Friday, March 20, 2009

Simplifying - The Art of De-Cluttering

Sometimes I wonder if others are as attached to their clutter as I am, as much as I hate to say it I find so that I have emotions attached to things. Most of the items I'm speaking of are of sentimental value anyway, things our kids made when they were small, things people that mean something to me have made, things from my little mama (if her hands have touched it, it's just so precious to me!) or my sweet little in-laws, cards from hubby. It all just sort of compounds doesn't it?...until you get to a point where you realize if you had to move tomorrow it would be an impossibility...I truly hate feeling like that because I want to have things simplified and let go of things but I know that years down the road these same kids are going to say 'Mom, why did you get rid of this or that?' and I'll feel really bad.
Although I certainly don't have this down to an 'art', I have figured out some ways of dealing with these items and have begun with some of the things but really need to stick with it.
These are my rules as to what to keep:
  • 1 outfit from the kids baby years and 1 pair of baby shoes
  • pictures: maiden and I love to scrapbook so we'll use them all eventually
  • just a few items from individual people...pretties
  • homemade items - only if they're functional or I can put away simply to hand them down
  • tools: only one of each but we buy good quality tools so they should last a long time (I learned this because my father has a lot of each kind of tool, for just in case and those things take up so much room...this works well for him but I don't want that)
  • Kitchen: only functional items, our kitchen is not a showplace, it's completely functional and so it would not be conducive to our 'work' in there to have a bunch of pretty things sitting around.
  • Plastic: I've talked before about my hope of de-plasticizing us and do try to never buy plastic, so we don't bring anymore into our home and to use what we do have as containers for non-food items.
  • Clothing: Our clothes are worn over and over again, we've never been people to have tons of clothes hanging in our closet that we don't ever wear. Our only really nice clothes are church clothes and they will be worn year after year. We don't buy expensive clothes but we do only buy natural fabrics and maiden and I make many of our clothes. Also, we own very few pairs of shoes and we wear them until they wear out, which takes years and years.
  • We do occasionally have yard sales but actually prefer to give all of our items to goodwill, so they can be used over and over again.
  • We only buy used vehicles and we drive them until they are in need of new engines, transmissions etc. and then give them to goodwill also, they have some volunteers that work on vehicles for them and then they can make some money on them.
  • Gifts: we do have a lot of craft items but we do use them all to make gifts and then have a specific place we keep the gifts until the occasion, we also keep wrapping paper in the house so we can wrap the item after it's made to be ahead of the game when gift-giving time comes. We also make our own cards but do try to keep all of those items together and not go overboard buying wooden stamps etc., we find there are certain ones we love and use over and over and we do love to use stickers with them also but always recycle the ones that we don't really like after all...no need to leave something sitting around that you don't love when someone else may be able to put it to good use.
We did homeschool our kids which meant a lot of paperwork but we sorted through them and simply got rid of the unnecessary items at least once a year. Now we have their portfolios for the end of each year and their final portfolios but that's all, of course we have their diplomas displayed on the wall. We sold a lot of our books etc. on ebay or gave them away, you really want to hold on to those things because they did cost a substantial amount of money but you just can't keep everything and it always feels good to help out another homeschool family.

One place that I think you can have fun with 'more' is in gardening....of course you can grow more veggies, herbs etc. and share your leftovers after canning and freezing but also we really love to plant flowers and although they may not be functional, they are so pretty and I just know that the Lord gave us all those pretty flowers to enjoy and be in awe of the colors He made!

Even after all of our thoughts and work with cutting down the clutter I still find that there are things I really should and could do without....especially when I think of my
Grandma and all the things she did without...but to her I'm sure she felt like she had everything as long as her family was happy and healthy, of course those kids had a lot of work to do so I'm not sure keeping a smile on their face was a priority with her...just so they understood contentment I think...that's what would make her happy.
Well, in writing this I've thought of a couple of places I need to work on in our simplifying process so off to work I go.

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