Coming Clean~We have TOO MUCH STUFF!

I would like to caution any readers of this post to beware of a hefty amount of bluntness. I’m in a mood. It’s been hanging around for quite a while and I thought it would leave already. But it has not.  Kind of cranky but not really.  Sort of feisty but not quite.  Mostly impatient and irritated by so many things.  It could be worse I suppose.  And really, if I’m going to get fired up about something, this is probably not a bad thing to be fired up about.

I’m talking STUFF.  We have too much.  I admit to being genetically predisposed to hoarding based on my Grandmother’s collections of papers, pictures, memorabilia and so on.  She didn’t throw much out. But she also didn’t have a lot to begin with.  My mother is sort of the same.  We hang on to things.  It’s an honest, well-intended downfall.  You justify gifts from friends and gifts from kids.  Things from  *the good ol’ days*  and things from more recent days. We have disposable income and buy what we want when we want it.  And when the income is better than usual we buy even more!  I took a quick trip around my house last week to glimpse our stuff with fresh eyes.

If a child from Africa came to our house, what would they see?

This is only a small portion of all the CDs we have . No one ever listens to 90% of them.

DVDs and Wii games. Tons of them! It's depressing how much money is sitting her wasted.

This is probably only 1/4 of the games we own. We don't play most of them. I wonder if we'd play more if we had less to choose from?

One little storage room with an assortment of kitchen, camping and seasonal items. Trust me when I say this is a DROP IN THE BUCKET.

A spice cupboard that would make the contestants on Survivor cry.

A mess of recipe books, handwritten recipes, printouts and more. I use some of them. But not most of them.

A well stocked pantry. No one should ever say "there's nothing here to eat". That would be a lie. I dare say I could feed 3 families for a month on the food we have in this house.

First of all, let me just say, there’s nothing wrong with having a stock-pile of food.  There’s also nothing wrong with  accumulating things over the years.   Or is there?  I’m actually not sure anymore.  This is post #1 of what I hope will be a coming-clean of sorts for me and maybe others.  We have too much.  We want more and we become prisoners to all that we have and the time it takes to clean and maintain it all. Not to mention storage space!

We are in the process of packing and moving for only the 8th time in 20 years. We’ve been carting around some junk  treasures for all of that time!  I’m ready to part ways with much of it.  If we don’t love it or use it, then it’s time for it to go.  Sentimentality only carries weight for some things and even then, I’ve come to terms with releasing the sentiment in favour  of living more simply.  We buy bigger houses every time we move because our closets are bursting.  I don’t even look in most of our closets!  So what’s the point?

Okay…not going to drag this out.  I have shown you what SOME of my cupboards and spaces look like.  I’m just at the beginning of this journey to downsize,  declutter, minimize and simplify.  I’m also making a concious effort to cook from what’s already in my pantry and freezer instead of buying more food.  We waste a lot in food because it spoils.  I often think of the woman who fed Elijah with her bit of flour and oil.  The Lord replenished it daily so that she had just enough for 3 people to survive .   Here I am with packages of pastas, jellos, puddings, buckets of flour, rice, whole grains and 3 different oils in my cupboards! We are filthy rich, borderlining sinful.  It’s hard to think that mothers are going to bed hungry to tonight wishing for one little mouthful of food for them and their babies.   I just can’t justify living like this any longer.

I blame Jen Hatmaker and her book 7: An Experimental Mutiny of Excess.   That book has seriously wrecked me in a good way.  We have to change our approach to consumerism and the need for more.  I’m coming clean…how about you?

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8 thoughts on “Coming Clean~We have TOO MUCH STUFF!

  1. I love this! I am so ready to join in the simplify movement! We could all learn to live (happily) with so much less! Your post is inspiring! ~Rainey

    • Hey Rainey! Thanks for your comment and stopping by! I’m only at the beginning of my purging and simplifying. There’s much, much more to come in the weeks ahead so stay tuned!

  2. Oh my goodness, I know how you feel. My husband and I moved into our new house last January and boy did I have a great purging! My favourite thing in the world was to fill my car with “junk” and take it to Value Village here in the city…ring the doorbell…and they take it…and say “thank you!” It was wonderful. Now that we have more space I must be VERY careful of what I bring into the house. I only allow myself to start a new project when I am finished one, so that helps keep me on track. It’s hard though! I don’t even have kids yet!

  3. I watched a very disturbing episode of Hoarding Buried Alive last night. At least we cluttered folk can rest assured that we are no where near as bad as what we see on the hoarding shows. My house seems spotless in comparison. I am also planning my annual yard sale, just chatted with the neighbor about it this morning. I sell the odd thing on facebook and donated a bunch of stuff to community living in February when they had a truck in our city. I never get rich each year at our sale but I feel good when it`s done, a few less items not taking up space in our home. Did your house sell and when does the move to Regina take place?

  4. Glenn and I were watching a re-run of FRIENDS the other night. It was the one where Ross gets a girlfriend and when she takes him to her apartment he is flabbergasted by her mess. At the end of the episode, Monica shows up with a bucket and cleaning supplies and asks the girl if she can just please clean her apartment? Now, your pictures are nothing like the girl in the episode, but if I were there I’d pull a Monica and show up at your door to help you purge! Purging is my happiest of happy places. Sigh…just looking at your pictures is a little thrilling. All the potential. Maybe I have a sickness?

    • One man’s sickness is another man’s cure? 🙂 I haven’t even posted the BAD areas. I confess. We have a problem. But we also have 20+ years and 4 kids who have all their crap too. We are sadly, a small glimpse of what the consumer-based life looks like. *sigh* We have failed. My garage sale in Regina is going to go down in history I tell you!

  5. If I knew you personally Juanita, I’m sure we’d get along very well! From the one year that I’ve been reading your blog (stumbled across it during the teachers’ strike last May) The things you write about, it could be myself putting what I believe or think to words! Good luck with your purging. Your cupboard and shelves are eerily similar to my own. The sad thing is, not only do we have a clutter filled home, when we purchased our small cabin last summer,it quickly became a dumping ground for a lot of our unused items, games we never play, jigsaw puzzles, books, etc. Why just the other day I thought to myself, why not haul the old cassette tape collection out to the cabin! Surely, we’d listen to them out there!!

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