I’ve declared 2009 not just a year of Buying Nothing New by joining The Compact, but also a year of Decluttering. Actually, I thought I’d declutter in January and that would be that. On February 1st, I realized it might take a bit longer. Now, on April 1st, I think I’ll be lucky if I get through it in a year.
I’m actually excited about the idea of ridding my life of all extraneous STUFF. It’s taking up space, in my home and in my psyche. And I joined Non Consumer Girl in her goal of making an extra $5000 by selling things she no longer needs or uses on ebay. That made me even more excited, although my husband made a snide remark about that figure being unrealistic (he might have said crazy). Actually, he probably said unrealistic, but I heard crazy.
Anyway, the 5000 bucks really got me excited. Now I’m even more psyched to get rid of stuff. And yet. Stuff still here. Stuff not leaving the house. What could be going on?
I’m a little worried I have a bit of a hoarder in me. I’m not proud of it. In fact, it scares the hell out of me. I have seen the results of hoarding in more old relatives than I care to count. It’s pathological. It’s illogical. It’s germy.
So I know I don’t want to become the lady with 87 cats or the old man with stacks of old newspapers blocking the path to the bathroom, but what’s keeping me from getting rid of some things I no longer use?
Part of it is sentimentality. I have a lot of old clothes and books and toys from when I was young that I can’t part with. I’ve heard “organization and declutter experts” say to take a photo of the item and get rid of it, because things aren’t memories. True. And yet…
I think it comes down to fear. Fear of getting rid of something I’ll regret. What if I give it away and then wish I hadn’t? The funny part is that I can only think of ONE THING in my whole life that I later wished I hadn’t gotten rid of. And it was just a shirt that I thought about later and wondered why I’d sold it at a garage sale for a dollar. A shirt.
So, I really should take my chances. There’s really no choice here. It’s not as if I’m going to forget my senses and suddenly throw my favorite piece of jewelry – my great aunt’s onyx ring – into the recycling bin. I’ll keep all the photos, old letters, and old journals. But I can give up the Mickey Mouse alarm clock.
There are all kinds of tricks and rules for decluttering: start with one drawer, get rid of any item of clothing you haven’t worn for a year, etc. The best and easiest method I’ve found is on FruWiki, a great website about living frugally, reducing waste, and saving money. Click here for their decluttering tips. I’m going to start using them… very soon.
What about you? Are you fearful of decluttering, or do you love it? Have you ever gotten rid of something and regretted it? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section.