I was reading the While You Were Sleeping blog & she was commenting on "stuff". You know, the pile of things we accumulate over the years that one day just seems to take over. I come from a long line of "keepers of stuff". My grandparents, parents, aunts, etc...they all have these "things" clogging up their lives & the comments are...."we may need it" or "I'm going to use this for..." or "so & so gave this to me & I couldn't possibly get rid of it", & the excuses go on & on. I decided to end the madness. I was not about to continue such a horrible habit of placing my things ahead of my life! I'm still in progress on this de-cluttering, but so far so good.
I started with one room. For feeling of accomplishment & to get the momentum going I started with the room I thought had the least amount of clutter... the bedroom. I was wrong! First of all there were items that don't belong in a bedroom -- exercise equipment, knitting supplies, & the boxes of items I haven't looked at and/or used in years (a box of exercise tapes, a box of stuffed animals, a box of odds & ends, etc). I decided that I would objectively look at every item & ask myself some questions:
"Have I used this in the last 12 months?"
"Will I use this in the next 6 months?"
"Do I like or love this item?"
If I honestly answered no to any of those questions... I put the item in a box & took it to charity so that somebody can get something useful from that item. Sounds simple enough, but it's very difficult to let go of things that have memories attached to them.
For example, I went to the Bahamas & stayed at the Atlantis resort & while I was there I gathered shells on the beach. A few months later on my birthday, I received a gift (from one of my travelling companions) of a glass container with some white Caribbean sand in the bottom, a few of the shells I had picked up from the beach sitting on the sand & a small candle set in the center. It was a great gift...but the leftover shells that weren't used were put in a white box that carried other odds & ends of things that really didn't have a "place".
I have carried this box with me from place to place adding odds & ends of "junk" for the last 6 years or more. And why? What purpose was it serving? I hadn't looked at or used any of the objects in YEARS....so I tossed all the items in the box! It was very freeing to throw those shells away, along with all the other items in the box. Now I had an empty box to place in my office/craft room for useful items such as cd's or knitting supplies or card-making supplies, etc. I promised myself right then & there to never have a box like that again...and I don't.
Although I'm not entirely clutter-free, I will say that my home is much more manageable. I know pretty much where everything is (or I can find it in 5 minutes). I will always be improving my de-cluttering system, but most nothing feels better than ridding yourself of useless "stuff"!
*Picture is my knitting stash storage / organizing solution