Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Feeling Closed In? DE-Stuff Your Life

You have to move this stuff, to get to that stuff. And you have to move that stuff, in order to get to the stuff that you're really after. Sound familiar?

Welcome to life at This D*mn House. After all, as George Carlin so eloquently puts it, your house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.

In fairness to us, this house is incredibly light on closet space. That becomes abundantly clear to me as I prepare to clean out the linen closet. "Closet" is probably too strong a word to describe this limited storage area that is likely smaller than the broom closet most people have in their kitchens. The already cramped space becomes even more limited when my mother starts throwing random things in it. Boxes of duster refills. The new bath mat. Heating pads. All that takes away from space to put in what needs to go there, namely sheets and towels.

Where did we ever get all this stuff?

And that reminds me of something I saw on last week: "How to Live With Just 100 Things." The article was about Dave Bruno, an online entrepreneur, and the "100 Thing Challenge" he created last summer. He has vowed that by the time he turns 37 in November, he will have just 100 personal possessions. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?

Do some mental inventory. Do physical inventory and I guarantee you'll be stunned by how quickly you hit 100.

He's down to one pen. (To me, that's outright blasphemy, even if it is a really nice pen. Unless I could count my pens collectively as one item, I'd be done already.) And he got rid of his iPod. Huh?! That would be one of the 100 things I'd stand firm on. Take the cell phone. Leave the iPod. But I digress.

I think our problem is a combination of too much stuff and not enough space. I can't do much about the latter. I can't do all that much about the former either, but I'm willing to give it a try. I'm going to start with this linen closet. It's out of control.

Then, as I need to make the switch from winter to summer clothing, I'm going to tackle my closet. I usually end up with a bagful to donate every year anyway. I was very harsh last year, relenting a bit with things that almost fit. This year, I'll be ruthless. At the risk of sounding like the late Johnnie Cochran: "If it doesn't fit, get rid of it."

But first, I've got to start with the Linen Closet From Hell. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, I may need assistance. Please send help.


CD said...

I am in the process of trying to DE-STUFF, but find it impossible. I may need one of the many HGTV personalities to come and clean sweep. My problem is that I am emotionally attached to everything. Each time I go to my Mother's house she is DE-Stuffing but I feel the need to drag it home. I have all of these great memories from my childhood, but they are starting to overwhelm my house. I did however pack up my Junior and Senior Prom dresses this week to donate. Small steps as I'm 42!

NV said...

CD - WOW! It's amazing the stuff we hang onto. It's hard to get past that packrat gene though. :-)

Ann said...

Oh how I feel you right now. Sometimes, I have a bit of a mini-anxiety attack when I just LOOK around at all the freakin' stuff we have - just stuff. It just sort of closes in around you and you wonder "WHY OH WHY" do I need this much stuff? Really? And I want to purge everything from the house...but then...too much work, so I go buy more stuff instead.

Okay - the comment you left about the internet "being now" - ROFL - PRICELESS. That's bloggable. Nodding.

NV said...

You've hit it! Why? And then it shifts to What .. can I get rid of? And the answer 90 percent of the time is nothing!
Glad you liked my overheard. I'm still shaking my head on that one. Right up there with the fence co. that can't put up a "straight" fence.

Dee said...

Your sentimental attachment to your water heater in an earlier post resonated with me. I too get sentimental about everything. I bought a new iron because my old one has a broken heat dial, spurts brown water when it tries to steam, and has sticky stuff on the sole plate ... but I cannot throw it away. I will be hurting its feelings, like the stuffed animals that would cry if I stopped playing with them.

I bet you didn't know I was this neurotic. ~KayO

Anonymous said...

So are shoes considered one or two items? I think paring down to 100 things is a little extreme. That being said, I'm a purger. We move too much to keep random stuff. And I'm not a collector. I would still like to get "simpler" though and pare down even more. Because that means less cleaning!