Wednesday, July 22, 2009

When did Decluttering become a Word?

Do you ever feel like your house is clean enough or organized enough? Do you ever feel like you have decluttered to the extent that you want to? Do I want to update my interior decorating and entertain more? But do I want to spend any more money or time on that? I want a simpler life, less things, more peace. I find myself in a struggle with these two forces. More stuff, less stuff. And I realize the less I have, the less I have to clean. And then there is the kids stuff... (And the overall meaning of life...that it is not about stuff but about relationships...)

I totally intellectually understand the fact that once you get rid of the stuff THEN you have to NOT bring any more stuff in. I realize this especially when I'm in the ULTIMATE cleaning stage where the afore mentioned cleaning lady is coming the next day and I'm on a mission like no other to have every surface decluttered and every stray item put back where it belongs so that I can get my money's worth. But do you know how many items that is in every part of the house? And then I think to myself, why can't I keep it picked up all the time so that I don't have this HUGE job to do every time. And then I cut myself some slack and remind myself I have young kids and they have more stuff, and aren't quite skilled in putting things back just yet. I then question do the kids know where it belongs because I don't know where some of it belongs?

Back in my grad school days my friend, Camila, helped me pack up and move to another apartment. She was astonished (read: disgusted) to see that I had saved certain People magazines with certain celebrities on the cover. This was in the days that decluttering was not in my vocabulary (or societies for that matter.) I didn't even know what the concept was. Would it surprise you that I have my congratulatory wedding cards or the same from the births of my children!!! I have to explain that my mother (yes you, Elaine if you ever read these) has receipts from the 1950's and is very proud of that fact. I do not want to retain receipts or People magazines. I have experienced the wonderful feeling of letting "the stuff" go and how amazing it makes me feel. I then am able to donate to one of our church's missions, or make a little money at the kids consignment store. I just can't keep up. The house is in much better order than it use to be but it seems like there is always something to be done and maybe that is what I need to accept. There is always something to be done.

At this point I have to admit that I still have an under the bed box that has a few magazines and newspaper covers with Jackie Kennedy Onassis, JFK, Jr. and his wife, CAROLYN, and Princess Diana. I use to be obsessed with them. I started saving these long before the days when you could go online and look at the same pictures. Now, I need to go through this box, but other things that can be SEEN take higher priority. They just do it so much faster on tv shows, when they have a TEAM to do the job in like 2 days. But I digress, it is time to take more action. A little every day, week or month. So I am finishing this blog and getting to it, until I get interrupted over and over again by my lovely offspring. Stop writing, start decluttering. Here I go.


  1. Ugh, Carolyn! You're making me crazier than I am normally! What's my excuse for the clutter? My kids are big and know where everything goes!!! I've given up. I used to keep an immaculate house before the boys. They'll only be here another 10 or 12 years, then I'll have the house back to myself. I have to continually remind myself of that. Except, when they ask who's coming over when I make them clean up...

  2. "Would it surprise you that I have my congratulatory wedding cards or the same from the births of my children!!!"

    It wouldn't surprise me. I've seen more than one person spend over 600/yr. to store in climate controlled area what is, questionably, 85% clutter, and even with value of that plus remaining 15%, has estimated value of 175-200 American dollars.

    I worked much with controlling inventories and it teaches one much. There are a few simple rules.

    1. If you don't have clutter, which could also be called obsolete, unusable junk, an accurate inventory is easier to keep up with.

    2. Having less doesn't really reduce the rounds it just makes them less laborious.

    3. Inventory rounds are needed to keep levels right and to know if what you need is on hand or you need to waste time money and work to make on elaborate order or trip to get one piece you may have already had but it was hidden under -- clutter -- so it was paid for twice since you had to go get another.

    4. People mostly get it all mixed up because things sentimental and those of utilitarian use are not divided seperated. Granted some items have overlapping properties.

    5. Steady inventory is inevitable. At my job when I was 23, I was given a clean up man for my work area. He swept my messes up. I thought I'd never dance with a broom again. Nah, wishful thinking!

    6. And last, 2 things, really
    a. Smart person knows what to throw away
    and what to keep
    b. Don't carry extra "baggage", even if
    plan on staying married.