View Full Version : Where does all this stuff come from? Yikes.

10-20-11, 3:56pm
I've spent the last couple of weeks going through everything in the house and purging unnecessaries. I like to think I'm pretty conservative with regards to shopping, but I guess I'm delusional. :laff: I have things well organized so I didn't realize how much extra stuff I had until I went through it, because it didn't look like a mess.

Some of the stuff were items I bought in anticipation. For example, I got a kayak a few years ago and wanted to have a waterproof bag for a change of clothes. Except the ones I bought came in a set of 4, and I've never even used one of them. We don't go out and kayak more than an hour or two at a time, and only in nice weather, so if I get wet, I get wet.

Some of the stuff were small things I picked up onesy-twosy: small sauce dishes, candle holders etc. Found a bunch of candle tarts, a combination of gifts to me and stuff picked up at the Yankee Candle outlet in town. Then there's the multiple shawls (Pashminas) , in multiple colors and I really only use 2 of them. One at a time over time leads to a full collection. ;)

On the plus side, I found a few bonus items I forgot I had, including an old jewelry box that has some broken gold chains I can redeem for cash, and a really nice sweater that was buried under some other ones so I forgot about it.

I find purging a good exercise in the fall as I spend more time inside and want things to be clean and uncluttered and dusted so my allergies don't get out of line.

What are the things that you accumulate and why?

10-20-11, 4:38pm
I know exactly what you mean. I do quilting so I have to be very careful to try to do a project with what I already have. I can get so carried away especially when I am with friends at shows picking up patterns and fabrics.

But since I have been working on decluttering for several years, and converted from a work wardrobe to a casual wardrobe our house is much more manageable. We estimate that we probably have half the stuff we had when we moved in. So that is a great feeling. We also do not go to the mall, don't go to any department stores and don't buy anything from the internet. If there is a purchase we want to make, we wait and make sure it is what we really need. Also, I am pretty clear about gifts and might get a gift card to a restaurant, but rarely does anyone give me gifts anymore.

10-20-11, 6:23pm
Herbgeek: I could have written your post, except for the kayak!  I had this week off from work, with productive home activity was my primary mission. Yesterday was relentlessly rainy, so I spent it (as planned) in the cellar culling out stuff. I got rid of 4 boxes and 3 bags that we dropped off at the Salvation Army today.
Here are some conclusions on where it came from:
The kindness of others: Unfortunately, people often seem to think of us when they shop. (I guess I don’t know if it’s fortunate or unfortunate. They buy us gifts because they love us. That is good. But it results in more stuff we don’t need, and that is not good). There is also the double-edged sword of collections and enthusiasms. For example, I have a collection of wind chimes hanging in the gazebo. But that “need” is finite. But everyone buys wind chimes for Rosa, because she collects them! And let’s not even get started on things with dragonflies and things with leaves. As my sister (of all people) once said, “As soon as your friends know your motif, you’re screwed.”
Weird things in my brain: I have posted before about the fact that the “enough socks” lever in my brain is broken, and I always think I need more socks. I also frequently buy clothes that are too big for me, which is some form of wishful thinking; because I am 53 and I have been the same size since I was 18. So no, I won’t be growing into it in this lifetime. I think there’s also a dynamic going on that can best be articulated as “If one is great, maybe I need three!” Case in point: Merrell clogs. Love the summer mesh pair, gotta get a shearling-lined winter pair! And these babies last forever! Love the winter clogs so much that it almost feels like marital infidelity, so better get another pair – just in case - they stop making them, or I live longer than forever. Oh, and better get another pair in brown. Even though I don’t like brown that much. But what if they stop making them, or I start liking brown more, and I live longer than forever?
So as for the preparation thread that is going on elsewhere on the forum, I will have warm socks and footwear to trade when TSHTF!

10-21-11, 5:57am
I share the "enough socks" lever being broken. Love that expression! Apparently I was convinced I didn't have any camel colored socks at one point, because there were at least 6 pair of that color when I went through them yesterday. And that color is one I only wear once in a while.

When I'm out of something in the kitchen, apparently my brain will get stuck in the "need more" mode even after I've made a replacement purchase. The last time I went through the pantry, I found /4/ bottles of balsamic vinegar, again something I only use once in a while.

10-21-11, 7:22am
I went through my pantry yesterday and found 4 jars of pepperoncini and 3 jars of tartar sauce - neither items which get used all that often! Fortunately they will get used up sooner or later (well, probably later). Pantry items seem to be where I stream my suppressed hoarding urges. I have a few big stacks of books waiting to be read, but they get passed on to new owners once I've finished them so they don't really count as clutter. I try to be very diligent about constantly scanning for things that can go so we don't get too much build up of clutter around the house.

10-21-11, 7:25am
Shhhhhhhhh - for me it's canning jars. Don't tell anyone. I have a ton of them. Same as Rosa, as soon as word got out that I wanted some, they suddenly started appearing. I did find a home for all the jelly jars but I'm still clinging tightly to the rest and thinking 'this is stupid'.

Also, having three grown kids and a big house, everyone thinks this is the place to store the stuff they aren't ready to get rid of, yet they don't want to store. Even our minimalist son #1 has more here than what he probably realizes. DS#3 moved to CA a year ago taking only necessities, but the plan was and still is to eventually be in CO permanently, so we have their mower, tools, compressor, etc. DD has her own place, so there's nothing here that's hers anymore. Sometimes when she's not looking, I'll slip something into her car (see below).

