In my last entry, I talked about purging, why I need to, and how I got started. It was just over a year since I’ve had the big dumpster. I’ve kept quite busy in the time since.
My goal every week is to fill my trash bin. Most weeks, I meet that goal. I live alone, and still have a trash bin made for large families (the largest my garbage company offers). I produce maybe 1 or 2 13-gallon bags of actual trash every week. So what am I filling it with? Stuff. Garbage. Trash. Broken things. Stuff I don’t want, and which has no sell-able or donate-able value.
How am I going about this? I wish I could say I hit one room, get rid of EVERYTHING, and move on to the next. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. I have to do it in stages. Take my bedroom for example: I go through my closet and get rid of/donate clothing I haven’t worn in years. But then I see something that has special meaning to me, so I keep it. I go through my drawers and do the same thing. Then my bookshelf. Then my nightstand. And so forth. In looking around my bedroom, I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff, but good golly, there is still so much there! So I move on to a different room, clear out some stuff in there, then another room, etc. Then I come back to my bedroom after some time has passed. I do another sweep, and am able to make some more rational decisions, and am able to get rid of more stuff. It’s kind of a circular process. Just keep hitting up the rooms over and over again.
Purging and downsizing is a very emotional process. That’s probably why I need to do it in circles. I start getting too overwhelmed, and need to take a break. Then in a few weeks, when I return to that room, I’m fresh and can see it with clear eyes. It’s been baby steps so far, but I really need to start doing giant steps! I want this process done!
In my last post, I alluded to everyone leaving a lot of their stuff at my house after they move out. On top of that, I have the last 25 years of household stuff that has accumulated, plus a lot of stuff I took from my mom’s place after she passed. In other words, I have a lot of STUFF in my house.
I live alone, why do I need all this? The simple answer: I don’t. Why was I holding onto 2 broken cameras, with the thought that maybe between the 2 I’d get 1 that worked? After sitting in a drawer for 6 or 7 years, I came to the conclusion that I was never going to get one working. Why do I need 25-30 plates, of varying designs and materials, when I really only liked using my Correlle dishes? I don’t. Why am I holding onto clothes I haven’t worn in 10 or more years, that no longer fits, just because I bought it at a cool place, or for a special occasion? I really no longer need them. I do not need all this stuff.
There is some background on why I’ve allowed a lot of this to accumulate. First, one side of my family tends to be borderline hoarders. My dad had so much junk built up in his house that it took months and months to go through it and clean it out. Same with my aunt. I am aware of this familial issue, and constantly have to make a conscious decision to let things go. And secondly, I don’t tend to “see” things. Let me explain: if something is in a spot in my house, I tend to never pay attention to it. Even if it’s in an inconvenient spot, or is something I don’t need, it’s just always there, it’s always been there, and unless something draws my direct attention to it, it will always be there. I guess kind of like the 2 cameras in my previous paragraph. They were in a plastic baggie in the junk drawer. They were just always there. They stayed there until I purposely and consciously looked at them and truly asked myself why I’ve let them stay there, and if I honestly was ever going to do anything about them. When I finally came to the conclusion that it was highly unlikely I was ever going to actually fix them, I let them go.
So, what to do about all this? I started with baby steps… and a plastic garbage bag. I opened my bathroom closet, and started purging. Ended up with 3 garbage bags, and a whole lot of pride in how clean, organized and amazing my bathroom closet looked. Next, I tackled a junk drawer. That was pretty significant, because for the first time in the (at the time) 9 years I’d lived in this house, I never stopped to think about the fact that I had 9 drawers in my kitchen, and 5 of them were dedicated to junk. Only 4 of them were for actual kitchen items. WOW!
Knowing a plastic garbage bag was only going to get me so far, and seeing all the large items in my house and garage that had built up over the years, I came to the conclusion that i needed to rent a dumpster. I got a 30 yard dumpster placed out in front of my house, and went nuts! Most of the stuff came from the second floor of my house. That was my youngest daughter’s lair, and was also used for a lot of storage. I believe she too struggles with getting rid of stuff, and when she moved out, she wanted to make a fresh start and not start her new adult life with clutter. That’s great, and I’m proud of her, but she left me to deal with all she left behind.
Over the next 2 weeks, I worked my butt off to fill that dumpster. Granted, I allowed some friends and family members use some of the dumpster space for their own stuff, but the majority came from my house. It felt GREAT to get rid of that much stuff! But over the next few weeks after the dumpster was gone, I would look around my house and think “Why didn’t I put that in the dumpster?” or “That’s too big for my garbage bin, that should have gone in the dumpster!” It was frustrating to know I’d gotten rid of so much, but still had so much to go!