Lately I’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed by Stuff. You know, all those things that seem to accumulate in the house. Items that sit around requiring organization and taking up space. All that Stuff.
I’d like to get rid of some of my Stuff. I’m not anywhere near the level of hoarding, but I still have waaaaay more Stuff than I need. Clear and open space in my home makes me feel calmer and more relaxed. I’d like to have more relaxed feelings and less Stuff.
I’ve been working on this project intermittently for about a year. Somehow, though, it seems that as much as I clear away there’s still an enormous amount of Stuff left. I read blogs like Unclutterer and Simpler Living, and though I don’t aspire to the extreme minimalist lifestyle of Miss Minimalist, I do aspire to clean out as much Stuff as I can.
Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that a few months ago I did a massive closet cleanout and brought several large garbage bags of clothes and shoes to my local thrift store. (And, though embarrassing to admit, all of these items came from just one closet. I still have the kids’ closets to go through, the front hall closet, and a couple of storage closets as well.) It’s a wonderful feeling of lightness, like a heavy weight has been lifted, when I can see all the items in the closet and easily find the one that I want. Although I have fewer clothes, I feel like I have more to wear.
But I find that like many of life’s endeavors, uncluttering is an iterative process. I can’t get it all done in one swoop; I have to keep returning to the same items again and again. Looking at my closet today, there are things I had decided to keep just a few short months ago but whichI now know I should give away. There are still some pants that don’t fit me well, some shirts that may be just right for work but which I haven’t worn in at least 5 years, and some cute but very uncomfortable pairs of shoes. I’m not sure why I couldn’t get rid of them on the first round of closet cleaning, but I do know I’m ready to get rid of them now.
With the iterative nature of decluttering in mind, I decided to take a stroll around the main living area of my house to see if there was anything else that suddenly seemed unnecessary. A quick look around (the space is not very big, after all!) and I immediately found 10 objects that I can definitely do without:
- The stereo, including the Speakers,
- CD player,
- and a double tape deck. Plus all the power cords associated with those items. None of them are even set up at this point! The CD player doesn’t work, we don’t use cassette tapes any more (does anyone?), and we have other means of listening to music and radio. Our small docking station for iPods, which I received as a gift last year, has speakers, a radio receiver, and plays CDs. It’s a lot smaller than the whole stereo, and the fact that it works is clearly a plus! 🙂
- Staplers. My quick look around found 4 staplers. That’s more staplers than people in the house. Clearly, this is a simple case of disorganization. Since the staplers were scattered around in various rooms, I didn’t realize that we had so many. I’m thinking that one stapler is probably enough.
- The Phone Book and Yellow Pages. I resisted getting rid of these for a long time, thinking that it takes too long to boot up the computer just to look up a phone number. But now we have iTouches and laptops which are nearly always on. I can’t remember the last time I cracked open the big old phone books. Time to recycle those.
- Broken watches. To be honest, I think some of these aren’t broken, they just need new batteries. But still, how many watches can I use? I wear the same watch every single day. I may keep one extra as a backup, but the rest are headed for the door.
- Pieces of non-working humidifiers. Yep, I know it’s hard to imagine in this sticky, hot weather, but in the winter the air around here is so dry that I sometimes run a humidifier in the house. I’m not sure why I saved the pieces from the one that broke two years ago, though.
- Tiny tea cups, and saucers. I have a full set of dishes that, though I no longer love the design, I still use regularly for larger groups. Someday I may choose to replace them, but in the meantime they are useful. However, the set came with tiny little teacups and saucers, and I think I have 16 of each. Which we never use. And they are space hogs because they don’t stack well. If we’re going to have a cup of tea (or coffee or hot chocolate or any other hot drink), we use a reasonably-sized mug. I’m packing up those teacups today.
- The teacups made me consider some of the other items in my china cabinet as well. I’d rather have a few things that I love than a cabinet full of things I never see.
I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily I found 10 things I don’t need. Maybe I should start looking for 10 things every day! What about you? Are you on an uncluttering kick? If so, what have you found recently?