How Much is Too Much?

In a prior post, I told you about our living situation. It was always meant to be temporary, but we were aggressive in our thinking and thought we’d be here 6 months. Well, a year-and-a-half later, we’re still here. We’re priming the walls in our new home, but we’re still in the camper.

Want to know something funny? We have all of our things packed up in boxes on Home Depot-type metal shelving unit lining a 60 foot wall. I haven’t seen my breadmaker, my nick knacks, my 10 bottles of Bath and Body Works lotion, my foot massager, 80% of my daughter’s toys and our clothing, and untold amounts of other stuff I can’t remember for over a year now. I don’t remember what’s in those boxes because I don’t miss it. There are a few things we do miss: our plates and silverware. It pains me to have to use so many disposable plates, utensils, and cups. There’s just no room in here.

What about all the other stuff we’ve amassed in seven years of marriage? Did we ever really need it in the first place? Were those things taking up valuable real estate in our home and wasting our time taking up much needed storage space or requiring dusting or cleaning? It certainly didn’t make me feel good inside to have all of those things or I would feel deeply saddened by being apart from those things for so long.

It’s no secret that a clean home is important to most women. What we don’t think about is that having less stuff and perhaps less home equals less time cleaning and less time spent away from our families. If your house were burned to the ground, what things would you miss the most? It would probably be irreplaceable family heirlooms, photos, and personal documents like a wedding license or social security cards. If you would be devastated by the loss of these items, consider scanning and backing up these photos and documents to disk and placing them in a home fire safe or bank deposit box. The same goes for your family heirlooms. You’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Let’s talk about simplifying our stuff. It’s a very touchy subject with my family members because they equate happiness or good fortune with things. It’s an ingrained philosophy that stems from the Great Depression when no one had anything. But these piles of stuff and junk rooms that no one can use aren’t helping anybody. They are, in fact, becoming fire hazards.

There are several resources to simplify your stuff. I really like Helen Buttigieg’s E-Zine for organizational tips. I’ve also really enjoyed reading about the FlyLadies and their methods. Both of these resources are free, so check them out today.

If you have a huge about of stuff to tackle in order to simplify your life, start small and do it in chunks. After all, it didn’t happen in a day. It will take a long time to get a handle on it. If you don’t give yourself small goals that you can accomplish, you will get discouraged and abandon it altogether. I love Helen’s method of getting bins or laundry baskets and labeling them: Keep, Relocate, Donate, Trash/Recycle. The key is to donate your donation items as quickly as possible. It will help you feel like you accomplished something a lot quicker.

Good luck on your quest to simplify your stuff!

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