I'm not a hoarder, though I have a tendency to stash certain things away for 'when I'm ready for them'. It doesn't take much of that kind of mentality to approach the look of a hoarder, though.
We moved into our home two years ago. It was near to empty, what with our very few furnishings. We had this huge house (something like 2400 square feet of living space) and only enough furniture to make two rooms look cozy.
My yard-saling, thrift-store loving, craigslist-ing self managed to over correct that in little time. About the time I discovered we were expecting Daniel, I also discovered that I needed to weed out. However, the first trimester sleep descended, the second trimester fell in the midst of the coldest, snowiest winter season in a decade or so, and then The Storms of Spring came.
And then, suddenly, I found myself with five children rather than just four. I am just now finding a groove that allows me to care for my family and my home!
So when my awesome husband took our four oldest on an overnight camp-out a couple weeks ago, I went to work. I cleared out closets, sorting through all kinds of clothes. Maternity clothes and after baby sizes for me that were (thankfully) too big. Regular clothes that I rarely if ever wear. Children's clothes that they've out grown or will not fit the right gender child during the right season.
I scoured junk and craft drawers and piled unwanted fabric and weird odds and ends into boxes. I sorted through the bookshelves, culling out about half the children's books that have taken up residence in our home as well as curriculum that I've accumulated and decided against and random books that I opted to not have as a part of our home library. All of it, boxed up and stacked up.
I went through the kitchen cabinets and pulled out items that I haven't used in the entire time I've lived in this house. I went through the assorted plastic stuff and made sure every lid had a container and then the leftovers and ones that only added to the clutter were sent away.
I went through the toys and ruthlessly tossed things in garbage bags to donate or throw away. I sorted Legos and train tracks and Little People and blocks into their designated storage bins. I corralled all the dress up clothes in the toy box, tossing the ratty looking stuff and donating the items that never saw wear.
And when I was done the kitchen floor was a mass of garbage bags and boxes ready to have a new home. I looked at the carnage and heaved a huge sigh of relief.
My original idea was to have a yard sale. As I stood there and realized that I'd only gotten through about half the cleaning and culling on my list, I made the decision that a yard sale of that magnitude was simply more than I could take on given the current demands on our time. I asked Joshua what he thought of simply piling it in the back of the truck and toting it off to the local Goodwill. He shrugged and said whatever worked best for us at this moment was what he wanted to do.
Wise man. Just one of the many reasons I love him.
And so it was with his blessing that I began tossing things in the back of the truck. It was with a sense of relief that I drove oh-so-slowly the two mile trek from our house to the nearest drop location. It was with great enthusiasm that I hefted those bags and boxes out of the truck and drove home without them.
Several days later, I was sitting all peaceful like on the couch after the kids had gone to bed one night. I looked over at Joshua and told him how happy it made me to know that so much of our house was really clean and neat and organized. That I loved knowing that the closets had order to them and I could find things.
There is still about half a page worth of Things To Go Through and Get Done on my list before I am truly done with my Spring Cleaning, but the sense of peace I have over what's already done is huge. It has made a noticeable difference in my day to day sanity. I would have never thought that stream-lining and moving towards more simplicity would create so much space in my head and extend my patience, but it has.
So how about you? Are you interested in more simple living? Less stuff and more sanity? What steps are you taking? How do you organize your possessions and your time?