November 22, 2014

Letting Go - Let's Declutter

I want to begin this post by thanking everyone for their kind comments regarding my father in law. He broke his hip a little over two weeks ago and he is doing very well.  We are thankful.

I continue to delve into the vintage home economics books that I purchased and I think that around the end of December I will be ready to share what I have learned.  I am gleaning a lot of great information.  It is as if I am talking with my grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother via these books.

There are blogs that talk about vintage home keeping and I love to look at a few but I as an amateur student of history, I enjoy doing the research myself and apply it to my own life.  I have always thought that we need to elevate the career of homemaker and we should treat it as seriously as we do any other career.  So, this is my continuing education for my homemaking career. 

5 years ago I journeyed on this path to frugality.  At that time I was frantically learning to live on less as that first year was beyond living paycheck to paycheck.  It was a day by day existence.  So what happens when you live that way for awhile?  Answer:   You tend to hang on to stuff as you never know when you could use it.  You keep thinking that you will make a big mistake if you give or throw anything away. After all, you might need it later on.   After 5 years you end up with a bunch of stuff that you need to get out of your house. 

This fall I decided that it was time to be ruthless and go through the house and sell, donate or throw stuff away.  Many of the things that I have been holding onto are things that I haven’t needed for several years.  Also, I feel as if the clutter is overwhelming me.  Now it isn’t visible to many people.  It is clutter in closets, the basement and our upstairs smaller bedroom which is serving as a “junk” room.  But I know it is all there and I just want to get rid of stuff and get organized. 

It is very easy for me to get side tracked when I am sorting through items so I am taking 45 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon to get the job done. 

For now I am tackling 5 areas of clutter:  Books;  Craft supplies;  Sewing and knitting supplies ; Holiday decorations  and Clothes.

This week I tackled our book collection.  My husband is an avid reader and while I love to read, I haven’t had much time to devote to it lately.  He reads fiction and I read non-fiction.  As of last week we had 4 tall book shelves (5 shelves on each) filled with books.  We also had 4 small book shelves (2 shelves on each) filled with books.  That is a lot of books that we have collected over the years.  One evening we went through them and made a pile of the ones that we no longer wanted.  The majority of these books were my husband’s and he said that since he had read them, he didn’t need them anymore. 

We have an organization in town that accepts donated books year round for their annual book sale.  I would rather donate the books towards a non-profit group than sell them myself.  The best part is that this organization makes it very easy to donate books.  They have a warehouse building where you can call ahead and they will make sure the garage door is open and you can simply arrive, open the door and drop off the books.  I also gave some books away to some of my neighbors. 

We are now down to 3 tall bookshelves and that is it.   Two shelves hold the remaining books and the last one will hold baskets or boxes of my craft and hobby supplies.  The rest of the bookshelves I am giving to my sons and to a neighbor.  With the books gone, I won’t need the bookshelves.  I am already excited about the simplicity of less furniture and stuff.

It’s hard when you downsize financially to let go of stuff.  You worry that you may need something and you don’t have money to replace it.  In the 5 years that we have been living on 1 income I have never had to replace anything I gave away.   Let it go.  It will bring more joy in your life to surround yourself with the meaningful items than to surround yourself with a lot of clutter.  


Scrappy quilter said...

Totally agree. A number of years ago we did the same thing with books. Although difficult, it was one of the best things we did. Certainly made space in our home. We continue to this day to declutter. Great job.

Mel said...

I can really relate to this post. We have been extremely frugal for the last 3 years. I've been slowly decluttering but my husband fears that we wont have the money to replace the things we get rid of! One step at a time, I guess...

Debs said...

Hope all's well, I miss your posts