I like stuff. I admit it. I like collecting it, looking at it, and sometimes even using it- but when the stuff gets in the way of life, you need to reevaluate your habits.
It started when I began indulging myself in all my interests, flitting from one to the other like a hummingbird amongst flowers, never really settling on just one thing. And it was never half-way either- if I was doing quilting, I had to have all the colors (just in case), all the threads, and as many patterns and doo-dads I could get my hands on. Then I wanted to do denim purses, and no pair of used jeans was able to escape my clutches! (insert evil laughter here). I also love to cook, so I gathered gadgets and gizmos that would turn me into a culinary genius- everything from cookie cutters to pasta makers.
At first I denied this revelation- after all, I didn't have any bugs or dead yaks in my clutter, and my piles were organized- I knew precisely where everything was- I just couldn't get to it.
I could sew all day every day for the next ten years and still have enough fabric left over to make a cozy for the Washington Monument. Okay, maybe two cozies.
I have enough jeans stashed away I could clothe a third-world country for the next five
I would have to go to culinary school for a decade to know how to use half the appliances I bought, yet I only have the counter space for a toaster and a microwave.
And I hated the idea of getting rid of any of it!
But with help from a friend (who is a neatnik and was totally shocked when she first walked into my house that she needed to sit down and 'contemplate my space', but I knew she was plain old flabbergasted), she encouraged me to get rid of things and reorganize my house to make the most of it.
The first decluttering wave took me two years. The second wave had taken a year. And now I do little waves on a regular basis to keep up with the clutter. This will be an ongoing job and will never be finished for someone like me, because I still like to collect things- I'm just in better control now!
Sometimes I still suffer from CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome), but it's not nearly as often as it used to be. I still need to work on turning some chores into habits (like cleaning *shudder*), but things are coming along nicely- just so long as I don't have any more interests!
If you are like me in this capacity, let me share some of my mantras I used when I was going through things:
If it doesn't make you happy when you look at it, ditch it.
Don't think about it- there is no second guessing. Keep it or get rid of it, now.
If it doesn't have a place, it doesn't stay.
Never ask yourself if you'll use it. You'll always say yes- eventually I will. Ask yourself, DO I use it- this is a yes or no question.
The more you declutter, the easier it gets.
Think about how nice it will be to have that space back!
These mantras worked for me, but you might want to add or change them. Do what works for you. But the main thing is Do It. It might take you a few months. It might even take a few years. But the results are worth it! I feel more confident about inviting people over now, and don't mind of someone drops by. I don't have to hide messes, or tell them they can't come in, and feel shame when I answer my door anymore.
It not only a blessing to me, it's a blessing to my family as well!