Friday, January 28, 2011

Living Lighter Without So Much…STUFF

With the new year, I know many of you have been working on organizing the different areas of your home.

Several years ago, I made a vow to get rid of  the unnecessary STUFF and get organized in my own home.   After my parents had both passed away,  it took my sister,  my husband and me  SEVEN  full weekends to clean out the home where my parents had lived for more than 40 years.   The amount of STUFF they had accumulated through the years was overwhelming.  I decided right then and there that I never wanted my daughter to have to  deal with cleaning out an over-abundance of  STUFF her dad and I have saved through the years.

Well, much like the pain of childbirth, the time-consuming and overwhelming task of cleaning out my parents’ home was soon forgotten and the STUFF in my own home, garage and the backyard storage sheds     I/we  no longer used  or wanted  continued to sit untouched…


a couple of months ago when I started packing for the move to the house in Hooterville.

I have been determined  to go through every closet, every drawer, every piece of paper, every storage box in the garage and sheds, every inch of this house and decide what to keep, toss, donate and sell BEFORE  it gets moved.   I refuse to take STUFF to the new house that we don’t want or use. 

Not surprising, after  38 years of marriage and 35 years in the same house,  this task has been equally as overwhelming as going through my parents’ home was.  Our garage has looked like a bomb went off in it ever since I started the sorting process.  Yikes!

IMG_2642 (E)

However, this is the perfect opportunity to pare down and   move only  the STUFF that is most important to us.

In this process of purging, I have realized I’ve kept a lot of STUFF for sentimental reasons.  I still have my daughter’s crib.  (She’s 28 for pity sakes!)  I still have her childhood rocking chair and her little wooden table and chair set.  I also saved  her Teddy Ruxpin bear, her Cabbage Patch and American Girl dolls  and some of the other popular toys from her early years.  I feel a sentimental  attachment to them but I also thought perhaps someday, if my daughter had children of her own, they might like to have them.  I have come to realize these things have more meaning to me than they do to my daughter.  So…it’s time to let them go.

IMG_2644 (C&E) Teddy and some toys ready for the garage sale

I also still have my wedding gown from our wedding 38 years ago.   

12-08-72 (E)

If/when my daughter gets married, I’m sure she will want to pick out a wedding gown that is reflective of her taste and the current styles rather than  wear mine that is out of fashion, yellowed, stained and has a weird smell  after being packed away for so many years.  So why am I saving it?  It’s a HUGE dress with tier after tier of lace.  It weighs a ton and takes up a lot of space to store it.   It’s time to let the wedding gown go too. 

IMG_2700 (C&E)

But, before I get rid of it, I do plan to cut a piece of the lace off  to be made into a special (smaller) keepsake…to appease the sentimental part of me.

It also occurred to me that I have kept a lot of STUFF because I’m afraid I might need it again someday.   Things I bought years ago and used for years have served their purpose but I continue to hold onto them…JUST IN CASE.  Heaven forbid…what if I might want it or need it again?!   In reality though, I’m finding I didn’t even remember I had most of this STUFF until I started going through the storage bins so, in all likelihood,  I’m sure I won’t even miss it after it’s gone.

As I continue to go through the process of deciding what to keep, toss, donate and sell, I still have a tendency to want to keep more than I should but I have weeded out an unbelievable amount of STUFF.  This is only about 1/3  of the STUFF that will be sold at our garage sale.  (Doesn’t look like much in the photo but in some places STUFF is piled up 3 feet high!)

IMG_2638 (C&E)

We’ll be living a lot lighter and more organized in the house in Hooterville and I think it’s going to feel really good!

What about you?  Do you hold on to things because you are attached to STUFF, like me?  Or do you find it easy to let go of things you no longer want or need?


Adrienne said...

Oh, I thought you were talking about me! I need to do the same thing. My sweetheart will retire in a little more than a year and we may make some big changes - maybe not - but I want so much to have gone through everything and live lighter, too! Thanks for the inspiration. You could take some lace from your gown and use it on a pillow for your bedroom, my friend. It would always be a reminder of that special day in your lives.

Deb said...

