially clothes that I don't like for some reason or another. I need to get rid of a lot of stuff!

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  11. Getting rid of stuff is so liberating and when you donate it all to someone/people less fortunate it makes it soooo worth it!

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  12. Brenda-this is so encouraging. I've got clutter issues. I really need to read posts like yours...regularly. I'll be back to see how it goes.
    Peace and good to you.

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  13. Oh my goodness! You are so right! I have been feeling this myself lately. We have been doing this since the first of the year. I need to do my son's closet, but frankly, I do not have 2 straight days of my life to give! haha

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  14. I have way to many clothes I just can't bring myself to get rid of them... Nice post thanks!

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  15. You're right! I love the concept of possessing vs possessed.
    I've read the Money Saving Mom's Budget book too, and I really do like her book...and I really admire her too!

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  16. Oh, I love doing this sort of thing! Our family of ten lived in less than 1200 sq ft up until 6 months ago and I had to de- clutter and de-junk or else it was insane. Even though we have more room, there is a place for everything and we love that! But we still have to go through things regularly just to keep up.

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  17. i did the same thing at the beginning of the year and it was a real eye opener for me and what we can accumulate

    http://adventuresfrugalmom.com

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  18. I'm finally to a point where the clutter just makes my mind feel cluttered. I've been doing a slow clear out. Great progress!

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  19. This is so dear to my heart, because I thought I could get rid of things with the best of then, and then we moved across country - and trying to get the important things into one truck made me rethink my priorities! Good for you! I need to pair things down more - you've inspired me to keep going!

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  20. I did this recently when I moved from CA to FL. Got rid of TONS of stuff, even got ride of most of our furniture. STILL filled up a big truck of stuff!

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  21. Yes I've heard many people go through Dave Ramsey's financial course and come out with a new perspective. While I've never done his course myself, I have stuck to the tips he has given. I am also going through my home getting rid of unnecessary items that I no longer use. It can be freeing not to have the weight of material possesions around. Don't know why but it just feels like a weight has been lifted. lol

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  22. I am also reading the Money saving Mom's book. I am really getting inspired. I've been going through clutter and listing some things on ebay. Thanks for sharing what you are doing!

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  23. I could stand to give-a-way more often, when I do it is very rewarding to see the finished clean area. I love a well organized kitchen, it drives me nuts to have things out of place.

    Stephanie
    www.royalmajestea.com

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  24. Decluttering IS so liberating - I need to do MORE of it... it takes me a long time to "go through" things and make decisions though. But in the end I am HAPPY to see those bags of "stuff" leave the house. I am even considering starting to tell people NO birthday presents for me and hubby b/c we really don't need another frame/candle/journal etc. ya know?
    okay so this will sound weird but last fall I participated in the http://www.onedressprotest.com for a month. Yes I wore the same outfit (pretty much) for a month! I wanted to feel what it was like to live like the rest of the world without a closet full of clothing. After a month, I got rid of SIX grocery bags full of clothing - I started to realize that if I could go a month on 1 dress, then I really did NOT need all the clothes I have! :)
    Good luck as you continue your journey! :)

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  25. Okay. You're really hitting below the belt now! You're meddling. You're... you got me, right where it hurts. I'm the queen of clutter. The mother of dust bunnies. The grandmother of - well, you get the idea. This article will bruise me until I either forget it or do something about it. Wonder which will come first. Seriously - thanks. Deb

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  26. Great job! I especially find the "tupperware" cabinet funny b/c that used to be me too. Why do I keep all this? I always think "maybe I'll need it". And you know what, even if I ever did, I'd make it work without it. Sooo...love you post, can't wait to follow and read more! Having an 18-mo in the house, I'm trying really hard not to buy too many toys and clothes.

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  27. Great job. I just got Money Saving Mom's book from the library yesterday. We have moved pretty often so over time we haven't accumulated a ton of stuff to get rid of but it is nice to have a simple organized home that you can feel good in. Keep up the clutter cleanup!

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  28. I an possessed right now! ha! For lent this year, I have committed to purge household items. We moved back in September and I was able to rid myself of a lot of clutter, but if you were to go through our basement, you would see there is a lot more clutter to get rid of! I'm going to follow along in your de-clutter journey. Money Saving Mom is excellent! Thank you for sharing your journey. Maybe I should start blogging about mine, too!

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  29. Awesome!! I LOVE DECLUTTERING! We have moved 18 times in 4 and a half years, so that keeps me going through things, but we haven't really moved in a year. . .and I can feel the stuff starting pile up. When I go through my bedroom closet and get rid of things, I do feel like I can breath better--definitely free-er! You are inspiring me to get going again, and now I'm interested in the Dave Ramsey starter kit too! (waiting to get the Money Saving Mom's Budget from the library. Your organized cupboards look great!

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  30. Good job on starting to purge all your unnecessary items! I just this week decided I'm going to go through my closet/dresser and get rid of the clothes that don't fit or ever get worn and sell them online (and the donate what doesn't sell within a certain time limit)! Maybe it'll inspire me to go through and clean out other areas!

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  31. Purging feels awesome, plus you can donate the stuff and get a write-off, or have a nice garage sale.

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  32. This is inspiring! Right now our garage looks like the junk fairy paid us a few visits. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I don't do anything. Glad to see you're moving forward!

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  33. I have recently become aware of how much stuff we have!! We used to live in a 3 room apt and now we live in a 3200 sq ft house. The 3 room apt might have been small, but we had everything we needed. Now we have that and so much more! I'm going through stuff and either selling it, donating it, or tossing it. It's liberating!

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  34. I really need to do this too! Our home is getting more and more cluttered!

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  35. I just started reading the money saving mom's budget as well. I'm definitely going to go through my house and de-clutter. I so need to do that!! Great job! This is a great post and very inspiring!

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  36. Yay for you! Ive started putting our house on a diet bit by bit.

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  37. I have the book, but haven't yet started it. Thanks for the motivation to get busy reading it.

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