Where did we get so much stuff? When did we have time or money to accumulate so much stuff? And a lot of it isn’t even good stuff, either. Sure, some of it was, back when it was new. But now, it’s just old and broken and shabby looking. Obsolete, not working well, or broken.
This whole adoption process has caused a massive cleaning and culling around here. We have been going through each room deciding what to keep and what to throw away, making room for more stuff which a baby inevitably brings. And, consequently, we now have a garage packed to the rafters with stuff that needs to be disposed of.
Why did we need all this stuff? When was it useful to us?
I will never live in a home that is elegant and airy, all clean lines and clean floors and minimalist furnishings. I find that sometimes restful, but it’s not going to be me. I seem to attract clutter. A pretty doodad here, something that might be good for X there. And I am somewhat of a packrat, too. I always see the use in things, and hate to throw out useful items. There are things purchased on a dream: “This would be great for…” a time or situation in our lives that likely never even came. I’ve mentioned my stacks of back issues of Canadian Living before. There’s also a pottery obsession that’s run its course and left me with sad pieces of neglected pottery everywhere. I’m worst with clothes — I am very gentle on my clothing, and consequently I have all this perfectly good, and definitely seriously outdated, clothing hanging in my closets all the time.
BDH is very, very hard on clothes and items. He is a typical boy of the species in that respect. So, luckily, clothes and especially shoes get worn out and pitched on a regular basis. But he’s a packrat of the first order, even moreso than me. His packrattery runs more along the lines of technological items and, of all things, kitchen ware. And paper. Good doG, the man is a paper magnet. Pieces of paper with bits of notes scribbled on them or printouts of once-useful information can be found in every corner of the house.
Make that past tense.
Because since we’ve been preparing for the adoption, we’ve been throwing out a lot of stuff. What we can donate, we sometimes do — not, I am sad to say, if it requires us transporting it somewhere. If they will come pick it up, they can have it. But otherwise, it’s been getting pitched. Clothes are being donated to the Diabetes Association. Paper is being shredded and thrown out. Today, all my old fabric, for sewing projects that went uncompleted or even un-started, went out with the garbage. The Canadian Living stacks remain, but that is just a matter of time, and my ability to lift them.
There is one piece of clutter that I refuse to part with, and that is a bed frame, now probably about 75 years old, hanging in the basement. BDH said today he was getting a hacksaw and cutting up a bunch of the larger items to be thrown out into smaller, more manageable pieces, and he included that in the bunch. I swear to you, that is NOT going to happen. This is a grand old hospital bed, with fat metal bars, that definitely needs some sanding and rustproofing, but with a little love and attention will be great painted some fantastic colour — pink or purple or yellow, whatever colour our daughter wants when she’s old enough to have a Big Girl Bed — and made into the centerpiece of our daughter’s bedroom. No, that piece will DEFINITELY stay.
Our house has been clean and relatively clutter-free for a week now, and I can say in all honesty that we are more relaxed and happier because of it. I dream of a clutter-free home. I know with a baby or child, that is difficult, but this week is making me think that maybe I can work harder to manage that clutter.
And we can perhaps try not to accumulate as much stuff as we go along. Or, at least, try not to hang on to it for so long.