Saturday, September 10, 2011

When Our Things Own Us

How much time do we spend taking care of, touching, or moving our things?

You're here today reading this housekeeping/homemaking blog, so I'm sure I'm not alone in my musings about how many items I own and how much time it takes to care for, display, or reorganize them.

Watching " Hoarders" makes me throw things out, so I make sure to watch it every week!

This month I'm reprioritizing the items I own, striving to keep things that are useful or beautiful, things I actually will use in the next 6 months.


  • Fridge and freezer maintenance - Clean one shelf, one drawer, or two door shelves in both your fridge and freezer. This 10 minute project keeps your entire fridge cleaned out every single month.

  • We vacuum the whole house almost every day, but make a particular effort to do so on Sundays so we go into the new work/school week with fresh carpet. How about you?

  • We're going to sleep on clean sheets tonight too. It's easy to start a load of laundry, vacuum, throw things in the dryer before leaving for our fun events today. Super easy to fold clothes while we watch TV before bed tonight.

  • Make menu plans for the week; create grocery list.

  • Phone any relatives you haven't talked to in the last month or so.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Looking at My Things

Cheyenne Lined Bins, at the Container Store

I own more perfume than I can wear in a year (despite making a major push to sort it out last fall), more clothing than I can possibly wear, more books than I can read in the next 3 years, and 5 sets of dishes despite throwing only one dinner party in the last 4 months. My large bin of crafting supplies hasn't been opened in six months, I keep buying stationery on a monthly basis but writing letters rarely, and I have so much jewelry I can't find what I want to wear.

I need to stop shopping for things that don't get used up (I will still let myself shop for candles and bath/body products!); beg family members not to give me any gifts at Christmas; read my books and then donate them; bake more often or get rid of my fancy baking pans; use up my craft supplies or donate them; and so on.

When I can't sit on the couch in my bedroom to tie my shoes because there are so many magazines stacked waiting to be read, I have a problem. I'm not living the loveliest life I can lead, because my things are holding me back. I'm spending too much time dusting the cluttery knicknacks in my bedroom - I should have just two or three beautiful items displayed.

I can't and shouldn't spend much more of my life reorganizing, sorting, pushing my belongings back and forth between rooms of the house, from one storage bin to the next, handling them repeated times. Enough is enough.

Last night I sorted through my jewelry boxes, and I managed to do something that was difficult for me. I threw out the inexpensive, cheap, colorful, plastic Mardi Gras beads I got on my 30th and 40th birthdays. I'd been holding onto them because they "reminded" me of how much fun I had on those birthdays. But I don't need that physical object to remind me. I have pictures, my memories, and my friends' memories. I'm not going to wear those inexpensive cheap beads again, so into the trash they went. That made substantial room in my jewelry box so I can now see the beautiful bracelets I do want to and will wear.

I'm a packrat, not a hoarder. I keep too many sentimental things, or fantasy items ("Yes, I'll use this petit four pan to make lovely mini cakes for my friends, sure I will!) But I can throw things away, and I often recycle and donate, so there IS hope for me. I just have to pay attention on a daily basis to what I'm bringing into the house, what I'm actually using, and what I can live a lovely life without.

LOVELY BLOGS: The Thirty Year Old Housewife's Guide to Cooking

I'm really enjoying this blogger's creative, interesting recipes. So different than what I see on every other cooking blog - and I mean that in a good way! Recent posts include huckleberry cream pancakes, zucchini Parmesan phyllo squares, and peanut butter carrot raisin cookies.


Blueberry Lavender Jam (Yummy Workshop)

Alton Brown Takes a Final Bite of 'Good Eats' (NPR)

New Kate Bush Album Due in November (BBC America)

The Reinvention of Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake (Epicurious)

The Trouble With Homework (NY Times)

1 comment :

Joy to the World said...

Keeping up with stuff is so hard. I remember cleaning out my mother's house, and it taught me great lessons about not being too sentimental.