Monday, January 31, 2011

Bingeing and Purging II

Since my first post about trying to take control of our stuff and our house, Mat and I have managed to take seven large boxes of stuff to the local Value Village. We have also filled about the same number of large garbage bags. It's kind of awesome.1

I come from a long line of people who should probably be on Hoarders pack rats.2 Mat and I dated for several years before he was allowed into the basement of my parents' house, which is a repository for all manner of stuff (and possibly still contains some unpacked boxes from when we moved into that house 25 years ago). My mom has been making a concerted effort to clean up the basement3 over the last few years

Sentiment is my biggest problem--I am a nostalgia junkie. If you have sent me anything in the last ten years, I probably still have it, be it letters, cards, bookmarks, yarn, etc. No matter how much I don't like, need, or want something, if it was a gift from someone else, I will keep it. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing; I like to think that it demonstrates how grateful I am when people give me gifts. That said, there comes a point at which I simply don't need (or, sometimes, want) the things that I am given. For example, in the big purge, I gave away 3 different dip bowl with spreader sets; I kept one.

I have been reading a few different sites about managing space and clutter over the last few months, and I've come across a basic principle that has been enormously helpful to me in terms of making me feel okay about letting go of things that I've been given. It's called the Six Months Rule, and it essentially states that if you haven't used it in the last six months and aren't going to use it in the next six, gift it, donate it, or toss it. (There are some exceptions, obviously, for special items, like my collection of beaded evening bags, or Mat's collection of Scotch.) It's such a simple thing, but it's amazing to me how much of a difference it has made in relieving my guilty conscience about getting rid of gifts.

Now, if only someone could make come up with a rule that would make it okay for me to get rid of books, I'd be all set.

1 I mean awesome in the sense that we got it done, not awesome in the sense that we had that much crap to throw out.
2 On both sides, even.
3 I'm sure it helps enormously that most of my stuff came here when we bought the house, though I'm pretty sure there are still a few boxes of books at my parents'.

1 comment:

Sparky said...

1) Neither Adam or Myself have given away any of our books ever, so we have massive quantities of books, including textbooks, cookbooks, magazines, etc. Don't feel bad... buy bookshelves!

2) There is no such thing as unwanted yarn: someone will always want it! There's a De-stash Ontario Group on Rav that I stalk, just in case something free comes up...

3) I'm doing the same thing right now, and it's super hard, so Congratulations on your progress so far! You're doing an excellent job! :)