Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm On A Purge Quest

I'm done with collecting, and I've moved on to purging. Recently I came across an article on de-cluttering written by Leo Babauta, and he summed up the art of de-cluttering very nicely:
1. Identify what is most important to you
2. Eliminate everything else

Sounds simple, right?
Well, Leo Babauta also says you must be merciless.
And that's been very hard for me because I have a very strong, very strange, and very irrational attachment to some of my things, and while that may be understandable with family treasures, much of what I have accumulated over the years is far from family treasure, most are just 'trash treasures' (items I've picked from the garbage)! But for me, there was instantaneous bonding with these trash treasures, and at once they became 'dear-to-my-heart' items. So I had to summon up a little of my sister Diane (when cleaning out the house my parents were living in and getting them ready for a big move years ago, Diane would pick up an item and in a split second she would decide if it stayed or if it went. And I remember clearly her words as she tossed things, "This has served it's purpose"), so now my motto is 'this has served it's purpose and it's time for it to move on'.

I've heard it's hard to stop collecting. I read that a collector takes no pleasure in just looking at things, the pleasure comes from acquiring things. I'm hoping that's not true, because as much as I don't want to give up looking or 'window shopping', I certainly don't want things cluttering up my house again! I'm hoping I go from an 'acquirer' to an 'admirer', and I'm hoping I have the will to pass things by without having the need to make them my own, or the need to rescue them and give them new life.
I know I'm always going to love 'things', but I also know that I can't have it all, and really, I think I'm at a point in my life where I don't want it all anymore.
Also, I recently read that we should use good stewardship in the space that God Has Provided for us, and I have not been using good stewardship at all in the space He Has Provided for me! So I am on a quest to purge, and I am on a quest to maximize efficiency by living with less. And in the process I am becoming so much more thankful.

So far we've gone through the front room, the back room, the kitchen, and some boxes in the basement, and Katie has gone through some of Jayden's toys too. And with only a fraction of the elimination done, already it feels good. I know it will takes months and months before I get through almost thirty years of accumulation, but I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

Although I want to de-clutter my surroundings and live a more simple lifestyle, I have no desire to live a spartan lifestyle. So I will be hanging onto a few treasures, but I'm hoping I will pare down to a very few treasures, and I'm hoping very soon that my massive accumulations and I will see a parting of the ways.

On a side note, I've seen a very interesting study in human behavior through de-cluttering. For a few weeks we had "FREE" signs out, I was just hoping that people would stop by, love my things and want to adopt them, take them for nothing, no cash exchange, everything free. But very few people took anything.
Then Ray decided to have a yard sale, and sell everything cheap, he and the girls set up the tables, he put a few 'YARD SALE' signs up around the neighborhood, and things sold like hotcakes!
What's up with that? I guess people like to feel that they got a bargain , but I guess they feel that "free" isn't a bargain? I don't get it.

Also, some happy news to report ~ our oldest son Brian and his girlfriend Flora got engaged! No date set yet, but I'll keep you posted!


  1. Eileen, love your shae. It is very hard to pare down for sure. Love yard sales ...

    Congrats on the engagement ... blessings to the couple.
    Have a beautiful weekend.
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  2. HI EILEEN -
    Huge endeavor, the de-cluttering thing. I am impressed. Congrats on the engagement :-) Happy days
    Love to you

  3. I've been thinking of this lately too so I'm glad you brought it up. I need to join you and do the same thing here. I think the key is to have someone there with you giving you are doing with Diane.

    Keep us posted on how it's going.

    And congratulations about your Son's engagement!!!

    PS You can declutter all you want, but please don't ever get rid of your blog.

  4. It is very hard to stop collecting things and I admire you for deciding it is time to purge. My cousin was a collector and just decided last year to get rid of much of the stuff that was really garbage in her garage which she used to store alot of her stuff.

    I hope your son and flora are very happy.

