Monday, October 20, 2014

Digging Out From Under

My husband and I moved into our current house not too long ago in one of those "sprint to get in and then collapse" moments. After that sprint, we didn't do much unpacking or arranging. The problem?

"Not too long" was actually six years ago. In our defense, we've been a little busy--me with a day job, book writing, and book promoting, and my husband with two jobs and a hobby of his own.

But since we're not actually hoarders, we have finally hit saturation (and frustration) with clutter and unnecessary stuff. This last weekend, we started digging out. We took a trip to the donation store, filled the recycling bin and (nearly) the trash bin, and set aside electronics for disposal. By Sunday evening, a room and a half looked cleared out and reconfigured--ready to be used again or better that before.

Of course, the rest of the house is still a disaster.

Some of the debris is waiting for its turn in the trash/recycling/donation bins. Some is still waiting to be sorted out. Some stuff still needs to be agonized over.

Some of the junk was easy to clear out: empty boxes from purchases (I always mean to throw them away a month later, but I forget), clothes I haven't worn in a year or more, and giveaways (bags, mugs, etc.) I've never used.

But there's a whole lot that's hard to deal with. Gifts carry a psychological weight that make them hard to do anything with (my current theory is that gifts need to age a year in my house before I can pass them along, if I'm not using them). Another category of goods I have a hard time with are the "things I might need some day," because I can still hear the echoes of my grandmother (who grew up in the depression) who used every single item thoroughly before disposing of it, and who never threw anything away that could have some utility.

I'm trying to get over that.

And while I feel guilty for throwing away things someone, somewhere could use ... somehow. I've decided that the greater value for me lies in NOT being burdened by the stuff. "I need it out of my life," I repeat, giving myself permission for the disposal.

In the end, we've made a start on disposal of the unnecessary and reconfiguration of the remaining goods and space to be more useful. And I feel psychologically lighter and freer.

So how do the rest of you do it? Do you declutter and degift as items come in? Or do you clear you home out every few months. I need tips....

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