Here's what's not okay: When those things start taking over our lives. I'm not talking Hoarders here; I'm talking about somewhere between that and one box of future gifts in your master bedroom closet. (Yes, I have that box.)
When you have more than a handful of things like I just described, maybe it's time to take inventory. Fernando's employment situation is uncertain at this point, and we don't know what will be happening over the next month or so. We've had many discussions about possible employment elsewhere, and one of those possibilities would be to move--as in, not anywhere close to here. Having just experienced my parents' move from one house to another in the same town, we have vowed that we will not have as much stuff to move as they do. (Love you, Dad and Mom, but you have a lot of stuff!)
Obviously, de-cluttering is the first thing that comes to mind, and I encourage you to do that. There's an amazing feeling of freedom as you drive away from Goodwill, having left behind 50 pounds of boxed-up stuff. In addition to de-cluttering, it's now time to use your stuff.
I remember a story of a woman who bought a beautiful nightgown--probably paid full price, too, because it was so beautiful--and carefully folded it, wrapped it in tissue, and gently placed it in her dresser drawer. She was saving it for a special occasion--maybe an anniversary trip with her husband, or a cruise. Long story short, years went by and the nightgown was still tucked away in her dresser drawer. Eventually, the woman died, and her children found that nightgown, still carefully wrapped, unworn. I don't want to be that woman! I want to enjoy the things I have now; I want today to be that special occasion! So, I've been using my various accumulations. And so should you. :)
Eat it Up!
Something sweet and special. A friend gave me many unmarked bags of what we think are either dates or figs. This item is one of those "Yeah, I'll use those one baking day" things, then they sit on my pantry shelf for months. No longer. I must use them or throw them away! I found a recipe for date/oatmeal cookies, and have made double batches of them. (Update--just checked and they're fig pieces.)
This batch of cookies went to Alpha Omega Math Team with Thomas.
Home-canned goods. I think I inherited a Depression-Era mentality from my grandmother. I have all these canned goods in my basement, and I almost get to the point of hoarding them; i.e., I'll use them only every once in a while, for extra special times. Meanwhile, I go out to Costco (gotta love that warehouse store!!) and purchase multi-packs of diced tomatoes. What am I doing?? While it's okay to have extra stock on hand, it's not okay to not use the stuff I'm stocking! I spent all that time planting, watering, growing, and harvesting; it's time to use it up! Besides, canned goods have a taste-life, and I want to enjoy the best taste I can. So I'm using them up.
Last season's canned tomatoes.
Do you have unused food items waiting in your pantry? Check the expiration date and either use them or throw them away!
Burn, baby, burn!
Candles. I've gone to many a garage sale over the years. I'll still keep going, too, because I love the hunt! I love finding candles, since I love to burn them and I love the ambiance they create in my home. They are a luxury item, though, and since the good ones cost good money, I don't usually buy them. Over the years, I've collected lots of half-full boxes of Partylite candles, plus candles from my favorite candle shop in upstate New York. What am I saving them for? I love burning them, so now I'm burning them.
A garage sale candle sets the mood in my front living room.
A gift from a friend graces our fireplace mantel.
Pretty powder room--compliments of the clearance section at my favorite candle shop.
My dining room table with a Partylite candle and holder.
Valentine's Day candles!
Firewood has been stacked along our backyard fence for forever; plus, my parents gave us a bunch more when they moved. Each summer, I look over at that wood pile and think about the fires we'll have in our fireplace once it turns cold. And then winter arrives, and passes, and I realize we've used the fireplace exactly twice.
Big Girls Don't Cry!
Kleenex. Really. We buy those multi-packs at Costco, and we end up with tons of pink boxes which we use in our (cranberry and gold themed) master bedroom but how often are we in there? I've been using them for makeup removal (they're soft and work well) instead of cotton balls. I've even thought of covering the boxes with decorative paper (or wrapping paper) for use elsewhere in the house. Just for this post, I took a picture of a Kleenex box from our powder room--nice and blue. The pink boxes remain in the master bedroom. :)
It is Better to Give.
Yep, this (below) is that box of gifts I was telling you about earlier. Do you have one? Mine is filled with really nice stuff I've bought on sale and saved for Christmas, birthdays, and weddings. Time to use them! I've given several so far, and even de-cluttered some (to Goodwill).
See the box to the left of the teddy bear? That's the gift box.
The Write Thing to Do.
Pens and pencils. Sometimes I see one of Thomas' pencils lying around, and it's literally two inches long. I pick it up and toss it. There are 20 more pencils in the pencil box that need to be used. :) Come to think of it, we have several plastic storage boxes for pens, pencils, erasers, markers, etc. on a shelf of our computer desk. I should be able to combine all that stuff into a box or two. (That'll have to be the subject of a future post...)
An organized computer desk--pen and pencil boxes are on the top left. :)
Clean Up Your Life!
Soaps and other bath items. We don't travel much, but when we do, we love to take home the little soaps and shampoos from our hotels. We have accumulated quite a collection of little bottles, and I've already used up all the body lotion and shampoo. But those little bar soaps--they just keep piling up. We're used to using liquid soap in the shower, so we never reach for a new bar once we run out. We used the liquid shower gel until we ran out, and now the basket of little bars sits next to our shower. You'd be surprised at how long some of those little bars last! At least we're using them now.
Not only are we using the bars of soap, but bottles of bath salts and bubbles await our (my) enjoyment. We have a garden tub in our master bedroom bath, and I've used it maybe three or four times in the 15 years we've lived here. I'm too practical to lounge in a warm bath reading a book. It makes no sense to me. But I'm determined to at least try to use the bath salts, and the bubbles can be used in the shower for shaving. :)
Using up stuff gets me in the de-cluttering mood, which I've also been doing as I sift through stuff wondering how I can either use it or get rid of it. I've made around $200 in the past month or two by listing items on bookoo.com. There's also Craigslist and eBay. I have lots more to go through, but for right now I'm focusing on de-cluttering by using.
Why save it? I may not be around to enjoy it later--whether I die, or move, or something else. If I can use it now, I'm going to use it and enjoy it. Make today that special day!
Back to life,
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