Sunday, August 16, 2015

Why do we keep "stuff"?

Right now, at home and at work is all about purging materials/things we don't need. At home, a lot of stuff we are getting rid of is laziness of not getting rid of things in a timely manner. We had it, we used it, we liked it, but now we don't use it or like it or need it. Or, if it's clothing, we outgrew it (or grew too small for it in some adult cases). I am usually not guilty of keeping things just to keep things for "just in case". My husband will be slow to get new things, but slow to part with them too. His clutter is minimal in the house, but it's harder for him to say, "OK, let's toss it" if there is even a remote possibility he'll need it 2-3 years down the road. OR, if he can make a bit of money from it if he sold it. Hence, we have 3 turntables we've moved 3 times that he plans to sell, 2 boxes of cords that we don't need and a couple other electronic pieces and speakers. Though, that's it for his stuff. I'm far more likely to get stuff and then ditch stuff and MOST of the stuff we need to get rid of is from the kids rooms and from my stuff and kitchen stuff. I need to get better about not getting stuff in the first place! My husband needs to get better at parting with stuff period.

Other people, get really attached to things and have a hard time letting things go - especially if they fear the option is that it will go to trash when someone else could use it.

I have been the recipient of many, many, many gifts from other people's purgings. Some of it has been for my work (so not a gift to me, but to the Sunday School) and some other things have been gifts to me as they feel perhaps I'll use it and oftentimes I do! Much of the craft room die cut dies were gifted to me by a fellow crafter who was downsizing to a condo from a big house. She saw my interest and felt better about giving them to someone who might use them versus donating them and not knowing how/where they would end up. She also didn't want to bother with trying to sell them (as that really is a time suck and hassle), especially as she didn't need the money.  It was a wonderful, generous gift. There are many items I might never use and if I see that's so, I'll eventually give them to someone else who will, but at least their 'clutter' is small space taken. The giver, in this case, was attached to these items, so finding a proper home for them was important to her. I can understand that and appreciate that.

But people get attached to stuff that I don't quite understand. I'm not judging. or maybe I am, but I'm not trying to. Sometimes I think people just like to have stuff around them. It comforts them or something. Or, they find it easier to have things ready at the fingertips than to go and get it again or to be without. They feel guilt if they threw something out and then find, that in fact, they do need to go buy it again down the road. They feel wasteful.

I think a lot of people keep materials because they feel it's wasteful to toss things. It pangs them to see things being tossed. They will literally go through the trash to pull stuff out that someone else has thrown out to find another purpose for it. I've been gifted with several of these things too. Now... some of it is useful. I'm not going to knock all such gifts, but so often it's not useful and discreetly I will throw away (or recycle) the items the giver could not bring themselves to do. I was once gifted styrofoam that was from meat - like, you know, what your steaks and pork chops are sitting on, wrapped in plastic wrap at the grocery store. They couldn't bring themselves to toss them, so they gave them to me to use for a project - it was well meaning, but now what do I do with 20 styrofoam platters that used to hold raw meat? I was also gifted a dozen or so empty, flattened tissue boxes as perhaps I could make something with those. No. I can't use those - into recycling they went.

True the answer should be that we should reuse and repurpose as much as we can and I do that a lot!!! But there has to be a limit on how much and what we can keep and there has to be a specific plan to use it and by when to justify storing it and keeping it.

It's ironic I say this as I just installed a craft room with huge amounts of storage and I do have a lot of stuff in there - but it's all stuff I have plans for using. I have a stack of egg cartons, but I put a limit on how many I will store and I have a specific plan for using them. I have a ton of ribbon, but again, I have a plan for using it, etc. I do not store paper scraps or ribbon scraps or yarn scraps. Why? because how do you store that stuff and remember you have them? And how much time and effort and space (which is money too) is wasted on storing scraps you will never use?

The real goal should be to not buy more than we need and I'm working on that as it's a good goal, but my next goal is to not keep more than I need. And gifting someone else junk that you cannot part with, is, many times, passing on the problem. Now someone else is storing too much stuff and getting bogged down. So was that gift helpful or harmful?

I didn't realize I felt weighted down by having too much stuff around me, but I really do. I get overwhelmed when I see disorganized messes of whatever. And instead of dealing with it, I turn my back to it and do something else as I can't deal with the shear enormity of it. Once it's weeded through, is organized, and is easy to find, I feel free and more relaxed.

Maybe that's why my house is feeling stifling right now as we are mid several projects. (one done about 3-4 to go). I'm weeding through similar things at work too, but I have to take it in pieces/chunks and not all at once too as I just find it bogs me down.

So, note to myself - and it is weight loss related... Too much stuff around me makes me feel bad. A well organized, slimmed down space makes me happier. A happier Melissa makes better life choices - which includes eating better and exercising more, etc.

Therefore, let the purging continue both at home and at work. Once it's done, it will feel and look and work great!

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