I need to have less “stuff”

Cluttered house
In conversations of late between my husband and I, one of the resounding themes that keeps coming is that we just have too much "stuff"!

Now, I don't think that most people who visited my home would feel that it was terribly cluttered or knick-knacky, or that we were bursting at the seams.

However, it was a little less than a year ago that we moved from an 1100 sq. ft. 2 BR condo, into a fairly sprawling 3 BR, with an extra family room and dining room, house (complete with yard and double garage). I don't know the square footage, but my guess is over 1600, not including storage space or the downstairs laundry room.

How is it possible that in such a short time, we have filled this house up??? When we first moved in, I didn't know what we would fill the family room or secondary dining room with, let alone the garage. I can now see what we've filled it with, but I'm just not quite sure how it happened!

Suffice it to say that I feel motivated to just get rid of a lot of it. I remarked to Ryan the other day that I am starting to feel more like a stuff manager than a homemaker. I have to spend 15 minutes each morning and each afternoon just tidying and returning things to their proper place so that I can even feel that the house is somewhat in order so that I can try to be productive.

One of the themes that has been popping up all over the blogosphere lately (at least, my little corner of the Christian mommy world), has been one little word… simplicity.

Ahhh… simplicity.

Oh, how I long for my home to feel more simple to care for, for life to feel less busy and complex, and to have more energy and time left to focus on what is far more important– my relationship with God and with others.

I suppose that is why this article stood out to me this weekend:

Excess consumption is practically an American religion. But as anyone
with a filled-to-the-gills closet knows, the things we accumulate can
become oppressive. With all this stuff piling up and never quite
getting put away, we're no longer huddled masses yearning to breathe
free; we're huddled masses yearning to free up space on a countertop.
Which is why people are so intrigued by the 100 Thing Challenge, a
grass-roots movement in which otherwise seemingly normal folks are
pledging to whittle down their possessions to a mere 100 items.

          Read the entire article here. (Hat tip to Shannon)

Now, I'm not so sure that we could get down to 100 things, nor that I even want to try. I do relate, though, to that yearning to breathe free and clear up some space.

I've decided to have another garage sale (even though I just had one last September), and I am going to try to be really brutal as I purge and cleanse my house. I'm setting the date now, so that I can be held accountable by having told all of you!

My sale will be held July 19, smack dab in between our two sets of homestay students that we will be hosting. It gives me almost 4 weeks to get everything together, advertise, see if any neighbors want to join in and just make sure that I am well organized. I am actually really looking forward to this, and the money will go into an account for something that I am eager to tell you about soon!

Does anyone else relate to what I'm talking about? How have you dealt with clutter and the tendency to accumulate stuff? Are you interested in joining me in an effort to really declutter and simplify my house, and our lives in general? Wanna cheer each other on?

Image credit

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Good morning! I’m a new reader, via Penny Thoughts. :)

    I know exactly what you’re talking about. My husband and I just talked about getting rid of all the “stuff” around here. My daughter is almost three months old, and I missed out on nesting before she was born due to working full time followed by bed rest. Now that she’s here and I’m a SAHM, I’ve been working on it for about a month now. I can’t believe how much I’ve donated and thrown away. It’s funny how getting rid of things can be freeing.

  2. I’ve been feeling much the same way lately. I feel like the more stuff we have, the less time we have for people. I purge on a daily basis… I’m constantly on the lookout for things that we don’t love or use regularly, and adding it to our yard sale/donate pile. And even in doing this, I still feel like we have too much stuff. I’m striving to simplify our lives as much as possible, so that we have more time for the things that really matter – people! :)

  3. I find it hard too, but mostly since we live in what I think of as a fairly “small” house (although by many people’s standards, its not…its 840 square feet, no garage but has a shed). I find it hard to find places to put everything. I do rotate toys, which helps a lot, and I use the local toy library, and never buy toys other than one small thing for Christmas and birthday. That helps. But it does add up fast. I also just had a garage sale with a bunch of friends. I was A LOT of work but also some fun. We did fairly well. People always want a deal though so its hard to make some money with it. But its worth it to get rid of some stuff! We have a lot of storage stuff that we can’t get rid of though. Any ideas for storing clothes? Like baby items I will need again. They are in plastic totes now but that is so very bulky.

    Another thing is to try to do a “one in, one out” policy. If you get something in your house, get rid of one other thing. The problem is that I often get rid of things I need later. Its hard to know sometimes.

    I hope you do well with your decluttering! I am hoping to get more organized before my baby comes.

  4. You gals are all great- I’m so glad to know I’m not alone in feeling this way!

    Estrogen Files, I’d gladly come help you get your home uncluttered before that new baby comes! :) But maybe I should figure out how to do it in my own home, first!

  5. I hate that feeling too…like you’re about to be overtaken by your stuff!!! When we moved from our apartment into our house, I purged a LOT of things. We had a yard sale…but after all the work and effort, we still had quite a few things left. I posted them all on FreeCycle and was able to bless others with my excess. Now we’re VERY concious of what new things we bring into our home…and it feels so much better!

  6. It’s an epidemic! I just donated tons to a garage sale and then came up with three more bags of “stuff” to give to the charity shop just from MY CLOSET!

