Cleaning House

I cleaned the house a few days ago and decided our house is too big.

I hadn't planned on moving through the whole house in one day.  I was working on our guest room, as we were having company for the weekend.  However, once I got started, I got swallowed, and pretty soon the day was gone.

It started with simply removing a few things from the guest room, things that belonged somewhere else, like my room.  A few more things got moved to the hall closet.  A few things from the hall closet ended up in the kitchen.  Stuff from the kitchen ended up in the garage.  I brought one thing in the from the garage and put it in the office.  Stuff from the office ended up in the den.  And in the guest room.

One of my primary goals in cleaning is to de-clutter and create more space.  I envision our closets and drawers and bookcases neatly organized and filled with cute baskets and dividers from the Container Store.

In my dreams.

Most of our junk is in shoe boxes, plastic veggie containers, Rubbermaid items that lost their lids, and pink hospital tubs.  We have stuff packed in every nook and cranny.  It wears me out. 

As I shuffled through and dusted our possessions, it hit me that much of what I was doing was not clearing out, but moving stuff from one room to another.  Which, at some point, will have to be cleaned again.  Just in a different room.  If all our stuff is so transient/interchangeable, it can't be that particular to any specific purpose.

That's when it hit me that we have too much crap stuff. 

I take a bag to the thrift store every month, and we still have too much.  How much stuff does one person need?  Well, three people, as currently three people live here.  You know that question, if your house was on fire, what would you grab?  I'd head for the photo albums and the shoe boxes of  pictures.  The LOST DVDs.  Maybe the laptop.  Some extra underwear, if I had time. 

The rest...I think I could live without it.  For awhile anyway.  Eventually, we'd have to get a sofa, so I'd have something to sit own while I'm working on the laptop or watching LOST.

Our daughter was in formation for the religious life for three years, and she reduced her possessions to what she could carry in two large suitcases.  How liberating.  Watching her clear out her life inspired me to examine my own closets.  I now have a deeper appreciation for a less cluttered life.  And I'm working towards that.

It's always going to be a challenge.  We're like iguanas, who expand to the size of their cage, or tank.  Whatever space we have, we fill it.  We're not even pack-rats, we're just regular people with regular stuff.  Too much of it.

The solution is clear.  We have to move. 


Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Have you ever heard George Carlin's stand-up routine about "stuff"? If not, I think you'd really get a kick out of it. It's amazing how "stuff" has a way of filling all the nooks and crannies of our lives. Oh well, they do say that nature abhors a vacuum. If there's an empty spot in your house, it WILL get filled.

Dana said...

You could be describing me and my house! I have so much stuff, and like you, all I seem to do is move it around from room to room. My problem is that I'm too sentimental and have trouble getting rid of things. I have to do something soon, or we'll be pushed out of the house by all our so-called "necessary" stuff. :)

Laura said...

My dream is to live in a house only just big enough and have only stuff that is necessary...and just a few things that are sentimental. But I don't ever see that happening. :)

betty said...

This is a very dear and near subject for me in so many different ways, LOL. I hate clutter and tried to keep our house clutter free. One good solution was moving every 2-3 years or sooner, it makes you get rid of what you don't use any more. Then a year or so ago I found myself in a situation where hubby and me moved into his parents' home they had lived in for over 30 years as they went into assisted living. He would eventually inherit the house. It still had ALL their stuff in it. I kid you not, when we first moved in you could not walk from one room to another except for a little cleared out path. We hardly brought anything with us when we moved in here, giving it all to our son who was going to move into his own apartment, except for our computer stuff, clothes, husband's music equipment, etc.

From his parents' house, again I kid you not, we got rid of at least 10,000 to 15,000 pounds of junk and we are only about 55-60% done. Sadly they both passed later months of 2011 but we are still trying to deal with de-cluttering their possessions and interestingly there was only a short list of items that his brother and hubby wanted from their parents' things.

I admire your daughter who got her things down to two suitcases. Me personally could do it. Hubby....not sure about.

I finally had to let it go with the clutter here because it was affecting my mood, our relationship, etc. Worse yet I work at home so I'm surrounded in it. Its not as bad as it was but its not where I would want it.

good luck in de-cluttering! I honestly think everyone should do it at least every five years, major overhaul of stuff, including pictures. I've thinned down our pictures over the years. I realistically realize everything we have and like our son may not. So why have him dispose of things we should have taken care of while we were still alive?


Anonymous said...

Oh how well I can relate! Replied to your message on my crochet blog...how to follow EH. Wishing you a wonderful weekend full of fun and relaxation. Sounds like you've finished your cleaning quota for a while:)

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you've said - get rid of the stuff - just not my stuff.....



Lynn Proctor said...

hahaha i loved this---and your closets look great!---my husband and i have always joked, although we would probably do it if we could--that when it gets too bad, it is indeed, time to move!!

momto8 said...

I get rid of stuff...this is one thing I am good at!! Every friday the kids have to show me 10 things they are getting rid of in their rooms...and that keeps the clutter down like you would not believe. i too learned about detachment when one of my best friends son AND daughter entered the religious life...and walked away from all worldly possessions...wow.

Robyn Campbell said...

Er, your closet looks so goood. I see you're a fellow space bag user. THEY ROCK! Now you have reminded me that our basement needs de-cluttering. (Is that even a word??) And our closets. Living on a farm you really accumulate stuff. Stuff that you had to have, but sadly never used. *sob* I vow to de-stuff this place. I'll start that next week. Maybe??

Unknown said...

I am SO glad you found me and followed me on my blog. It was then that I decided to come over and visit you! I LOVE this blog and am now following you. I had to smile about the organizing and closets of your dreams. :) and of course saving those LOST dvds! :) I have been doing a lot of purging lately since we just remodeled our kitchen. I had a cupboard that believe it or not still had pink baby bottles in it! Now, I must tell you that my youngest daughter is graduating COLLEGE next month! LOL Yeah, it was time to purge!!! I look forward to reading more of your blog and getting to know you too!

Petra said...

I laughed after reading the first sentence because this is exactly what I say every time I clean house. I'm content with its bigness and all our stuff until I have to clean or move it. Suddenly the idea of a single wide furnished only with the bare necessities becomes very appealing. :)

Thank you for your visit and encouraging comment! I will read your guest post next. Blessings!

Brenda said...

Loved your what-to-grab-if-there's-a- fire take! LOL!
I think organization, just like laundry and dishes, is a never-ending task. But I do like your idea. Just move!

Fran@Broken Cookies Don't Count said...

We're trying to clean out so we CAN move. We have a house in New Mexico and we're trying to get there. We have 2 houses in NJ to sell first, both Filled with stuff! Help!!!!

Michael Ann said...

I have to admit I do not like clutter and STUFF. I am a minimalist. And yet I am sentimental and so save things that are important to me. It is VERY liberating to throw stuff out! That is cool what your daughter did!!

Danielle L Zecher said...

You're so right about our stuff somehow expanding to fill any space we have. I hope you figure out how to stop that and will post the secret on your blog! :-)

Janyce said...

LOL! Great post! ...and everything you've said is absolutely true! :)

Ruth said...

I was going to mention George Carlin, but I see someone else has.
At least you have a closet to stuff your stuffs in. Hopefully by the end of summer I will too. :)

Arlee Bird said...

You have spoken for me in this piece. I've got to open an eBay account and start selling off a lot of my stuff. We have way more than is necessary in our house.

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