George Carlin said it best, “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”
We all have stuff. My stuff is important to me, somehow I have let it define who I am, spiritually this sucks but I’ll get to that in a another blog.
As I write this I am surrounded by stuff, my home has taken on the appearance of an episode of hoarders. Over a year ago the husband and I moved to Florida and bought a home that we knew we were going to redo. It has been an adventure and the first seven months we lived out of boxes. Knowing the remodel was coming I didn’t unpack a box unless it was absolutely necessary. But it was fun every time I went searching for something as it was like Christmas morning when I would open a box and find something I had forgotten about. Some of our stuff wound up being in boxes for almost two years, as we had decluttered and packed up most of our stuff while staging our old home to sell. So a lot of our stuff was out of sight and out of mind.
The day we moved into our new home the movers were kind enough to point out that all of the boxes I had labeled “linen closet” were not going to fit in the linen closet. I had made the decision at the start of the move process to not get rid of anything as I didn’t know what stuff we might need in Florida. Now I had to deal with all that stuff!
While I love to buy stuff as a rule I try to keep our stuff to a minimum. We have a two-year rule in our house. If it hasn’t been used in that time period it goes to the yard sale, charity or trash. The only exception we have to this rule is items of extreme sentimental value. What’s extreme sentimental value? Well in our house it is any item that would cause you distress to not have. An example in our house is the handmade cradle my Dad crafted when my nephew was born. We aren’t using it but I would be very upset for this handmade treasure to go elsewhere, that and I am hoping someday my nephew will want it for his children since our dog refuses to sleep in it.
This rule has tripped me up with the husband a few times but for the most part our stuff is minimal compared to most homes.
I sometimes long for the days when I could fit all of my stuff into my car and go, not that I ever did, but the idea was nice, not being tied down by stuff.
So as I unpacked our stuff after the main remodel was complete I said to the husband, “Let’s be ruthless about our stuff!” We most certainly didn’t need most of it and let’s face it the less stuff you have the less upkeep and cleaning!
I was vicious with the purging and the husband was, to my delight, actually second guessing stuff he was keeping that he normally would have fought me about getting rid of. We each had the ability to pull things out the others pile if we thought the other was being to harsh. Surprisingly we got rid of a huge amount of stuff.
The other incredible thing that happened through this process was we communicated more with each other. We discussed stuff we normally wouldn’t broach. I know this process was hard for my husband especially since a majority of things he was holding onto were his mother’s. After much discussion and a few heated moments we came to the decision that we shouldn’t hold onto stuff just because it belonged to a person we loved but because we had a direct connection to an item too. For example, the end tables in our living room aren’t really my taste but they were his parents and were in the house where he grew up. I get it – I have that cradle after all!
Some of the other things we compromised on. He wanted to keep her bedroom suit which was a very dark 1970’s heavy wood. As it wasn’t a family heirloom he agreed to let me repaint it white and put new hardware on it so it better fit with our decorating style.
Living with less is a process and it doesn’t have an end. I think a lot of people out there think that organizing your stuff is something you do once and your done. If we didn’t continually acquire new stuff this would be true, but we do and thus the process never ends. Organization is a lifestyle not a project.
But I don’t what to leave on a too serious note so below you will find a link to one of George Carlin’s best bits about STUFF!