Friday, November 25, 2011

stuff... and clearing it out.

I got a brand new laptop. I paid for said laptop with "found money" - a.k.a. selling off some gold and silver jewelry. Nick has a nice laptop, and we both have cell phones. I carry around a 3rd gen iPod touch, but I don't really use it much.

My father in law has been preparing to move out of my mother in law's old house. This is heartbreaking, of course, because it's the house Nick grew up in and it will soon be empty. But that's a post for another day.

Among all the other emotions this brings up, I've been thinking a lot about "stuff". All the stuff that was in that house, years of clothes, knick-knacks, furniture, dishes, everything... it's all coming out of that house. Some of it is going to Gar's new house, and some of it is coming to our house. There is a giant pile of stuff in the middle of our garage that has to be sorted, donated, and packed away. I am the most sentimental sap you'll ever meet, so it's hard for me to look at the stacks of boxes and not see memories attached to everything. My first instinct is to keep anything that might have once been special. But there is absolutely no more storage left in this house, and really, what good would it do anyone to box things up and store them?

I'm at the point where I'm thinking that always upgrading and expanding our own lifetime's collection of stuff - whether it's the latest electronics or a few new winter-weather tops or mountains of toys - it gets to be more of a burden than a blessing. Don't get me wrong, I know I'm blessed to have family and friends that came out to celebrate Oliver's 2nd birthday and bring him presents. We will all soon be blessed with toys and clothes and things as presents for Christmas. My point here is that managing all of this stuff is a big job.

Our computer room/guest bedroom holds a desktop computer that we only use when we need to use the scanner. (The printer's been out of ink for a while now, but really, who prints things anymore?) The closets and dresser are jammed full of paperwork and stuff that hasn't see the light of day in a while. Even though the room is presentable enough for guests, it's still stressful thinking about all that stuff and how I'm going to have to go through it and sort and organize and hopefully sell and recycle and trash.

To my credit, I have already started on that dreaded process, it felt good to come up with two garbage bags full of stuff we didn't need to be storing anymore... broken toys hit the trash and things like the boxes from my new computer and a couple old cell phone boxes hit the recycle bin.

But really, how much stuff does one person, one family, really need? Sentiment aside, because I can't (and don't care to) change that particular trait of mine, purging and donating and paying it forward feels great. Instead of trying to find new ways to organize and store our stuff, why don't we take more time to really decide what to keep? We spend a good amount of time researching when we're after a new gadget, camera, whatever, etc... so why not spend some time looking around to decide what to get rid of first? It's a rule I've tried to live by, at least when it comes to clothes... one in, one out!

Except... I could probably use some new socks. Oh, and those sweet blue pumps I saw on Amazon.


  1. You're right. It's a tough process but I think what makes going through her stuff harder is that those things were things she thought to buy. Maybe they were special to her. It hurts to throw out her stuff like it's garbage. But if it kind find its way to the home of someone who needs it (a ton of stuff went to a women's shelter) somehow it hurts a little less.

    And we do have a lot of crap. I've been meaning to clear out Ava's on the dl.

  2. As a minimalist by nature, I can say it's not about what you want but what you need. What feels like a need to some is really just a want to others... We just sent a big bag of toys to goodwill and an old tv too. I hope that I get to teach paying it forward to trent someday.

  3. We should talk about this. I feel the same way. It's like I suddenly see our stuff with a different lense. And realize how much "stuff" we have and how little "stuff" we really need. I smell a bloggy challenge for us in the new year. Si?


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