Simplify

June 6, 2014




I've decided it's time to simplify. Again....but this time for real.

No. Really. I know that I have tried it before, but I am going to do it. Signs all point to go and now that I have committed to it, I am actually excited for the task!

I used to be queen of the knick knacks and tchotchkes. If I saw something I liked at a store or yard sale, I grabbed it and made a place for it. I loved the look of layered accessories on my tables and an artfully decorated, but overcrowded, bookshelf. I had furniture jammed into every available space and long drapes on the windows.

In the last year however, all that "stuff" has made me feel crowded in my own rooms. The vast collection of frames and decoys that I used to relish looking at and rearranging, just seemed messy.

My tiny cottage was feeling claustrophobic.

Not to mention that the weekly dusting was all I could think about when I sat down to relax.

So I started paring down, keeping only my cherished items on display, while I went for a cleaner look.

I like the results, unfortunately, I have not been able to take my efforts to the next level. You see right now, most of my stuff is just away.

I still have it. It's just in boxes or closets, tucked into a corner or drawer.

I may have simplified my décor, but I haven't really simplified my life.

If I were really honest with myself, I would admit that simplifying requires more than just a design decision. It requires a commitment to letting go, purging and throwing things out.

I need to do this immediately.

I am tired of managing stuff. I have clothes I haven't worn since I worked in a classroom (um...that was more than fifteen years ago), I have cake pans I will never use (I hate baking ~ bad blogger!) and home décor items that haven't seen the light of day in the twenty years I have been married.

I can't imagine I will suddenly grow to like them now.

All of these things need to go.

Slaying the Paperwork Dragon

Now, I am very sentimental, so it is hard for me to get rid of things, but yesterday I heard two guys on the radio, they write the blog The Minimalists, and I was very touched by their words. They said that the memories are not in the stuff, they are in your head. You are only releasing the item, not the memories. Of course, I know this, but hearing it again yesterday, when I was already toying with the idea, clinched it for me.

I'm not sure I could give everything away. I tried last night and still had to keep silly stuff, like the Clifford the Big Red Dog eraser my daughter bought at her first book fair a million years ago, but I am trying.

My panty is overloaded, my sock drawer, my entertainment unit...and don't even get me started on my holiday decorations.


We will never eat all of this food before it goes bad. Never.

I'll keep you posted, let you know how it's coming along.

I have a feeling it's going to be a rather long process. I know that the kids will fight me.

Oh and I haven't told my husband about it yet either.

I am sure cleaning up and cleaning out is just what he wants to do on the weekends. He'd be happier to leave it all in the closets and pretend it doesn't exist! However, after visiting a friend the other day and seeing her stunning, simplified home, I am convinced that this is the way to go.

So I'm off to collect some boxes now, to pack up my stuff and send it on its way.

Ironic isn't it, that I begin my simplifying and purging with yet another collection.

Oh well, as long as the boxes aren't pretty (or red), I think I'll be able to part with them!

Where do you fall on the scale of stuff?


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I've been working on simplifying, here's where I'm at.



   

48 comments:

  1. I'm just like you Kim!!! I do want to simplify, but letting go is so just darn hard!!!! I'll follow along your journey for sure and see what you'll end up tossing or giving up. I need to do this BAD too! Good luck!

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    1. Your spaces always look so organized and neat, Vel, even your closets and drawers!! I've been going all weekend and it feels good to let go! :)

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  2. I simplified in 1997 when we moved to the beach and then I started collecting again.

    I wrote a blog post a few months ago using the William Morris quote, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." I added meaningful to that, but I started cleaning out my attic with those words in mind. I actually tossed a lot of Christmas ornaments that were old, but I never really LOVED. It is getting easier and easier to simplify.

    GOOD LUCK!

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    1. I remember the post and loved the quote, Carol! We're only one weekend in, but it feels good! :)

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  3. Where do I fall on the "scale of stuff?" Seriously Kim, let me count the ways... pretty sure I hit every number on the scale. TOO. MUCH. STUFF. In fact, I've been working on a post about pretty much the same subject, except... I am having a garage sale. I know. Just shoot me now. My house is owning me, so something has to be done!

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    1. Oh Sally, good luck with that garage sale!! You are a brave woman! ;) I had one years ago when we moved here from our first home and it was exhausting. We did make A LOT of money though and that part was awesome! I can't wait to read your post, it'll help keep me motivated to know I am not alone on my journey!