I've just recently completed going through my mom's stuff. Like you, I don't want my kids to have to do the same with mine, so I'm working hard to purge. I think we all feel the same attachment to items that remind us of our youth and our children's youth. It's tough, but the more that goes out, the "lighter" I feel!!

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

I hold on to too much. Not excessive, but a lot. I did get rid of some of the toys, just keeping a couple of their favorites. I am cringing at your getting rid of the wedding dress. I can't do, no one is going to use it, but (and we have almost the same gown) I cannot part with mine.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Oh Shari, it has always been hard for me to let things go. It was my goal to do the same thing as you, when we moved last summer. I was determined to go through everything and when we moved things to the new house, they would be put away as they came off the truck. Well you know I had a little detour one month after we moved in, and everything came to a screeching halt. We still have sheds at our old house that we need to go through, and hopefully when the weather gets a little warmer we can conquer that task. I do still have my wedding dress, and although my daughter would probably not wear it, I don't think I can let it go. My sweet mother in law still has hers since she was married in 1942. Antique? Maybe. Sentimental, definitely.


Shelia said...

HI Shari! OH, this is hard and it's work too! Good luck with going through everything!
Now look at your wedding picture. Just as pretty as a picture. Your dress is beautiful. You never can tell your daughter may want to wear it.
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

Pink Roses and Teacups said...

Hi Shari,

I know exactly what you mean. I also have 31 yrs worth of stuff!! I still have a whole box of papers from first daughter, who is now 37!
I am also sentimental, and keep way too much stuff. I plan on a good clean out, and garage sale as well.


Lottie said...

Shari, you will feel so much better when you are living lighter. When we moved from a house we had lived in for seventeen years, I just moved EVERYTHING! Didn't get rid of anything...big mistake. Even ten years after the move, I was still going through boxes. The worst part was not being able to use our garage for ten years! You are very smart to take only what you need and LOVE to your new house! Have a great week!

Adrienne said...

I'm in the process of doing the same thing. I remember the nightmare of cleaning out my Dad's apartment (large two bedroom) when he went into a retirement place. Awful!!

Husband has finally agreed to help with a garage sale in a few months for our extras.

Your wedding dress is gorgeous! I wish more girls today wore modest gowns like yours.

Anyhoo - I agree - it's time for it to go away.

Marilyn said...

I need to do the same thing at my house. When my mom decides to get rid of something, I bring it home to stay with me awhile!

Perhaps you could save more of the wedding dress for a baptismal gown. I think I might do that with mine. ♥♫

Willow said...

I hate throwing things out too, especially when they have memories attached. What a beautiful gown you have.You have a wonderful idea to save a piece of it.


{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Hi Shari!

Good for you! I sooooooooo need to do this too. My garage is an abomination. A perfect episode for HOARDERS, I'm certain..... That's on my agenda for spring. Whooppeee...and, I'm with you... I won't even miss some of the things that have been stored forever. A few years ago I let go of lots of things that I had held onto.....I just took pictures of them before they left....a picture is soooo much smaller. :-)


Jennifer said...

You can use some of your wedding gown for a mat in a picture frame. Maybe even re-mat your wedding photo! Or if you have an old invitation from your wedding, you could do a little marital collage.

I didn't keep my wedding dress either, and I don't regret it whatsoever. I have a swatch I kept in our wedding book. That's sentimental but not intrusive on our life. :)

Pam said...

I think everybody keeps a little to much stuff. I will share a little tidbit with you about your daughters toys that you have saved. My daughters MIL saved some of her sons toys and has shared them with my grandchildren. They absolutely love them! And your wedding dress, well I saw a wedding dress that was transformed into a window curtain that was just beautiful. The curtain rod was run through the sleeves which held up the dress. It covered the window in the dressing room used for brides. I have also seen a wedding dress transformed into a Christmas tree skirt. You might want to do a search and see what others have made from them.

Shirley said...

Oh My, yes i still after 31 years of marriage have my wedding dress tucked away, hoping that one day either of my daughters would wear it on their special day. However,one wedding done one to go. No such luck, why keep it, sentimental reasons of course. Now as for your dress, oh my how a scrapbooker would love the lace. You may want to sell it on an etsy shop. Would love to have some of it.