Saturday, June 26, 2021

The Summer of the Purge

Our "big project" for the next couple/few month's time is, no doubt, nothing exciting or important to anyone else but us.  In our efforts to simplify our everyday lives, let alone accomplish any and all progress or changes we're trying to make around here, we've realized now is the time to get one aspect of our lives in better shape.  Much better shape!
We're fortunate in that we've structured our home and surrounding outbuildings in such a way that we have ample storage areas.  The downside is that those same areas have, over the years, become overstuffed with unorganized, and in many cases, no longer need stuff.  Yep, we've become overstuffed with stuff!
Our living and everyday functioning areas remain neat and organized; our storage areas are not.
A big hang-up we've come to realize that weighs heavily (unconsciously, even) on both of us is the amount of materials we've saved (in most cases "for someday") that have filled up our storage areas and must be sorted and organized, sold, given away, or otherwise sent down the road because so much of it is no longer needed, wanted or important.
To give a small example in only two areas, over the years, we've gone full circle as to what livestock we want and need to keep here on ye ol' homestead and all the equipment (which has piled up, up and up) related to same.  I've collected furniture and household goods (lots) for that cabin on a lake we've always thought we wanted, but now realize is not as important as it once was.
We have back-ups for our back-ups, but because we've worked so hard on successfully structuring the necessities of basic food, clothing and shelter, we no longer need to rely on so many, and in some cases, inferior materials we've kept because they "might be needed."
Things change, people change, we've changed, and paying attention to different stages of our lives needs to take precedence.  Other aspects of our lives presently need more attention.  We want more of a balance (ah, yes, that elusive balance) in our lives, time for each of us to spend individually pursuing personal interests, time for us together exploring, recreating and just being.
So, onward with the grubbiness, the time-consuming task, the brain-straining constant decision making, the arguments (civilly done, of course) of what stays and what goes. 
What a big job!  We're currently well into the project and are finding it's taking much more time than we anticipated (what doesn't turn out to be so?), but find its already giving us a sense of freedom and more energy.  The feel goods we're experiencing are well worth it. 


Nancy In Boise said...

Good for you! After we re-did our garden area we gave away all the remining hardscaping we had. Just get it out and gone! What a relief to have open space and no more piles. While we have a small amount of scrap lumber in the eaves of our garage there's not that much. As we get older I also look at how much "stuff" we have in general as our kids will have to deal with it when we're gone. Obviously we still need our stuff but I'm looking at "collections" more closely. Dirty work but good luck to you and don't hurt yourselves!

Michelle said...

Definitely a BIG, personal project; one MOST of us need to do!

Rosalea said...

It is freeing to whittle down and organize stuff. Our move up here made me really downsize. After 30 years of living in the same house, we took a lot of stuff to the auction barn! I miss very little of it, just the odd thing, but most we are doing well without. Early this spring, Hubby did a big clean up and clear out in the barn. We'd just tossed stuff up there to deal with later, and it was difficult to move around up there or find what we needed in the moment. He has done an amazing job of organizing it and now we could hold a dance up there, all that lovely space! In a glance around, you can see everything and it is all accessible, particularly as he's built and installed stairs so we don't have to precariously hang off a ladder getting up there. It feels good. Good luck with your big project, and don't work too hard!

Retired Knitter said...

Most people who tackle this task find it VERY rewarding, almost addictive. I found that 'stuff' just weighed me down. In fact I have even removed some of my yarn stash (almost a unheard of about 10 years ago for me), and it was so satisfying to have those very special yarns that were left after the purge front and center in my attention - rather than buried under other yarns I didn't care quite as much for. And you are right! Your children may have to deal with it - but between now and then ... your life changes, you change, energy levels aren't quite what they were before and you might find yourself at some point needing to move due to physical limitations (which was the case for us.). Preparing now for that possible future will make things so much easier if that should come to pass. Everyone thinks they know the future and that they will be the ones who remain active for their full lives ... but the future is uncertain (as we found out) and preparation for a simplier life is never time wasted.

Enjoy the declutter journey!

SmartAlex said...

