Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Uncluttering My House

I am a tosser, a clear-out-the-excess-stuff kind of person (with exceptions, of course), and lately I've been doing more of that. My husband loves to go to estate sales, but he also likes to have an annual garage sale, so between the two of us, we manage to get rid of a number of things every year. With that in mind, I recently checked out a book that was hot not too far back. It's called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson, a woman who has, more than once, been faced with the task of clearing out a house after a person has died. Her suggestion is to avoid waiting and begin cleaning out one's own house now even if you're nowhere near to being old. This is to save your descendants from having to make tough decisions you can make now.

 The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning - book

I'll be honest. I didn't read the entire book. A lot of it was common sense, but more importantly a lot of it dealt with things I already do. I don't do much gifting of things I own (because most of the things I own aren't valuable and I'm not particularly sentimental about things. I would be the worst kind of antique collector, and when watching shows like Antiques Road Show, I often think that I would have pitched the items in question rather than keep items that don't appeal to me. But that's just me.

But even given my propensity to add things to the garage sale box, the donation box, the recycling bin or--in a last case scenario--the garbage, there are still items I vacillate over.

1. One woman in a comment somewhere mentioned that she only keeps a few dishes, just what she and her husband use on a daily basis. I would love to do that, but...while I don't entertain frequently, I do have people over several times a year, so I have to keep enough dishes for those functions. In spite of that, I'm sure I have extra cookware and serving dishes I might be able to get rid of. Unfortunately, I've had difficulty doing this. Too many instances of thinking that I might need those things one day.

2. I do donate books, but those are difficult, possibly the most difficult thing for me to get rid of. So I still have lots of them and probably always will.

3. Paper. I have so many spiral notebooks left over from when my sons were in school, and I just can't get rid of those. Most are partially used, so I can't donate them to school supply drives. So, I'm very, very slowly using them up. Some I use in their original form, some I cut up and use as note paper.

4. Pencils (see paper above). I do use pencils, but I still have far too many, and the erasers are shot on most of them due to age. Still, I keep an art eraser nearby (Staedtler Mars Plastic ones are my favorites), and again, I am slowly (turtle slow) working my way through all those pencils.

Are you a saver or a pitcher? And what are the items you struggle with clearing out?

Best wishes. Happy reading and happy clearing!



Laney4 said...

Saver. Have a pile in our crawl space I call "Don't use now but may use later" that I cull before each annual yard sale I host. Kept a heating pad in there for 20 years and then indeed needed it in the middle of the night recently (so am quite thankful I kept it AND it still worked). Other things I put in our yard sale after not being used in years - and, of course, a week or days later I wish I had it; that's the way it goes!
I don't attend estate sales. I buy a clear plastic bag for $1.99 at Value Village that contains something I can use that would normally cost me well more than that on sale (like photo paper, business cards, recipe cards) - and I put the other dozen items in my yard sale (unless I can give them to friends or use them myself - and if they are new/unopened items, I donate them as draw prizes for our annual badminton tournament). Very rarely do those extra items not sell in our yard sales and I technically come out ahead financially.
I try to go through various drawers and shelves throughout every year to find more items for the yard sale, always keeping in mind that I too don't want my kids to have to go through everything when I'm gone. I have labelled my one-sided work papers as burn/shred, as I save old ones to use as scrap paper on the other sides before shredding. I systematically review my Christmas decorations, putting many in our yard sales too.
It's an ongoing process for sure.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

I love your methods! I think you may well be the most organized person I know (and practical, too). I admire that.