Over the last month or so, I have done a lot of decluttering around our home. I wish I had a tally of how many boxes and bags of things I have put in the trash or donated to Salvation Army.
It is safe to say that every area of our home has some clutter that needs attention. We have been married for nine years, lived in this house for eight years, and had our first child four years ago. During that time we have accumulated all manner of stuff. There was college stuff (textbooks, lamps, sheets, computer stuff, study abroad souvenirs) and stuff from before college (high school memorabilia, childhood memorabilia) and wedding stuff (photos, invitations, memorabilia such as guestbook and cake knife) and wedding presents (some wonderful, some not) and hand-me-down stuff from parents (furniture of various types, towels, sheets, home decor).
All of this doesn’t take into account various sports and hobbies that we have done over the years, the generations of computer equipment and other techie stuff that accumulate, and all the stuff that comes along with having your first baby.
Take all of the aforementioned clutter, and more — then add into it a small-ish house with just enough storage space to tempt a person to stash stuff away and forget about it–and you end up with a lot of STUFF to deal with. I should mentinon that over the years, I have put good, consistent effort into decluttering. I made a point of regularly going through clothes and books and anything else that seemed to need weeding out.
I have long wondered why I don’t hear my peers talk about decluttering much. Do they just not accumulate (buy, inherit, or otherwise acquire) as much stuff as we do? It seems unlikely to me — hubby and I are not shopaholics by any stretch of the imagination. Neither of us has any unwieldly collections (angels, DVDs, or anything else) or an affinity toward knick-knacks or any of the other usual clutter suspects. We are both quite willing to get rid of things that we don’t use or love, even if they are things that might cause us guilt to get rid of, such as things we’ve received as gifts.
I myself am more willing than a lot of people to simply throw away things that we can do without (and that no one else would likely want). When no one else is around (especially my 4-year-old) I like to go through the house with a trash bag and make things disappear. I try to squelch the voices that say “Oh but if you save that you might be able to use it for XYZ.” Forget it! Just get rid of it and get on with life. Is the world going to be a better place if I hang onto something instead of throwing it away? No, on the contrary, my home and my state of mind will likely be better if I have one less piece of clutter to see, move around, clean around, and otherwise deal with.
I heard a quote recently that has been on my mind a lot: “Less stuff, more living.” This quote guides me in a lot of things around my home (and since I am a SAHM mom, I am home a lot!). My idea — and it’s not an original idea, but important to me just the same– is that the less stuff we have, the nicer our home can look and the better our home can function, and the more we will enjoy being at home.
I spend a good deal of time and energy getting “the toy situation” under control in our home. I hope it’s worth it; I think it’s worth it! I have written about this before as well. Some people who visit our basement may think that we have a lot of toys, but the key is that 90% of our toys are stored in our basement at any given time. It is sort of like a toy library, and it works well considering the set-up of our house and considering my personal preferences. My older son, Adam (4.5 years old), generally has 2 or maybe 3 toys/toy sets in his room at a time. (He also has a “craft center,” a subset of his books, a CD player, and a few other things.)
Over the last few weeks we have begun to talk seriously about doing an addition on our home. This makes me even more motivated to declutter since the process of adding on to our home will be just a little bit easier if we can pare down on how much stuff there is to move out of the way, and clean dust off of, afterwards