Monday, February 6, 2012

Organizing Season Always Involves Decluttering

The best part of Organizing Season is how the act of decluttering helps me align the real me with the "vision of me" I have.  Have you ever thought about it like that?  All that stuff we hold on to represents the vision of ourselves we have, but doesn't necessarily mesh with our reality.  We can go two ways.  We can change our reality to match our vision of ourselves or we can change our vision of ourselves to match our reality.  In my case, it seems that this time of years is all about changing my vision to match reality, which means I shed those things that just aren't "real".  Does that make sense?  Think about it for awhile.  Let it bounce around.  You hold onto stuff that you don't use because it is part of an unrealistic vision you have of yourself.  

Enough serious stuff.  You'll be thinking about that idea all day, I promise.  So, let's move on to the nitty gritty of my Organizing Season week.

Getting organized just wouldn't be complete without a hefty bout of decluttering.  Especially after the holidays, it always feels like we're surrounded with too much stuff.  From holiday decorations to layers of clothing to undone projects, it all just starts to feel like too much.  I feel weighed down by my own expectations for myself.  I just start to feel like my stuff owns me.   Do you feel that way, too? 

Fortunately for me, last week a local charity called to let me know they'd have a truck in our neighborhood Tuesday and offered to pick up anything I'd have for them.  Woot!  Now I had a deadline--just what I needed!  They're wonderful motivators.

The first thing I tackled was 13 years worth of scrapbooking materials, of which I'd used none in the last six and half years.  Yep, you read that correctly.  I have not done any scrapbooking since we moved to Eastern Washington.  Without my friends in California, I didn't enjoy doing it anymore.   Still, I held onto the materials and equipment for "someday".  Well, this year, I finally accepted that my vision of myself as a person who made amazing scrapbooks for my children was not ever going to become reality.   Paper is just not a medium I am creative working in.  (Hopefully, my children won't be scarred for life.) 

The scissors were actually dusty!
The scrapbooking stuff had to leave.  I didn't need the guilt anymore.  Three Trader Joe's bags of stuff had to leave, to be exact.  This was after I'd sent two boxes of paper to my sister last year.  Rewriting your vision of yourself takes time.   For me, it has been a process of letting go of that "ideal" takes some honesty to say to yourself, "I'm just not going to do that...ever."

Idea books, pages, etc...
Fortunately, my bff Andi loves to scrapbook, make cards, and generally create beautiful things with paper, so I gave it all to her.  (She was thrilled, I promise!  I wasn't just dumping stuff on her.)

Paper trimmer, punches, stickers, the works!
She said I had tons of good stuff, we didn't have as many duplicates as she had expected and she'll pass the books and some duplicate supplies onto other ladies who have interest.  All my unused stuff will finally get used.  That is a fabulous feeling.

Still, none of this got me any closer to stuff for the charity truck.  Next up was my fabric stash.  Yes, I've been sewing a lot (for me!) lately, but there is still a ton of stuff I will never use.  Tastes change, kids grow-up, etc.  I don't have babies...I won't use some of this fabric for anything and someone else might...but, not if I leave it in my stash.

Tastes change...
All this fabric just got added to the pile.

A huge bag of fabric leaves the house...

Pretty cool, right?  I hope people get to make wonderful stuff out of this fabric.

Three bins that were too full were culled into one bin that isn't full.

Three bins of holiday decorations was cut down to one and one of the bins ended up get donated.  Holiday decorations?  Really.  I don't know about you, but my holiday decorating changes as my household decor changes.  Things I loved when my kids were little don't seem to "fit" in my house these days.  After a few years of not using them, I realized it was time to cull the decorations.  I also got rid of a ton of gift bags.  (Hey, Tricia, some of them were yours from 12 years ago!  That is how long I held on this stuff!)

Anyone need a punching bag?
I was on a roll.  I got onto Skype and said, "Hey, Honey, may I get rid of your punching bag?"  He said to check with Valiant, so I checked with Valiant.  "Hey, Valiant, you know that punching bag you NEVER use?  May I get rid of it?"  As you can imagine, he didn't care, so the charity truck is going to be picking up a punching bag, too.  (Boxing gloves included!)  A sewing machine carrying case, curtains panels, a bowling ball, picture frames, and a cork board are just some of the things in the pile.

That is a lot of stuff that is no longer in my house!
I don't want to bore you, so I'll stop for now.  I thought you'd get a kick out of seeing just how much the charity truck is picking up in the morning.  It goes all the way up the stairs to my front door.  What do you think?   All that stuff is leaving my house for good!  How cool is that?

P.S.  Oh, do you see the big bag of hangers?  Wait til you see what we did!  Did I mention I love Organizing Season?


Tricia said...

Oh, Erin! This is something I really needed to hear right now! We are currently paying for three different storage units, a result of downsizing from a large, southern-style house to a small mountain cabin combined with my reluctance to let go of anything "in case I might need it someday" or "it has sentimental value!" Bob and Robby are planning a trip back to NC this weekend to clear out the 10 x 40 unit we still have there and transport it all back here. I still have stuff we moved from CA to CO and then to NC that I haven't used since packing it up in CA! (Although I DID give my box of gift bags to my NC neighbor before moving to GA.) I will be using a very critical eye now while looking at what I should keep, and the rest will have to go! Thank-you, my resourceful, yet practical friend!

Growing Up A Country Girl said...

Yeah - I love when I go thru this...and actually follow thru and get rid of those things that I don't use! :)

Sew Ducky said...

I need to desperately do this in my house! You know it's one of the tiny houses (big for the movement, but small) and I never have gotten it all the way cleaned up since we moved in.

It's been so nice seeing how you are managing this!