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  4. For a second, I was right there with, Kim, but I guess after reading your full description I'm somewhere in between, however, it's only because I moved a couple of years ago! ;) I do have things put away, but I rotate, so it has not been twenty years since I've seen something. But, I have junk in the drawers; I cleaned one out the other day, because I read an article on organization with my daughter. I also changed out a table in the library again, to something smaller, because it was always full of projects and things that needed to be put away: The Battle of the Mess in a small home. xoxo Su

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    1. I like to rotate things, too, but I guess I just keep rotating the same treasured items Su! I have gifts that I received for my wedding that I never liked, but just couldn't give away, because I know that someone took time to pick it out and it meant something to them! At this point I guess I just have to feel good about passing the items on to someone who will love them as they deserve! It's harder than I thought! :)

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  5. I have been doing some of the same. I just take one space at a time, give it a first once over, pack it up and on the next trip out of the house drop it off at Goodwill. Then I can really go through that same space again later. It seems like if the obvious is gone, then I can see the next stuff that needs to disappear.

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    1. I agree, Marty, it is a layered process! I went through a lot of things about six months ago. Now, I realize that things I held on to the first time, really weren't necessary either. Goodwill loves me! Only problem is, I have to drop and run, otherwise I will come home with more than I drop off!! :)

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  6. You'll feel good when you make a little progress! I'm not a keeper of too many things just the ones that make me feel sentimental. I don't like too much stuff sitting around either. I do have decorations crammed into a closet because I keep thinking I will paint or something like other bloggers do - even though I hate doing that. One of these days all of that stuff will go out in a donation box. Keep us posted. :)

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    1. Stacey, I keep things for the same reasons, sentimentality and "someday I will..." ~ I rarely do though! If I really want to do something, I do it immediately. Once it goes in the closet, I forget about it. I am feeling good about purging! :)

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  7. It's always been easy for me to get rid of things I don't need, but there was a time when I decorated with a lot of tchotchkes and the time it took me to dust them was ridiculous! Four years ago I decided to completely change my decor and all the stuff went. I had better things to do than dust that stuff. These days I only have two shelves to dust in my house, I replaced them with pictures or nothing. It took a life altering situation for me to realize that all that stuff didn't mean a thing, so I let it go. My life is simplified now and I love the minimalist look. Good luck Kim:)

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    1. Rhonda, your words are music to my ears...you have no regret as you were freed from stuff and the dust. That makes me feel good about my decision! Thanks!

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  8. Hi Kim, I really need to do so much of that this summer! It is hard to pack away sentimental things that you love, but I want to simplify more too. Have a nice weekend.
    Julie

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  9. Oh Kim- You have hit me where I need to be hit! I have SOO much stuff. TOO much stuff. I have been working on it. Some is easy to let go of---other stuff is harder. I have memories connected to just about everything. I look around and see too much stuff and I do really need to simplify. I have been purging closets and that sure feels good! xo Diana

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    1. I've been at it all weekend, Diana...it's been hard, but yes, it feels good! Good luck! :)

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  10. I too am a keeper of stuff. It is a hard process to rid yourself of excess stuff. I feel bad throwing out something that I spent good money for or still has value. Good luck with your project.

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    1. I agree with you, Lorri! I was raised by a depression era baby and we never threw away ANYTHING growing up. Unfortunately, when mom got really sick and had to sell her place, the moving process was overwhelming and truth be told, most of the stuff was so old and icky from years of storage, it had no value. I am trying to reframe and think that I am helping to provide someone else with a useful item! I'll you know how that goes! ;)

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  11. I have tons of "stuff" too! So hard to let it go.....I always think "as soon as I get rid of it, I'll want it"! UGG!!! I need to follow your lead and just let it go!~~Angela

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    1. Angela, when I was first married, my husband used to say that if we hadn't used something in a year or two, we didn't need it. I hated that, because what if I needed it in THREE years! Well, I WON (haha) that battle and now I have things that I haven't needed in a decade or more taking up space! :) It's been hard, but it feels good!

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  12. I'm with Rhonda and Marty. I HATE dusting, 1. because I live in the country and things are ALWAYS dusty, and 2. probably because that was one of my childhood Saturday chores, and my mom collected salt and pepper shakers . . . hundreds of them (at least it seemed that way when you had to dust all of em'). And I approach purging much like Marty. I take it one room or space at a time, purge and donate; go back and evaluate and do it again if necessary. Just can't get myself or anyone else around me, to have any more garage sales! I also put myself on a strict routine when attending any garage sales! But I may have a bigger problem now, as I just volunteered to help in a 2nd hand store . . . where we have $6.00 bags. As much as you can cram into one for six bucks. Uh Oh!

