Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Does it seem to you that everyone is decluttering their spaces right now??  I've noticed the comments sprinkled about facebook, have heard the whispers floating through the breezes nearly every place I go, and have certainly entertained the urge to turn every mountain into an anthill myself.  It used to be that January was the month for turning on the exercise habit.  It seems that organizing or getting rid of excess material possessions is the new buzz!

Well, I'm on the bandwagon and am quite serious about this endeavor to get out from under the weight of STUFF.  Rather than organize everything once again, I'm getting it out of the house.  Already the kitchen has been culled by over half of its contents - it's so great!  I went ape right after Christmas and emptied out most of our plates, silverware, glasses, wine glasses, mugs, gadgets, small appliances........ we are now the proud curators of 8 dinner plates, 8 bowls, 10 glasses, 5 mugs and enough complimentary silverware to get us comfortably through our daily meals.  It is with excited relief that I tell you - I can now keep up with the dishes and the kitchen looks great!!  Not much on the counters, room to move, room to cook, room to breathe.  It's divine.

Accordingly, there is a ginormous pile of donateables and saleables in the "other" room, one that I don't frequently have to visit, thank goodness.  The plan is to continue to pile things in there and then determine what goes where in the lineup of non-profits, charities, Freecycle, Craigslist.  Just tackling the contents of the kitchen has had a tremendous impact on my idea of what's important.  An ice cream maker is not important to us (because we have not used said ice cream maker in well over a year and it is just taking up precious space; perhaps someone else will place more value upon the ice cream maker, use it weekly and love it); I'm fairly certain that one needs only one vegetable peeler, after all, and twenty five potholders are just plain too many.  It was rather shocking to dump out the drawers and empty the cupboards of all the items crammed into each one.  How did it all accumulate??

Basically, I wasn't a very good gate keeper over the years!  All those little purchases have added up to one big psychological anchor which I feel strongly compelled to lighten.  Today while at drum lessons I sat and listened to a conversation between two teenage girls sitting on the other couch in the waiting room.  They were exclaiming over a website one of them had found that sold discounted designer dresses and how awesome it was.  I was having a very hard time relating - probably due to me trumping them by twenty five years in age and also because I've been fixated on paring down lately.  The thought of hunting for and purchasing a designer dress left me empty because I don't need it.  Yay - I'm evolving!

Here's the perfect book to read about culling your material possessions.  It's thoughtful and brimming with sound reason.  I haven't yet argued once with her in my head; she's very convincing:

The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

Not to worry.  You won't be living in a home with two pieces of furniture and nothing on any flat surface anywhere to be seen - it's not like that.  It's more about keeping things for the right reasons (and her suggested reasons are thought-provoking) and working to protect the space around you.  When you aren't distracted by the clutter around you and the maintenance that clutter demands, then, and only then, can you give most of your energy to the people who matter in your life and to your creative energies.  This makes sense to me!  Walking into our kitchen I feel GOOD.  It's a room I can handle - sounds weird, but it doesn't make me tired.  Try it!!  Just with a drawer or a small closet. 

The only materials I am not compelled to cull are all of the homeschooling books, games, objects that we've collected.  They hold a certain value and I'm not willing to part with much there yet.  We also haven't tackled the Legos or the Bionicles, but don't need to anytime soon.  They bring Max umpteen hours of creative play and fill him up.  His Power Rangers and any extraneous Duplo blocks, on the other hand, are on their way out!

Happy culling if that's what you've been up to lately!  Check out Francine Jay's book and some of her other writings - a really nice way to begin a new year.


  1. I've been on a cleaning kick for the last couple of months as well. I told someone that I figured if I started spring cleaning in the fall, I might actually have a clean house by fall. :)

  2. I'm wondering if it's kind of on everyone's radar screen right now - so many people are talking about it. Good for you! Keep at it. It will probably realistically take a year to do the whole house! The trick is figuring out how not to bring in a bunch of new stuff - that's my challenge from here on out.


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