    Simplicity is something I’m working towards, in my 1400 sq ft, 7 person household. But it sure is a hard concept to remember when I’m working on the purging. Seems like everything is “too good” or “might use later” or “sentimental value” when I get to it.

    So here I am, cheering you on! With a baby coming in just days (God willing), I’m doing my best to clean and nest, but the bump and fatigue are getting in the way. YOU go, girl!! Then come visit me, okay? (grin)

  7. I am having a garage sale THIS weekend, because I just couldn’t deal with the amount of STUFF in this house anymore. I hope a lot of it goes. I want to use the money I make to buy a few more natural toys/items and maybe an Ergo carrier. I am selling stuff for cheap so it will go. My line of thinking is that if I sell a lot of stuff for cheap, it will add up, and I can use the money for a few QUALITY items. Actually, I need to go finish pricing stuff!

  8. I used to have a bunch of clutter in my house pre-kids. Since their arrival I have found myself purging more often and liking a clean and linear decorating. I guess it is easier to clean. I struggle with this and constantly feel like the walls are coming in on me.

  9. ElizaBeth says:

    OOO ! that nasty ltiile clitter bug has found your home too!!! I recently purged my DDs’ room. 4 bags of garbage (crafts from last summer, handwritng practice, broken and worn out things…) and 6 bags for charity (its 115+ degrees here and I’m not sitting in the heat to sell it). And thier room LOOKED clean! Its not a big room 10 by 10. just way too full. They wanted to get down to one dresser so they could take posession of the Queen Anne secretary from the living room. Now we just need a big strong Daddy and brother to move it for us….
    We have found that just by having a place for everyone to put things they no longer want or need it helps get it out of the house. We have a large “muck bucket” you know the ones with rope handles, in the laundry. When they do laundry and come across things that don’t fit, in the bucket it goes. When they discover a toy they hadn’t seen in months and it no longer interests them, in it goes… We all contribute to this. The bucket fills up. I put into bags and hubby totes it off to charity. This is an ongoing process. I’ve found when the kids have control over being “done” with something they readily give it away to someone else. We shop resale and they LOVE the treasure hunt, but understand it came from someone doing the same thing we do. They are happy to know that the things they give away make someone else happy and I’m glad my children have learned that material things are fleeting and can part with them when they are no longer a blessing to us. Now if I could just figure out what to do with that HUGE colletion of Star Wars toys…

  10. I can so relate to this post!! I have four children and a 3700 sq ft house, not to mention a huge garage and shed and I just feel like throwing everything away!! I was just going through the baby’s toys this morning trying to organize the best I could thinking to myself that I would love to simplify our home! Thanks for the post, I don’t feel as if I’m the only one in a lot of stuff!! I think I may set a date myself and have a yard sale.

  11. I am in the process of decluttering our home. I have been working room by room and making almost weekly runs to The Mission (like Good Will, but this supports a local homeless shelter) to donate all of our excess.

  12. Stephanie,

    I can totally relate to this post. Since we just moved 3 weeks ago, that really helped us pare down a lot of stuff. I have bins on hand all the time for things to take to the consignment and thrift stores, and I also like to give things away to people I know will use/enjoy them.

  13. i LOVE this post. it is amazing how much stuff we can gather and then the more stuff the more we hav to spend time stewarding all the stuff. great job!

    love u….see u from ‘over there’ blessings…me

  14. Boy do I relate, only multiply that feeling by the 10 years we’ve been living in our house! I have devoted myself this summer to de-cluttering our entire house. I’m not having a garage sale, but I will be making many a trip to Goodwill.

    Thanks for the great post!

    Mindy

  15. So… I’m sitting here at the computer AVOIDING some piles of STUFF in my house that really need to be dealt with. I’m with you — how DOES that happen? The older I get and the more children I have, the more I’ve felt the need to simplify. I’ve currently got an open box in my bedroom where I toss things that are earmarked for the second-hand store. One other strategy that I NEED to implement (for my own sanity!) is to put my children’s toys in large plastic storage containers and just bring out ONE container each week. Less mess and “new” stuff for them on a rotating basis. That is one of my summer simplifying goals. Good luck with your garage sale!

  16. I had the exact same feelings this last week!! I’ve been busy helping out with the Vacation Bible School at my church and have had less time at home, and WOW! I sure noticed how much junk we have laying around when I wasn’t here all day to clean it back up! I actually threw out 2 boxes of stuff that didn’t work, was broken or needed mending (that I STILL hadn’t gotten to!!) and that was just one room! We too moved last fall and somehow just added more junk. Unfortunately garage sales don’t do really well around here (out in the boonies) so I think I’ll be posting larger items on e-bay or craigslist and donating the rest to a local mission. I have one more week of VBS, but starting next week, I’m cleaning house. Starting with clothes! (I mean seriously – if they haven’t fit since baby, they’re gone!) Even baby cloths and toys aren’t safe around here anymore. How many toys does one kid really need? And what happens when (Lord willing) we ever add another?

    Simplify!!

  17. I can relate to this very much. I find that as stuff accumulates I start to twitch. When I get rid of it (in whatever manner makes sense) I feel so much better.

    Of course, exactly a week after I dispose of something I’ve been holding onto for six months too long — I’ll need it.

    UGH!

    Best wishes with your decluttering!