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    1. Oh Cheryl! How fun/awful to work at a 2nd hand store! I did for over a year. . . and now I continue to pick up stuff free on the side of the road or at yard sales. My house is a mess! The projects are never-ending - and never-finished! Good luck witht that volunteering things. lol

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    2. Nancy and Cheryl, there is no way I could work in a good will, thrift or any store with a decent employee discount for that matter! I have no willpower! ;)

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  13. I understand completely. I've been purging big time to get our house ready for sale. Now that it's much "simpler" my husband and I say we can "breathe easier". Unfortunately, I have packed a lot of it away, but I plan to get rid of more of it when we actually move. Good luck as you do this.

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    1. A move is always a good time to clean out! It forces you to make those hard choices! Good luck on your purging and your move. It sounds exciting! :)

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  14. I've been simplifying in stages, Kim. Otherwise it gets too overwhelming and I give up. I think the final stage will happen when I decide to repaint. Many, many things just will not be brought back out.
    Good luck with this, and be patient. You'll be surprised how much better you'll feel, having the excess removed!

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    1. Just a few bags ready to go, Nancy and you're right, I am feeling freer already! :)

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  15. Hi Kim! I really relate to your post! I love stuff and at the beginning of the year, knowing we were going to put our house on the market, I started going through everything - decluttering, throwing away, donating to Goodwill, had a garage sale. I guess my biggest thing was cleaning out my closet. I had clothes in there I never wore but just couldn't get rid of. Then I started taking those clothes out and ended up with a huge pile to go to Goodwill. I felt so free and it got easier and easier to get rid of things after that. You're right, it's rather hard to simplify but you can do it! Thanks for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia;)

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    1. Shelia, I cannot imagine what a daunting task moving must have been, but I bet it was a real motivator to clean out! It does feel good and you are right, once I got past the clothes, it was easier! :)

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  16. Doesn't it make you feel great to get rid of all that stuff! Newest follower from Boost Your Facebook Post Hop!

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    1. Yes!! It does and thanks so much for the follow...I love making new friends! :)

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  17. Hi Kim,

    Good for you! I do a major inventory clean up/out every spring and find it to be the most satisfying thing I do all season - yes, even more than buying and planting new flowers! It feels so good to get rid of accumulating stuff that hasn't been used or appreciated in a long time, even though I am not sure if I will need it or ask for it in the future. I really love what the Minimalists said, i.e., tossing out stuff does not mean tossing out memories! To be honest, I have found that people in North America simply have too much stuff; it's a real consumer culture and having lived on both sides of the pond, I can truly attest to the fact that, generally speaking, Europeans like their space - as space, not cluttered or cramped or claustrophobic! I believe they are the original minimalists, preferring to fill their space with socializing, summer siestas, and simple, but meaningful decor.

    Having said all that, I have been visiting my daughter and family in Toronto for two and a half months, and it's time to purge, pack, pull stuff off the walls and out of hiding places and just make room for laughter and lovely friends and family, who come to visit. These are the luxuries of space.

    REALLY enjoyed the honesty and attitude of this post. As always, you manage to entertain and 'train' us for better things!

    Poppy

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    1. I love the perspective you have, Poppy, from living abroad. You are so right, we have too much stuff here in the states and there is way too much emphasis and importance put on the type of stuff one has. It is a hard culture to raise children in, for certain. I was twelve when my father died from cancer. We had a lot of stuff...none of it could save him and none of it could replace him. I, unfortunately, learned early on that most stuff is meaningless. Don't get me wrong, I love to decorate and shop, I just don't need so much of it anymore, taking up space in my home and my life! I hope you enjoy your time with your visitors!! Thanks again for your complimentary and thoughtful comment. These conversations are what makes blogging so much fun! :)

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  18. It seems this is a common theme these days, Kim. Discussions with friends, articles I read, comments I hear in passing, signs I see in gift shops. . ."simplifying" seems to be the word. I started down this road in 1988 when my late husband and I moved from L.A. to a small rural community. We got rid of a lot of stuff in that move. Then we moved again in 1996 and we added more to the simplifying pile. Three years after he passed I remarried and moved from the Midwest to Colorado. I had a huge garage sale and sold a lot of décor, dishes, and all my furniture, except for one dresser, my Grandfather's trunk and my sofa. Now all but the trunk is gone. When we sold our Colorado home and moved to Oregon I gave away everything I owned, except a few family photos and momentos, and my kitchen essentials. I gave my son and daughter-in-law boxes of photos, family heirlooms; anything I thought they might want. I just didn't want to hang on to all that stuff any longer. It felt so good to give things away -- not sell them, but give them away -- to young people starting out and other people who had needs but very little money. Now the challenge is not to get more stuff to replace the old stuff. :) To just have what we need and love in our new home. I think you'll be seeing & reading a lot about this on my blog in the days ahead. Good luck with your own simplifying. :) Hugs, Nancy

