Stuffication! Thoughts and Books on Decluttering.

Decluttering happens in layers.  Thirteen years ago our house was so stuffed from inherited items that we had no space, and the fixer-upper house we had was a bit dismal.
Then we had a baby.  First borns come with a lot of stuff!

Through concentrated effort I was able to remove all the stuff we didn't use regularly into one bedroom and one large patio room, plus storage over the garage.

Layer one was gone through.  We could breathe again.

Then two more grandparents went to heaven.  We received a truck load of furniture and stuff.  Beautiful stuff, that brought back memories.  It was so hard to let go of my grandmother's rocking chair.  The extra tv. The china. The fridge magnets. The "good" (unused) towels.

Despite letting many things go, we managed to refill all the empty places.

I kept going forward with my routines of caring for baby and cleaning.  I stayed out of thrift stores, but not consignment baby stores!  I'd drop off a load and bring home a new load!  It was wonderful, and cheap.  I'd do it once a month.  It satisfied my shopping desires and kept me out of debt.  But no real decluttering was done.

When an uncle died, we were again the designated ones to clean out his apartment.  But we were proactive and contacted Salvation Army for a Monday pick-up.  Stuff filled our living and dining room.  We sorted for hours.  We gave away half, and put half into our patio room turned shed!

WHY?  Too good to give away?  Too hard to part with, even though it was free to us and we didn't need it yesterday?  Why did we feel compelled to keep a whole video library of movies we'd already seen?

When decluttering king Don Aslett said it IS painful to declutter, I finally realized that I just needed to face the pain!  Feel the pain and do it anyway!  So now, empty spaces are opening up again. For most people, decluttering isn't easy. So don't berate yourself.

To motivate me, I read quite a few books from the library.  I would read, and let something go.  Rest and read, go through papers.  Rest and read, put something on freecycle.... donate books to the library for their sale.... take a box to AmVets .... take items to my favorite thrift store.   A few things I even sold on ebay.

Freecycle and ebay were the best for me because I knew the items were going directly to people who wanted them.  A friend took teacups.  Our uncle's John Wayne lamp went to a JW admirer on Freecycle. Some people even took broken clocks, mended milk glass platters, dusty old books...

The biggest thing I had to learn was just to GIVE.  Not think about the monetary value I had placed on an item, just give it.

Now I'm ready for yet another layer!  Plus, I'm decluttering the patio room!  And it is almost done!  I may even put up before and after pictures.

I'm blessed to have a neighbor who is downsizing her five-bedroom home to move into a log cabin 3000 miles away.  We e-mail regularly and talk on Fridays to encourage each other.  We boast about our successes, and commiserate about what was painful to let go.  We spur each other on to the next room, and the next layer.

Now that I have realized decluttering never ends, I no longer feel so out of control or behind.  My house will never look perfect or like a magazine but that is okay!

Here are the favorite books I read in the past few months that did me good (they are in no particular order):
  1. Secrets of an Organized Mom by Barbara Reich
  2. Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck (the yellow cover with the lemon)
  3. Absolutely Organized by Debbie Lillard
  4. Clutter Busting by Brooks Palmer (great for men, too!)
  5. The Messies Manual by Sandra Felton
  6. Don't be a Slave to Housework by Pam McClellan
  7. Confessions of an Organized Homemaker by Deneice Schofield
  8. Organizing for Life - Declutter Your Mind to Declutter Your Life by Sandra Felton
  9. The Money Saving Mom's Budget (best book on finances I've ever read...I did all those things she talks about and that is why we are debt-free today) by Crystal Paine
  10. Simple Living Handbook: Discover the Joy of a De-Cluttered Life by Lorilee Lippincott 
  11. The Clutter Cure by Judi Culbertson (I may just have to buy this one!)
  12. Unstuff by Hayley and Michael DiMarco
  13. For Packrats Only, and Clutter's Last Stand, both by Don Aslett
These books can be found in the 648 section of your library, or buy online.

Final Thoughts

We are called to give.  Tell them to use their money to do good.  They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 1 Timothy 6:18

Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need. Proverbs 21:13

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.  Proverbs 3:27

Remember, it IS painful to let go.  Recognize it and do it anyway!

God's blessings on you as you G I V E !


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