Friday, March 29, 2013

Eliminating more excess

My word of the year is EXCESS (you can read more about it here). All around me I see possessions accumulating. When I tote bags up my 3 flights of stairs into my home, I frequently think "I'd better take some stuff out to make room". I recently tackled these trouble areas in my home and have come up with several more trashbags of donation items:

Maternity clothes: whittled it down from two big boxes to one (labeled now, of course). If I didn't wear it much (or at all), it's going away.

Linen closet: I have one queen sized bed but four sets of sheets. I have just one crib, but I had four sets of crib sheets. I used to groom dogs so I had a plethora of "junk" towels but I don't see myself going back to that anytime soon. All that to say, I filled nearly a whole garbage bag with just items from my linen closet--Goodwill here I come!

Bookshelf: I have learned that like my closet, I have to go through this area again and again and again. Sorting through my too-full shelves just one time a year is not enough. I have now given my shelves a serious stare-down twice in the last month. Each time I go through, I find a book I hated, never read, or just don't see the need to keep anymore. There are currently 15 books in my Goodwill bag and I plan to add more.

One interesting thing I've learned through this purging journey is that I have often thought "Well, what IF I need an extra ___ in the future?" My previous and quick answer would have been "Oh I'd better keep it in case". But I'm discovering that clinging to THINGS for an unforeseeable future is WASTEFUL. It's a selfish means of hoarding resources from others. It's a wasteful use of my limited space in my home.

Here's what I'm talking about: Q:What if Emma gets the flu and vomits on her sheets three times in one day? A: Then I'll do laundry or better yet throw any extra sheet on her bed (who said it had to be crib-sized in an emergency?!). Q: What if Emma needs to read Silas Marner in high school--shouldn't I hold onto my copy? A: That is a whopping 15 years away, I can easily get it at a used bookstore for a few dollars then, and I have no intention of going through that book again myself so by all means PITCH IT! It takes me taking the time to go through these questions in my mind as I'm staring into the endless pile of belongings to be able to reach these conclusions. There is no rushing a good healthy purge. It takes a few more minutes to think critically about each item but to see how much I DON'T need is greatly freeing...

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