Monday, August 9, 2010


I was reading through some of the recent posts on Zen Habits the other day and I came across these two:

The Clean-Slate Guide to Simplicity and How to Simplify When You Love Your Stuff

I love the idea of simplicity. I love the idea of having less stuff. Perversely, I do also have a lot of stuff, including stuff that I don't use, wear, read, like, or even remember that I have.

That's too much stuff, in that case, then, isn't it? But how to get rid of it? How to manage it?

I felt particularly confronted when I read this, in the 'How to Simplify' post:
7. You will know you are buying mindlessly if you:
  • Buy on a whim.
  • Buy to impress others.
  • Buy because you feel you deserve it.
  • Buy when you can’t afford it.
  • Buy just to update something that still works or looks fine.
  • Buy because someone else has it and you want it too.
  • Buy because the advertisement seduced you.
  • Buy because you are bored.
  • It’s purchased because buying soothes you.
I don't really think that I buy to impress others, or because someone else has it and I want it too, or because I am seduced by advertisements. But... because buying soothes me? On a whim? I'm bored? And even... because I feel I deserve it?

Ow. Those ones bit deep on a number of levels. I had to stop reading and come back to the article later. I felt ashamed. And a bit overwhelmed. The excess stuff that I know is lurking around has been haunting me for the last week or so. It is hard enough not buying things. Why is it also so hard to get rid of them?

On the one hand I want to hang onto some things for Pippin's sake. Like knick-knacky things... our glass paperweight collection for example. I don't think I would miss them if they weren't on our shelf, but I reckon he will have heaps of fun looking at and playing with those things when he's a bit older. (I remember how fascinated with my mum's sewing box and button collection and fabric stash I was.) Some old clothes will be good to hold onto for dress-ups. Should I start a 'Pippin stash' with things like these? What do you think?

Books and notes and things from my university days though, that I haven't looked at but have been hanging onto just in case... they could definitely go. So I am making a commitment to de-stuff my life a bit. Today I took the time to go through the boxes of crafty things that I have under my desk: sorted them into 'Christmas' and 'non-Christmas', tidied them, got rid of some stuff. I also did the 'clean-slate-email' thing and emptied out my gmail inbox. I don't have a backup drive so am a bit scared to try the complete computer reformatting thing!

Next will be the box of folders I have from my old public service job; I can pretty much guarantee I NEVER intend to look at them again.

After that, my old notes and books from uni.

And after that, the bathroom cabinets.

And after that, stuff on top of my desk (this is a scary one!).

And after that, my iPhoto library... yes it's only taking up space on my computer but it's driving me bananas how many useless photos I have on there.

And after that... well, that might do for the time being. I reckon I could get many of these tasks done in the course of the next couple of weeks. I'll let you know how I go! Do you have any helpful tips or advice for managing your STUFF??*

*and also possibly your husband's?? I'm feeling a ruthless cull of excess socks coming on.

1 comment:

  1. I have a rule that I learned (from all places) the Tyra Banks show (don't judge). If I haven't touched it in 6 months and it's not a sentimental heirloom or something like that, I give it to Lifeline or a charity. That helps me de-clutter a lot. I also try not to buy things unless I'm in love with them--the way they look, feel, etc.

    As far as husband's go...well, when I de-clutter, I usually just tell him that's what I'm doing and tell him if he wants to get rid of anything to stick it in the box. He usually sticks a couple things in there.

    Happy simplifying!


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