So the first couple of days in the "quest for less" were pretty intense. When I unleashed the desire to get rid of stuff I couldn't stop. At the end of day 1 I dreamed all night about throwing things away. I woke up in the morning as energized to do it again as I was the day before...almost too energized. Day 2 was pretty crazy. I felt like a pitching machine-going through the house getting rid of things left and right. I kept saying to myself, "this is going to make us happier" but as day 2 came to a close I realized that I pretty much ignored my kids and grudgingly did all my other duties, because I was so focused on reducing. I had to reel it in a bit, or I knew that I was going to defeat our whole purpose of being happier. In the days since I worry when I wake up that the desire to reduce is going to be gone-that I will have peaked and fizzled out completely. But as I get up and get going and pray, I am happy to report that the feeling continues to come and I feel like it is okay to let go of things for another day (some days more and some days less).
Right now I have been tackling the "easy to get rid of" items. These are things, that for me, have been begging to be reduced long ago but I just haven't stopped and taken the time to do it. In one morning I eliminated 2-plus garbage bags of stuff to sell, donate or just plain throw away-that was an amazing feeling. Here are a few things I tackled first.
1. The fridge door. Seriously was begging to be organized but I thought it was evidence of me being in the midst of motherhood to have it covered in clutter. I tossed every tiny magnet that was useless to hang up anything, plus all the advertisement ones that I hate. I put all the announcements/invitations in one spot, took off all the old pictures and tossed the artwork that had been there for too long. It still is not bare but man it looks a million times better and seriously took 5 mins.
2. My drawers. Do you do this: I pull out a shirt, I put it on, I HATE IT, and then I put it back in the drawer (or closet). Then I repeat the same thing again later. I do this because I either think it will look good another day or I realize I don't have much to choose from and so I better keep it just in case. But I never wear it. So I quickly downsized a couple of drawers and got rid of those "never wear" items and a few old and worn out things that I was keeping for camping or outside work in the fall (like a chance to obtain another one of those kind of shirts will never come along again).
3. My kitchen utensils. Well that was long overdue too. How many wooden spoons does a kitchen need? I would like to know how many Martha has-probably way too many I am guessing. That was also a quick fix-save 4 favorites (in different styles and sizes) and donate the rest. Easy and less cluttered.
4. Trinkets and treasures. This category includes happy meal toys, the little handouts from library story time, dollar store items that were a reward for being good during a shopping trip, bits of paper, stickers...just the bits and pieces that kids collect. Man a good clean sweep of a few bins, cupboards and shelves and things look much better. The thing about this kind of
crap stuff is that plenty more will come along so kids usually don't even know it is gone.
5. The kids play food. This was much needed. I had taken half of it away months ago because it was everywhere, all of the time. I finally decided to bite the bullet and separate it all into categories, keep some and sell the rest. It was a 10 min project and I went from a huge bag and 2 bins full to just 2 bins full, but not overflowing. When I spread it all out I realized how many duplicate items we had that were unnecessary and how many little trinkets had crept their way into the play food. We had way more than the girls needed. In the end when they saw the 2 bins they were so excited to see some of the food they had forgotten they had (cause it was in the basement for so long) and they didn't miss a thing.
There is still so much more to go. Sometimes I feel like, "this will just be so nice when it is over" and then I realize that reducing will probably never be over because stuff creeps in so fast. I have seconded guessed myself lots and fight feelings of guilt all the time but I feel so great about this goal that I don't want to stop. I am worried that I may be offending family (since not a single one...except my brothers wife, have commented in any way about the idea). I don't know if they are thinking that I am just throwing away things they have given me left and right or what, but I just want to say this isn't about throwing away gifts (and it doesn't mean that I don't ever want anything again). This is about looking at our life and deciding what things are going to help us and bring us joy and which things are no longer doing that, or taking up too much space or adding stress or clutter. And I guess if they don't like it then I will know when the next gift giving occasion comes around and they don't offer anything and I guess if that is the case we will be fine because I really am realizing that we can be happy with so much less than we have now.