Sunday, December 13, 2009


I am feeling overwhelmed by STUFF lately. Particularly kids' clothing. I don't know how to organize the outgrown stuff, what to save & what to give away/donate. Especially as they get older and the clothes show substantial wear, but still have a decent amount of wear left in them. For example, Noodle has outgrown her size 6 jeans, many of which we acquired secondhand (as handmedowns or from Savers), and they have knee patches, but now, with the knee patches, would be great for another girl to wear. But do I hold on to them for SEVEN YEARS? That seems a little ridiculous. So then I think, I'll just save the cutest or the ones in the best condition. Then I can't decide, and figure if I'm saving any, I might as well save them all, and I'm back to where I started. For being born a good 40+ years after the Great Depression, why the heck do I have so much angst about getting rid of stuff? Sigh.... I recently threw out some dollar store tableclothes that we'd bought for our Ichthoberfest party two years ago (and used). They were nice enough to reuse, but why did I hang on to them for so long? It would have been one thing if they'd have been in some designated spot, but they were just floating around from place to place.

I'm also the queen of repurposing. I use old containers for all sorts of things. I like the canisters from things for wrapping, we use peanut butter jars when we make freezer jam, we use empty cereal boxes for all sorts of crafts, large clear plastic containers for bug houses... It's hard for me to throw out anything that I can think of a reasonable re-use for.

But I'm tired of so much stuff around me. Papers. Projects. Books. Clothes. Toys. I feel like I really need to purge a lot of things. I don't know how to begin, or how to get over my "But what if I need it?" panics. Should I start with the stuff in the shed--the clothes and packed away toys? Then stuff that we DO want to keep that is cluttering the house can be moved out to the cleaned out shed. It seems like a good place to start. Maybe first I should try and get the office under control so I'll have a home base for sorting all this stuff out.

Obviously I'm thinking out loud here. Sometimes it'd be nice just to delete a certain trait and download an upgraded version!


Kirbell said...

Mindy, I'm the same way - I have to hang on to things. I always attribute it to my German upbringing (Post WWII, environmentally conscious?) and my mother who threw everything away. It DOES feel good to just get rid of things every once in a while, though. Then you just don't think about it again and you stop worrying about it. Think of all the stress those clothes are going to cause you for the next seven years! Good luck figuring it out!

Tune said...

I would say keep the things that are the favorites and get rid of the rest, at least when it comes to clothes. Even if you have another daughter you are probably about 2 years away from that being a possibility. By the time she/he/it comes you hopefully will be in a place to upgrade a little with clothes anyways. As for the clutter... I do that too. Not as much, but I think that's cuz i'm not a mom with kids to organize and entertain. Get rid of extras, it's hard, but you will always have things like cereal boxes coming in and out of your house. Then find a specific place to put it all and leave it there. No need to save extras in the garage.

Love ya mindyloo! By the way I'm attempting at reviving my blog again. I've decided on a topic to write about finally. If you are interested feel free to go read.

andrea said...

Too bad I don't live closer. I'd start pitching stuff right and left. I did that for my mom a few times. She bout had a heart attack in the process but was so grateful when I was done.
Here's what to do:
Get a big bag (garbage bag maybe) designate it your DI bag. Make a day of the week DI day and have it your goal to fill that bag every week and drop it off at DI with whatever you happen to cross that week.
That way it can just be whatever is getting in your way that day/week. baby steps.
Too much stuff traps people instead of freeing them. It will actually be more useful and helpful and productive for you to get rid of Z's outgrown clothes than to keep them.

andrea said...

LOL just read Kirbell's comment above. my kids are going to be like her. :)

Native Minnow said...

I'm a packrat myself. I need to learn how to toss stuff.

In other news, I really like the new banner!

mindy said...

Thanks, all. It's good to know I'm not alone in my malaise. But even better to know that there is hope. Andrea, I'm going to follow your suggestion. You know, a few years ago I passed on some favorite childhood stuffed animals (which was really hard for me) and before I did I took a picture. Every once in a while I see the picture (in my computer folders) and I'm okay with having said goodbye to the actual items, though if I still had them, it would be hard to give them up. Weird, huh? I think I tie items up with too much emotion and memories. Anything my parents bought for me is a tangible representation of their love, and I have the hardest time getting rid of it. And my parents are still alive.

Minnow, thanks! I like it, too!

Andrea, have you always been good at tossing things or was it a learned skill? I remember "rescuing" a 2 legged (broken) snoopy toy from the garbage after my sister threw it away. I felt sorry for it. Crikey, I'm a mess! ;o)

David said...

Oh, I love the DI bag idea. But I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to clutter. I hate prolonged anxiety that comes with having clutter constantly interrupt my life. So I chuck stuff, because I really don't mind the acute anxiety that comes when, X months/years down the road, I think "Well, I guess if I hadn't thrown that out I wouldn't have to got get a new one" which is quickly followed by "Oh, well. I don't got to BigBox stores all that often".

But having clutter around is like constantly having a burr in a pant leg. Frequently it grabs a leg hair and pulls, "Ouch". And I think, why can't I just get rid of that burr. Then Mindy reminds me, "Because we're going to need that burr for XYZ, later". ;)

Life's a Dance said...

Ack! I have been feeling the same way! It always helps me (and Riley) to donate to a good old toys to a childrens hospital, old phones to an abuse shelter, old clothes to a homeless shelter. Or do a swap with some moms around you - they might be able to use your stuff and you might be able to use their stuff.

Have a specific area for "stuff" and when that area is full then things need to be thrown away - bottles, cans, cereal boxes, etc. Good luck!

andrea said...

oh good. I'm glad you're going to try it.

I remember wanting to keep more sentimental things than my mom kept. But she kept "stuff" around. So I keep a few boxes of sentimental stuff. But I get rid of plain ol stuff.
When Chickie grew out of her baby clothes I kept a lot of them for sentimental reasons. But after I had bentley I was able to get rid of a lot of them. I only needed to keep a few for sentimental reasons at that point.