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    1. There has been lots of downsizing going on in my family in the past two years Nancy, it seems to be a good time to simplify! We are still in the acquiring stage...teenagers love stuff and more stuff! I also find that my husband and enjoy shopping on vacations at home stores together lately, so that doesn't help either! However, there are many things we do not need and it gives me pleasure to see them used by others. We gave my niece our entire living room set a bit back, coffee tables to a nephew, etc. It makes me feel good to pass it on! :) Thanks for sharing your story Nancy!

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  19. Congratulations on your decision to clear out unnecessary "stuff". I've been doing the same thing and am having a yard sale this week-end!

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    1. You are a brave soul! I did the garage sale thing once and I was so exhausted from it, I don't think I could ever do it again! Please pop back by and share how yours went! I love stories from the sale!!

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  20. I am laughing because this movement must be catching on. For the fourth day in a row, I walked into the thrift store to find boxes of knick-knacks donated that morning! I need to move everything from the backs of cabinets and donate or toss.

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    1. I guess great minds think alike, Donna! ;) I just feel like I am always picking up stuff, dusting stuff or cleaning stuff out lately...when all I really want to do is sit by the pool with my family! So I am cutting a lot of that stuff loose! Good luck with the shop!

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  21. I also get rid of belongings "in layers". Each year it's getting easier to let go of more & more. I keep knick-knack gifts for about a year, then donate them if they are not really my style. I certainly don't care if recipients of my gifts do the same. I read the saying that if there were no gifts, there would be no garage sales. I am now donating or selling at a consignment store more stuff than I am bringing home this year. & all my friends/family have a pact of no birthday gifts. We exchange Christmas gifts, but mostly practical things & "consumables" - pretty paper napkins, toiletries, food, candles, It is almost a sin that we all have so much, TOO much. I hate dusting & have way too many collections of vintage stuff I still can't bear to give up, I love it so much. It does help to part with stuff if it's going to a charity. The money it makes helps the needy, & someone else can enjoy the donated stuff for about a year before passing it on again!

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    1. I hear you loud and clear, Mary! We all have too much stuff and it keeps coming. We have stopped giving gifts among friends/grown ups, too. We try to do a dinner or have a get together instead. I enjoy my time with my them and really what more do I need? Thanks so much for the very thoughtful comment! I'm so glad you shared! :)

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  22. We are sisters!!! I just moved into a smaller home...lost about 900 square feet. I have a lot of What you said about "your stuff is away" hit me right between the eyes! If I'm not using it I have got to let it go. I am soooo sentimental and have lots of tchotchkes. I am determined to simplify my life as well as my decor. Thanks for the blog.

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    1. Thanks for the comment!! It's so hard to get rid of stuff, isn't it?? I am trudging my way through the task and I love the result, but the process of letting go is just not easy for me, at all!! I wish you the best of luck with your journey to simplify hope you keep me posted! :)

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  23. I'm not much of a minimalist Kim. I just love too many darn things. lol! I know that someday I will have to start downsizing, but until then (maybe when I'm 80), I'm enjoying it. I do like to keep it manageable. Don't mind dusting but I don't like it to look junky either. I go through my pantry and closet every so often and clean it out. I'm finding that I am wanting to get rid of the new and bring home more old. Is that backwards? Hee-hee! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. I am a really big fan of "the old", too, Jann! It's funny how that happens, isn't it? When you're young, you want everything new! I love antiquing and thrifting and now my husband has gotten in on the act ~ hence the clean out! I figure whatever I bring in, had better be really great! I just happen to have a lot of not really great cluttering it up now! ;)

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  24. My husband is a huge fan of 'The Minimalists' blog but I just can't do it! I love my treasures and could never part with them. I could simplify just a bit more though so thanks for the gentle push!

    Thanks also for joining the Say G'Day Saturday Linky Party!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

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    1. That's funny, Natasha, my husband is a "Minimalists" kind of guy, too! I fall closer to you on the scale of stuff, but some things just have to go! ;)

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