I’m divin’ in lovelies…anyone getting in the pool with me?
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OBSTACLE ONE: Deciding which décor pieces get to stay.
You’ve probably heard the quote about only having what is “beautiful or useful” in your home. I have to chuckle because I can justify beauty and usefulness for just about everything that dwells in the abode. Yet when it really comes down to it, and I think of the story behind these objects of my affection, the number I would grab in a fire is drastically reduced.
Boots that affirmed a life of adventure post-40
A windmill in my kitchen that represents a little zaniness in design style
Modern vases that break up my farmhouse look (which I purchased—happy b-day to me)
A large clock that reminds me of happy times in my cool Aunt Averil’s NYC apartment complete with 7 foot train station clock
“THE” sign purchased at the beginning of amazing adventure with West Texas & the women I adore there
Heart rock collection created with PH on many vacations
Of course, scrapbooks of my babies
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The list goes on, lovelies. I am sentimental and programmed to assign meaning to things all around me. The trick is editing out the things that are there purely for show or to fill empty space. If the item has a story that I can readily recite or if it ties a huge space in my home together, it stays. I’m finding that there is a bit of ruthlessness involved, but I have rarely glanced back at Goodwill in a wistful state of regret as I wave goodbye to these items. I gave them their due process and have made peace.
The answer here is to not be afraid of negative space.
Anyone else find it amusing that a clutter problem can begin with Goodwill and then end there too? I am guilty of trolling the aisles of this abyss for statutes and vases so that I can spray paint them white to create a bookcase full of ivory. When I think about this, it seems ridiculous…and time consuming! Empty spots in the bookcase shine like a beacon for what could come your way…a beautiful possibility…especially in the way of books. I’m a book whore and I’m guessing editing the collection is next on my list in this process.
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OBTACLE TWO: Someone objects to your elimination of stuff.
I come from a long line of stuff people. It’s not a bad thing.
It just is.
The thing about coming from a family of stuff people is that there can be an expectation (maybe even a sacred oath) that you need to continue this legacy. Aunt Mavis’ casserole dish is not up for discussion and you’re treading in dangerous waters if you even suggest giving Grandma’s bedazzled pink handbag the heave-ho.
I’ve had to convince myself lately that I do not need to uphold this legacy out of fear of being seen as unsentimental or callus. On the contrary, you’re reading words from a woman who has kept every precious kidlet art project in a trunk that can barely close. I know a thing or two about sentimentality and I have an up-to-date love letter collection from PH to prove it!
This eliminating process requires a decision about what is important (house fire-grab-worthy) and what must leave the premises. It is essential to own the fact that you and your family are the only ones who get to decide which items fall in each category. If someone doesn’t live in your house or live your life, they don’t get to tell you what stays and what goes. They are certainly welcome to jump in and claim said stuff for their own storage, but that’s it. Here’s the thing that I’m beginning to see clearly: decluttering, editing, and eliminating does something incredible.
It CREATES SPACE for amazing things to enter in.
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OBSTACLE THREE: The person who objects to stuff elimination lives in your home.
Okay, so you don’t really see the value in keeping a pop top collection that is overtaking your daughter’s closet. You have no use for the hundreds of hotel credit card keys and toiletries that line up on your bathroom sink (really? Pray for me, please). There isn’t room for three years worth of old worn out running shoes in your already packed garage.
I’m currently in this process and I will tell you that it is far from fun…it’s not easy, but once the decision (or compromise is made) it is AWESOME.
Summer is a good time for decluttering because a lot of us are around more inside our homes. Our own family actually has quite a few trips this summer, but in between them we are really home. Like hanging out morning/noon/night around. Being “really home” opens your eyes to the excess and clutter more than ever. It’s a great time to point this out to your loved ones and suggest a day when you all can make some decisions. I’m not a proponent of going in a kidlet’s room with a trash bag and kickin’ butt and takin’ names. It’s not respectful and there will surely be hell to pay later. I don’t recommend this with your husband’s toiletries either…hoo-boy, paid the price on this one.
Key questions to ask when encountering resistance from your peeps:
~ Does this item have a sentimental story?
If they hesitate for even three seconds, it probably doesn’t fall in the keeping category.
~ What’s the worst thing that can happen if we get rid of this?
~ When was the last time you played with it/used it/took it out/looked at it?
~ Do we know someone who could really benefit from this item?
I love giving barely used athletic shoes to friends’ kids because we are all in this spend-awful-amounts-of-money-on-sports thing together. ‘Might as well share the wealth.
These are terrific questions to ask yourself too, by the way. I can’t tell you how many times in the last month my kids have laughed at me muttering to myself, trying to justify keeping something that really needs to get the boot. I’m finding the more you dive and ask the tough questions about your stuff, the easier it gets. It’s like anything—practice makes perfect.
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I hope this helped you in your own simplification process. I appreciate you sharing this post with you’re your pals through FB or Twitter. It’s a message that I think a lot of us are finally understanding: Less is More.