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Monday, June 27, 2011

Hoard much?

All you need to do to get motivated for simplifying your household is to watch the television show 'Hoarders'. I watched a few episodes last week and the next day found me sorting through a closet and finding two more garbage bags full, which I promptly took to the charity shop.

Watching this show makes me gag as the living situations are so bad. Yet it makes you realize how debilitating clutter can be. Whether it is a person who looses their keys over and over in the pile of clutter on the counter, or someone who looses their cat in a mountain of clutter - the addiction is the same - too much stuff.

As Americans we have too much. This is evident when you look at photos of families in Africa who live in stick huts with a bed, a chair, a pot and a cup between them all. While that is another extreme it shows just how little one needs to truly survive. The families in America are getting smaller while the houses, vehicles, and landfills are getting bigger. We don't have a population problem, we have a stuff problem.

I'm not out to solve the world's clutter crisis, only my own. Even that is slow going, but the motto is "It didn't take a day to get like this and it will take longer than a day to solve it." The best way to simplify is to do it slowly. While each week I tell you that I got rid of a bag of this or a box of that there is very little difference in the house just yet. Yes, it is lighter, but surprisingly, dumping 6+ full bags off did nothing for the appearance of the house. There is just so much more to go through yet. The scary part is that my home does not resemble a house from 'Hoarders', it just resembles a typical American family with too much stuff.

Most of what I have been donating is from closets and drawers. I just posted several boxes on ThredUp of outgrown children's clothing (if you sign up through that link you get $5 towards your first box). I went through all my old maternity clothing and thought 'Why am I saving this?' The last time I wore it was 3 years ago and the styles were so ugly then. I figure if/when I ever get pregnant again I can treat myself to some cute maternity clothing (through Ebay or ThredUp, of course. I rarely buy new anything). That filled one whole garbage bag. Next up were old blankets, sheets, and pillow cases that have been sitting in the closet unused for over a year. Jacob received so many cute blankets since his diagnosis that I figured we should get rid of our old blankets and other linens we no longer needed. Those filled the second bag. I was able to reorganize the closet because of the space and fit in several bins of clothing that are stocked away for the children to grow into. It was an afternoon project and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when it was done.

I also had purchased a case of Indian food quick meals from Amazon a few months ago for those long weekend hospital stays. It is difficult to find food that is nutritious and quick that can be heated up in a microwave. I thought these sounded good from the reviews but upon receiving them I realized that I either 1. hate Indian food or 2. hate this prepackaged garbage. So several packages have been cluttering up my kitchen. I hated to throw them out knowing that someone could get some use out of them so offered them on Freecycle and was amazed at the many responses I received. I was glad to help someone out by passing some food along that they may enjoy. Another bag if items out of the house!

The next time you walk past the pile of stuff you are hanging onto, ask yourself 'Why?' and then donate it to someone who can use it. Or better yet, just watch 'Hoarders' and then see how quickly your pile of clutter disappears!


  1. I am starting to get to a place where I am ready to begin the great declutter. It's hard, but it's definitely doable. We don't have much in the way of big stuff, like furniture, we are simple in that way, but my basement shelves and my garage will tell you that we have too much stuff! Stuff that just sits and sits. Time to remedy that. Thanks for sharing your decluttering journey so openly!

  2. That show is insane! I can't stand clutter, but with 4 kids, it adds up like crazy!! Ive been waning to make a toys/books donation to the local Y, think I'll get my butt in gear! lol!

  3. I have to laugh because Hoarders has been my motivation to purge many a bag as well. In fact, I have two gigantic trash bags to donate today. It's funny how I'll save linens because they were expensive, though I'll never use them. Or worse, I'll say, "I might use this when we buy a bigger house," which we won't be buying for at least five years, and maybe not ever. I agree that the "stuff" has to go.

  4. I think it is a problem that the western world has, that of too much stuff. I know it is true here in Austrlia. I have been getting rid of stuff for a couple of years now First my husband and I downsized, then we moved and upsized a bit. Then he passed away so now it is only me living in a small apartment and size restrictions made me get rid of heaps and heaps. But still I have too much. I now go through drawers and cupboards, closets on a regular basis and always find something I decide I no longer want. I try to live by the rule that if I buy a new object an old one has to go.

    Another thing that motivates me is thinking that my kids wouldn't want to go through and sort out all this stuff when I die!! Morbid maybe but it gets me going on the clearing out.

  5. It is almost a sickness. I am always sorting through stuff and constantly have a donation bag in the basement. I have a hard time getting rid of items that were gifts, particularly from my husband who is hurt by it. I have almost stopped going to yard sales and auctions because I don't want to deal with more stuff.

    I just put a pair of sandals in the bag today that I paid full price for, but were never comfortable. It was a hard one for me.

    We just have to keep doing it!




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