Saturday, February 05, 2011

stuff it

Lots of conversations to be had at my place recently about 'stuff'. the stuff that lives in cupboards for just in case i need it...or that will come in handy....the stuff that accumulates in the wardrobes of children - every sticker/birthday invitation/christmas cracker prize/macdonalds toy since 2005....the condiments in the pantry bought for a special occasion...the clothes bought on sale and never worn...the trademe bargains of the year....the 3 dozen towels in the airing cupboard...oldt ehcnology, new technology, non-technology.
I have a theory - you knew I would! - that OFTEN we surround ourselves with stuff because we have 'stuff' that we haven't worked through on the inside.....stuff it! we think, i deserve this thing, it will make me happy. i have lots of stuff, let's look at this stuff and move it around and then i'll have a bit of room for some more stuff....Until we reach a position of, eek! i have so much STUFF i don't know where to start to get rid of i'll just stuff this new thing in here with this other stuff...
for those that have visited my house, you'll know that i am most definitely a less is more person. and yet even i constantly have a box on the go for excess stuff. few weeks would go by that i'm not delivering clothes to an opshop, or poking something else in the rubbish bin, or listing another piece of something on trademe.
So, due to popular demand, here's my tools for dealing with stuff....
1. start thinking about the big stuff...what's going on for you? do you feel overwhelmed by your stuff? is it head stuff, heart stuff, or things that clutter your house (I bet there's a bit of each in there)
2. decide on one thing, one room, one issue and start there. eg stuff going on for you about how you feel about the way you look? then start with your wardrobe - or if that's too scary, your makeup bag. or, if you often stress about what you eat, start with the pantry. if you nag your kids heaps about cleaning up their own messes, start with their room.
3. be organised. get banana boxes from the supermarket. these are better than bags because as you're putting things in them you can still see it (I'm not that mean, there's always room to change you mind with this system). get 4 boxes. put labels on them:
a. chuck b. give away c. mend/repair d. might come in handy one day but doesn't need to live in this particular space - hereon called the mcih box
4. set time aside for this. allow 2 hours for first cull. ideally when there's noone else around so you're not being influenced by kids or significant others in your decisions. they'll get their say at a later date.
5. pick your startpoint (see above). put the boxes out and get going. go with first instinct and don't dither (time for that later). when the space is sorted it will look awesome and you'll probably have bulging boxes.
6. take the boxes to another location (so you're not tempted to put everything back straight away). now is the time to have another (quick) look over. get rid of the chuck box into the bin straight away. put the give away box aside to sort through for appropriate recipients. look at the mend and repair - how long have those things been broken? 6 months or more? will repair actually make the thing serviceable? is it going to cost anything - in $$ - to achieve this? would in fact, it be better to chuck?
finally the mcih long have you been mcihing this? more than 6 months? could you buy this thing at a future date if you REALLY needed it? could it be recycled into something else? or be mcih for someone else? would it in fact, be better to chuck?
7. Put the broken/repair box and the mcih box lids on. and put those boxes far far away from your living spaces - perhaps the garage? add to them as required but do not look at them otherwise for at least 3 months. i bet you forget about them. i bet the kids don't ask for the broken thing. i bet not one thing comes in handy.... when those boxes are full...chuck em....
i do this about twice a year. it now takes me less than a day to do the whole house. the benenfits are huge....
- less stuff to move
- less stuff to clean
- less stuff to nag the kids about cleaning up
- spend way less money as i don't want more stuff anymore
- more headspace to deal with the important stuff
as if by osmosis my children get the stuff idea...they are both happy to take part in a stuff-it session.
I made $400 on trademe last month, selling my stuff
i have so much more energy for the stuff that matters....

1 comment:

JoGillespie said...

I REALLY wish that trademe existed in Italy! There is ebay, but I don't trust ebay...