Don’t Wait Until You Move

Don’t wait until it’s time to move to look at your stuff and weed it out. Trust me on this. I knew I had too much stuff but had no idea how much stuff I actually had until it was time to move. This always happens, but I’m moving out of a big house instead of a small apartment, and there is just so.much.stuff! We’ve taken several car loads of boxes to Hangers for Hope, and given boxes and piles of things to the Veterans. And at least 20 bags of trash. Movers come today to pack up what’s left and I move tomorrow.

Look in the bathroom. How many half-used bottles of shampoo or lotions do you have? Get rid of what you don’t actually use now. How many towels are there? Maybe you changed color schemes and kept the old towels. Time to bag them up and take to an animal shelter. They LOVE old towels. Old makeup? Dump it.

Look in the closet. This one you already know. We all have too many clothes. Body sizes change, life activities change. Do you like it? Do you wear it? Take things you no longer want to a consignment shop or thrift store and relish the space in the closet. You don’t need or use all those shoes and purses either.

Look in the kitchen. Are there pots, pans, speciality gadgets that you no longer use? Why are you keeping them? How many plastic storage containers do you have squirreled away deep in the cabinets? Recycle at least half – you’ll never miss them.

Look at cleaning supplies. Honestly, how many different things do you actually USE? It’s time to throw out products that don’t work quite as well as you’d like. And if you have a housekeeper, you only need to keep what she uses, not an assortment of specialty products that no one ever uses. Tho you do need sponges, but perhaps not as many as I apparently collected.

Look in the garage. Are you really using all of those tools that you used to use? If you pay someone to maintain your yard, you don’t need them all. Weed out.

We all do this weeding when we move, but don’t wait that long!

I have too much stuff

One thing librarians learn is that collections of books, of anything, need to be curated or they just become hoards. Something that had great value at one time may no longer hold the same value years later. Whether they spark joy or not, it’s worth reviewing your stuff before you find yourself forced to downsize quickly or, heaven forbid, leaving your stuff for someone else to have to sort through and wonder why on earth you were keeping it all.

So we weed things out. That’s a librarian term, though I thought everyone used it. Hmmm. I’ll share it with you if you’d like. Because weeding gets rid of unwanted or damaged things to make room for the things you choose to keep.

This week I went through my collection of genealogy research books again, because I’ve done this before. But I’m not using things I expected to use, so why not share them with someone who can use them? I searched all the titles in the Tyler Public Library online catalog (yayyyy! they have Encore, the system I used for years when I was working) and put together a list that I sent to the reference librarian responsible for the Genealogy/Local History collection. Only three titles were already held by the library, and two of those are missing, so she was delighted to get the offer. They’re boxed up now and waiting for me to figure out a way to haul them down to the library.

My jewelry is also out of hand for someone who doesn’t wear much except earrings. I was considering getting a jewelry armoire when, really, the issue is that I simply have too much of it. So it’s time to weed. Why keep so many of those necklaces dangling from the organizing hanger thingie in the closet? I still have some pendants that were my Mom’s that I don’t think I’ve ever worn. Why keep them? And the earrings … well, really, I’m an earring addict because, let’s face it, earrings fit no matter what size you are. I used to wear tiny ones and they’ve gotten much bigger. But I haven’t spread them all out in at least 2 years and know I’ve added a ton of them since then. This weekend I will weed out at least half of the necklaces and earrings. I have a plan.

I have two computer desks, which is one too many. One was my mom’s, built for desktop computers with big towers and keyboard drawers. I’m using it to hold my printer and a lamp, having already sold the scanner that was also there. But the cubbies and drawers are full of papers that need to be reviewed, sorted, and filed or shredded so I can empty it out and try to give it away if I can find someone to take it. So today I organized, sorted, and 3-hole-punched a big pile of retirement paperwork and got that into a binder and out of the desk. I have a big pile of other stuff to file but it needs to be sorted first. Also a project for the weekend – because I really want to get rid of the desk. More weeding, this time of furniture.

And in the kitchen, we have cookie jars. Way too many cookie jars. How many do I need when I don’t even eat cookies? I’ll be going through those and the wine glasses (how many does one person need? not as many as I have!) and other kitchen things. That’s a project for later in the month. And I have my eye on a few Christmas things that, on reflection, didn’t spark as much joy as I expected.

If you live in Emerald Bay, watch for posts on Community Interest when I’m ready to share some of these treasures with someone else. That computer desk would be a great crafting or project table even if you don’t need it for a computer 🙂

And here we are

My goal for now through the end of the year is to not gain weight. I don’t seem to be actively working on LOSING it but am pleased to be holding within a 3 lbs range for weeks at a time. Going into holidays is stressful and usually full of social events, though this year that is probably not true. In any case, I’m still 55 lbs down from January 1st. I confess to being jealous of my friend Lisa who is down 75 lbs in the same amount of time, but she’s working on it harder than I am and it’s not a competition even though sometimes I feel that it is and that I’m losing. I hate losing. Even that isn’t enough incentive to push me right now. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

My brother was here for a quick visit and did “tall people things” from my project list. Because of my knee and my back, I’m pretty unstable on my feet on a good day and I don’t want to push my luck by getting on a step stool. It’s nice to have lightbulbs changed and things removed from high places. We had a good visit and a chance to talk without corraling grandkids or any agenda. One thing he did say was that it would be “thoughtful” of me to use a cane so he wouldn’t have to worry about me falling. Since the bad knee feels like buckling at inconvenient times, I think I need to start using a cane or walking stick much as I’d rather not.

Friends here are moving and it’s unsettling. I’ve found myself looking around at my own house and budget, wondering how long I will stay here in this house that has been part of my life for 35 years. I have so much more stuff than when I lived in apartments, which I did for my working life, but most of it I could leave behind. So I’m seriously looking to prune out “stuff” again so it all feels less claustrophobic. Even the genealogy books need weeding, though I did just get a book on Researching Presbyterian Ancestors in Ireland. A little light reading?

I need some time off and permission to TAKE that time off. It’s not that I think I’m irreplaceable but I’m acting as though I am, which is ridiculous. Actually, I just need to give MYSELF permission to take the time – it’s not that anyone is stopping me but me. I’m not sure what I would do with time off since I’m not going to hop on a plane or go for a long driving vacation. Those trips always exhausted me anyway. But taking 2-3 days off plus a weekend would give me a nice break. Just being able to sleep in an extra hour would be a luxury.

One Thing

On the news tonight they were talking with the survivors of one of the devastating tornadoes that have been causing such havoc in the Midwest. And the question was asked: what one thing would you rescue if you could only have one thing from your home, your things, your space? The woman featured in the story was trying to find her wedding dress for the wedding coming up in a few days.

I started thinking about the question, about what I would want to save. We are so invested in things, in acquiring them and displaying and generally accumulating them that “stuff” is overwhelming. Assuming I was able to save the kitty initially, I think I would want to save the computer. All of my important information is on the laptop – plus scanned family photos and documents, financial records, and the family genealogy that I’ve been working on for over 30 years.

Clothes and shoes, books and kitchen stuff, furniture and electronics … they’re all just things. Don’t get me wrong, I live well and enjoy having a comfortable home. But my kitty, my family mean far more.

What would you save?