Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Give It Away Now

So first of all...I am back! And sooner than expected. We have rigged up a borrowed computer so that I don't slip into writing withdrawals. However, there is no photo editing software to be had. I can barely rotate the images, much less fix red eyes and over exposure. So until I get a more permanent solution to my technical problems, you will just have to deal with my crummy photos!

I've been nesting. The kind of nesting that usually occurs right before one gives birth. I'm not pregnant of course, but the urge is there, all the same. Perhaps it's the episode of Hoarders I watched last night in which they found 13 dead cats under piles of waste and clutter. Perhaps it's the much anticipated cooler temperatures that have finally snapped me out of my sweaty stupor. Whatever the reason, the disorganized state of my house is seriously thwarting any attempts to live a simpler life. Of course, it's always difficult to get rid of one's possessions. Big or small, each item in our home was chosen by us in hopes that the object would become a useful and integrated part of our daily rhythms. Unfortunately, many items just don't make the cut. Too much stuff takes up our space and our time and ultimately leads to a more complicated way of living. Time to purge my friends!

I started with the linen closet. Actually, in our house it's the linen/extra towels/board games/candle closet. I think I need more closets. Anyway, the whole thing was just one big jumbled mess. I cringed at the thought of opening the door, much less finding what I needed in there. The final straw was when our Scrabble Deluxe game came crashing down on my head while I was rummaging around for clean sheets. Game over.

I pulled everything out and got to sorting. I found several crib sheets we won't be needing anymore and a couple of throw type blankets that could be re-homed. I also discovered that I own 29 pillowcases. Yes. 29. I counted up the pillows in the house that might need a case and only came up with 10. Do I really need 19 extra? How did I accumulate 29 pillowcases? And why did I let 29 pillowcases take up valuable space in my closet for so long? I set aside a reasonable amount of pillowcases to keep, tore up a few for the rag bin, salvaged a pretty dove gray one to make a dress for K, and put the rest in the Goodwill bag.

I then moved on to children's books and toys. Books are the hardest of all things for me to get rid of but I also believe in having a good rotation of stories so that my kids always have something fresh to read. That and reading the same books over and over again kinda drives Mommy to the edge, ya know? I had planned to do this whilst my angels were sleeping to avoid any possible meltdowns that could occur upon seeing their possessions in a box. My daughter, however, insisted she could help. With her brother napping soundly in his room, my four year old gave me a confident "keep" or "donate" as I held up books and toys one by one. No tears. No protests. Just a "I don't play with this anymore" or "I'm tired of this book" and even a "My toys will make other kids happy" comment that almost made me cry. What a selfless gesture; to give of her own things to make others happy. That's a very big lesson for one so small and my heart is proud that she's already learned it!

In the style of Katy over at the Non-Consumer Advocate, here's a brief farewell to some of the other things that will no longer be cluttering up my life.

The Brown Dress. You haven't fit since college and you never will. And even if I could fit into you, I doubt I would. No one wants to see a mother of two in a dress like you. You're kinda...slutty.

The sparkly shoes I stole from my Mom. I love you guys but can't wear you for more than twenty minutes without getting some wicked blisters.

The Pottery Barn duvet cover. I don't have a duvet. Enough said.

The candle tray with the unidentifiable sticky stuff on it. May your next owner have the magic formula with which to remove whatever it is that makes you sticky.

The Elmo Book. I really hate you and your sound buttons that stick and play repeatedly and randomly.  

Ahhhhh. So much better. I feel ten pounds lighter and a lot more centered. How about you dear readers? Is it time for you to dig out from under a pile o' possessions? Leave me a comment and tell me all about it!


  1. I love to read your blog, Steph! Personally I just gave away much of Lucy's old baby gear to a sweet co-worker who is having her first baby any day now. Maternity clothes are next. I love to purge...and Hoarders is a FANTASTIC motivator! Keep up the good work. We miss you guys!

  2. I love to purge!! It always makes me feel so much better :)

  3. While on my retreat I composed a guide to purging, inspired by the simplicity of the cabin I stayed in...plan to start "simplicity Thursday" (as it seems like the only day that doesn't have a theme for bloggers...not wash, crafty, this moment, etc.!)...must watch hoarders sometime! I'm inspired to simplify in a major way.

  4. My mother-in-law is the hoarder of the house, but she's getting better about it since we moved in. She keeps all of her and dad's clothes, though even with a built in wardrobe, an armoire, and two sets of tallboys she still needs to hang up shirts in the laundry. They never wear them; I know because they have dust on the shoulder area. She just retired and assures me that she'll soon have the time to de-clutter.
    I'm planning to clean out the lean-to beside the garage - generally just lengths of wood, covered in dust and spiderwebs - joy. And behind the garage is a good space for a garden workbench. Too bad it already has an old and rotting workbench stacked with unused terracotta pots (again a hangout for any number of poisonous spiders) so I hope to get to that soon too.

  5. I've been doing this same thing. For some reason I get cleaning fever in the fall, not spring. I've read several things that inspired me. Not to mention the Great Giveaway endorsed by Dave Ramsey. YaH! for you. Tennessee Reader

  6. I have moved 10 times in the last 12 years and purged a great deal during each move. I know - let's take a moment to think about how crazy 10 moves in 12 years is. C-R-A-Z-Y. What I a shocked about is how quickly things accumulate. All of the sudden... you have piles of things you don't need, or use, or want or have room for. I just don't get it. How do we avoid it?