Ahh! A subject near and dear to my heart. Not only am I (and my husband) a compulsive saver, I am also a compulsive purger! I did quite a number on my stuff a few years ago and knowing I would be retiring, and losing access to the large company trash dumpster, we did a lot of throwing away from the garden shed and other out buildings. We always have a bunch of useful stuff laying around that we are continually glad we have, like rubber roof membrane or scrap lumber. Its an eyesore and a trip hazard, but it does get used repeatedly. Just today we had a debate over whether or not to save a nice little brown glass bottle with its own eyedropper. We can't imagine how we would use it, but it was just too useful to throw away. Yet.

Two books that I really enjoyed were Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and Margareta Magnussun's "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning"

Mama Pea said...

Nancy - After your big yard/garden renovation project, it was good timing to get rid of as much old and no longer needed stuff. You're correct though. There's a certain amount of things that should be kept. 'Tis not wise to throw away everything!

Michelle - Yep, something WE'VE definitely needed to do. (How do we manage to collect so much??)

Rosalea - Oh my, yes! Finding what we need at the moment has been a big stumbling block for us and a big part of what spurred us on to do this huge job!

Retired Knitter - I gave four grocery bags of yarn to our resale shop and hope it's finding a good new home. It was kinda hard to do at the time, but now I'm very glad I did it. :o)

SmartAlex - Ha! Another saver of those little glass bottles with the eyedroppers! I've not read either of those books you mentioned but know they've been very popular. So far, we're doing pretty good mainly because we're both in agreement that it is the time to do this job! Not to brag (ahem), but I've always been a good organizer and the "saver" in the family (ahem) has finally come to the conclusion that enough is enough. In most areas, at least. ;o)

Tigger's Mum said...

Your post and the comments have chimed so closely with the conflict in my life - to waste not, reuse, recycle etc, AND to have as little as practicable stored anywhere. Clearing out and letting go of stuff is so uplifting, and in UK where we had a plethora of charity shops (some even specialised - craft goods for instance), and things like freecycle online, it was easier not to have to consign stuff (that still had life or use for someone) to a waste bin.

Rosie said...

It is interesting that we feel the same way about decluttering, although it is accomplished in different ways for different folks. We have been getting our house garden organised so that we don't have too much physical work to do but just enough to enjoy pottering when we feel like it. I have also been shredding a lot of paperwork left by my parents and also my own, but as a reminder of my age, it has left me with a strained muscle in my shoulder. There is always a medical issue with whatever I do these days. I will just have to keep going but with more rest in between. Thanks for your post.

Leigh said...

Why is stuff so easy to accumulate and so hard to keep organized? There must be some sort of "law" about that! Sometimes I lament that we don't have a basement or garage. Such a space would be so useful for storage, like canning jars and equipment, yet I know it would quickly become crowded with all kinds of things that I think might be useful some day. I'm currently working on reorganizing my utility room. It started with being tired of no permanent home for the coolers. I found so much stuff on the utility room shelves that I know we'll never use. Gone! It's a good feeling.

Mama Pea said...

Tigger - I think you folks "across the pond" have always been better about reusing/recycling than we have here in the U.S. For the most part, we've become a throw-away society, but perhaps now with the cost of most everything soaring, there will be a change in thinking. I sure hope so!

Rosie - I was just thinking about what you mention -- the decluttering in areas not often thought of. For instance, we still have too much "lawn" to maintain. We've been working toward eliminating "unused" areas on our property in an effort to be more productive and self-sufficient . . . AND save our time for more beneficial endeavors!

Leigh - Well, when one chooses a homesteading type of lifestyle and tries to be self-sufficient and environmentally conscious, one needs a lot of stuff! ;o) (So many times one of us will remind the other that if we lived in a condo, we wouldn't neeeeed all the stuff we do!) But in our current purging mode, I can't believe all the things I have personally saved for YEARS and never, ever used. Yes, so easy to bring it in, but so utterly ineffective to not get rid of it when it's complicating one's life!

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Granny Sue said...

A big job indeed. We've been sorting and re-organizing our buildings for the past few years. Being resellers means we have a LOT of stuff but I am determined to keep it down to a reasonable level.

The bigger problem is what happens to our stuff after we get rid of it. Third world countries are awash in our cast-offs and landfills are filling up. It's a conundrum, and a worrying one.