Decluttering our lives

Scroll down to read about week 3, but I decided that this announcement is big enough to warrant its own post.

We have too much stuff and it is dragging us way down. We call ourselves stuff bulimic. We binge and we purge. Thrifting and poverty are a bad combination for us. We go to these shops and see all we can have for just pennies on the dollar, and we know it would be hard for us to buy it new, so we buy. and buy and buy. We get the endorphin rush, but the $20 or $30 adds up, and our house gets more and more full. Neither the Dude nor I like cleaning, so we spend a lot of time shoving piles of stuff around. This has led to 2 momentous decisions:

1. We are on a big declutter tear! Yard sale next weekend

We spent all day yesterday decluttering. All day and into the wee hours. We have finished the kitchen and gotten a pretty good start on the living room. There is still: dining room/office, bedrooms, bathroom, closets, basement. It is sad, when we moved here 2 years ago, we had 2 vehicles and one small uhaul trailer of stuff because we had gone through and pared down like mad. Now we have regained at least as much as we had. And how much money have we spent on that? The problem for us with thrifting is we are never faced with the full cost. If we were going to spend $300 on a new sofa, that would slow us down to think about the purchase. But when it is only $30 at a thrift shop, well, anyone can afford that! And oh, look at these napkins for 25 cents each! And I need a pan like this and it is only $3. And who doesn’t need another book? Throw it in the cart. Although we might not need that thing today, we will need it someday. Maybe. Of course, we might not be able to find it.

A few things set me off on a big declutter. I am tired of the house always being a mess. I really like our house. And yet it is constantly in chaos. Dishes are always done, eating area is clear of food debris, for th most part the dining room table is open to sit at, unless there is a project going on. But even the kitchen is cluttered. I took pictures but will post them next week, when I can place them side by side with after shots. The Dude has been losing things and complaining loudly about it. He and I have both been suffering depression and anxiety lately, so it seems like a purge will help lift the spirits. A garage sale will help the bank account. And I am just grossed out by how much we are consuming. I helped a friend move a couple of weeks ago and we were able to pack her whole house in a morning. We are planning to move next year, and I want my move to go as smoothly. So, the purge began. It actually started a few weeks ago, and we have had a basket or two of yard sale stuff sitting in the front room since. The Dude and I started decluttering books, and then stopped to go clear out space in the shed. It was bad. Already filled with lots of give away stuff. An hour or so of rearranging and now we have plenty of room to fill with our discards. The Dude went off to work and I decided to get serious about it. I turned on Hoarders. I wanted to really revel in where it can all end up. I had never watched that show before and I saw that many people start with : dealing with poverty and finding bargains. Uh-oh! Let me assure you, we are not at hoarder level. Everyone has beds cleared off to sleep on, all sitting surfaces in the living room are free, there are clear paths through rooms. But the message hit home nonetheless. The boys and I spent the evening decluttering the kitchen and watching Hoarders and thinking about it all. We are decluttering and it is freeing!

The scary thing though, is it is cyclical for me. Stuff bulimia. I am so happy to purge, but I am also so happy to binge. However, this feeling led me to decision #2:

2. We are going to extend No Spend for a year. 

Everyone person or family is going to define No Spend their own way. We have decided the crux of it for us is to avoid restaurants (especially fast food) and thrift shops. Those are the leaky sieves for us. We will be mindful of all spending of course, and will try not to spend on any non-need item, but those are critical.

My reasoning for this step:
1. We are moving next year. We don’t want to accumulate more stuff. We want to b free to move.
2. We are moving next year. We want to have a cushion to move on, which is more likely if we don’t spend.
3. We want to break the cycle of spend and purge. I am tired of it, my wallet is tired of it, my house is tired of it. We need to retrain ourselves and perhaps this is the method to do so.
4. I am tired of wasting so much life energy on stuff! Thinking about it, shopping for it, caring for it. This weekend was a beautiful weekend. Instead of taking a bike ride, hike, or even working on my thesis, I cleaned and decluttered. That wouldn’t feel so bad if we were clearing out 35 years worth of accumulation, but it is just two years worth! I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to live life on my terms. I also really want to travel. To do that, I need to stay unencumbered with stuff and keep the cash flowing. This exercise may set us on the right path to do this.

Things I have learned on my purge:
We have enough soap and shampoo to last about a year.
We finally located the bulk Dr. Bronners we bought months ago.
Hoarders is amazing inspiration, even gets the kids excited to release.
Houses are much nicer when they are clean and airy.
Decluttering is one step forward, two steps back.
decluttering is more fun with family members pitching in.
Really purging a house is exhausting.

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