Minimize 2012

UPDATE: 6/14/12 -
I can't locate the date of the original post on this page (see below with the strikethrough font), but I have a great idea for getting rid of the clutter....get cancer!  Kidding.  Our course.  Seriously.  I do NOT wish cancer on anyone.  At all.  Ever.  It really is uncool.  But I sure have been working harder to get rid of the clutter.  I think part of it is because it is just embarrassing to have people around to see how much STUFF we have that is everywhere and has no official "home" because we hardly use it (usually can't find it).  Actually, in my defense, I really know where most of the important things are and can often figure out where "lost" things have gone.  It's an "organized chaos" around here.

But now I have breast cancer.  And I'm worried.  What if something happens to me?  How will anyone find what they need around here?  And then I also think, "Thank God I was shopping ahead of time when we HAD two incomes because now we can't afford to buy this stuff!"  I certainly have more shampoo than I will be able to use in the next couple of years, especially since I won't have any hair in about 3-4 weeks.  So I'm going through all of the travel and sample sized products and trying out whatever.  Who cares?

And that's just it, who cares about all of this stuff?  Ok, sometimes I do care.  And the kids do sometimes notice when something goes missing.  But often we just do without whatever it was and just move forward.  And that's it.  We are moving forward.

We have cleared out much of the stuff that was piling up in the garage for the garage sale that hadn't happened since last year.  I felt like we needed to sell the stuff to make up for the money I had spent on the items and also to pay for things we really DO need going forward.  And when I knew I'd be leaving my job I was REALLY worried about how things would work out.  How would we pay the bills?  And then God blessed us.  He answered.  He showed me that He really will provide if I just give it to Him.  So we skipped the garage sale and knew what to do.  Our wonderful administrators at Westlake WeeSchool came by to "shop" the items in the garage for anything they could use at the school.  And then my oh-so-helpful and kind sister said she would start taking loads of things to drop off at the KARM store (they resell items and use to help those who are homeless or needy in our area - a wonderful organization).

Most of the things are gone now.  And I'm continuing to find more things that either don't fit (one of the five of us), we've out-used, don't want, can't find it all, etc.  There are new piles forming and I've even found more ways to help others (like something in a church bulletin about a young woman moving into an apartment after growing out of the foster care system).  It's a good feeling to look through what we have and realize that I might be able to help someone else.  It sort of takes away the shame of my original potentially unnecessary purchase and makes me feel like something good can come out of all of this.

Minimize 2012 is coming along nicely, thank you very much, breast cancer.  See, there really is a silver lining? :)

I've decided to start again.  While we did make progress in 2011 "decluttering", we have many more projects that relate to this idea.  So this year, I thought I'd go with "MINIMIZE 2012."  I might have to change that title, but it sounds good to me at the moment.
I have admitted more than once on Facebook and probably in various blog posts that I am a borderline-hoarder.  I don't know where this comes from exactly.  There are people in my life who probably contributed to this way of life, including my mother and my grandmother.  But there are also things that happened that lead them to be that way, I'm sure, like being a part of The Depression.  I'm sure they found that it was important to hang onto things.  Repurpose them.  Or maybe they just wanted to hang onto things as a way to remember moments from their lives?
When I lost my parents, I found myself going through so many things that they had kept for all of these years, despite some major decluttering periods of their own (specifically back when I was in high school and we dumped most of my school papers and notebooks that seemed useless).  My sisters and I had time to sort through papers, cards, pictures, trinkets, kitchen items, etc and it was overwhelming, to say the least.  We didn't actually have time to go through EVERYTHING, but we certainly tried.  Auntie Karen and I had seen numerous programs about what you should keep, honoring these items, etc and we did what we could to take things that felt important or things that we thought would be important for generations to come.
Now there's a burden!  What do we need to keep that can be passed down for future generations?  What really MEANS something to us and our family?  What will our children and grandchildren find interesting and important?  While we struggled to deal with the loss of our mother and the pending sale of her home, we tried to go through all of these things and make the decision to keep, throw away or donate.  It was daunting and stressful and also joyful at times when we would find something that immediately brought back a memory.  For me, most of those moments came as we sifted through the Christmas decorations and other holiday goodies.
To be continued......................