Packing And Purging

I am far from a hoarder but I have a habit of keeping things. It is more of a slow clutter take over. I like to keep things that will be useful in the future, things I swear I will make something with, things people gave me, and things that have sentimental value. It is a kind of security when you have never had enough money. The idea of getting rid of something and then needing it months or years from now is hard to swallow if you don’t have the money to buy it again. It is also really easy to say yes to someone else’s hand me downs and clutter when you are poor.

I accidentally brought more to Chicago than I should have. I didn’t know the size of my apartment, was hoping to end up in a one bedroom eventually, and the truck was bigger than I had planned for so some boxes that were supposed to go in the basement ended up on the truck. For this move, we have to get it all down two flights of stairs and then drive it 6 hours and unload it again. Then in a year, I will be taking only the essentials and moving all the way to the west coast! I don’t want to be dragging stuff around that I don’t need. It is getting heavy and I move too frequently for this. If I had purged better before moving from Denver to Michigan then maybe I could have fit some of my furniture in the trailer. It would be nice to have a dresser!

I have been trying to keep my friend Brooks’ advice in mind and asking myself “do I like and use this or can I let it go?” I started with my kitchen cupboards and got rid of stuff I haven’t used since we moved here. That got a box worth out and I think there are a few more things that can go. I am applying the same question to my bookshelf, which is much harder for me. I am trying to keep my reference type books (not everything is on the Internet, yo) and my favorite books. If I have had something for a few years or more and haven’t bothered to read it then it needs to go. I can check out books from the library later and there is always more being written.


The clutter monster.

The hardest for me is the purging of baby related items. I have some saved in the basement at my dad’s but I did get rid of lots of other things, especially if it came to me free. I want to have another kid or two someday (my mantra is after I take the IBCLE) and want to hang onto “useful” things like clothes and diapers. I went searching for inspiration and tips for deciding what to keep and what to let go of. Here is one article I liked, and another.

My baby clothes questions:
Is it in good shape?
Do I like it and did I actually use it?
Is it exceptional or sentimental?
Do I have lots of similar items?
Would I buy it now?
Can I let it go?

I have to go quickly through piles and boxes. If I don’t, I can come up with a reason to keep anything. Doing this with just a quick glance means I am going on a first reaction and not an emotional response. I go through my keep pile again but not my donate pile. That needs to just get out of the house now! Actually, it is mostly stacked outside my apartment door because I need the space to keep sorting and packing.

What do you do to control your clutter? How and what do you store for future children?

About JennP

Single mom by choice, lesbian, natural living, parenting, car free, Chicago.Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment!
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10 Responses to Packing And Purging

  1. I keep wanting to take a couple days vacation to purge the house while my daughter is in school. It’s hard for me to do a little at a time. I get started and I don’t want to stop!! Right now I try to loan putt as much baby stuff as possible so it doesn’t clutter our place. I think my daughter’s baby stuff is spread over 7 people right now!

  2. You could break it down into a room a weekend. That way you make yourself stop when the room is done and go back to life. Drop everything at goodwill and go do something fun. I got rid of a lot of stuff as we were done using it and tried not to have much big stuff to start with. A friend’s daughter got too big for the swing they had so I brought over the used one I was given. Poof, gone! I kept the rock n play, booster seat, papasan chair, crib, breastfeeding pillows.

  3. Lindsay says:

    I absolutely love purging & organizing and clearing things out! I sell a lot on the Toronto mom’s buy/sell groups. Clutter is a big “no no” in my books, and I do purge a fair bit, but yet we STILL have crap laying around…having a kid just almost guarantee a fair amount of clutter (ahem – toys).

  4. I feel bad getting rid of toys since they aren’t mine but it feels so much better when i purge and organize them.

  5. Mary says:

    It’s hard because there is a fine line between being frugal and hoarding. Now that we have one household becoming two, I am repurposing a lot of things that were just sitting around in our old basement. However, there is so much stuff floating around in this consumer society-making it so easy to get things for free or almost free that it’s hard to justify holding onto stuff.

  6. After my last live-in break up, I had to rebuy things I had gotten rid of when we moved in together. I also have lost things to roommates on many moves and had a storage unit flood 6 yearsa ago. It is hard to get rid of useful things when circumstances have done it for me. I have a mostly written post about my frugal ways.

  7. I love our buy/sell pages in Toronto. Anything I’m not using I sell and figure I can buy used later if I end up needing it. I hate clutter and stuff.

  8. I have tried to do some of that but it has felt like such a hassel.

  9. You got me on a cleaning binge 🙂 Friday night I cleaned out the entire pantry. It wasn’t that hard because almost everything in there expired in 2013!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Then when my husband took our daughter to the park on Sunday I managed to clean out her closet! Woohoo!

  10. Awesome! I did my dad’s pantry after Wallace was born. He had the house 3 years at the time and there were a handful of things expired 3-6 years ago.

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