  5. When hubby and I moved in together we each had to eliminate half of our possessions to fit in one house together. Whew, we were so proud that we were able to do that. When we moved from CA to NE, we got rid of half of what we had then to fit into the huge truck and move to NE. When we moved here to this cute little teensy tiny hippie house six months ago, we were ruthless. Huge boxes of our beloved books went to the local thrift store as well as 2/3 of my clothes. Since I wasn't going to work anymore, I didn't need office clothes. Or dress clothes. Now that we are here, I don't miss any of the hundreds of kitchen things we gave away or any of the furniture. Funny, I thought I was so attached to some things and my heart gave a little ping as I moved things out to the garage at the previous place, but now I don't think of any of it. I truly wish you well with your purging efforts. Once you get on a roll and can detach from the things you find pleasure in, you can make a huge difference in the amount of your possessions. Set yourself free and you will see what I mean.

  6. Hi E,
    De cluttering is a big and emotional job. When we moved to California years ago we put everything we had decluttered in our garage, opened the doors and put a
    free sign out too! No takers! Then we also did a garage sale and things started to move out of our space. Later we ended up trashing some things and the rest we had to take to the Good Will.

    Personally I felt relieved when things had been pared down to a few necessary and treasured items. Oh, we did rent a Storage space, and put some of the things we still wanted to keep but were not necessary at the time.

    Funny how after a few years 'out of sight and out of mind" had happened. I tried to remember what we had put in that storage, but for the life of me could not. When we came back to Canada and went through the storage I was so surprised at the things we kept, and not at all interested in any of them as all. They were so easy to get rid of.

    I am amazed at how things accumulate in our lives. These days I de clutter on a regular basis, and have little attachment to things.

    You can do it!!! (((hugs)))) T

  7. Congratulations to Brian and Flora, Gods blessings to them Eileen. It is amazing the amount of crap we can accumulate over the years isn't it? I have so many collections but I also am able to toss things easily. I've always been one to believe that if it doesn't get used in a year, get rid of it. Then of coarse I can replace it with something else!!LOL!!!
    But it's true.
    Seriously if I was going to move I could get rid of so much stuff. But for now we're o.k. Yard sales are a great way to get rid of stuff.
    As far as marking things for "free", all we have to do is put it out by the garbage and people will take it. Also, every Friday our trash collectors have "Dump your junk" day which is pretty neat.
    Good luck with decluttering, you'll get there. I do understand the emotional attachment to inanimate objects. I have that too.
    Love Di ♥

  8. ARGH, I have gone through the purge thing and it is hard, but once you do will not miss anything. I have ONE box that has travelled with me since I married Bob 40 years ago. It has just a couple of things in it, and when I looked in it about a month ago, I wondered why I kept some of the "things" but just closed up the box to look at it another day and ask myself the same question again LOL. I know about the garage sale stuff, someone squabble with me for 2 frames for $5 they were glass and so pretty, when I said OK she handed me a hundred dollar bill! I was shocked and then said NO DEAL, I couldn't break the 100, 2 minutes later she came back with the exact change! I accidently sold my dad cuff links to someone, didn't know they were in the box of jewelry...when he asked me how much....(very broken English) something told me to sell them. they were expensive I am sure...this man told me he started to go to church, that he has found Christ in his life and wanted to wear then with his dress shirt. Who wears cuff links??? anyway I told him every time he wore the cuff links to know that the last man to wear them loved God and was a good decent man and if he remembered that then I believed he could be too. I want to believe he still has them...that I did the right thing, and he didn't hock them. Anyway, there is someone out there who has some really really nice real emerald cuffs links LOL.

  9. Congratulations to Brian and Flora.

    And kudos to YOU, my friend. I'm WITH you. I'm not as far into my de-cluttering efforts as you, but I've begun! I like your motto. I'm going to "adopt" it.

    I have passed up garage sales successfully so far this season, and I haven't been to the thrift store for months. This is a big step for me :)