Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Maybe it's a Cancerian thing.

Crazy Aunt Purl's ruminations on things and decluttering struck a chord with me, as I am currently surveying 11 years of Stuff in this house, and trying to figure out the ways to unload it without adding to a landfill. The Goodwill bags are an excellent idea, and I am going to steal it. I take a lot of stuff to Goodwill, but I do it in bursts of closet cleaning. An ongoing purge via bags for Goodwill would be more efficient.

I keep reminding myself that the Stuff I'm purging didn't all appear in the last year or two, it took years to collect all this Stuff, but there is still this feeling of guilt that I bought things I don't really use or love. I look at the things I no longer need or want and see years of Retail Therapy and wasted money, and I feel awful about this. This change in my attitude toward recreational shopping has been a long time in the works, I didn't wake up the day after my SAH and have an epiphany - "Shopping is a Sin!" "Material Things are Evil!" - my desire to just go to the mall or browse the non-essentials aisles at Target has gradually diminished in the last year. Now I shop because I need something - really need it, not "need" it. The process of weeding out all of the Stuff has killed the Retail Therapy Virus.

That's why the Yarn Fast has been so easy for me - I look at the stash and just don't want to buy yarn. I am not looking forward to MDS&W because it is my "weekend pass" to go wild buying yarn, I am going because I want to get together with the friends I will see there. I have a pass to buy yarn, but it'll have to be something that is both special and useful before I will really want to break out the wallet. And sock yarn does count - I have plenty on hand.

I want a tidy little apartment for awhile, if I buy something else I might get a townhouse, because a small backyard would be nice for Murphy. I don't need or want another single family house, been there, done that several times. In the immortal words of George Carlin: "A house is a place for your stuff. You get a bigger place, you get more stuff." Truer words were never spoken. I have realized that I could easily live in under 1000 square feet without feeling cramped, and the rest of this house and garage is just storage for the stuff. I'm working to pay the mortgage on a supersized storage locker. That thought is plaguing me right now - I am supporting storage for Stuff at this point in my life. I am done raising kids, they are on their own. I could live in a much smaller space and live on a lot less if I didn't have to provide shelter for the Stuff.

I will move only the things I really love and use and want in my environment, and the more I look around and think about it, the smaller the Keep list. But when I look around at the quantity of Stuff that is not going to move with me it seems overwhelming, and the laundry list of things I need to do to get the house ready to sell is OMG, very long. But this is something I have to do, the time is right. As I told a friend, I'm okay with closing in on 50, but I'm deathly afraid of waking up a decade or so from now, pushing 60, still in the same place, doing the same things, seeing the same people. It's time to make a big change - I just wish I could wave a wand and get all the prep work done!

10 comments:

sallyjo said...

I love the Goodwill bag in the corner thing. When I get my stuff pared down, I will gladly use it.
I'll probably buy a house soon, and move the storage space stuff into it. I haven't seen most of it for four years, so it should be easy to weed through the stuff now. I'd think, But I'll have a house...
It's the books that are getting to me.

Ginnie said...

I, too, thought CAP's bag in the corner was a good idea.

When I decided a year ago to make my Big Move, I was hell bent on buying another house. In the past month or 2, I have decided to find a small little place and rent. If a perfect house, with a perfect price, comes along, I will consider buying, but till then I am just going to park that chunk of change from the sale of the house, and breath for a few years while I start a new business.
My recreational shopping has been reduced to "If this doesn't move me toward my goal, I don't need it. " It is working fairly well.

Good luck. So glad you are recovering well.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget ... you can take a charitable deduction on your income taxes (fair market value)for the stuff you donate to Goodwill.

I keep a box in my garage and as I clean, I put donate=able stuff in it. Then when a charity calls with "our truck will be on your street," I'm already to go. Saves me driving some place to drop it off. Not sure if that's possible everywhere. But baby step by baby step, I'm getting id of some stuff.

I've started doing the same thing with the toss-able stuff. An item or two going out with each trash pick-up.

Catherine said...

I think the dollar limit for charitable deductions like that is around $300, unless you have an itemized receipt from the charity. The boys at my Goodwill drop-off don't itemize (we don't have a truck). I just take the no-receipts deduction, whatever it is, for stuff I give to Goodwill, and if it's something bigger, like household goods, I donate to a place that does give a detailed receipt. I do the same thing with the trash pick-up - no garbage day shall pass without a load of crap at the curb! I have, I think, two more garbage days until my son arrives to help me with the serious garage cleaning, so I have to get some major stuff out this week, so we have room to work.

Jean said...

You can take more dollars of deduction when you donate to Goodwill or similar, however the burden of record keeping is on you - attach to the receipt from the charity a list of the items in each donation, with estimated value (you might be able to find guidelines for reasonable value online), date, name of charity and address (once you are over $500 of total non-cash donations for the year, you must fill out an additional tax form - Form 8283 I think - with that information). You might decide that the record-keeping is not worth the additional deduction...

Catherine said...

I looked into doing that, and decided it didn't make enough difference to be worth the work last year. If I domate a lot of stuff this year before moving I may have to get organized enough to keep a spreadssheet. Great, another thing to add to the to do list.

zippiknits said...

I'm paring down stuff from a home business. It's not easy but has to be done. I loved you mention of paying a mortgage on a super sized storage unit. Very appropriate to the reality of many of our lives in America!

Goodwill gets most of the stuff, or the metal re-cyclers. Keep up the good work getting well and getting rid..

Brenda said...

I've lived in this house for 20 years, and it is PACKED full of stuff. I've been tossing, donating, and selling stuff on ebay. I'm like you are---every time I look at something I don't really need but just want in a store, I think about all the money I've spent on unloved, impulse items that have ended up in the trash or Goodwill. That has been the best cure for my Retail Therapy addiction I've found. Glad you're on the mend---
Brenda.

natcase said...

OK, this is about as long a shot as it gets but... In one of your posts from late '05, you advertise some Barroco Connoisseur Blue Faced Leicester tan. My wife is tearing her hair out (well, not literally, but her teeth are gnashing) because she thinks she's a ball or two shy of green in the same make and model. color 7007. So, um, on the offchance you have any to sell or trade....

Catherine said...

No, I'm sorry, I never had it in green. I wish I could help.