Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Why my New Year's resolutions do not include decluttering

"I have a whole room just for trying on clothes."  --Ken Doll, Toy Story 3
At least not systematically.
I thought about pursuing the 366-item declutter challenge, but decided that it's not an especially useful focus for us right now.  Why?

1.  Sure, I could give away or sell a hundred books this year (Summer update: I did!)...but I'll probably replace them with others (Summer update: I think I did that too.)

2.  We did some haven't-used-it-since-we-moved-in decluttering some time back, so we really don't have a lot of complete white elephants taking up space.

3.  My decluttering is usually the kind that ends in the paper recycling bin or in the trash.

4.  In some cases, I actually need to get a few more things, not discard them.  I am down to a couple of pairs of almost-trash shoes, mostly because I hate shoe shopping and have hard-to-fit feet.  One reason I like winter--I can often get away with just snow boots.

5.  The kind of pack-squirreling I do usually ends up in a finished product.  Sooner or later, and later is okay.  I don't buy groceries that I know we will not eat (okay, the jar of Tandoori paste was a wash for us), school books that are unlikely to be read, or expensive hobby materials for something I'm only potentially interested in.  But I do buy interesting pieces of fabric, balls of yarn, yard-saled science kits, Parmesan cheese on sale, dollar-store seasonal napkins (because for us, those make dinner a bit of a party), and older books that need a home.  I bought a whole boxful of thrifted Christmas-type trims and other mess in December, and Crayons helped me sort through it, discard what was just awful, and think of ways to use the rest.  In fact, those made up a large part of our decorations this year--we didn't even get all of our usual trees and angels out of storage. Question is, now that we're putting away the seasonal stuff--will that small treasure trove become just more clutter?  Should I send it all back to the thrift store?  No, I think I'll keep most of it--I had fun decorating with the bits and pieces, and we can use them again.

Mr. Fixit got homemade handkerchiefs in his stocking again this Christmas...mostly because I still had a large piece left of the white fabric that came from a church sale, that became hankies and sachet innards two Christmases ago.  Use it or lose it.

6.  I don't like to declutter things that belong to other people.  There are some Squirrelings (ahem) who could stand to trim down on toys or might benefit from cleaning out storage spaces.  But that's just a suggestion.

7.  Finally, and this goes with number 6: some clutter just goes with being a family.  Strangely enough, Crayons and Ponytails are re-watching Toy Story 3 this morning, which takes its whole premise from Andy's mom demanding that he get rid of his beloved toys since he's now going to college.  "He called us junk! How could he?" "This doesn't make any sense," says one of the toys.  I'm in agreement with that.  Yes, there's a time to move on; but in our haste to declutter, I wonder if sometimes we push that too hard, too fast.  I had a high school friend whose mother (even a step up from Andy's mom) demanded that bedrooms be kept as clean as convent cells; personal possessions were regularly discarded to the point of having no personal possessions.  But surely there's a middle ground on this.

So maybe we're better with a resolution to use what's in our hands, make our stuff last longer, be more organized, use things in different ways, look for ways around perceived "needs," and thank God always for what he has given us to use and enjoy.  And to pass on what others can use--but just not so much by the numbers.

4 comments:

Jeanne said...

Tandoori paste mixed with yoghurt, thickly coating chicken pieces baked in the oven is one of our favourites. Serve with Basmati rice and green veggies. Delish.

I'm not decluttering either.

Woman of the House said...

I totally agree! We moved this year and so have very little clutter, but even if we hadn't, there still wouldn't be that much to get rid of. I guess I naturally just keep the clutter to a minimum. Doing a little as I go means there are no huge decluttering projects waiting to be tackled. I like it that way.

Susan Barclay said...

Did you guys move, Mama Squirrel? Decluttering IS on my list of goals this year and a 366-item declutter challenge sounds interesting, though I'm not sure I'll do it. I'd rather go through things and get rid of them without concerning myself about numbers. Someone I'm acquainted with weighs the stuff she gets rid of so she can gloat about all the pounds (or pat herself on the back for the accomplishment), but that just seems like extra work to me :)

Mama Squirrel said...

Susan: Yes, some of the decluttering we did was with the intention of moving. But we are still in the same Treehouse.

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