I've had an ongoing battle with clutter almost all of my married life. I'm presently sitting in a room that is actually bigger than our first apartment was (no kidding!), and the thought of all we had shoved into that tiny little space--three people, a bed, dressers, couches, tables, chairs, kitchen stuff, baby stuff, a crib, stroller, plus all those CLOTHES....it makes my head spin. And it just got worse from there. Twenty years, we dragged our boxes and bags full of stuff around the world. Thirteen addresses, two overseas moves, living in five different states (six if you count Pete's six months of training in VA the first year we were married), the junk adds up--and takes over, if you're not careful.
We weren't careful.
And boy, HOWDY have we paid the price.
Yes, folks, there is a price to be paid for letting 'stuff' hang out in your house rent-free for years and years. It doesn't benefit your life at all, but you still keep it. Why? Sentimental reasons, practical reasons, the excuse I heard for way too many years of "It might be worth something someday." Well guess what? If it's not worth something to me TODAY, I don't want it around. The greatest cost I've had to pay toward the rent of keeping clutter around me is in mental energy. You heard me right. I've had to invest mental energy into keeping this STUFF. Why did I do that? I honestly don't have a clue. Maybe it's a leftover that was passed down from our Depression-Era forefathers who wasted nothing and kept everything...but even as bad as our economy is, we're not in the dire straits they were in by any means. We have no valid reason for all this STUFF other than to make us feel like we own something. Validation that we're "somebody" because we own things.
I don't want that kind of validation. I'd rather be validated and found worthy because of Whose I am, not what I manage to step over on my way to the door.
I suppose there is a positive effect from at least some reality shows on TV as of late. The show "Hoarders" has made me want to hire a cleaning crew and rent a dumpster on several occasions, I must say. I knew that the clutter was having a profound impact on my standard of living, because I would spend a good 2/3 of my day rearranging and moving stuff and junk just to get to what needed to be done. Not healthy. Too much energy spent on worthless things that do not add value to my life.
Over the five weeks that Pete was gone, I decluttered a LOT of our house. He truly was shocked at the difference. We can now walk in our bedroom; while it's still a work in progress (there are still some baby items we have to give away and winter clothes of ours to weed through), the progress is stunning. Even more shocking to him was the bonus room that we use as our playroom, office, and "guest" room (there's a bed, so it's for guests....LOL) that were, up until just a few short weeks ago, BURIED under all the stuff we had no other place to store. We have a storage closet in this room, but it was chock FULL of the girls' clothes.