Decluttering : It’s Just Stuff

Photo by Félix Prado on Unsplash

I grew up in a pretty clean house. My mom was an “at home” mother until I went to college and she loved a neat and tidy home. We were never made to run the sweeper, do dishes (back in the days before dishwashers), laundry, or anything like that. She said when we got older we’d have enough housework.

When I went away to college I needed to do laundry so I went to a coin operated laundromat. I was so spoiled I had to ask someone to show me how to use the washer. One day I left a new pair of Wrangler jeans washing in the New Ken laundromat and went back to my half duplex one block away. When I returned they were gone. Someone must have really wanted them if they took them soaking wet.

I don’t remember being really neat in college or when I lived, single, in my Winebiddle Street apartment afterwards. I hated going to bed with dirty dishes on the counter (still do) so I made sure they were done. I did live in an old, old house that had been converted into one room effficiencies. One day I came home and my Free Spirit 10 speed bicycle was in the window sunlight. I looked and it was encased in a giant, intricate spider web. I don’t remember what I did about that but I probably wiped it down.

Once my babies were born, I remember launching into clean mode. I spent way too much time worrying about how clean my house was. With my first, I went back to work. With my second, it no longer made sense to give day care my salary so I stayed home and became a plastics party queen. I loved a clean house back then even though I remember toys everywhere for a very long time.

Last night I went looking for a specific music CD and it was gone. So was my stack of probably 40-50 CD’s that were on a shelf in my guest bedroom closet. I had a flash of panic. My husband and daughter rented a dumpster about a month ago and cleaned out the house. I participated very little in this. I have been decluttering for at least four years, since I quit my full time job, and even before that so I felt very little need to join in.

The reality began to set in a minute later that my CD’s were GONE. I sent Jim a text in the hopes that he might know where they were. But I knew. Twenty years worth of music- Christmas, Greek, Rock and Roll- gone to a dumpster and a garbage dump somewhere. Good thing I had a couple of my favorites in the car.

Now if my husband threw these away, I don’t blame him. Yep, I don’t. Because I should have participated in this and honestly, he probably thought they were old CD’s of the kids that no one listened to anymore. In the process of looking through my closet (just in case they were in a box somewhere), I did find a treasure trove of children’s music that probably belonged to my grandson from 15 years ago. Those are going to Penny.

I will be sad for a couple of days but I will move on. Decluttering is a good feeling in the end. It is just stuff. I listen to music in the car occasionally, but most times I enjoy the quiet. I think I’ll be ok with that.

If you want to de-clutter and don’t know where to start, I recommend this book written by a friend. It’s awesome and will get you started. Restore Order, Restore Joy by Dorothy L. Clear. 

Is there a clutter area in your house? How does it bother or not bother you?



Join me on my graceful journey.

15 Replies to “Decluttering : It’s Just Stuff”

  1. Feel your pain Joanne. About 10 yrs ago I was in a pitching fever and threw a portable hard drive with ,,9 yrs of photos and video away. Missed getting in out of the garbage by one day! I have shed man years over that one!

  2. That’s tough, but yes it is only stuff. I would grieve, of course. Despite my attempts to get rid of clutter I still have plenty of it. In fact I am probably going to take some to a thrift store this afternoon.

  3. Joanne: Thank you for mentioning my book!
    My husband and I have two rules. One is we never throw out each others stuff. The other is we have to tell each other if we move something that belongs to the other person.
    On a side note, I had a bunch of CDs stolen out of my car some years ago. I still have not replaced them all.
    Dorothy L. Clear, CPO

    1. I like your two rules. Those are good. I have thrown things away (in the past) of my husband’s and I really make an effort not to do that anymore.
      When I worked in the city the police officer friends of mine used to tell me not to leave anything on my car seats- cameras, etc, and CD’s especially. Also, coins in plain view. It’s amazing what people will steal.
      Thanks so much for your comment. I really loved your book.

  4. We had a garage sale this year and cleared the attic of EVERYTHING except one bin of Alex’s stuff and one bin of coats. We made 200 dollars selling the contents of 65 – 20 gallon bins. The people who bought my things were so happy and blessed. In retrospect I should have kept the suitcases.

  5. Oh boy…this is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. I love a neat and tidy house…and I HAD one for a very few years! You see, I am a SHE- Sidetracked Home Executive. I stay busy ALL day long, but my house never looks it because I never finish one job before I get sidetracked with another. Right now, though, my house is filled with all of my stuff, my grand children’s stuff, my son’s stuff AND my dad’s stuff! That is A LOT of stuff. I followed for several years and my house stayed nice…before chaos once again reigned in my home.

    1. I hear you. I like a neat house and I feel uncomfortable in clutter. These days I try and finish one project before I start another. Also, I CLEAN UP after myself. If I take the time to do that I really have less to pick up. Taking a bag to Goodwill once in a while feels good too. xoxo

  6. Oh goodness that story sort of stings. Drats. I am sincerely sorry that happened. Okay, change is hard and tricky for everyone. Might be a sweet time to treat yourself to a new way of listening to music? Oh, who am I kidding? I would be a tad bit grumpy, too. Dang. I repeat! CHANGE is hard and tricky. Since downsizing to a smaller home, decluttering is my middle name! In this together, friend.
    Hugs, D

  7. I am a saver, but when I moved apartments two years ago I threw away and gave away a lot…things that just didn’t serve a purpose any longer in my life – maybe they would in some one elses. My mother did make us help out when we were young, and I’m glad she did. Actually, I didn’t always mind it. I learned how to do laundry, cook dinner, dust, mop floors, etc. She was a stay at home mom until I was about 13, and I loved that. I was always more of the domestic type anyway, so I’m glad I was able to help her along the way. And she was always appreciative. Blessings, Marianne xo

    1. Hi Marianne, I am a saver too but the last couple of years I have been trying to get rid of things that I don’t use. What’s the point right? And I don’t want my kids to deal with all that stuff later too. So I try to only keep things that have true meaning to me. Good to hear from you! xoxo

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