Today I'm thinking about my war on stuff. Over the years the Cat Daddy and I have had the standard discussions on the ins & outs of stuff. Here's what we've come up with...
Stuff, in and of itself, is not bad.
Wanting to have stuff is not bad.
Caring more about stuff than about people is bad.
(On the one above I was going to say "Caring about stuff more than people or Jesus..." but Jesus is a person, after all, so I left him out. But I didn't really leave him out. Got it? Good.)
Caring more about stuff than about God breaks one of the ten commandments (I could probably put Jesus in this one too, but I didn't).
We like stuff. Not all stuff, or stuff simply for stuff's sake, but we are definitely fond of certain stuff.
He (the Cat Daddy; not Jesus) likes big stuff, good stuff, new stuff and a lot of stuff.
I like good stuff and functional stuff, but not too much stuff.
With some stuff, we will pay more for good stuff.
With other stuff, not so much.
...and that pretty much sums up our overall philosophy on stuff.
Lately, I've been feeling overwhelmed by our stuff. I like being organized, and having a place for everything, and all that, but I think it's also way too easy to get trapped into a constant upsizing cycle, where you get more space to hold your stuff, and then turn around & get more stuff to fill your space. Pretty soon, no matter how organized you are, it's still just a lot of stuff to keep track of. I've been feeling that way lately, anyway.
I thought about areas where I can get some tidying systems in place, and so on. I thought of some FlyLady rules I don't mind sticking to, such as concentrating on one room per month, doing 15-minute quick-cleans, and so on. The Cat Daddy has taken on much of the laundry as a personal challenge, which has been a big help. Still, in the end I decided that the only way to fight the clutter would be to get rid of stuff.
So I've been going through our house again, paring down stuff. I'm not as ruthless as I'd be by myself, but then again I have three other people to consider, so there's that. Paperbackswap.com has been huge--I'd always considered books to be permanent residents, but since I can get new books out of the deal, I'm getting rid of more of my old ones. When all is said and done I'm more or less getting new books for under $3 each, and I feel a little bit better knowing I'm sending the old ones to good homes.
I think next will be putting more pics on the walls. We have a stack of 6 pics we need to frame before we can put them up. Hello, Target.
In this process there's still stuff coming in (new books, picture frames, etc.), but I'm hoping it's efficient stuff. Books that will be read (and maybe even sent to someone else), instead of sitting on the shelf unopened for years. Pictures that will be on the wall instead of cluttering the guest room closet. And so on.
I read an article in Reader's Digest a few months ago about getting rid of stuff that you otherwise might not have considered parting with. The author, for example, gave away a table that had been her & her husband's first woodworking project together. It took a lot of time and some convincing for both her & her husband to be ready to give it up, but in the end they gave it to some newly-married friends who had always admired it. So it was a really meaningful gift, and they knew it was going to someone who would take good care of it, so maybe it wasn't quite as hard to let go.
I'm not, like, selling our bed or anything, but it did make me think a little differently about which stuff I would & wouldn't part with...