Then last year, my mother in CO decided she wanted to sell her house and move into a retirement village. She told us to bring the truck as there'd be stuff to bring back. Oh joy. We ended up renting a trailer to haul back stuff. She was just heartbroken whenever I told her that I didn't want something, so we ended up bringing back tons of stuff that 1) isn't good for anything, so it will be trashed or 2) will be hauled to the DAV or 3) will be shipped to the kid that told her they'd take it, including the 3' tall, naked cherub brass lamp with the massive shade. With all the crud I didn't want, we ended up with some good, useful pieces of furniture, etc., so it wasn't all bad.

10-21-11, 9:51am
The only excess in our house seems to be paperwork (I can never stop that flow) and food items (since dh is in that line of work). He brings home samples constantly even though I have asked nicely that he think first about whether we would really use it. Vendors bring him samples and home they come. Last week, it was six bags of tortilla chips and six jars of salsa. The week before it was several bottles of olive oil and tins of sardines. We have a small kitchen and little storage so I am always shuffling the food products around until I can gift them out to friends and relatives.

10-21-11, 10:33am
It seems that my enough-spinach lever is broken. I'm eating down the freezer, preparing to move, and I found I have 2.5 large bags of frozen spinach. I live alone.

10-21-11, 11:06am
Yarn, sigh. I had the lovely idea that I was gonna open an Etsy store and sell baby items and purses. I went haywire on ebay and now have 5 large bins of yarn. Several dollars worth. DUMB But, on the other hand, I recently decided that I don't have the energy or time to take on any other projects and feel great with the decision.

I am not tired of looking at the yarn yet. I think maybe it stems from days gone by when I dreamed of owning a yarn shop. So, maybe I can once and for all get that out of my system, get rid of the yarn and move on.

Now, it is really hard to declutter a piano...............they are heavy, there doesn't seem to be a demand for them much anymore. I always dreamed of having a baby grand piano. Well, I got one and you know what? I don't want to play the piano anymore. I don't have room for it, either. So now I can get that out of my system, too.

These are expensive lessons, but it really is a relief to let those passions go, since I just don't "feel" the need anymore. Instead of feeling like I wasted money, I am really happy to know that I can put those things in the past. I am free!

I haven't given up on my calligraphy, tho. That is something that I really do love (doesn't take up a lot of space, either) When I get rid of the other stuff, I will be able to set up shop and work on it. That feels good.

I still have junk in the basement and out in DH's shop, but I can't see it on a regular basis, so I try not to stress over it. I would love to get it outta here, but will wait until I get some energy. I know that I would feel like a million bucks if I would get it done, but the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak! I can only imagine how free I would feel then!

10-21-11, 11:10am
The things I accumulate are things that I don't want and they come from other people. Well-meaning people of course. My recent birthday still rated me a few gifts which amounted to clutter. It is so nice that people think of me on special occasions but I really thought over the past years I've been making it clear that I am getting rid of many possessions, de-cluttering and stream-lining. I emphasize that the greatest gift is always time spent with my friends, not the gifts they provide.....it just doesn't always take hold.

I keep these things for a few months then get rid of them, I just hate the effort.

Float On
10-21-11, 11:14am
I know exactly where things come from. My husband.

10-21-11, 3:28pm
I fell prey to the dreaded yarn stash too. I came to realize I have stashes of the stuff in several rooms.

There is hope on the horizon however. In the process of recarpeting my living room, I had to move everything into my dining room. So in an effort to lighten the load in moving stuff since I live alone, I went through all the big pieces of furniture and was suprized at what I was saving. I threw bags of stuff away. Mostly stuff I stashed when people were coming over and forgot about. That and yarn, and more yarn.....sigh. So now I'm on a roll. I have my sights set on the closets next.

10-21-11, 5:32pm
i went through and did a tidy and declutter of our baskets (where DH likes to keep piles), and was able to make a lot of scrap paper "notebooks" (cut large sheets into quarters and staple together at the top!).

i think i'm going to cull some of my jewelry. I was into beading before DS was born, but after, I simply couldn't do it. I gave my supplies to my sister, so i'm finished with that end.

Aqua Blue
10-21-11, 6:16pm
My body lotion lever is broken. After reading this thread, I cleaned out the bathroom cupboards. Discarded some out of date meds, which was to be expected. But, I probably have enough lotion for, I don't know, ten years? It is now at least all in one location and I will take one at a time and use them up!

Onward to the next room!!!

10-22-11, 3:48pm
The only excess in our house seems to be paperwork (I can never stop that flow)

Pinky, I've found that going paperless with bills and such, as much as possible, has gone a great deal to reduce the amount of paper I have to deal with.

10-23-11, 11:31am
I think I'm going to start a stuff inflow/outflow journal. I was thinking this week about how few items I bought and how many I had donated. Then I realized that the donations/outflow happen in a couple of big sweeps in the course of a year, and the inflow is much more insidious, typically coming in as a thing or two here and there. So I think it would be interesting to keep a kind of tally of what comes and what goes. I've already been doing something similar for clothing. It's an eye opener to see that as restained as I've been about clothing purchases, I've still spent almost $1400. on clothes this year. That's a lot less than I've spent in years past, but still quite a lot. While I would like to think that it has all been spent on much wiser, more carefully-considered expenditures, I can see looking at my list that $170. of it would have been better off not spent. Seeing things in black and white like that helps keep me more honest with myself. A stuff journal will also definitively answer the question as to where it all comes from!