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Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Simple Life: Conquering Mount Stuff-More

We try to live simply. 

But in spite of the fact that we try to be careful about bringing more stuff into our home…

and frankly, I just can’t afford the latest, greatest, big, new thing anyway…

Mount Stuff-More continues to grow.

It grows with every piece of mail that enters my home.

It grows with every drawing a kid insists that I keep forever.

It grows with every book we add to our library.

It grows with every gift from a grandparent.

It grows with every outgrown garment.

It grows with every cardboard tube I keep to re-use.

It grows with every “village” built from cardboard boxes.

It grows and grows.

Now, we have a, I would say, biggish home.  Not a half-million dollar modern mansion with all the newest conveniences, by any means.

But we have space enough for each member of our family to have breathing space.  And there’s an attic and a basement besides.

And yet, the stuff, it gets to me.  And I’m the hoarder, the pack-rat, the frugal inventor,  the one who won’t throw anything useful away.

But I look at that stuffed closet, or rather the tiny spare room being used as a closet, and l see the stack of 80’s vinyl records (when’s the last time you even saw a 45?  I don’t even have a turn-table to play them on.) and I think to myself:  “it’s time to let go.  I’m tired of the baggage.”

I don’t really have a ton of stuff.  Moving over 1000 miles twice in 5 years required lightening our load.  But I need less stuff, yet. 

And I need a fool-proof way to organize what I do have.  You know, so I won’t say:  “Ah, yeah, I’ve got a piece of fluffy fleece somewhere that would be perfect for that costume, if only I could remember where I packed it away.”

There’s no point in having stuff at all if you can’t find it when you need it, right?

So, this is my pre-New Year’s project.  At least I hope to complete it before the New Year. ;0)

My gift to myself and to my family:  to lighten our load, de-clutter our home, and simplify our lives.

And I’m starting here:

001

We have 5 bedrooms, but the girls have been sharing a room, so Emma’s bitty room sort of became a diaper-changing/storage room, simply because it was a heck of a lot easier to store things in there than to drag them up to the 3rd floor attic.  The attic was nearly empty (except for  suitcases and the air conditioners) when I shot this pic.

But, my oldest needs to switch rooms, because his room has 2 exterior walls and is over an un-insulated enclosed porch---it’s impossible to keep his room above frigid when the temps drop at night, even with 2 radiators.  We are looking into insulating the porch and the room, but that’s a long-term project that will require an investment we can’t make right now and it just seemed to make more sense to have him use a warmer room that wasn’t really being used to its full potential.

I’ll probably post some updates (I’ve already emptied this room and got his bed in there, so he won’t feel a need to wear a hat tonight) as I move along.  And if I come up with a foolproof way to organize the stuff I do keep, I’ll share it here.

This isn’t the first time I’ve simplified.  The last time was almost 2 years ago!  I think are overdue.

What resolution or mission are you pursuing for the New Year?  Have you ever tried to simplify your life?  How’d you do it?

You might also like to read about my January 2010 simplifying adventure:

The Simple Life:  Day 1

The Simple Life, Day ???

A funny thing happened…

4 comments:

  1. We have a small house, and we are stuffed to the gills! I'm always simplifying and simplifying and ...:-) And yet, we still have sooo much stuff.
    I'm stopping by to say hi from Molly's Home Team.

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  2. I have tons of tips that have helped keep me sane. One I think of when I see those clothes is that I only keep one plastic tote per size of clothes. If I have more clothes that fill the tote then I reorganize and pass the extras alone.

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  3. I am with you on that resolution, though I am not planning on getting to it before the New Year. My 14 yo has agreed to set up accounts (or rather, use the ones I set up) for Craig's List and Freecycle, and start posting one or two things a week. It's our garage that is the problem...a result of six moves in fifteen years, with many generous people who offered us things to help, and my appreciation for a flea market...not to mention downsizing from 2400 sq ft to 1600 sq ft! Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to fit a car into the garage?? LOL.

    Best wishes with your decluttering. I agree with the idea of one rubbermaid container per size/gender of clothing. Label them and store them in order outside. I do actually do that and it helps. We go "shopping" in the garage when we need new clothes. It's a great help.

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  4. I can so relate and just b/c they all get..no,WE ALL get older does not mean we have LESS stuff...it gets worse,I'm afraid! YOU GO GIRL! hugs!

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