Monday, January 28, 2008

Declutter 2008

This week we woke up and decided that We...Must...Rid...Ourselves...Of...All...This...Stuff...

I threw out things this weekend I have kept for twenty years. I threw out the little toothpicks wrapped up in origami paper to look like teeny-tiny geishas my dad gave me when we went to a Japanese restaurant when I was eight.

I threw out all our Adobe Photoshop 5.5 books, because you know what? We're not in 1999 anymore.

I threw out the puppy yucky, which is this spray we spritzed on items so that our puppies would not chew on them - mainly our dining room set.

I threw out a bag of pantyhose I've been keeping since college because I DO NOT WEAR PANTYHOSE. Yet, I thought that some day, I might get a job where I will have to wear pantyhose. But you know what? I've decided that even if I get a corporate job, I will stop the wearing of the pantyhose.

I threw out about five huge shopping bags full of books and another five big shopping bags full of clothes. Outdated terrible clothes I haven't worn in years.

I threw out my old Hello Kitty Jewelry box I've had since I was 5.

I sold our snow-thrower to a nice gentleman on craigslist (Thanks Luigi!).

I threw out almost all our cassette tapes because there's this thing? It's called an MP3 player? I'm 35 years old and I cannot believe how much outdated electronic equipment we already have. I threw out a huge box of diskettes (remember THOSE things?).

We purged the house of boxes full of junk this weekend and you know what? We've just barely scratched the surface of the clutter.

This is really hard for me because I'm a pack rat and when I was growing up, we had almost no money, which meant that we couldn't even afford toys, so most of my playthings were hand-me-downs. Every Christmas, I was allowed to keep one or two items so that we could repackage all the other gifts the rest of the year to give away when I got invited to birthday parties. We couldn't afford to buy my friends gifts and I always saved the best toys to give away.

I think it's because of this childhood that every single item I owned became very precious to me, including the ugly wood carved monkeys my grandmother gave me. I don't want to make this sound like it's soooooo traumatizing, but I think it is a bit more difficult for me to declutter than it is for other people.

One time, on a family trip to Yellowstone, my great-aunt gave us these really ugly scarves sewn up from scrap fabrics. My cousins got really angry about them and threw them in the wastebasket. They said things like, "Ugh! I can't believe she gave us that garbage!"

I rescued them out of the wastebasket because I didn't want my great-aunt to see it in the trash. I was afraid that it would hurt her feelings. I put them in my suitcase and brought them with me all the way home. And yes, those scarves were one of the items I donated to Goodwill over the weekend. I kept them this whole time!

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