Growing up, I always wondered how my mother managed to accumulate so much “stuff.” Our house seemed to be filled with the toys my sisters and I no longer played with, and the clothes we no longer wore. Then, seven years ago, I became a mother myself.
And finally, I understood.
It starts with books about what to expect, and is quickly followed by a cascade of typical baby shower gear – blankets, baby swings, bouncy seats, and more. As children grow older, you find yourself with closets full of outgrown clothes and shoes. Art projects and crayon drawings and milk carton piggy banks find their way home from school. Year after year, birthdays yield new gifts that leave toy chests overflowing and bedroom floors almost indiscernible.
And of course you keep that baby swing and bouncy seat and the tattered copy of What To Expect, just in case you decide to take the plunge and actually have that next baby after all.
In the past few years, however, I have become ruthless when it comes to clearing all the excess “stuff” that is cluttering up my life. I wish I could say that this was the result of some sort of Zen inspiration to be a better person, but really, my clutter-busting ways are more the result of necessity. In just four years, I’ve packed up all of my family’s earthly possessions for moves in and out of six different homes.
Trust me when I tell you that there’s nothing like repeatedly packing and unpacking all those moving boxes to force you to take a good hard look at what you really need.
Glass mixing bowls? Gone. Anything requiring bubble wrap or careful packing? Gone. Several of my daughter’s less than stellar kindergarten art projects? In the trash. (Shh, that last one is a secret. And before you judge, you should know that I at least kept a few of the better ones. I’m not totally heartless.)
With each successive move, I’ve gotten rid of more and more of our stuff, and I have to say, I’ve never looked back and regretted any of my ruthless purging. For the rest of the week, I’ll be writing about how excess clutter can create stress for the entire family, and sharing tips I’ve learned through experience about how to get rid of the things we no longer need.
But for now, I want to hear the stories of your stuff. Do you feel like you have too much clutter in your home? What types of possessions do you keep long after you truly need them?
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