I Want Less Stuff

17 Nov

Houses in England (usually) don’t have closets. Instead, you have to buy a giant rectangular-shaped box in which to put your clothes. Then you have to find space for it in your bedroom. The problem is, our house is tiny. And Stiggy’s bedroom is not only tiny, but awkward. His room houses the boiler, which is inside  a closet (unusable because of the boiler…we’re hoping at some point to move the boiler into the kitchen), the doors of which we need to keep unblocked. On another wall is the window and radiator. On the third wall is the door. We have just enough room for his bed, a small dresser, a toy box, and a small narrow chest of plastic drawers for more toys (like lego, his cars, a wooden train set). There is no room for a wardrobe. So, his clothes have been on a rack. This rack was in my room and I was constantly tripping on it. I hated that thing.

We have a big wardrobe in our room; it has 3 sections to it. One side is for husband, and the other 2 were for me. I had my regular clothes in one section, and in the other my formal wear (ha!) and clothes that are 2 sizes too small, but one day I will fit into them!

A few days ago husband and son went out. While doing a bit of housework, I decided that the clothing rack was going back into Stiggy’s room. So, I wheeled it in and tried to find a spot for it. No good in front of the radiator…no good near the door. Dang and blast. Right, I though. Time to get serious. Time to weed and prune. Time…to declutter.

I’m not talking about a light ‘let’s-see-what-we-can-get-rid-of-painlessly’ tidy-up…but a brutal, merciless, no lycra spared, no jeans left unturned raid of the wardrobe. If I could live without it, it had to go.

So I set to work; the clothes were literally flying over my shoulders. I managed to get rid of 4 bags of clothes. And I made space for Stiggy’s clothes in our wardrobe; he now has the (smaller) middle section to himself. I then ripped apart dismantled the clothing rack and bound the poles together with rubber bands to be stored in the loft.

Ahh, that’s much better.

So why stop there, I thought?

A few months ago I read a great post on my friend Lynn’s blog about getting rid of junky toys, and I thought, ‘yes, I want to do that.’ But until now I’ve had a million excuses not to. Well, lately we’ve all been a bit stifled and cranky at home. We’re always tripping over toys (and other stuff), Stiggy is endlessly tidying (as are we), we have things lying around that we neither need nor use, and our house needs some TLC (i.e. wallpapering, painting, decent curtains).

And I’d tripped over than confounded clothing rack one too many times. Once I sorted those clothes, I felt great. Energised. Determined.

I began attacking other areas of the house…no place was sacred. (Except for my yarn collection stored tidily under the bed…surely a few thousand balls of yarn isn’t bothering anyone…)

Stiggy and I went through all of his clothes, toys, and other belongings. Stiggy was briefly under the impression that this meant he had more room for new toys…I did my crazy-lady laugh and popped that bubble real quick.

I then raided the kitchen, the bathroom, the DVD’s…even my makeup box. It took me a few days, and I’m not quite done yet, but there is a definite improvement. The thing is, compared to most, we don’t have that much stuff…but in this tiny house, it feels like it. And when you see your stuff in bags, it sure does look like a lot. And really, I’ve only made a small dent in our overall belongings. But if it’s something we can live without, and we’re not in danger of rebuying it at a later date, it’s going.

Sometimes, when I have a free minute, I find myself scanning the book case, or opening the wardrobe to see if I can find one more thing to get rid of.

No half-jobs for me; it’s pure obsession all the way.

So what am I doing with all this stuff?

The clothes, toys, and other usable items are going to charity, the junk is being recylced or thrown out, the books are being sold on Amazon, a few items are going up in the loft, and two things are being freecycled: a small folding dining set and a (like new) aquarium. I can’t wait to get the stuff out of the house!

A few unexpected things have come from all of this:

  1. I’m rediscovering a few treasures and putting them to use.
  2. Because we have less stuff, the house is easier to keep clean and tidy .
  3. Because the house is easier to keep clean and tidy, I’m more motivated to clean and tidy so that it keeps looking good.
  4. I’m more conscientious about my spending; everything that’s bought has to have a place in the house. By bringing another item in, I’m sacrificing space, and I’m much more aware of that now.

Ok, I may be speaking a bit too soon on #2 & #3, because I’ve got bags of stuff everywhere and the big stuff still isn’t gone, but I’m pretty sure they will prove to be true.

I’ll go through everything again every 3 months for a year, then just maintain it.

Once I’ve finished with this initial clear-out, we’re hoping to do a little decorating…if I can get hubby energised and determined, too.

1 Comment

Posted by on November 17, 2009 in Family Life, Michelle


One response to “I Want Less Stuff

  1. Suji

    November 18, 2009 at 1:13 am

    Isn’t it liberating? We got rid of tons of stuff prior to our move too. Love that “throwing away” feeling.


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