One of my ongoing resolutions is to Keep Less Stuff, and it’s especially pressing now that we no longer have a
junk storage guest room.
I’ve noticed that, whether I’m debating the merits of a kitchen gadget or a pair of shoes, I hear the same five or so excuses come out of my mouth. So, for the next two weeks, I’m going to share my top excuses, with examples, and then share how I’m working towards overcoming them.
In summary, my top five excuses are:
I have settled on some ground rules that apply to all categories of this junk. First off, if it’s broken, ripped, stained, or otherwise not functional, get rid of it. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Second, everything has an expiration date. If you haven’t used that tortilla press in 3 years, let it go. If you haven’t “done something” with that fabulous shutter you picked up off the side of the road six months ago, it needs to go.
Let’s start from the bottom, shall we?
I’m talking about the t-shirt you got for running that 5K, that mug you got at your company’s annual conference, or the pens the bank was handing out. Magnets. Water bottles. I will add “dumpster diving treasures” because I am GUILTY AS CHARGED of picking up crap off the side of the road and shoving it in my garage until inspiration strikes.
The kids have about a million t-shirts that fall into this category. Most of them are easy to give up, but some have paired up with Excuse #4 and insist on hanging around indefinitely.
Perfect example: Amy has been my friend since the first week of our freshman year of college. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s a friendship old enough to drive a car. When Tyler was little, she gave him this shirt.
At the time, he slept in it because it was huge. Gradually he could wear it as a regular shirt, and now he has outgrown it. It’s survived two purges so far, but when we went through his dresser this weekend, he handed it over with a very heavy sigh.
He was donating at least 10 other shirts to Goodwill, so I gave myself 24 hours to “do something” with this one. Yesterday I turned it into a throw pillow for his bed:
I told Amy, and she said that she was also recycling t-shirts this weekend. She turned six old shirts into reusable shopping bags using this tutorial.
When I finally parted with my high school/college t-shirt collection about five years ago, I photographed the front and back of each shirt, and then sent them to Goodwill. I haven’t missed them. And, to be quite honest, it’s not like I spend a bunch of time looking at the pictures, either.
Of course, the best way to avoid dealing with an excess of free stuff is not to pick it up in the first place. If you aren’t in need of a water bottle, don’t grab one. If your koozie collection is already impressive, don’t adopt more. If you have fifteen pens in your purse, you can probably live without one from your pest control company. And for the love of pete, there’s a reason people put their broken furniture by the side of the road. It’s BROKEN. LEAVE IT.
Go forth and declutter!