Thursday, January 12, 2012

Do you own things? Or do they own you?

My mom saved all her cards, newspaper clippings, recipes, old envelopes with addresses of people that were probably dead and gone, not to mention old receipts from the utility companies that dated back 40 years ago.

When mom died, we were left with the big mess of tossing out the little bits and pieces of her life. As cruel as that sounds, it almost turned me into a horder. I started asking myself "Why did she save this or that? These must have been important to her." And then I started a pile of these bits and pieces to keep.
Whoaaaaa Nellie!!

My thoughts are do you own things? Or do they own you?
I purge everyday.

Rule of thumb:
1.) If I haven't worn it or it's not seen the light of day for 1 year...donate it.

2.) Everytime something new comes in the house something has to leave. Or else you end up with a ton of crap and then your closets start filling up.

3.) Donate, Donate, Donate and take the tax write-off. Having a garage sale is a pain in the keester. My tax man says you can claim more per item donated on your taxes than what you are practically giving it away for a  garage sale. After earning $68 for a week's worth of setting up for our semi-annual neighborhood garage sale, I decided it was no longer worth my time. Time = money.

4.) Divide and Conquer. Spread the love. Who died and made me keeper of all the family photo's that no one wants to deal with? I have 3 sisters. They think because I am retired that I have all the time in the world to scan the family pictures onto CD's and send them each a nice compact CD of old family photo's. As a matter of fact, the last visit I had from my oldest sister I sat down with her and asked her the names of all the dead people. I scanned the one's I wanted to keep and then I divided up the photos and mailed them to each sister. Let them scan their own CD's. Ha!

5.) I set an empty bin on top of my dryer and anything that is going to be donated gets tossed in the bin daily. You would be surprised how fast that bin fills up. I go weekly to the thrift stores to donate.

6.) I also buy stuff from those same thrift stores only now when I'm there I really have to decide "Do I just want this? Or do I really need this?" Helps to keep me in line.

7.) Everytime someone in my family dies or moves away, suddenly everyone thinks my house is cheaper than renting a U haul or a warehouse. Well it is but not anymore! I box things up and mail them out to my family members. That will be $36.78 sister dear. They start to figure the u haul or warehouse would have been cheaper after they sign for the second, third or even fourth box.

8.) Which brings me back to getting rid of the clutter. Well don't let it in your house in the first place! When the mail comes, I stand right over the paper shredder and discard the junk mail. Then I recycle the shreaded paper in the mega bin the city has provided for each household on our street. Mine is usually filled to the brim.

I don't want to leave behind a mess for my daughter to toil over. So I pretty much stick to my plan.
((The heavenly angels are singing here)))
This house is clean.
Got any tips? Want to share them?


Viki said...

Usually I'm pretty good at getting rid of stuff. There was just something about that container but I finally did it lol.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Wow! My girls are not as lucky as yours! I dread having to go through all my Mom's stuff when the time comes. I am not where you are yet, but I am working on getting rid of things I don't use, don't wear and don't really want anymore. I agree no yardsale, DONATE! hugs, Linda

JJ said...

You found the secret to sanity! I have a sister who will not throw anything out at all. She even rents storage facilities to keep her excess junk. I would rather buy something twice than use it every five years. Donate!

Nonna Beach said...

A big Amen Ames !I am in the beginning process of doing what you have been doing.I don't want my kids to have to toil over all the junk we've collected over the last 40 years but it is a daunting task. I cleaned out my china closet and in the process I broke a piece of my fine china. 10 years ago I would have cried for a few minutes and gone on to buy a new one but now I just swept it up and threw it out. To replace that one salad plate would cost $ thanks...Good for you, I hope I can work the system as well as you have got it mastered...thanks for all the great tips !!!

Sue said...

You sound like my husband!


ain't for city gals said...

Hey Girl..I think we are all thinking the same way...who wants this stuff anymore?? Evidently nobody cause e-bay is absolutely dead and people are not even going to garage sales anymore. I just box the stuff up and load the box right in my pickup and take it to Habitat...never miss it after it is gone. Just like losing weight...feels good!

cj Schlottman said...

Good on you, Ames! I'm all into cleaning out my closet twice a year. There are women out there, abused or just alone and sick, who need clothes. There is not one thing in my closet that I can't live without, especially when others are cold and practically naked.

Thanks for this reminder.....cj

Annesphamily said...

I am cleaning for this new year! I have two plastic bins t the foot of my bed! This weekend I will purge and donate or save or toss! Great advice Ames!