Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Household Journal #1

I was trying to think of a better name than "Household Journal". I wanted to keep track of what I'm doing in my efforts to bring my possessions into line. "Decluttering" isn't quite right, and "frugality" doesn't sound right either. "Poverty" just sounds really stupid, given that I'm talking about superfluity and excess here. So I guess I'll stay with Household.

Clearing Out
I cleared out two cupboards this morning -- they were a jumble of old magazines, old half-used notebooks, music books, Tintins and tapes and CDs. ... an eclectic assortment! So the Tintins are on the sofa for now since the 7 year old has been reading them recently. The magazines will go with our other magazines that I'm trying to decide what to do with. Some of them I tossed into recycling or the wood stove. The classical guitar books -- I left them in there because Liam plays almost every evening. In fact, I went upstairs and got some more out of the main collection so that he has more choices. The tapes and CDs went upstairs to our audio cabinet -- later I am going to sort through that but tapes take up so little space it is not such a priority.

Too Much Paper

The half-used spirals -- we have a whole box of those already, so the new discoveries will get added to the collection. Does anyone else feel remorseful about throwing out half-used spirals? I remember reading in Rumer Godden's "House of Brede" that the nuns generally preserved paper scraps carefully and sometimes had to search to find a paper to write on. How far my family is from that! We are drowning in paper. I think it was those Target summer sales of notebooks for 10 cents. Even though I haven't bought any new spirals for about 4 years, we still have way too many. A cautionary lesson there! Inexpensive is sometimes still expensive because you then have responsibility for the thing. .... sort of like getting a "free" pet but excess possessions are not as rewarding as a cute kitty or dog.

Too Many Books

Looking around, besides the kind of junk that collects in the garage and will have to wait for a dumpster to be disposed of, what we have in disproportion is BOOKS. Everything else is approaching normality now. I already have gathered many boxes of books that were easy to get rid of but it hasn't made much more than a dent. The sad part is that people don't generally really want books -- I mean, the thrift store attendant sort of glares at me when I drop off old books, even treasures. I think the sense that book-rich homes are like little monasteries preserving literature from destruction is one reason why we have so many around the house. But it's just too many, and it makes for a confused feeling.

Clearing Out Toys

On the other hand, it was relatively easy to get rid of almost half the toys, and we didn't even have all that many. Thrift stores seem much happier about boxes of relatively good toys, and as a haunter of thrift stores in my early days I remember being thrilled to find a really nice toy going for almost nothing. I went through all the cupboards where I'd been keeping the toys that ideally were supposed to be rotated out. But I usually did not rotate them out so they were just stagnating. So I took these all out -- gave a bunch to Salvation army -- put some out (like the Brio train set) and have a few more that are in limbo while I decide what to do with them.

Interestingly, the little fellows have been playing MUCH more with the toys that remain. At least, the popular ones. Hot Wheels and a small set of blocks are among the favorites. There are some that aren't much used and so I will probably be able to cut the toy stock in half again without making a lot of difference in their play patterns.

Clearing Out Clothes

The boys already have fairly trim wardrobes, except for Sean who likes having a variety for school wear. I haven't had to do much to clear out their clothes supplies. But I personally had way too many clothes. I cut my wardrobe in half and could easily do the same again. ... there is more than I ever really wear. The hardest ones to let go of were my jeans. ... I got rid of some I had kept for years and years but I still have a lot left. Partly because I have a set of jeans for 3 different sizes. My "fat" jeans, my skinniest ones (in case I ever get back to my college weight, which probably isn't very likely) and then the average ones in the size where I generally hover. What I should really do is get rid of the large and small ones and just stay in the middle. I might be able to avoid the weight rollercoaster better that way. My daughter's clothes are all in her real range -- she doesn't try to keep thin clothes and fat clothes around, which seems reasonable to me.

Extra Kitchen Items

Finally, I dug through the back of our walk-in pantry. I found some stuff which is nice but that we just don't use -- household items in good condition also seem welcome to thrift stores so it was nice to get rid of those. With those things I actually feel like I'm sharing rather than just dumping junk on the world (though I know very well that one person's trash is another person's "find").

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoy taking a peek at your day-to-day life. It sounds like you've been accomplishing a lot! And I envy your walk-in pantry -- I have always coveted one. :-)


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