Friday, August 15, 2008

What if

How do we accumulate so much stuff? I came to America just 10 short years ago with 2 suitcases. That's it. All my belongings fit in 2 small spaces, and it was light enough to carry. Now fast forward to today. I have a big house, full of Stuff. My husband has a shop full of stuff. We have started to get sick of having all of it. Now, the question is: What do we get rid of, and how?

Moving from house to house a lot as a kid, helped me to learn not to get too emotionally attached to things/stuff. I cleaned out my room and got rid of things that I didn't use anymore. Somehow, this skill has left me. I guess when you don't practice enough, any skill will diminish.

When I look at something, debating if I can get rid of it, I ask myself: Do I need this? No. Will I need it in the future? Maybe. This maybe is what's so hard for me. I'll give you a perfect example. I have a pair of skis sitting in the shop. Will I use them here in Texas? Never. But what if we move to Colorado (our dream location), then I'll be using them all the time. So, is it better to keep them for years and years, store them, move them, so IF we relocate, I can have them? Or is it better to get rid of them, have space, and less clutter, and buy new ones IF we relocate? I don't have the answer!

Do you ask yourself the "what if?" question when you clean out your house? What can I do to help me get over that syndrome? I mean, there are obviously things that you can't just keep buying over and over, and only use a couple of times a year. Like camping gear, sewing equipment, Christmas decorations, children's clothing in all size, books. Now books is a whole other thing. I would like to donate about 80% of our books to the library. The fact is: we never read them, and probably never will. There are a few exceptions like camping guides, parenting books, and other hobby books.

Part of the problem of stuff is that we have plenty of space to store it all. If we bought a house today, that is half the size, we would HAVE to get rid of a bunch of stuff. That's when it doesn't matter that you might use that board game 10 years from now, or the 10 year old paint as touch up. Maybe the solution is to start reading lots of de-clutter books. Get me motivated. I am also open to any advice you might have. What has helped you get rid of that "what if" item?


Nancy Sabina said...

I try to think about whether or not I would really miss that "thing" if I got rid of it. Like the skis. You're not going to miss them. And if you went on a vacation you could rent them and if you moved somewhere where you were using them all the time, face it, you'd want new ones (I'm sure newer skis are way cooler). Or at least that's how it would be for me.
So basically, if I haven't used it in the last year I try to get rid of it. But it's hard! I recently threw out the pair of shoes that I wore nearly every day of my mission and it was so hard! I was never going to wear them again - style changed and they weren't all that comfy - but I just really wanted them. But in the end practicality won and I tossed them.
Good luck!

Monica said...

Here is a link to a blog I just read that may answer some of your questions.

I love the new oink and brown!

Amber said...

I've never been one to save anything. Growing up, my mom was a total pack rat so I HATE clutter. The one thing I do when I am cleaning things out and I have a "what if" moment is to try to remember the last time I actually needed something that I had thrown away. I seriously can't remember a time when that happened. That helps me remember that the junk I choose to save RARELY ever resurfaces as a needed item, so I toss it.

angela michelle said...

I blame it all on the kids. They accumulate so much stuff! Also my husband is a patrack. I find that when I'm feeling more financially secure then it's easier for me to de-junk. Otherwise, I think if I get rid of it I won't be able to afford to replace it. Also, I imagine our (hypothetical) next move and how much I'll hate packing up stuff that I really don't want anyway.

The Bartel Bunch... said...

Getting rid of things is therapeutic. It is hard but it feels so good when it is all done. Watch 'Clean House' on TV. I love it and it helps me part with things that I am holding onto just for the memories.

Rebecca said...

I moved across the globe and could only bring so much Stuff. I look at what I chose to bring and I know I'm never going to use it. Why did it seem so important? I know when I go through my storage unit (next week!!!) then I'll be cleaning out a lot of that stuff. As I unpack, I'll think: will I need this ever int he next year? It's amazing how much I don't need most of it. I haven't missed it for a year and I probably won't miss it for longer.

(Of course, that said, there are things I'm missing that I'm just excited to open again. Like Christmas! Except I know I want it.)

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