Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Conquering clutter

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. 

NOT ANYMORE!!!  In fact, to a large extent, I've even tamed the clothes monster!  I used to have all of the girls' colder weather clothing separated into five Rubbermaid tubs, and even those were overflowing...
Well, it took me about a week, but I emptied those tubs onto the living room floor, took out only what I knew I'd allow them to wear (we've been given a LOT of clothing that is totally inappropriate or even just too old and icky to wear) and literally tossed the rest.  Out of the dressers came the summer clothes, and MOST of that got tossed too.  This is what our living room looked like for almost a week...
It was ugly.  But now, I have a clean closet in their room, all (and I do mean ALL) of their out-of-season clothing fits into ONE of those five tubs, and we filled two huge boxes and four garbage bags with clothing to give away or donate.  Sigh.....

As for the bonus room closet, it's CLEAN, organized, and clutter-free!!!!  I've still got to tackle Pete's filing system (har, har, har...), but it is just wonderful to walk in this room and be able to FIND what I'm looking for--including the computer!  Check it out...this is the before...

And the after.....

There really is something calming in waking up to an uncluttered house.  It's much easier to clean, too!

So who else is doing a Fall-Cleaning?  Care to let down your guard, open your curtains, and share?

4 comments:

Brandy said...

I have not only been fall "cleaning" but I have been getting rid of "stuff" and It is contagious. The more I get rid of the more I want to get rid of. I want my home and mind free of "worldly clutter". Thanks for sharing, Kris!!!!!!!

Leah said...

This is a HUGE goal of mine! You know it's bad when you're embarrassed for anyone to come over. My problem right now is, once you subtract the time feeding baby, and just doing the necessary things like dishes and laundry, there's no time left in the day! I will get it done though, because yes, it's negatively impacting my state if mind and can make you feel like the worst homemaker in the world!

THE OLD GEEZER said...

I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

God Bless You

~Ron

Seasons of Life said...

Kris ~

Whew! What a job and the results are thrilling ~ even through the computer screen. Rejoicing with you in conquering the chaos...for we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS in Christ Jesus! =)

Remember, too, press on toward the goal of the upward call...one step at a time.

I enjoyed visiting you today ~ praying for your days ahead.

Blessings ~

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