Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Help...I'm Drowning!

I'm admitting it...on the anyone who cares to read...I'M A PACK RAT! There! Now my husband can quit telling everyone, cause I already did it! Seriously, though, I hang onto everything. It's quite an oxymoron, really, because I hate clutter and the stress it brings into my life. Yet I find myself grasping at the most insignificant things, rather than just releasing them to God, the Goodwill, or even the garbage.
Everything around us these days shouts: SIMPLIFY! I love the word. It's so bold and crisp. It is written on one of my favorite prints in the living room, sounding like an easy plan, but oh, how difficult the execution!
I just finished a book that I actually began reading in May. There's no explanation on the huge lapse in time, except for the fact that I have spent all of my free time during the last 3 months organizing and reorganizing my piles of clutter. Anyway, "Sanity Secrets For Stressed Out Women" is one of those reads that is impossible to digest quickly. From it I learned that one of my biggest stressors is the piles of stuff that I have accumulated over the last 30 years. (Yeah, it's bad...I mean, how many former A.C.E. students still have their Congratulations! slips from 2nd grade? This chic does...I'm serious).
Even though our house is not huge, we have more than adequate storage, and I'm very thankful for that, but at this point every available cabinet and closet is full and running over! Somehow restacking and reshuffling the same ole' junk in 42 different ways doesn't change the fact that it is really impossible and totally unnecessary to cling to stuff.
So, I have come to a conclusion that I am feeling very good about: I'M DONE!!! I'm not living this way anymore! I don't have to keep clothes in hopes that someday somebody will wear them...I can pitch 13-year-old GBS class friends aren't going to cry if I get rid of their wedding bulletin (or the dress I wore to the special occasion)...God doesn't expect me to keep a ridiculous purchase just because I wasted money on it...old Christmas card photos are not meant to be term papers for Liberty won't ever be read again anyway...deflated mylar balloons from the birth of the first child will mean nothing to him when he reaches adulthood (or even his 10th birthday, for that matter) get the picture! My husband should be proud by the time I'm finished with this gargantuan project. I'm adding square footage to the house without building a's that for a stimulus package!

Only through personal experience is one able to understand how freeing this revelation has become. A life of clutter, whether tangible or intangible, makes one less effective in many ways. If you struggle in this area, a great book for you to read would be "More Hours In My Day" by Emilie Barnes. A "messie" by birth, Emilie shares her personal battles as well as strategies for successfully organizing a home of which you can be matter who drops by for an unexpected visit. If you are geographically close to me and would like to borrow my copy of the book, I'd be glad to share.
If you have a moment, leave me a note to let me know how you are "simplifying" this fall. Maybe we can form our own cheer squad and keep each other encouraged!


  1. I have the same tendencies you do, Steph. I have just cleaned out a ton too! I still haven't been able to part with my baby clothes from Kiana though. :-) I have been trying to say if I haven't used this in the past year or 2, even if it is "NEW!" I need to pass it on! Here's to a More Organized, Clutter-Free Home! ;-)

  2. Thanks for commenting Deanna...I just packed up two huge boxes of maternity clothes to take to consignment. Talk about an emotional moment! It sounds totally crazy, but it's quite real to those of us who have a "connection" with our stuff! :)

  3. I don't know you personally but enjoy this new blog you have started. I used to be WAY organized and then we had kids:) I am trying to figure out what to do with kids clothes they have outgrown. It's impossible to keep it all but I am just so sentimental. I try to use the rule of thumb....if we aren't using it we don't need it! That's why I stay out of my hubby's would be empty!! Have a blessed day!

  4. Baby clothes were the absolute worst for me. I could hardly stand to part with some of the adorable little outfits. One thing that made it easier was finding a mom who didn't have a whole lot, and sending her on her way with a box full of goodies for the new little girl that she would soon welcome into her home. Also, seeing other little ones at church wearing the outfits I have given them has helped with the emotion of it. Like I said earlier, it sounds crazy, but the attachment is pretty real!

  5. Um, do I even admit this? If I could make the print much smaller I would, but...I still have Congratulation slips from 2nd grade. And (very, very small print here)--kindergarten.

    I used to have this thing for drawing on the back of them, so in an effort to de-clutter (a little) I threw away the slips that didn't have my wonderful 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. art on the backs. My defense?? My kids have gotten a kick out of going through them! :)

    While I haven't totally decluttered, I have compromised. Instead of keeping ALL the boys' baby clothes, I kept one or two of my favorite outfits. That makes me happy and it makes Robert happy too! :)

  6. I used to be bad about keeping things but I am slowly getting better. Everytime we clean out the garage I get rid of a little more.
    If you watch any of these shows about Hoarders you will see that you are not so bad and at the same time it will motivate you to not keep anything..ever:-}
    I am enjoying the new blog.

  7. I'm a pack rat too...makes me soooo sad to throw away stuff. At times though, I get on a kick and I guess you could say my feelings go out the window! I just throw everything away or sell stuff. At a garage sale(at your house on Mackenzie), I sold the only jumper I have ever made...made it in HS Home Ec class. I was in one of those "I don't care" moods and after I sold it I was a bit sentimental. Have I missed it??? NOPE! Yay for getting rid of things!


Thanks for joining the conversation!