Monday, December 16, 2013

the Stuff Challenge

I was helping some family members the other days by going through some of their things and trying to figure out what to get rid of and what to keep. I asked questions like "will you ever where this, read this or use this." Funny enough most of the time the answer was "no, we would not." Three garbage bags and a more organized bedroom later, we both left feeling happy and accomplished. This made me remember a post I blogged about in my first blog years ago about the "stuff challenge" and why we keep the stuff around when we don't need, like or even want it. So without further ado, I present to you this challenge again. Especially since Christmas is coming and you are guaranteed to get even more stuff added to your home. (especially the kids ... mine isn't even here yet and I feel like she is taking over our space with her stuff.)

The Stuff Challenge

I sometimes (always) put more emphasis on earthy processions than I do with things I should really be focusing on. I have put a huge importance on mere knick-knacks that I will hold onto them with such a grasp, that when something goes wrong (like I break them or someone else breaks them), I forget that they were just knick-knacks and my heart turns bitter or angry. Yes. I know. That mug was a dollar, but it was my favorite. So right now I don't like you.


This is not how it should be. I should not have this kind of relationship with anything that does not have a soul. My husband is more important than a cup (for the record my husband never broke a cup, merely an example). My relationships are more important than silly things we think are important. I am not saying don't get mad when something breaks - I am just trying to say that those little things in life don't matter. Especially if something can easily take its place. Like getting a new mug for a dollar.

I have moved around a lot and I will be moving at the end of this month! I try to make it my goal that when we move, I try and get rid of as much junk as possible. Things that I have kept in storage and have forgot about, things that I have unpacked and forgot about. Or things that I know I should get rid of, but I have had a guilty conscious and had no plans on getting rid of it because so & so gave it to me. (even though that 'item' is impractical, ugly ... whatever.)

Geez. Are my relationships based on the Items so & so gave to me? Chances are they won't even notice that whatever it was they got me is missing from my collectables. SO should I keep it? No. If I hate it, I should remove it. If it is ugly, why make everyone look at it. I should spare them. Chances are there is a little old lady who will love this treasure much more than I will. Seriously.

OR if my house IS full of items that I am mad about that it causes angry issues when someone tries to touch something, move something or asks me if they can have it ... is it worth it? Is it worth the "don't touch that" reaction I have? Yes okay, that glass elephant did have a meaning to it. I got it after I accomplished a very long hike (this is a true story) and it was my reward for succeeding. A good memory. A great memory. I accidentally (yes I DID nobody else) broke it while we were in Oman. Was I upset? Of course I was. Did I cry? No ... because right then and there I realized that the elephant is just a symbol. I have the wonderful memory of that day and that hike. And I always will. Plus I was in Oman. What is one little hike compared to moving to another country? Perspective is all I am asking. Just really think why you are holding onto all of these items. 

I am already making lists in my head of what I need, what I love and what is BLAH. And I am sure there are a lot of decorative items that I have forgotten I even own. Out with the old and in with the new time to breathe. 

I am passing this challenge onto you, dear readers. ALL OF YOU. Christmas is coming. Time to clean out some of the stuff that is no longer needed or appreciated. Your Christmas decorations are probably out now and its a good place to start. How many boxes of decorations do you have? Do you LOVE everything in those boxes or just keeping it because Once Upon A Time So & So...

And maybe this isn’t a problem for you. It is for me. I watch that show Hoarders on TLC and it freaks me out. It really does. Then I search on Pinterest for home inspiration and the homes that I love are the clean, white walled, less is best ones that barely have any decorations. They use their furniture or their books as statement pieces with little wisps of ornaments that show others who they are. I LOVE THAT. No wonder my home never feels finished ... got too much stuff. I feel cluttered. And I am having a kid ... kids create clutter, so I need to find a new way to balance my stuff, her stuff, his stuff and make it minimal. Thats my challenge this January. It is possible. Pinterest is proof of that. Another proof for me was moving to Oman. I could only bring three suitcases. Three. I had to narrow down the important from the non-important. So why am I holding onto the non-important. If I am not going to take it to another country with me ... then what is the point. And Do I really need every magazine that I have ever owned in big huge piles that make me feel small? Why am I keeping them? Cut out the articles I love and recycle the rest already!!

Now if this is a problem that you have, I encourage you to take this challenge with me!!

You don’t have to get rid of 100 items. It can be five for all I care. Heck, it can be one thing! Think about if you actually like said item or think about how much value you are putting into earthly processions when truth of the matter is YOU CANNOT TAKE IT WITH YOU TO HEAVEN. I don’t mean get rid of something just to get rid of something. Ask yourself why you are holding on to it. Is it just because of so and so. If the answer is yes, get rid of it. If the answer is now, keep it for now. Clearly it means something to you. But if all of a sudden everything in your entire house means something to you (can everything mean the world to 

And No Food doesn't count. You can't eat an apple and say, "Oh Hallelujah I only have 99 more items to go." It has to be stuff. So go. See what you can find. It'll be harder for some to remove these items. But when they are gone, you will feel great. Cleaner. And you will see that they obviously had less meaning in your life then you thought they did. And if you are still unsure about actually getting rid of said item, just put it in a box and ask your spouse to hide it. If you keep thinking about the item, bring it back into your live. If you forget about that item and accidentally discover it hiding in the garage DO NOT THINK “oh yeah ... I love this item so much I cannot believe I forgot about it ...”

Thats called missing the point. 
Trust me.

If you are like me in anyways this is how to begin:
-Make A List of Items You Have To Keep
-Go Through the Items that Did Not Make the List (whether or not you meant to keep them off the list or if you forgot you had them in the first place ... if you find something you forgot you had it MUST stay with the items that did not make the list.)
-Have your Spouse or Kids (if they are old enough) help you with what they think is important. (if the kid is two and says they need everything ... thats probably not true, use your brain.)
-Look on Pinterest for clever decoration and organizing tips and room how-tos. Even a room filled with toys can look updated, clean and not like you are running a daycare.
-Don't put it off for another day. If you cannot afford organizing bins or anything like that, be creative, again look on Pinterest!
-Do this again in a couple of months.
-And Breathe.

** maybe I am the only one out there with this problem and if so thats alright, I just thought I would post in case somebody else understands my crazy brain. Is there anyone else who feels this way?

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