Wednesday, January 6, 2016

confession: i like... stuff

Over the weekend, I was reading Stephanie's post about the 30 Day Minimalism Game. Minimalism isn't really my thing; I like stuff. In Texas, real estate is relatively affordable so Andrew and I are the only ones living in our four bedroom house. We have plenty of space to accumulate things. However, he hates clutter, so I have gotten pretty good at Tetris-ing all of my stuff into cabinets, closets, and drawers so he doesn't say anything about what he doesn't see.

But I was thinking about it, and we have lived in this house for over a year now. In the past year, I have definitely brought lots of stuff in and I haven't taken much out. I haven't touched closet shelves or rarely-needed drawers since we moved in. So, I probably don't need a lot of that stuff, right? I decided to take on the challenge Stephanie mentioned to see how far I could get.

I started on January 3rd, so I needed to get rid of six total things that day. I cheated as I had already thrown away a sweater that I thought was beyond saving due to pilling and three PJ shirts earlier in the day. I wanted to get ahead of the challenge so I went in my closet and found three shoeboxes (why do I save these? Am I creating a 4th grade diorama sometime soon?), a zippered plastic bag that a comforter had come in, my Fitbit box from a year ago, and a few other things that were easy to toss. Things that I had held on to in case I needed them... in case my Fitbit needed to be returned, or I got around to fixing that (free) keychain, or in case I magically started painting or doing something else messy that required an abundance of t-shirts with tiny holes. It started off pretty easy, so I started taking pics and tossing things or putting them in a bag to take to work and offer to my coworkers since we always share our old stuff.

But then I went upstairs, to where I haven't looked around in a while. I came across a bottle of shampoo about 20% full. "Oh, I should keep this," I thought "because who wastes perfectly good shampoo?" But it wasn't my brand. It probably came into our old house during one of my father-in-law's visits. My bathroom is stocked with my preferred brands and the guest bathroom has nearly full bottles of other stuff. I didn't need this; this bottle needed to go. I felt wasteful, but also a teeny bit liberated, like I was breaking a strange, self-imposed rule.

I looked around some more and found a clock ("It's kind of cute and I might want it sometime... but I also hate the ticking of clocks and don't have anywhere to put it"), a top-less apothecary jar (it broke last Christmas and I have yet to find a use for it, so it was easier to part with), and cloth bags in various states that I haven't touched since we moved into this house. Those were mostly easy to part with and will be tossed or given away, depending their states. But then I looked around some more and found travel shampoos, dresses that were given to me during someone else's declutter that I have never worn, and shotglasses that are only slightly sentimental, and I stopped. I (or someone) worked for the money to pay for those things, and they're perfectly good. I might need that shampoo one day and I like that shot glass (that I forgot I had). It was a strange internal battle that I have to sleep on. I'm not sure why I hold on to things like I have some bizarre fear of being without one day and needing my stuff - stuff that I don't think about in my day-to-day life. I've been fortunate to have never been truly without. I guess I look at what I have and feel bad for discarding it while simultaneously wanting to hold onto it tightly in case I am ever one who is without. It's strange and irrational. During my purge, I threw away an old sleep mask. I have at least two others, I haven't been using any of them lately, and the elastic on this one was stretched. I didn't need it and had used it enough to justify the dollar it cost me at Target a few years ago. But, after snapping a pic of it, I almost stopped myself from throwing it away. "It's one mask! It doesn't take up any room..." I rationalized, and started to put it back... but then I tossed it before I could think about it any more. It was of use to me, and now it isn't. It's time to let it go.

Writing this post makes me feel a little crazy, I admit. So far, I have decluttered through today in the challenge, which means I have gotten rid of 21 things. I'm tweeting my progress with pics to Stephanie every few days and keeping up with all items on my phone. I'm not sure how long I'll last, but maybe letting go of this clutter will help me realize that it's all just stuff anyway and I already have all the things I truly need.

Linking up with Kathy and Nadine because my husband says this makes me sound like a hoarder so this counts as a confession, right?


  1. You're not a hoarder. Organizing and decluttering are cyclical. When we don't stay on top of it, it builds up. For everyone! Me included. I'm full up now because I haven't focused on it since April or May.

    I like stuff too though. Minimalism is not my thing. That's the other Steph's thing! LOL

  2. haha to Steph ^^ It is my thing :) I totally get that it's not everyone's - and I do think everyone should have the amount that makes them feel comfortable. You should feel happy in your own home, and if that means 200 pairs of shoes, so be it! I just happen to be more comfortable with less.
    That said, I'm so proud of you! 21 things is a really good start, particularly if your husband isn't crazy about clutter. And if you aren't using it. I started with the stuff I could donate. That made me feel better about not just throwing it away - someone would appreciate it and get use out of it. Once I got to the trash though, I just looked at it as a good lesson on what NOT to shop for, or accept from other people. So I don't make the same mistake again.

  3. Sometimes I go through weird phases where I want to get rid of stuff but I regret it later sometimes when I end up needing that item and I have to re-buy it. My mom is such an anti-hoarder though, if you havent used it in like a month she gets rid of it!

  4. Its hard to get rid of stuff otherwise you wouldn't have saved it! That is great that you are purging though!

  5. Oh man, you're like reading my mind. It's so hard to get rid of stuff, because "what if I need it?". Things like shampoo I'll throw in the shower and use every other day or something until it's gone.

  6. Definitely need to implement this into my life. On the weekend I am going to declutter and purge things from my closet and other space within my house, it is driving me insane so I need to get it done!

  7. i'm a bit of both. for clothes, nope - anything 1yr old that hasn't been worn gets the boot but stationary shizz? YEARS. like, i still have stuff from when i was in grade 5!

  8. Holy. Shit. 2 posts in a row?!?! :D :D :D
    LOL @ Tetrising
    OMG I save shoe boxes too! WTF IS UP WITH THAT?!?! I tell myself they're good for storing things... there isn't a single thing being stored in ANY of them! lololol
    I definitely have a problem with hanging onto things in general, too. Like you, I rationalize why I'm keeping it - but the thing is, you can alllllways think of an excuse to keep something... I've kept tons of half used shampoo bottles, too lol It feels amazing when you're able to push through that and actually purge!

  9. This year I am really trying to focus on getting rid of stuff. Sometimes it is just an impulse purchase and never gets used. Over it.

  10. i like stuff too! but i also like decluttering every now and again, because like you said.. you bring stuff in but don't take it out. we moved from a one bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom house, and we barely filled it. now a couple years later every room has a lot of junk in it. i really just need to get in and start decluttering. it's hard to get over that wasteful feeling, but i just have got to because it's silly having stuff you don't use!

  11. I too am a fan of stuff but I also don't like a ton of clutter so I tend to purge once or twice a year. Right now I am in purge get rid of all the things mode so we will see how that goes. I have a fitbit box and other boxes that I kept "just in case." And clothes that I could still let go of and not miss. I need to go through Chris's clothes. He only wears about 20% of his closet and is taking up way too much real estate for that! I am catching up on posts this week so I haven't gotten to that one of Steph's yet. gotta go read it!


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