I have been coming to terms with the fact that we have a problem. I don't know where it originated, probably from my depression and inability to deal with so much stuff and Mark's inability to let things go, but it has definitely snowballed since having kids and the quadrupling of stuff that seemed to happen when we went from about a shoe box apartment to a house with a huge basement. Whooo! A basement? Fill 'er up!
Sad thing is, there is so much more that we can, and will, get rid of. The problem is we have allowed ourselves to fall into squalor. Oh my gosh, I hate that term, it sounds so gross and disgusting, but when I read the definition, it's like, oh yeah, that's us (other than the fact I have never been a tidy person):
- First degree squalor
- You are getting behind in tasks that you would normally manage, like laundry and dishes. You are not the tidy person you once were. Little piles are starting to emerge and your disorganization is starting to affect your life and inconvenience you. Things are just starting to get out of hand and become unmanageable. A sign of first degree squalor could be that you might be embarrassed for other people to see your mess...but you would still let them in the house.
- Second degree squalor
- Now things are really starting to get out of hand. Signs that you have reached second degree would include losing the use of normal household items like your bed, table, television or telephone, because the piles have expanded to cover the items up. You start to develop new methods of moving around your house, as normal movement is impeded by your piles of stuff. You might start making excuses to discourage people from entering your house.
This is taken from http://www.squalorsurvivors.com by the way, which has helped me see it's not a matter of laziness but what happens when one lets things get out of control.
Some examples: I decided a while back we would keep most of the toys in Shaylee's room. Right now her room is 95% toys, 5% clothes, 0% room to walk (her clothes have been seriously decluttered as it was neck and neck for a while). You cannot walk down the hall to get to her room as the hall is lined with toys and baskets of clothes. The kids can't enjoy their toys. I've tried organizing them, but it doesn't work. They don't play with 95% of them. There just isn't room for them to play. But I feel too guilty to get rid of them. Boxing them up for later use has never worked. I've tried. Plus it's more clutter in another part of the house. So, with their consent and help, we will be getting rid of most of them. Toys are supposed to be for fun and enjoyment, not frustration and dust collectors.
Books are another huge problem. We are book fanatics. For a while, I couldn't go a month without making a huge book order. When that got too expensive, I turned to second hand stores where I could get a big bag of books for a couple of bucks. I haven' t bought any books in months and months and in turn have donated about 20 bags so far, which have not put a dent in them. Thing is the kids have so many books and they get lost on the book cases because kids books are so thin they vanish. Even in baskets, they don't get taken out much. They mostly read stuff from the library.
So yeah, I've been seriously decluttering. I do it every day now. I have several garbage bags plus 6 bags of books ready to go out the door asap. Mark actually got rid of a garbage bag of clothes. I am so proud of him, especially since I've been after him so long....years in fact..... to do it, lol! I've gotten rid of about 30 garbage bags of clothes from me and the kids since summer (to be fair people are always giving us clothes but I have to go through them all the time and constantly declutter or it becomes overwhelming and we have no space).
We are going to try embarking on a new journey called The Compact.
1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of North American consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc; 2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er); 3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)
Another thing compacters do is try to eat local. We would starve on this principle, lol! So I am trying to stick with Canadian food when possible, but it is harder to do than one would think.
I think it's pretty ironic that as green and environmentally friendly as we try to be in our household, we are basically living in a landfill. So we are changing our lives to more suit our beliefs. Many who compact buy nothing new except food and health/hygiene needs. I'm trying to figure out how to make the portable dishwasher fit in there that we've been saving for, lol! (well, it cleans what we have our food on, it saves my mental health since I DESPISE dishes and dishes are torture on my hands, it cleans dishes better than I could plus I would be supporting a local business by buying it at Rogers instead of a big box store. I have been looking for a couple of years for one second hand, unsuccessfully.)
I don't really know where to fit this in but I highly recommend watching: The Story Of Stuff . It's a website with a 20 minute video that while it is rather simplified, it gets the point across the dangers of too much stuff, especially in a world of dwindling resources.
So those are my rambling thoughts which were keeping me up all night. Now that it's morning I should get ready for a new day :)