Friday, March 12, 2010

Getting rid of excess baggage

Sarah, at Clover Lane, is getting rid of 40 bags of stuff during the 40 days of Lent. Her system of purging in a lot more organized, but I stole the main idea and I too am getting rid of 40 bags of stuff before Easter.

What I am finding is that while physically not having the excess stuff around feels good, emotionally getting rid of the stuff is liberating. I have been amazed at how emotionally draining things, items, objects can be. I never realized that certain items in my house held such emotional energy, until I got rid of them. Wow! Really the feeling is indescribable.

I used to be a bit of hoarder—an organized hoarder, but a hoarder nonetheless. I would see something on sale and buy multiple of the item with the rationale that it was a great deal and that I was sure I would need it one day. I always wanted to be prepared. And prepared I was.

But what I came to realize is that I never really used half of what I had bought, if I used any of it at all. I felt guilty that this stuff was sitting around and I wasn’t using it. So, I gave myself permission to quit my habit of stocking up and finally gave myself permission to start getting rid of what I wasn’t using.

(Full disclosure—I still buy the following items from Costco: toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, paper towels, tissue, toilet paper, soap. These are things that I don’t want to run out of and do use every day.)

To help myself refrain from stocking up, I had to make some lifestyle changes.

I no longer read the ads. Do I miss some good sales? Sure, but I am willing to pay a little more for exactly what I need when I need it. I have found that in the long run it actually saves me money.

I skip the dollar store and the dollar section at Target. The stuff is great, but I really don’t need any of it. For example, I recently saw a great deal on some note cards in the dollar section at Target. I was tempted, but then I remembered that I just ordered a set of monogrammed correspondence cards for all my correspondence needs. The correspondence cards were more expensive, but I enjoy them. They also came in a set of 50, so I don’t need to worry about running out anytime soon.

I don’t make impulse purchases. I found that things I buy on impulse are the things that I am usually least happy with. These impulse purchases sit around the house and never really get used. I have a 24 hour rule. I wait for 24 hours to pass to see if I still really want the item. Most times, I find that I don’t. If I still am not 100% sure if I want it or not, I wait another 24 hours. I know this seems extreme to some, but it works for me.

Conscious living choice: Get rid of the excess. It doesn’t matter if it was one dollar, one hundred dollars or one thousand dollars. If I don’t need it and I am not using it, I need to free myself from it physically and emotionally.


  1. Love it! You know I am fan of Clover Lane, and simplifying life. I really like this post. I am on board as well. I too am learning to skip the dollar section. Good job girl! =)

  2. Oh, Amen to that! I hate clutter but somehow it always ends up sneaking into my kids playroom and my kitchen... I guess it's the circle of family life, hu? I love the blogging world because it allows me a glimpse into the wonderful lives of such great examples... like you :)

  3. Hi there! Thanks for visiting my blog! I absolutely love the idea of making new friends, that I never would have met "in life", through blogging. We can learn so much from each other, don't you think?
    Every year, around New Years, we sit down as a family and talk about goals for the year. We have family goals (which I print out nice and hang in the kitchen) and personal goals (which hang on the bathroom mirrors where we're sure to see them). Our personal goals are divided into categories: physical (healthy eating, exercize, sports, etc), spiritual (daily scripture reading, prayer, service, etc), and then educational for the kids (grades, books to read, etc). I help them come up with several goals in each category, according to their age and abilities and they write them down. I still have to write for my four-year-old, but he does seem to understand what we're doing, which is the idea. Then throughout the year, during family night (which we have once a week) my husband will ask the kids how they're coming on their goals, to keep them focused. I have found that if we don't mention it, they will forget about it, so we have to stay on top of it, but they do love to SEE those goals being met. It's so fun to watch them set and accomplish their own goals.
    Anyway, that's how we do it around here. I hope that it's making a difference for them. Sometimes it's hard to see what they've really learned until later in life, but we're trying, right? :)
    Again, thanks for stopping by!