Sunday, August 31, 2014


I don’t know why my family finds decluttering such an onerous task.  I don’t really know how we got to this point to begin with.  Social scientists might say it stems from my upbringing where financial resources were tight.  New clothes as a teenager, beyond basic necessities, had to be purchased with my own hard earned babysitting, then corn detassling, and then grocery store jobs.  I held onto the things I bought longer than I probably should have and usually when they were past their prime. My husband comes from a different sort of pack rattery.  While the quality of items gained and stored over time were probably better than my storage, the fact that they had what seemed to be endless storage, and liked the thrill of a flea market find, meant there was never a treasure turned away.  When they laterally sized from an 1800’s large house into a Y2K large townhouse, they purged and sold and started fresh.  A decade later storage areas not only in the town house, but also in the cabin garage, and I assume probably storage in their Arizona winter place, are packed. 

The difference though, is where my in-laws have ample space to hide away their gems, our clutter has run amuck and interferes with daily living.  Like his parents, my husband loves adding to his collection, and has a love of art.  However, we live in a 2000 square foot modest home and wall space has all been used up. Beautiful pieces remain crated in boxes. Add to the problem water damage from basement flooding not yet repaired, adult kids moving their stuff in and out, and a couple financial dings which meant postponing redoing the basement, the overall storage-stuff situation has felt overwhelming.  I came across the following article, linked from The Art of Simple.  Huge thank you's and recommendations to this fabulous resource if you are looking to gain a new frame of reference. 
Josh Becker at Becoming a Minimalist,  provides 7 tips to help jump start and make the decluttering process easier. Number 7, Don’t Confuse Intent with Action, hits home with me.  I’m a great list maker, and seeing them you might be thinking that Sam is one organized lady.  I also can in preparation for a single event, kick my but in gear and get done enough, with creative smoke and mirror tactics, to even have people over without being totally mortified.  But it is exactly that-clutter stuffed in cupboards, hidden behind closed doors, and very dysfunctional to real living.
Now don’t get me wrong; we are not the hoarders or the families living in such mess and filth that are featured on television.  I’m guessing we’re the clutter type that has a lot of company.  One of my dearest friend’s shares the same struggle with having just too many things and not knowing what to keep, and what to get rid of and how to store despite the forced purging that comes with three house moves in 10 years.   I’ve made a little progress in the last month.  I’ve made two donation trips of several bags of clothes and household items, and purged or recycled probably 7 garbage bag size piles of papers, magazines, and damaged things with no useful value. I’ve imposed a rule that not one thing comes into the house, short of food and mandatory household consumables, without two things leaving. I’ve second guessed every purchase I was about to make, making a decision to leave it at the store, and with the exception of a few clothes and school supplies for my daughter, nothing additional has come in the house.  If you’ve conquered clutter, I’d love to hear what has worked for you. If your still struggling as I am, I’d love to read your story.

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