Sunday, April 29, 2012

Superfluous stuff

(SYLC 17)

Superfluous stuff. I hate it. I'm the antithesis of a hoarder.

Having needless items lying around my house actually stresses me out. When my sister and I lived together she used to joke that one day she'd come home and find I'd sold everything on eBay except a chair for each of us to sit on. Indeed, it's in my personality: for some months I travelled Mexico with just a towel, two t-shirts, some swimmers, a pair of shorts and thongs and I'd never felt more free in my life. Even now every time I return from I long trip where I've survived quite comfortably out of a small bag, I get the urge to cull.

So you would imagine this self-confessed stuff phobe lives in a house that is organised yet comfortable. This is true, or so it looks on the surface. Yet there are quite a few pockets in my home where things lie that I havent used in years. Why?

Because I might need them.

Those four words have had me hold onto some unnecessary things. My thinking is if I throw them out and later need them again, I'll have to buy them again. That's a waste of money and I hate wasting money. I hate wasting anything really.

Basically, the thought of not having something I need and have thrown out causes anxiety, and the thought of hanging onto it when it's not necessary causes anxiety. How's that for a juxtaposition!

Challenged by this week's task and my new year's resolve to only have things in my life that work for me, it's decision time for some of this stuff I have laying around. I also know some of these items weight me down and bind me in the past, preventing me the space from expressing the 'me' I have become in the past few years.

I have decided 'use it or lose it' has to become my motto.

Realising this is not a task that I can complete in a week, and with resolve to focus, I started small with the computer drawer. It's stuffed full of cables, CD covers and packaging from various electronic purchases. How many USB leads does one girl need? Three quarters of the contents on this drawer are now in a bag ready for the charity store, as is a lamp shade I've stored for four years, and anything from my chest of drawers I will never wear again for various reasons. I've yet to tackle the drawer full of jewellery which I know is going to be sentimentally hard.

History tells me that I've never had to repurchase anything I've given away/thrown out unless, that is, it really needed updating. My recent holiday inspired me to do some much needed updating around my home. For example, my bath towels are looking very bedraggled so this morning I went to Target and brought a new set in the sale. Instead of keeping the old ones 'in case I needed them' to mop up etc (I already have old towels for this purpose), I fought my instinct and put them in a bag to drop off at the vet. I know in a few days I'll have forgotten about them, and that they will have gone to good use elsewhere.

I'm going to continue this process in coming weeks and fight the 'I might need it' urge to keep things that aren't working for me anymore. I know this clean out process will be as much a mental one as it will be physical. It will create the space I really need to ensure I am expressing not who I was in the past, but the woman I have become.

It's time to simplify my life in order to be able to expand it.


  1. I can totally relate to this because I HATE clutter but still have clutter hidden out of site. We have just moved house and I am trying to make sure that nothing gets unpacked and given a new home if we do not need it or are not going to use it. There is something so great about dumping or giving stuff away though - It always makes me feel good. I never regret getting rid of it, you know?! Just actually making the decision to get rid of it takes time.

    Clothes are something I hoard. I love in a country where I can`t often just go to the local shops and buy new clothes because the Japanese stores really only cater to stick thin girls with no bums and no boobs {I honestly have no idea where people size 10 or more buy clothes in this country}- but this means I have a ton of clothes I will not wear again. My husband too even though he CAN just go to the shops and get new ones. He has Pajamas that are 15 years old. That drives me insane. As I unpacked stuff when we arrive at this new place I put the hangers the opposite way and have made a promise to myself that if I don`t use something by this time next year that it has to go...I plan to do the same with my husbands clothes too...He has something like 15 suits yet doesn`t even wear suits to work I think he could live with 4...we are still debating this though! HAHA!

    1. So good to hear I'm not the only one Lulu. And I know exactly what you mean about the clothes size issue. I recently went to buy a pair of jeans in a Japanese store and found their XL was a size 8!!! Same problem in France - they are totally hipless.

  2. I enjoyed your post and love your motto - use it or loose it. I find it very hard declutter, I have to admit I am a hoarder but I am learning and this week I cleaned out the spare room and threw out heaps. I was so pleased with myself. Next is my son's room.....

    1. Good on you! You'll find it really cathartic. It can be hard going, but it's so worth it.

  3. Funny, we can absolutely enjoy traveling with just a few items (love, love, love) and when you get back, you still just want to wear the same few items (guilty, guilty, guilty) but then find it so hard to part with so many things which we survived for so long without. Use it or loose it, and I might just add, just do it. That is what I am doing. Without much thought, just picking things up and sending them on their way. I'm the same with you, wanting to leave who I was, in the past, in the past. So, so much is going to go… and, as they are not things for me, who I am now, I don't seem to mind. Good luck! To me and to you.

    1. You're so right Kate. Just do it. For so many decisions I find I spend far to much time contemplating what is right the right one. But your gut tells you, and most for decisions that overthinking time is a waste of your own precious time that could be going to something far more productive. A great reminder - thanks!

  4. Your motto is fantastic! I'm trying the same kind of thing around here. I don't even know why I hang on to things! I think I'll adopt your thinking and throw in Kate's "just do it" and stop wasting time on things that don't really matter. Time to make some decisions and then get on with life :) Thank you for sharing

  5. I love your posts! I also agree with the 'simply in order to expand' - well said! I also come back from camping or traveling and love the way I can live so simply and keep trying to remind myself of all the extra time I have because we only have 4 plates (1 each), 4 cups, etc and just wash them and re-use. Life really can be simple and easy... then I come home and we have all the platters in a cupboard, recipe books I never use (tend to google recipes when I need them apart from my beloved Jaime Oliver). I think I have finally convinced my husband to get rid of his engineering textbooks from when he was at Uni 20 years ago!!! We have made a plan to take on the study - that is the room that needs a major overhaul! Even though I've done a lot of de-cluttering and feel great for it, I still think more can be done... but baby steps xx


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