Beginning to simplify

I’ve become aware that I have way too much stuff. 

It’s been a gradual accumulation, as it is with most people. A little at a time, an item that had a purpose at some point but has since been just gathering dust, things that we might need in the future so we’d better hang onto them, things that Tolken calls “mathoms”: “anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away”. Mathoms everywhere!

Reading blogs like The Minimalists and Be More With Less have helped me come to an awareness that my stuff impacts me in ways I’m not even fully aware of. I’m not a hoarder by any means, but stuff tends to accumulate around the edges of my rooms. This visual clutter is usually in the background, just taking up its usual space and minding its own business. Sometimes, though, it intrudes itself on my consciousness and it becomes my business.

I also don’t want my kids to have to wade through tons of stuff at some time in the future. I want to pare down as much as possible and see what I can live without, that now seems to be necessary.

So I’ve begun taking active notice of the stuff around the edges, getting rid of as much as possible and organizing the rest so I can see what’s actually there. Last week I did this:

*Took 3 boxes of clothes plus 3 suits, a bag of stuffed animals, and a box of miscellaneous stuff to Goodwill.
*Gave some partial skeins of yarn to a young lady at church.
*Started going through my books again, pulled a bunch to sell to Half Price Books, and gave a couple of LDS books to another young lady at church. Purging books is the hardest thing for me.
*Gave 2 bars of Fels Naptha soap to another church friend. I had bought them several years ago when I got a wild hair to make my own laundry detergent. This friend makes her own soap because her kids are allergic to commercial detergents and she was grateful for the donation. I hope they are still usable after so long.
*While going through cookbooks today, I found three cookbooks that we hadn’t written in, and they are in the Books to Sell box. A bonus to this activity was that I cleaned the microwave while I was in the area.
*Listed a set of Dave Ramsey books/DVDs/CD on Craigslist to try to get a little money from them. One response so far but it turns out that he was looking for another product. I’m willing to give them away if I can’t sell them.
*Returned a book to a friend who loaned it to me 3 years ago or so. It was a slightly embarrassing visit–3 years!–but she was kind about it.
*Found nine years’ worth of bank statements 2001-2009. Holy cow, what was I thinking?!? I took them to Office Max to shred those bad boys. How much do nine years’ worth of bank statements (including 2 years of canceled checks) weigh? Almost 10 pounds. Shredded to a pulp.
*Took the sprinkler out of the dining room where my husband had put it after repairing it, and put it where it belongs.
Now I have an organized closet with only (well, mostly) clothes that we actually wear. The top of the microwave is bare. There are spaces in my bookshelves. There is floor visible in spaces where it didn’t used to be. I have a lot less paper cluttering my file cabinet.
I’ve only just begun (cue Karen Carpenter…) but I am seeing positive results already. 
Ditch the stuff!
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