Decluttering is more than just filling up donation bags

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I donated my 67th trash bag yesterday.

It felt like such an accomplishment. 

Each bag, filled with at least 20 items, sometimes more. That is a crazy amount of things.

In addition, I have purged at least 30 bags of trash alone.

Seeing the space that has been created, I can hardly fathom that we ever had that much “stuff” in our house. That much that wasn’t wanted or needed.

67 bags of stuff. Just stuff. Gone in an instant. It didn’t take many long months or lots of long hours.

It just took having a plan and initiative. 

I know its not easy. 

We have so much emotional attachment to stuff it is unreal. I am guilty.100% Guilty. A filled to the brim house makes us feel rich,full and content. 

But does it really? 

Do you feel content, every time you have to brace yourself from fallen items every time you open a closet? Every time you wasted a Saturday morning organizing and dusting things you didn’t need or really want.

I didn’t.

In fact, I still find myself doing it every time I open the coat closet in our hallway. This closet has been filled to the brim since we moved here. It is an easy place to store items that we feel we need but don’t want to deal with. I confess that I have been hit in the head several times by the two irons on the top shelf of this closet.

No joke. 

I have only ironed 6 times in the last three years, yet it took me 3 years and 4 bumps on the head to finally remove them. 

Silly right? 

But true. Are you guilty of this too? Do you let stuff make you happy? 

Now to be clear I am not talking about items you truly cherish and love. These items by definition are not “stuff” but treasure, a clear difference. I am talking about the stuff you have that just fills up space. Lots of bags, shoes, ugly pictures, 5000 mugs and plates. 

Are you guilty?

If you are than I challenge you to fill a bag today. Real quick. Grab a trash bag or a box and run through the house and don’t stop until its filled. Don’t think, just grab. Then take the box and put it into the car. Don’t give yourself time to think about it. Just go. 

You will feel so good when you are finished! Remember stuff will always be stuff. Don’t let it way you down. 

Be strong. 

Best of Luck and let me know how you did. 

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Shopping for Happiness

This picture taken by my amazing sister in law, Susan Stalker.

This picture taken by my amazing sister in law, Susan Stalker!

Shopping for Happiness.

Sounds a bit weird, right? You can’t shop for happiness. Can you?

Sure you can.

Not really.

Everyday we are bombarded with commercials and print advertisements that promise us happiness if we buy that product or shop at this store. As happy centered adults, we know what the mission of these ads are really, about yet we still fall for the puppet act even though we can see the strings. Why? Why do we do this?

Its not limited to buying specific items, it is rooted in shopping itself. I cannot tell you how many times I have been angry or sad and then gone shopping.

I am not talking about grocery shopping. Grocery shopping is a necessary evil. My children are always eating. In fact they are rummaging through the fruit bowl right now.

Emotional shopping. Are you guilty?

I am. 100%.

This past winter, was a sad time. I was sad and had a really hard time not being sad. I felt that I could not stay home, being trapped in the sadness that appeared to be all around. Instead of sitting home, we would finish our school work and then go shopping. I am not talking about thousand dollar shopping sprees with me running through the mall like a crazy person. Shopping is shopping.

I was sad but still cheap and definitely not stupid.

The kids and I frequented the Goodwill Outlet and thrift stores with ferocity. I had gotten it into my head, that thrift store shopping was different and that as long as it was cheap it didn’t matter.

Boy was I wrong.  Because no matter where I was shopping I was trying to fill an emotional void that needed to be filled. The problem was, shopping was never going to do it. After we would return from our shopping trips, I would still feel empty and sometimes a bit guilty.

I have been thinking about this a great deal lately, as I have been decluttering and simplifying throughout the house. Quite a few of the items that I had purchased during the winter have been donated. I don’t want to have them around. They seem to hold the sadness I was feeling at the time they were purchased.

Remember when I wrote about taking the pictures down off the walls?

Same concept.

A big part of my minimalism journey has been about taming my emotional shopping.  Part of the battle of clutter is limiting the items that come in the first place.

Now, when I feel, sad,mad or even joyful, I try to steer myself away from the stores. A 25 cent basket is not going to make me feel better, no matter how good a deal it is.

Have you ever done this?

Are you guilty?  Are you an emotional shopper? If you are then. I would love to hear about how you fight the urge to shop when you feel down.

Best of Luck!