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 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?