DeCluttering-A Cathartic Exercise

9 Jun

My husband and I recently took on the task of de-cluttering our house. It was an idea I gleamed from a great book called Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider. Following her advice, we attacked each room separately, starting with the kitchen. I’ll be honest, it was a task that scared me. I think as a society we place so much value, be it monetary, emotional, or otherwise, on things we keep in our house. But truth be told, the experience was freeing.  I remember when we bought the house, being amazed at the amount of cabinet space in the kitchen.  Four years later and we were constantly fighting to find space to store stuff, especially after the birth of our daughter, whose existence came with a plethora of bottles, sippy cups, bowls and the like.

Each room taught us a new lesson in what is important to us as a family. For instance, was it important to us that Emmy had a gazillion toys? Was it important to her? Honestly, the kid is more happy with the vacuum attachment making funny noises with her daddy, than she is playing with blocks. And does she need 3 different toys that teach her the fine art of stacking? The obvious answer is no. But it’s harder than you think to get rid of this stuff.

It got hard when it came to items passed down from family members, or items that had been given to us as gifts. I had been given a tea set that had once belonged to my grandmother. But I never used it or even displayed it. It sat in a kitchen cupboard for 4 years. It was a lesson in not needing objects to remember someone. Now before you think I’m completely heartless and either gave it away or threw it away, I didn’t. I gave it back to my mother.

In her book, Tsh says you need, among boxes and marker and sales tags, a ruthless spirit. It’s true. But I think it’s more of a ruthlessness toward yourself than any object.  You have to teach yourself that a million objects that clutter up your home are not a sign of a life well lived and loved. Instead of surrounding yourself with things, surround  yourself with people, pets, and purpose. Of course knickknacks make for nice decorations, but before making the purchase, ask yourself what value it adds to your life. Could that money be saved and better spent elsewhere?

I’m still pretty new to this, and I’ll admit, I’ve spent $5 or $20 dollars here that should have probably went into the fund set aside for our new home. But I’m improving (though my husband would probably roll his eyes at that). And I think that has been the most amazing experience of all; watching myself change from what I was before to someone who feels happier and more fulfilled with each passing day.

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2 Responses to “DeCluttering-A Cathartic Exercise”

  1. Kristy Hogbin June 19, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Me again. . .
    So did you and Andrew go through the house together? How long did it take you?? Ted and I REALLY need to do this.

    • heathenhomesteader June 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      It took us about 2 weeks. We started with the plan to attack a different room a night, but some rooms took longer than that, particularly our basement. We did go through each room together, which helped when it came to parting with an item we had emotional attachment to. One tip I can offer is if you waver on an item, go past it and come around to it again. If you still can’t part with it, wait six months. I had an item that I thought I was really attached to, so I couldn’t part with it right away. So, I moved on. 3 weeks later I noticed it for the first time since that night, and I realized it was time to let it go.

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