Monday, June 19, 2017

Getting Rid Of All That Stuff (And Call Your Senators!!)

Folks, before I ramble on with you about my decluttering journey, I need to encourage you to call your Senators, and do it now!  A small working group in the Senate has been working pivately and in secret (away even from other Republicans) on a pan that they refuse to share with anyone. No matter HOW you feel about health care, or needed changes to Obama care, secrecy is, put simply, unamerican. And one cannot but help to believe that anything requiring such secrecy must be dangerous and unpopular (like putting 23 million people on the street with no health care).  Please call your democratic senators as well-if only to give them encouragement and know that they are being heard.

And second, for those of you living in Republican districts, if you are unhappy about your respresentation, this summer is the time to get active for next year. In Colorado, we have one congressman that will almost surely lose his seat next year and a Senator that's on the downhill, but doesn't even know it yet, I expect!  Back to decluttering and frugality and...

On Wednesday, I'll be joining some other bloggers and sharing my summer "bucket list", and I'm so looking forward to joining with others on this summer journey. Meanwhile, I am doing my best to check up on those spring goals. Some done, some not done, unsurprisingly.

One of my less than done goals (great phraseology there!), is the streamlining of my bedroom and studio. As I mentioned on another post, I have arrived at what I call the "storm before the calm" in my downsizing process.  In other words, I've pulled stuff out of the closets, but much of it remains unsorted. I would not dare to share a picture with you at this point! !!!  Added to that disorganization is the fact that my bedroom is almost always the "staging area" for any kind of work in the house and you can understand why I am ready for this room to be done (my room is much larger than any other room in the house-it even has room for a sitting area if I ever break down and actually decorate my sleeping space).

You'd think this would be easy. I mean really!!  I'm mainly not a "keeper" and I was raised by non-keeper types. My parents traveled the world with us. But the only souvenirs were one of a kind art or sculpture or pretty things that were "to be used" (think monkey pod salad bowls, delft china hot pads). I mean they certainly had their wedding china, and other traditional "stuff". But four children divided up and disposed of a retirement condo in four days and I can count on my hands the things I have from  that house (marble eggs, china...). My daughter came over before I moved to Colorado and announced that the Lladro statue, and three or four other family things were hers and she was taking them. I was perfectly fine with that.

So what's my problem?  What to DO with all that stuff you don't want or need. Oh sure, some of it's easy. Take some pictures of my various Vera Bradley bags and earn enough to buy a large purse that can also act as a brief case (meaning it's a nice purse, but big enough to hold file folders).  And some of my stuff like partially used craft remnants, can be donated to my homeless women for crafting.

Unfortunately, everything is not that simple. And while I may end up with no alternative, I am trying to avoid the Goodwill/trash/family options.  It's my sustainability gene kicking in I guess. Goodwill does good work, don't get me wrong. But they also flood overseas countries with their excess goods.  Obviously I would like to avoid the trash as much as possible. And with a few exceptions, my kids do not necessarily want my stuff.

This of course is unsurprising, and I expect I am not alone in this.  In fact, there's a new book out, entitled Downsizing the Family Home, What to Save, What to Let Go.  Now, let me say here that I am not offended by my kids not keeping things that may have emotional meaning to me.  I want them to have things that have emotional meaning to THEM. I also (and this is an issue that I know many boomers struggle with), have no issue if they use something in a different way than I would. My general feeling about life, wether it is someting I have made or give on an inheritance passed on is that once given, it is no longer yours.

 Up to now, my solution  to disposition of family stuff has been simple.  I ask them.  What do you want. Do you think you want this?  And occasionally when it comes to things I am using, the question is different. Do you THINK either of you will want my polish pottery place settings? For me at least, asking this questions clarifies the downsizing process. It also encourages commnication among my offspring-although to date the only disagreemet of any kind has been with regards to memorabilia items and easily resolved.

As for the rest, even if I don't want it, I would rather not see it in Africa, or in a land fill. And with a few exceptions, I'm more interested in having this gone, than receiving any kind of money. A garage sale is probably not in my future. Good crafting stuff has temporarily gone into the "Can I use it to make an item and then sell it pile", and the purses have been sold. Other than that?  I've listed outgrown clothing in lots on my local Facebook swap page.  The craft stuff that could be used by not by me goes to a shelter for crafting. My old day planners (the leather ones), also on the swap page. A few old clothes cut into rags and some sweaters cut to upcycle with.  And so it goes.

And now, time to work instead of write. And maybe I can find my way to bed in the dark once again. 


  1. We have a St. Vincent's store here that resells everything locally, perhaps there's one near you. Our local Facebook swap took care of a lot of stuff as well. I gave up on Goodwill, some of their stuff is shipped to larger cities for resale but not locally and then as you mentioned, there's the Africa/landfill business. We also have a social services agency that takes clothing for the clients in their jobs programs. I have many grandkids who are just starting out and took my extra dishes/linens etc. off my hands. I'm not offended either that the kids don't want my sentimental papers, photos, etc. Those are my memories :-)

    1. Also, I think the CEO's and other executives of Goodwill earn a larger salary than you would expect.

  2. I second the suggestions above. We also have a great pick up service here called Green Drop. I give my stuff to Purple Heart through them. St Vincent does supply money to their outreach. My dad used to deliver groceries provided by the store in our area.
    Downsizing---Uggg. Unless one of us passes---it will happen again in five years.

  3. Is that really true about Goodwill? I had no idea. I take literally everything over there.

    1. Roberta. I don't want to disparage Goodwill because they serve a purpose, both for us and for the people they hire and help. But yes, flooding Africa with cheap goods rejected by us has some major implications not the least of which is that those clothes making small businesses in the third world suffer. granted the huffpost is an obviously progressive paper but here is one perspective

  4. I have slowly but surely been decluttering for the past few years. I have a box ready to take to the Salvation Army sometime this month after I add a few more items to it. Just need to get started on this again this week.

    God bless.

  5. I am totally motivated by before and after pics of decluttering - please get brave and share;). My car trunk is currently full of some older luggage (perfectly fine) that I won't use again because I'm traveling lighter these days. I need to get to Salvation Army. I'm not sure what they do with things that don't sell. I am pretty picky in what I take there and try to take things I think would sell. I am not the best house cleaner with things like baseboards, AC vents, etc. so I subscribed to Fly Lady with the hopes that zones would help. That site is BIG on decluttering.

    Good reminder to for me to call Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill. They are polar opposites so I'll give encouragement to Claire and share my frustrations with Roy.

    1. Lol, the bottom of my closet has become Goodwill bag central. My car needs serious help, but I am starting with my room. I am a terrible housecleaner. A fellow blogger writes regularly that one of the thigns she does with her days is spend four hours cleaning,


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