Friday, October 30, 2009

Everything Must Go

Well, everything that isn't useful.

I've been on a major mission. I'm getting my manuscript back next week, and it will be my very last chance for changes (wow!). For all other stages of the book, I've worked surrounded by clutter and paperwork and disarray, and it's been really stressful.

For years, we've been talking about moving to a bigger house or a house with a better layout or better closet/cabinet space. Finally, the light bulb went on over my head and I realized that if we had less stuff, we wouldn't need a bigger house or better closets. So, I went into Superwoman mode. Over the past two weeks, I went through everything we owned and evaluated how useful and necessary it was. Each item either got a good place to live, or got boxed up and put out in the garage. Next week, a truck from the VOA is coming to haul off the stuff we don't need anymore, and we will be clutter-free.

I'm amazed at the things we felt we had to keep (videos when we don't even have a VCR, two extra sets of dishes we never ever use, textbooks, and tchotchkes, and coffee mugs, oh my!) and I'm embarrassed by the way we clung to stuff that other people can get good use out of.

I always said I didn't have the time to do this kind of overhaul, but not doing it was eating up more of my time. I don't even want to think about all the hours I spent moving piles from one place to another or searching for something I needed in the mass of things I don't need. We kept the things that really mean something to us, and things that are actually useful in our everyday lives, but it's amazing how many things didn't match either of those qualifications.

Now, I kind of like our house. I've cleared out a space in the basement where I can workout (without hitting my head on a snowboard when I do crunches). My office is clean and comfortable. There's a place for everything in the kitchen, and when I open cabinets, nothing falls out. Now, we fit here. Now, this space works for us. And next week, when I go through STAY for the very last time, it will be at a clean desk, with a clear head. Phew!

16 comments:

sara said...

Hurrahhhh!!! I'm so feeling the itch to tackle our garage, but haven't had the time. But I can't wait! :)

The Modern Gal said...

Good for you. I did a lot of this while I was in the process of moving this summer. It's so freeing to be rid of stuff that has no use in your life.

Kate said...

That's why I move every two years. Gets it all cleaned out. Now that I'm planning on staying where I am, I have no idea what's going to happen.

courtney said...

Yay! Decluttering feels SO good.

Reluctant Blogger said...

haha yes, clearing out is certainly cheaper and less stressful than moving.

I have always moved house on a regular basis so have never acquired too much "stuff".

Noelle said...

I love doing that! The only thing I regret giving up was a hat I had from a show I worked on that said "Little Fish" because that's our swim team name. But I could always make another one if it was necessary.

Corinne Bowen said...

You are such an inspiration! I know this feeling on a smaller scale and very little can compare to the peace of a clutter-free room:)

WendyCinNYC said...

I love that you were considering a bigger house for all your stuff! Ha! I did a huge purge of clutter recently. It's very cathartic.

Lara said...

Simplifying and decluttering lends space is more ways than one! We really can live without most of the "stuff" we think we need. Good luck w/the final edit...how exciting!!

curlywurlygurly said...

i often want a new house with a huge kitchen, butler's pantry, and oodles of closet space because my house was built in the 60s and apparently they didn't have clothes or linens back then. i'm a minimalist but still find myself storing cookbooks in my oven and bread and popcorn in the microwave.

congrats on the cleanout and on your book--so exciting! good luck with everything...

Condo Blues said...

Congrats! I did a bit by bit basement cleanout a while ago. Every day or so, I'd go through a box in our basement and decide if the stuff stayed or could go. I donated a lot of stuff but I felt like I had MORE stuff in the end because I could find and use things easily.

If you make a list of the items you donate and get a reciept from the VOA, you might be able to claim it as a charitable donation on your taxes.

Lenore said...

De-cluttering is an EXCELLENT idea.

A Free Man said...

All you've got to do to keep the clutter down is do a trans-continental move every few years. When you have to pay by the pound to ship things you get ruthless.

Vanessa said...

YAY! I did this before I moved and was amazed by how much it lightened the load. Upon arrival to Empowerment City, USA I realized my apartment was smaller than I originally thought. Round two. Now I only have things in my home that I truly love and frankly it make me love my home more.

Leslie, the cleaning coach said...

We have connected on twitter and am glad I found your blog. Wondered if you would like to consider my book for your green gift guide. I'd love your feedback. I send an email to your "cleaning" department on greenist. Hope to hear from you.
PS did you wash your windows this weekend? 15 days to Thanksgiving!

Alice Jackson said...

I'm in this mode too! I blame it on pregnancy, but it is wonderful. Our basement is slowly becoming usable again too!