Too Much Stuff

With spring comes spring cleaning — most years. Sometimes we get lazy and skip a year, or two. But this year I am motivated. 🙂

Today I took a car trunk fully of clothing and shoes from my house and my daughter’s house and donated it to the local consignment shop that funds domestic violence programs in our community. That felt good. Not only did stuff disappear from my house, but helped to save my busy daughter a trek across her town to do the same. One item crossed off the long “to-do” list.

Then I got lucky and learned that the termite/pest control man, who visits quarterly these past twenty years, has two young granddaughters willing to take ownership of the two large bags of stuffed animals I have been saving in the attic for way too long! Still not sure why I saved them. Nostalgia? Probably. My 30ish daughters don’t play with them anymore. Little granddaughters have their own favorites. But, new homes have been found for long-forgotten toys! Two items now crossed off the list.

Last week I sorted through three huge stacks of papers, most of which went in the recycle bin. And fifteen unused Rubbermaid totes got donated to my daughter’s attic for her family storage needs. Guess you could say that I am on a mission to get rid of “stuff.” Saw this quote recently…

“I spent the first 2/3 of my life acquiring stuff that doesn’t matter only so that I can spend the last 1/3 getting rid of it. What a stupid game of consumerism we Americans play.”       ~ Linda Moran Stichtenoth

Our obsession with collecting stuff starts innocently enough. A piece of pottery here, coffee mugs there. Before you know, you are buried under an avalanche of possessions you no longer want or need. If you feel controlled or possessed by possessions, there are steps to take to break the cycle to de-clutter your home and your life.

Here are some ways to purge the stuff not worth saving. Stuff that weights you down and complicates life.

SELL IT!!    Consider yard sales. E-Bay. Consignment shops. Flea markets.

GIVE IT AWAY!!    Regift, as I did with the stuffed animals. To friends and neighbors and extended family. To charities, such as your local homeless shelter, hospice centers, or the Salvation Army. My daughter has been giving away some of her children’s outgrown toys to the preschool that her girls attend. The school is very appreciative of such donations. Try and the “free” section on Craigslist. Many things can be disposed of greenly through these sites, such as computers, appliances, furniture, and children’s play equipment, like swings and trampolines. I have also found Habitat for Humanity to be a wonderful organization to give to. They will come to your home to pick up items too large to transport. Check out for a comprehensive guide to where to send specific items, like eyeglasses, toys, or sneakers.

TRASH IT!!   Recycle all that you can. Take the rest to the curb. Items that are stained or broken, or irreparably damaged belong in the trash, along with unwanted mementos that are meaningless to no one but you. A couple of months ago I put a very rickety wooden child-sized art easel by the curb. Since it was not there the next morning I conclude that someone else found a treasure useful to them or their family. Yeah!

Here is a list of 10 things you should throw out TODAY. If you want to declutter, but not sure where to begin, these items are a must-toss for any household.

  1. Computer printouts
  2. Paper copies of paid bills
  3. VHS tapes, cassette tapes, or old video games
  4. Home gym equipment
  5. Worn-out linens (although these make good cleaning rags or can be used for countless art or craft projects)
  6. Old hair accessories
  7. Outdated cell phones
  8. Extra coat hangers (although places like hospice centers or nursing homes might find these helpful)
  9. Reminders of past hobbies
  10. Single-use kitchen gadgets

Get started today!!! Take small steps. That will inspire you to take bigger steps! Oh, and mop the floor when you finish a room… 🙂

Happy Spring Cleaning!


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