Useful or Beautiful.

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Lately I feel as if I am in a move-out-of-the-house-soon phase.  If you've ever made a sizable move, you probably know what I mean: that is the time to weed out all the crap you don't want to pay someone to carry to a new place, and you have to do it at an almost frenzied pace.  Most of us have said crap: the junk drawer full of actual junk, the piles that never quite get sifted through (just moved around from table to table), that bin of stuff that you could never find a place for, that bin of stuff that's sentimental and can't get rid of, the pile of clothes you don't like anymore or don't fit, but one day might again.  I feel like in the past few weeks I have been finding that we have that stuff everywhere, and I find myself wasting time getting it under control.

"Waste" may not be the correct word for it because it is actually neatening and organizing the house and making space for things we do need, but I get sucked into projects I didn't intend to do that day.  I'll be going about my business doing something ordinary, like putting away the groceries, when I come to our snack cabinet so full I can't get the newly purchased stuff in it and realize, a) we have too much food, and b) half the boxes have one thing left in them, or c) we have two open bags/boxes of the same thing.  So it then takes 10, 15, 20 minutes to get everything in order, consolidate, break down packaging, and clean the shelf that somehow has become extremely crumby.  But it's this routine five times over in one day in different spaces.

As I'm doing this, though, I feel really good about getting rid of the stuff, especially the stuff we have absolutely no use for.  People give us things or I find things at the dump or we buy new things without clearing out the old and we become overrun, and I'm hoping that by realizing this now, we can set ourselves on a good path to not just bringing in something because it might be of use to us one day.  As William Morris said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful," and I am going to work on this.

No more bringing home free knickknacks because it might maybe look nice on a shelf.  Time to clean out the clothes where the hanger is still backwards from the year before, that don't fit, or we don't like.  Work on taking a better inventory of what foods we have and what we need before shopping so I'm not buying the same things when we don't actually need them (hello, three boxes of Corn Flakes).  If it isn't currently useful (or hasn't been for a long time), it's going to go.  If we don't like it, it's going to go.  It would be nice to have some empty space in the house that can just stay empty. So I'm going to keep working on tasks like I'm moving somewhere else even though I'm not, and there are no plans to on the horizon, just because it's going to help us keep a more orderly home.

Do you ever get a moving-cleaning feeling?  Are you overrun with useless stuff?  What do you do to keep it under control?

11 comments

  1. I'm in thie same mode as you right now. I just got rid of a bunch more stuff this weekend. We spent Saturday night decluttering our bedroom and bathroom, and I'm already thinking about which room I should tackle next. Our biggest issue is lack of storage, so we have some areas of the house that look cluttered, but it's because there is no place to put them. For example, there's a huge pile of records sitting next to the record player-- it looks cluttered, but it's because we don't have any storage shelves for our records. Those are the types of things that are driving me crazy right now, so I figure if I get rid of the rest of the clutter, then maybe that will free up space somewhere else.

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  2. Paige @ Little NostalgiaAugust 11, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    We just had a big purge and garage sale (as you know)! We're pretty good about keeping extraneous clothes out of the house, but everything else was bad. Decor items are my Achilles heel, Nate hoards boxes that electronics came in, we had a mysterious amount of magazines... Things are in good shape now and I'm going to keep it this way, dammit! My new rule might be one thing in, one thing out. Or at least have an actual plan for whatever new thing I bring home.

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  3. I just had a large purge and yard sale myself. my inspiration was watching all 7 seasons of clean house on netflix. lol

    Debbi

    -YankeeBurrow

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  4. This. We are currently in the process of getting rid of some larger furniture pieces that just don't fit in our small apartment. Because of this I'm in total Get Rid of Things Mode. We are also currently obsessed with Tiny Houses, which helps inspire us to cut down on things. :)

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  5. Tiny Houses are so cool! I don't know how we'd live in one at the moment, but I love the idea. Getting rid of things feels so good, though. I need to start doing more before it gets too cold for me to be motivated!

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  6. Some of those tv shows are scary! At one point I was watching Hoarders and it was freaking me out. There was just so much stuff to get rid of, JUNK!, and they just couldn't. SO sad.

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  7. We finally had to go through and get rid of a ton of the boxes. We had so many when we moved. We figure if we ever have to move again, we'll just have to find more boxes!

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  8. I hate having stuff that doesn't have a place, and we lived like that for so long while we were fixing up the house. Stuff was in the wrong room, etc. and it was driving me crazy. Now the problem is new stuff brought in, and the overabundance of toys, and so on. I think I'll make a run to the dump today and get rid of a few more things, like the "gifted to us" sled we've never used.

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  9. I had to laugh about the electronics box hoarding because there is a similar thing at our house. Andrew keeps all the manuals for EVERYTHING. I came across a ginormous box of manuals that included a manual for a CD Walkman and a Nintendo 64 that we're long dead and gone before we ever moved to Baltimore...haha!

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  10. Yes to all. We moved last year from a house that was almost 700 square feet bigger than our current house, and had an additional 1500 square feet of basement space for us to fill up with all the stuff we didn't really need but didn't have time or feel like sorting through to get rid of. This past year, we have - thanks to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Craig's List - gotten rid of SO much stuff, it just boggles my mind that we're still kind of feeling overrun with...stuff.


    I try to go through it pretty regularly and meticulously, with the goal that I minimize sending things to the landfill. Everything that can go to Goodwill does. I re-style old t-shirts with my sewing machine and make new things out of old. Instead of buying something at the store, we usually try to hit a salvage store or Re-Store for materials and make it. Books go to a used book seller. So it definitely takes time, far more than if I could just take the stacks of stuff and throw them out of the house, but I think it's a worthwhile process.

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  11. I love your point about reusing and recycling old things. We are starting to do the same- taking the kids' old clothes to the consignment shop, dropping books and things we don't need at the exchange at the dump. We don't buy books or movies at all and we try to maximize what's in our closets while getting rid of the old and ill-fitting. But we still have stuff too- it just seems to multiply and it's an ever-happening task to contain it.

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