Saturday, November 26, 2011

Come now, let us reason together....

I've heard there are a number of reasons people hang onto stuff. I probably won't remember them all, but here are a few:

'It cost too much money on it to get rid of it.'

'My grandmother, mom, sister, friend, etc. gave it to me.'

'It'll fit someday.'

'I'll get around to it eventually.'

'It's worth....'

Today I'm mucking out my craft room. I remember when my 'craft room' was a card table set up at the back of our family room. It had my sewing machine on it, and whatever project I was working on. Then came the discovery of cross-stitch, and quilting, and maybe the worst of all supply gatherers - scrapbooking. Then I started knitting and took up quilting again after dropping it off.

Now there's crafting and Pinterest, so that we can spend our time making pretties. I'm not saying it's all bad. I'm saying my personal approach to it often is. A waste of time. A waste of money.

I've realized the amount of space you have to dedicate to something determines how much stuff you acquire. I have had an entire room for my endeavors for the past 16 years and it shows. It shows in closets stuffed with fabric, paints, books, patterns, yarns, threads I will never use. We all have tendencies that run through our families - or genes if you prefer to put it that way - and ours seems to be a leaning toward an OCD approach to just about anything we undertake. There's no halfway with us!

So today I'm dedicating half the day to tearing into that room, with trash bags and boxes in hand. I'll gather up some of the supplies and sell them 'lock-stock-and-barrel' on Ebay. Somebody is going to get a heck of a deal if they're willing to pay for the shipping, on yarns and threads and patterns and fabrics. With little exception, any books that are easily borrowed from our local library will be given away too. I do not need to own a copy of Tom Sawyer. I've read it at least once, and that was enough.

I've read that 90% of fixing a problem is admitting there IS one! I've seen, over and over, running through my family tree, a tendency to acquire, label, number, line up, file away or shove into a storage unit or garage or in the closet a bunch of stuff that we kid ourselves is worth something, or will be someday, but it never is. When my brother committed suicide 6 years ago he had no job, no income, was worried over becoming homeless and not being able to support himself. You could not walk through his apartment for the piles of stuff he'd accumulated, which included a huge TV, recliner, desk and chair and countless antiques. When we began to deal with his possessions we found out he had several storage units that were filled to the brim. Likely he could have sold much of the stuff he'd acquired but had no use for and supported himself for awhile, til his situation improved. Rather he left a note and gave up.

 Labeling the spines of book series, of which you have of course acquired every single one, with numbers so they can sit on shelves in order; alphabetizing things; putting stuff in notebooks or drawers or containers with neatly printed tabs; filled closets that look very neat and orderly to the rest of the world but are full of stuff we have no use for, yet we hang onto them so we don't have to admit we shouldn't have bought it to begin with. It all looks good to the naked eye, but the bottom line is that it's not so lovely, it's a waste of the resources God has given, a disservice to those who earned the money, and it gives a sense of guilt over not using time or money wisely. It's an ugly thing to see in yourself family tendencies you do not love, but it's also the beginning of a solution to the problem.

Today I'm planning to face the problem head on, and hopefully at the end of the day God and I will both be more pleased with what we see. 

3 comments:

Karen said...

Thank you Bev! I am really enjoying this journey with you. I have been doing the same with my home. I took two carloads of stuff of Goodwill last week and I was so happy that on the second trip there was a different gal working. I was really feeling shame during the first trip because the lady working kept making comments about how nice the stuff was and things didn't even look used. Yes, some items still had their price tags on them. The worst was stuff that had Goodwill tags on them ~ stuff bought from them and never used....sigh. I think about all the money wasted, but am determined to do better. Have a blessed weekend!

Anonymous said...

I like this post very much. Food for thought.
Thank you.

Lori in PA

Renna said...

Keep it up. As usual, you're inspiring me, and motivating me. My daughter visited in late October, and kept teasing me that she was going to call the Hoarders tv show. No, I'm not like those people. I don't have trash and animal feces in my floor, but I do have clutter, whether it's stacked or stored neatly or not, it's still clutter, as you said.

I can hardly wait for said daughter to visit at Christmas and see the changes I've made. Major changes have been made, and I have more to make. I am enjoying my home for the first time in a long time. Onward march!