Tuesday, 17 January 2017

On the Brink of a Purge

I'm on the brink of a big purge. I can feel it. I need less stress, less decision-making, less mess. But not really sure where to start. I have trouble letting things go, there are too many what-ifs in my way. What if I regret giving it away down the road (which I do often)? What if Scarlett could use it in a couple years? What if I decide I need it in 6 months? What if someone I know could use it? But at the same time I struggle with messes. That's not to say I'm not messy. I am. I even rhyme with it. I think there's a natural tendency for the creative to lean that way, but there seems to be a fine line between organized mess & dysfunctional mess.

Organized mess: It may not look pretty but I generally know/remember where something was left. The visual of that object or a reference to where it belongs. Or a place, behind the scenes that may be cluttered (because I don't have the attention span to place them strategically) but at least they are in the place they belong.

Dysfunctional mess: Nothing frustrates me more than not being able to find something when I am limited for time. Or not being able to find something, period. And the random piles of things because they have no home :( Piles on top of the fridge (which I cannot see...obviously not put up there by me) piles on the countertop, or any top that we can find a space for. Piles of laundry on the floor, dirty mixed with clean. Stuff on the floor, that I constantly have to walk around or trip over. If you came to my house you might not believe me when I say this stuff actually does drive me crazy.

So clean it, right? I guess you could say there are times when the only thing I hate more than dysfunctional messes is the mundane task of cleaning & decision power out takes to organize it. Yuck. I start. But I lose interest quite quickly. Eventually we will plan to have company over & I will miraculously find the motivation to clean it up!

My solution. Less stuff. Less stress.

I go through a purge every couple seasons, trying to make the most of what I get rid of....wanting it to have a purpose in its journey to its next life. This may sound funny to some, but it's important to me that it will be appreciated by the next guy. I take joy in giving things away for free or cheap. I know I would appreciate the gesture, so I get satisfaction in knowing I have provided that sort of joy for someone else.

On the other hand, it would be nice to make a buck or two with the things I no longer make use of. I may regret it less if I got some money out of it. And frankly, I could use another buck or two.

Throw kids into the mix & purging becomes a little more complicated. Suddenly I am not only against the current of my own what-ifs, it is much stronger with the resistance of my girls, who have been blessed with the need to hang on to stuff as well.

My oldest, a concept logic, is quicker to let go of things.  She used to be more resistant, but one summer we had a garage sale & I promised one big purchase out of all the money we earned & she got herself a brand new bike. We also talked about the people who would receive her stuff, maybe people who wouldn't be able to afford this stuff new & would appreciate it as much as we did. Lucky for me, this concept has stuck with her & she typically on board with our purging phases.

The younger of the two, my emotional idealist, loves everything & resists letting it go with all her might. She has a fit every time I event suggest giving away or selling one of her toys. When she got her fur real unicorn for her birthday she said she never never never wants to sell it. This kid takes a lot more creative convincing, & the odd bribe. If I successfully catch her in a good mood, she often later goes back on her word & starts to pull things out of the sell box and we are back to square one. She's a challenger. I've got my work cut out, but I am determined to convert her to our side. Besides, where do you think she gets her stubbornness from?

I could go about liquidating toys without their approval, this seems more logical. But not very fair. Oh the guilt I would face when they realize a favourite toy (that week) was given away without their permission. Ok, so maybe I've created a monster. Or you could call it diplomacy. So be it, that's the way we do things in our house. The battle continues, we work on it & I think this work will pay off in the long run.

One of the decisions I have made is to only decorate my home with things that have sentimental value to them - things that belonged to my grandma, gifts given by loved ones (select ones will make this cut...) handmade by people in my life, personal art & photographs, things related to the experience of receiving them - these are the things that bring me much joy & I rarely get tired of. This is a good start & it has worked well for me, although my walls are a bit bare, it is a process that works well for me.

Where to go from here is a little confusing to me at this point. I am trying to adopt the 'things are replaceable' mentality but struggle with the need to save my money. Perhaps my closet? Or the spice cabinet? Baby toys? Maybe I'll watch that documentary on Netflix. Baby steps. I don't know if I will ever find that perfect balance, but I am convinced there is room for improvement.

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