Anne & Will

Wherein we talk about projects, life, and other things.

The More You Own the More It Owns You

Having accepted Will’s challenge to post once a week or face serious humiliation, I now have to write about something. So here’s what’s on my mind today: How do we live a life with less clutter?

Will and I have both been talking about this a lot lately. Most discussions come after watching Hoarders and we feel the need to purge everything.

When Will & I sold our townhouse in 2009 we knew we needed to declutter. Several boxes and a few pieces of furniture went into storage and we were ruthless when getting rid of stuff through our garage sale (everything was priced $5 or less), or through donation.

The result was that we got to live in a house unburdened by clutter. And it was AWESOME. It was beautiful and easy to live in.

Now we’re in our new house which is bigger than the townhouse, but has less storage. Thanks to our massive cleanse prior to moving, we didn’t have as many tchotchkes to place in the house. It felt good.

Things are starting to creep back in though. Drawers that seemed so organized and easy to open are starting to fill with assorted stuff. Closets that were beautifully organized by color are starting to get a little muddled. And now that our bathroom renovation is (almost) over, we can’t blame any household chaos on construction.

I don’t just want to get back to where we started when we moved though. I want less stuff in general. This is a huge battle against my sentimental nature, but I think I’m starting to win.

Here are a few strategies that I’m taking to keep the clutter/storage items reduced:

  • Use plants & nature as holiday decorations and compost them once the season is over
  • As gifts come in, something needs to go out to keep the balance in the universe
  • Some things aren’t meant to last forever so get rid of them once you are done enjoying it
  • Be vigilant about getting my name off direct mail that I don’t want, especially magazines
  • Stop saving things for special occasions - that spice mix will go bad if you don’t use it
  • Make at least one meal a week using only things in the freezer & pantry so that food doesn’t stock up

What is everyone else doing? And does anyone have a good strategy for dealing with paper? My desk is at a high alert for a paper avalanche.

3 Comments on The More You Own the More It Owns You
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  1. Love it.

    As for what I’m doing to keep my desk clean, I usually move things that are cluttering my desk onto your desk ;)

  2. Besides moving to de-clutter (Salvation Army and the Junior League were major benefactors from my two moves this year), I also try to keep only electronic versions of documents now - especially for work - and recycle the paper copies.

  3. I like “stop saving things for special occasions”, I do that and will be more mindful.

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