One of the items on my to do list for this week is to go through every single space I can think of in the house and get rid of stuff. It amazes me that I can be as dedicated to getting rid of stuff as I am and still have a house full of junk that I am saving for some reason. I didn’t even realize how much stuff it was until we moved everything out of our bedroom, and it just looked so much better emptied of all the detritus.
I started with the hall closet and I quickly realized that even though everything has a place in the house, and nothing is spilling out of drawers, the stuff has expanded to fill the available space. If we had room to keep it, I kept it, even though I didn’t really need it or want it. If I haven’t used it in three years, there’s a reason, and yet, still, I hang onto it. So this morning I dug through the linen closet and got rid of all the pillowcases I don’t like, brown sheets that make me annoyed every time I go to put them on bed, skimpy or ratty washcloths, old bathmats, and then I folded up everything that was left and now I have a nice orderly and half empty linen closet, full of nothing but stuff I like and use.
In our bedroom, we had an entire dresser shoved into our closet, filled with Mr. E’s clothes, and then another eight drawer dresser filled with all my stuff. But the closet looks SO MUCH BETTER without that dresser in there. I am determined to cut down the amount of clothing we have so that we can fit all of our things in the one big dresser and we won’t have to put the other dresser back in the closet, and so I dug through all my clothes this morning, and made a giant pile of things to get rid of. If it was old or stained or didn’t fit, it was easy to get rid of, but then there were other things I paid a lot of money for or that I once thought would be so perfect, things I thought would change my life in some tangible way, and even though they were never right, those things were harder to get rid of. Finally I made myself ask “Does it make me happy?” and if the answer was “No”, if it made me feel sad or old or frumpy or fat or weird or self conscious, I got rid of it. No matter how much I paid for it or thought I should keep it just in case I changed my mind and started to love small brown Coach purses all over again. It was quite liberating, and in the end, I would so much rather have five or six things I am excited to wear than drawers full of clothes that aren’t quite right. I do laundry all the time! I really don’t need twenty seven pairs of pants.
Then I started in on the shoes, and I made myself get rid of every other pair. For every pair I got rid of, I could keep a pair, and let me just say that sometime soon someone who wears a size 7 shoe is going to have a VERY good day at Goodwill. But truly, why in god’s name do I need a pair of gold Jessica Simpson heels that hurt my feet and that are too high for me to walk in? I will never ever wear those.
And now I may have finally figured out how to curb my little shopping problem – I am on an “one in, one out” basis for the forseeable future. I can get a new skirt or a pair of shoes, but it should be better than something I already own, because I am going to have to get rid of a pair or shoes or a skirt in order to buy it.
As I was staring down the vast heap of old socks I’ve had for seven years, those white tube socks I have never liked and never worn, I also had another revelation. I think I will always have a little bit of that “I don’t want to have to replace this if throwing it out turns out to be a mistake because I can’t afford to do that” mentality from grad school days, when we really did have no money. But now, if I get rid of eight pairs of tube socks, and come this winter, I find myself in want or need of more tube socks? I CAN BUY SOME MORE.
The real test is going to come when I have to clean out the cabinet where I keep the table stuff, the vases, all the decorative trinkets. I have a problem with decorative trinkets, and somehow it’s so hard to remember that there’s no point to hanging onto placemats that I have never liked, even though I feel like I should like them. They were expensive! They were a gift! The color is so pretty! But they come of out of the dryer wrinkled and they immediately shrunk to a too small size and there’s no point in keeping something that’s just not right. I will get more placemats, ones that I actually like, and I will move on.
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