Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dealing with to much stuff

Hello again!
It has been a quiet week here on the blog again. As usual, quiet weeks on the blog generally mean that it isn't so calm and quiet here in real life. It has been a good week, just full.

 On Tuesday we started our homemakers group up again for the summer. We are meeting weekly in June, July and August. This first week was a kind of introductory one and the friend and I who are leading decided to have a discussion time on Simplicity or Living Purposefully. That is something I have been thinking on a working towards for a long time but it has become something I feel even more passionate about in this last year.

  More journey towards living more purposefully/simply is a work in progress but I do feel that I am making progress.  My goals are to cut out those things (whether physical items or things that take my time) that don't help me in me in my walk with God and to focus on Him and the things that help my walk with Him.

  I have felt led to have less stuff in our lives which is why I made the choice not to buy anything this year other than what we need (food, gas and a few things like toilet paper mostly) and a few other selected items (like a water purifier and other things that we are trying to have so that we can be prepared for possible emergencies) and instead put money into an emergency fund.

This week to help in our quest to have less stuff we held a garage sale. A portion of the money that we made from it went to help buy a good bike for Jonathan. (Good bikes for the whole family is one of those things that we like to have for fun and recreation but also something that we use for transportation to help use less gas. It was an item that I put under the being prepared category.)

   The garage sale kept us pretty busy much of this week as we were going through stuff, setting up, running it and then putting everything back to rights afterwards. I had talked to a friend who is knowledgeable about running garage sales and her advice was to have it on Thursday and Friday and that close to the first of the month was the best time. She also advised having nice signs. I think I could have done better in the sign category but we followed her advise on the other items and I think it was good. The sale went well and we made more than I expected. What a blessing! Along with the money that Jonathan had already we had more than enough to get him a good (not cheap) bike.

   Here are some of the principles that are helping me (I am still working at it!) get rid of clutter:
  • Realizing that we can still remember a person or an event just fine even if we get rid of an item that came from them/that time. I struggle with sentimentality about stuff. It is fine to keep something that I really enjoy and use but to keep something that is basically useless to me just because it came from someone special is silly.
  • Realizing that I can make things do double/triple duty if necessary. I didn't need that plastic cake stand (that had been given to me and I never ever used) because if I ever need a stand for a cake I can put a (pretty)platter on some sort of platform (like a big vase or some wood chunks) and it would look nicer than a plastic stand anyway. This applies in so many areas!
  • Realizing that not all clothes look good on me and since I don't need them, why am I keeping them??!
  • Realizing that just because I enjoyed a book (magazine, whatever) once doesn't mean it is the type that I want to read often or even have available for everybody I know to read. Some books just aren't worth keeping around to take up shelf space. In my opinion many books are very worth shelf space - we have tons of books and I love that - but not all are.
  • Setting some "rules" that if things don't fit in the space that is available for it then something needs to go.
  • Working gently and patiently with my children to help them see what they really want to have and enjoy and what is just making their life more difficult because it makes it harder for them to keep their room neat and tidy.
  • Being willing to listen to my family about what they want to get rid of and not make them keep things for silly reasons. I have been known to have a child keep a shirt that they didn't like just because I did and I thought they might need it to go with a certain skirt but instead it simply stayed in their drawer for months making it overfull. There have been other stories like that in my life.
There are so many other silly reasons that I have kept things and I am learning to have a little less and truly enjoy that. I am striving to only have what I find either useful or beautiful. I do still try to be prepared for most situations but I am beginning to realize that it takes a lot less to be prepared for most things than sometimes we might think. Sometimes when I have that being prepared mindset and have trouble letting go of things we don't use I have learned to think about what they had 100 years ago (most likely not whatever thing that I am dealing with) and they generally lived just fine without it.

Do you struggle with dealing with stuff? What are your methods? 


Amelia said...

I too am constantly simplifying, it's a constant weeding isn't it? : )

One thing I've recently done is simplify to one primary blog, I had started one for our homeschool workshop, one that had sprung from my old xanga, and finally my journal of our journey here in the country and what the Lord has done. The "clutter" was stifling me! But I didn't know what to do! My daughter, Marianna suggested I just go with the last blog (her favorite) and I did a few little tests and sure enough that will be my primary blog because it's my life, and my life is all 3 blogs in one! I now feel like I can have far more fun and margin in my life once again in writing more freely and effortlessly with more of it's a "good enough" attitude.

Even in my devotions, I've cut down to one devotional book at a time and just really, really concentrate and meditate on the scripture or two that particular devotional offers for the day and as the Lord leads of course.

This past week I tried on several pair of shoes that I thought were sooo cute when I ordered them. I haven't worn them in over a year so the other day, I wore them around the house for at least ten minutes each pair. If they pinched my toes and it was clear they were not going to stretch out or in one case fall off my heel they went in wonderful shape to the Christian resale shop to bless someone else! : ) I've also donated tops, skirts etc. I made myself, if hubby or daughters say they look a bit unflattering then away they go to someone else who the item will fit better. For me it's soooo tempting to take the zipper out first to save or make cute napkins out of them! (Shame on me!)

Have a sweet Sunday, ~amelia

Anonymous said...

Hi Abbi,
I really enjoyed this post. I have learned the hard way that the only way I can maintain a clean house and my overall sanilty is to keep on top of the clutter that quickly accumulates in my house. I still struggle with this. My family is experiencing difficult financial times right now. I have found that working on a house project, such as organizing paperwork, takes my mind off of my problems. I am looking for a second job, and being organized with be a necessity. Thanks again for your blog.

Erin said...

I don't really recommend being constantly on the move, but in the 13 years we've been married, we've moved 10 times. Moving is a surefire way to get rid of the clutter! Even when we have stayed put for years at a time, I try to think about "stuff" with the question of whether I would want to pack this up and move it if/when the time came. There are some things that are handy to have around, but definitely wouldn't make the cut in a move, so you simply hold loosely to those things.

The key here is to pare down what you already have to the essentials and things you love, then be very circumspect as you accumulate additional items. Take the time to really think about the purchase or gift, and decide if it is truly valuable to you. If you're not using it regularly or its function could be performed by something else, let it go.

Contentment really is the ultimate solution.

Abbi said...

Thanks to all of you for your interesting comments. I love hearing your thoughts and ideas!

Erin is so right that contentment is truly key!


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