Thursday, November 10, 2011

De-Cluttering

With two adults and the "Pickles" in this house, we have clutter. Loads of it. In fact, even with everything we've unpacked, I think most of our clutter is still packed in boxes in the basement. I sometimes shake my head and wonder why on earth we packed up a moving truck and a trailer (and a pick-up truck and van) full of clutter and transported it across the country.

I swear I spent an entire month prior to the move taking 3 to 4 van loads of stuff EVERY WEEK to Goodwill and the dump. We even had Goodwill come to the house to get stuff! Still, we wound up keeping SO. MUCH. STUFF.

I have un-packed and re-packed our things several times since being here. I've donated and tossed things and even passed on much of the kitchen items and linens to Elder Boy when he moved. We participated in a yard sale this past summer and sent everything that didn't sell on to Goodwill. Still, we have too much stuff.

I have to be honest.  About 20 boxes in the basement (half of the boxes) are full of books - children's books I don't want to part with, novels, non-fiction, etc. (and I also got rid of a several boxes of books before we moved). Since we're holding off on any new buying furniture until after we buy a house here, the books will have to remain in their boxes and the dream "library" will have to wait. Same thing with the guest room. We have loads of stuff stored away just for a guest room from linens to decor. Then there is the china I refuse to unpack until we move - 3 boxes of it.

I've been reading a book called Cut The Clutter. I've had it for awhile and have skimmed through looking for clutter-busting ideas when I ran an emailing campaign for a storage and organization store, but this time I have REALLY been reading it. Frankly, the book tells me nothing I didn't already know, except what type of clutterer my family members are. For instance, I am a "Concealer-Tosser". I accumulate stuff, store it, organize it, and once in a while when the masses of stuff drive me nuts (like now), I go into a tossing frenzy and become ruthless in my attempt to rid our home of useless items.

My children are "Droppers". I think it's pretty common for children to be "droppers". They drop their socks and shoes in the living room - right where they take them off. In fact, once they are done with something, it is more often than not left where they used it last - clothes, toys, and even the wrappers to the microwave popcorn (left right next to the microwave - 2 feet from the trash can).

The Boy is actually a "Collector-Dropper". There are only two things he ever wants more of - video games and Legos. Both things are usually not where they belong (they're right where he finished playing with them!) and he has more than any child (or adult) would ever need.

The Girl is more accurately an "Accumulator-Dropper". She accumulates junk on a daily basis (and leaves it everywhere). She insists on keeping every twig, rock or acorn she comes across. Every toy she has she is loathe to part with. It's next to impossible for her to toss a scrap of ribbon or paper in the trash! So I do it for her when she's not looking. The only time she seems even remotely agreeable to getting rid of some of her things is when it's to be put in a yard sale and she gets to keep all of the money from "her stuff". You can bet I take advantage of those times.

I'm still trying to pin down what type of clutterer my husband is. He's gradually growing out of his "Dropper" tendencies. I think he's more of a "Collector", though not to the extent of his younger brother (the Star Wars / Family Guy / Simpsons / Comic Book / Hot Wheels collector). Mr. LH mainly collects books. But even with his non-book things, if I get into my "Tosser" mode and ask if we should keep something, his answer is most often "Yes...we might need it" or "It doesn't take up much space..." No...one DVD doesn't take up much space, but we have HUNDREDS of DVDs and very old VHS tapes. To be fair, he is a movie guy - his business is in movies. Several book shelves would take care of the DVD overflow problem, but once again, the furniture has to wait.

I guess with the sale of our North Carolina house (FINALLY!), I've begun to look towards the future. I'm wondering if the house we've had in mind is way too much house for us. Do we really need that much space to live comfortably or is it just to store all our "stuff". Determined to once again whittle down our belongings, I started with the obvious - utility bills for the North Carolina house. We won't need them anymore since the house sold (though I did keep all the ones from October 2010 up to our final bill in case we can use them for our tax return). The utility bills were shredded. Then other unnecessary papers from over 10 years ago were shredded (I have at least 14 years of files - but they are ALL the bills and papers from the last 14 years). I shredded papers for 4 days, overheated my shredder countless times and got rid of about 5 black trash bags stuffed full of shredded paper. That was just during the first week. You can get a good idea about what papers to keep and what to throw away from this article

Since most of the papers were kept in the office, I started to look around the office for more clutter. Getting rid of all that paper (along with the 2 huge boxes that the files were stored in) made me feel like getting rid of more stuff. There were still things that could go - old software discs, empty binders and obsolete software manuals. There were even unused desktop organizers waiting for a new home. They could go.

I have no clue when we'll be moving again, but you can be sure I don't want to move anything I don't have to. I'm in "tosser" mode and it feels so good!



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