Decluttering Our Closet

One of my absolute favorite things in life is problem solving. I get gleeful when I find a solution to something that’s not working quite right in our home. I will think and think and think about it until I figure it out. It helps to be married to someone who is great at solving problems in a totally different way than I am. I’ll think for hours about something, whereas Ben will throw out wild, crazy ideas off the top of his head, and some of them are just too wild and crazy to be of use, but some jolt me out of the rut I’m stuck in, and give me a few more hours’ worth of material to mull over. I love mulling.

My latest problem to solve was in our closet. We have a massive closet, which is interesting since it’s my goal to own as few clothes as possible, without getting completely bored of my options. We simply do not need all that space, but you know what happens with space? We fill it. It’s so easy to get careless when there’s so much room to spread out, and I’ve been getting lazy with how I’m storing things.

I walked into my closet the other morning and thought, “This is stressful and unappealing. I want a pretty closet.” When I expressed this desire to Ben, he said blankly, “I never think about stuff like that.”

“I do,” I replied. “Our closet is ugly.”

He said, “I think you spend a lot more time in our closet than I do. I just go in and get my clothes.”

“That’s all I do, too, but I still think it’s ugly,” I told him.

So I stood in our closet and stared really hard at everything to figure out what the problem was, and suddenly it hit me: Everything making a mess could either be gotten rid of, or stored somewhere else. My goal was a bare, beautiful dresser, and zero clutter. And maybe some pretty pictures on the wall, eventually….

I started hauling things out. It has made the hugest difference for me. I can’t wait to go in there each morning, because that wide open space is peaceful and soothing to my soul. Three kids can produce astonishing amounts of clutter which I find difficult to keep under control, but they don’t mess up my closet, so this space stays as clean as I keep it.

Those piles cluttering up my dresser sat there for five years, and I never once thought it would be possible to get rid of them. They needed to be there. Except they didn’t, and I can’t believe, once again, how awesome it feels to ditch the clutter, pare down the belongings, and simplify.

I stand in the doorway to our closet and just look at it. I made Ben look at it, too, and he was moderately impressed, but I don’t know if he would have noticed if I hadn’t forced him to admire it. But that’s fine – I did it for me.

It makes me curious what other clutter areas are completely unnecessary, if I can only figure out how to think outside the box. Now I need to go make the rest of my house look as clean as this closet.;)

What do you think – is there any clutter in your house you’ve believed you NEED, but maybe you don’t?!

 

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Wearing Stuff Out and Using it Up

This post is part of a series called “35 Days of Favorites”, in honor of my 35th birthday. You can read more about the details here

I’ve been a little too blessed in this life.

I’ve always lived with a lot of excess, and haven’t ever needed to learn how to squeeze absolutely all the life available out of the things I use and own.

I’ve gotten rid of clothes because I was tired of them, not because they were worn out. I’ve sent loads and loads of perfectly good belongings to the thrift shop because I wasn’t using them, and they were simply lying around my house, taking up space.

I’m so tired of excess.

I don’t know what brought on the need for change. Maybe it started with this clothing revelation, and just grew from there.

Maybe it came from the stuff I was reading.

Or from moving yet again, and getting tired of hauling around all of the useless, random stuff we owned.

Whatever the case, it’s time to do things differently, but I think this skill of using less will take awhile to learn. This past year, it was my goal to start cutting back.

To start with, I’m trying to own only as much clothing as I actually use. For example, I own two hoodies now instead of five, and I just recently had to buy a new one, because one of my old ones was so worn out, it was only fit to be used as a rag.

I own two pairs of good jeans, and keep one old pair for emergencies. I buy a new pair when I get the inevitable hole in the right knee. (Why always the right, specifically??!)

I’m trying to keep less food in our pantry, and only one kind of salad dressing in our fridge!

I packed away half the girls’ toys, and they are just as happy as ever with what they have.

And our most recent accomplishment: Driving our van until it died.

It sounds kind of dumb, but it was a victorious moment. We limped along for a long time, knowing that the end was near. And then one day, we took our van in to have a problem repaired, and were told that it would cost $900 to fix, but the vehicle was only worth $1000. If we chose to fix it anyway, another $900 of repairs were predicted within the next few months.

We bought a new vehicle because we didn’t really have a better choice, and it felt good.

vanThere sits our van, waiting to be picked up. She’s done well, and carried us many, many miles!

I still shop too much, waste too much, and think I need too much, but I’m working on it.

And every time any of my belongings legitimately wears out, and must be replaced out of necessity, it makes me feel good inside.

I would like to feel this way more often.

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Any helpful purging, “living with less” tips out there? How intentional are you about wearing something out before replacing it? Anyone else struggle with balancing “need” versus “want”?