Thursday, April 6, 2017

Stuff It

This morning while I was making the bed I noticed the drawer on my husband's bedside table was open slightly. I hate that. Drawers which are capable of shutting (which is most but not all the drawers in our house) should be shut or they look untidy. But I digress. This post is not about my OCD-ness regarding drawers.

No, it's about the remembrance day fake poppy that was in the drawer. And other Stuff.

I pondered why he'd kept the poppy. I know he's a Scot but he usually does put his hand in his pocket and buy a new one each year. It's not as if I bought the poppy for him and it has sentimental value (hmm, a $2 poppy).  I think this is what's happened (but I haven't asked him):

He's worn the poppy at the appropriate time, taken it off his suit and put in the drawer. Then he's forgotten about it. Now he doesn't even notice it's there, despite it being bright red.

I used to keep remembrance day poppies too. But not any more. I'd stick them in a potplant with something else such as a violet, just for effect. After several months of them gathering dust there (literally) I'd chuck them out. I mean, they ARE pretty. Too good to simply go in the bin after wearing. I should put them in a box to use for decorating gifts but frankly I'm a lousy gift decorator and I'd forget I had them anyway. So now, into the bin they go. I do it with gritted teeth as it makes me feel guilty.

And there's my problem. I was brought up by a Mum who didn't throw such things out. In fact she threw out very little in case it came in handy or in case there was another Great Depression or because it cost something to buy in the first place or because it was a gift from a friend or family member or ...

You get the picture. I was brought up to be a hoarder, to feel sentimental about things given to me, to not move things on if they were still 'good'.

But now I'm toughening up. I have to. I have a house full of Stuff, some of which I've sold or given away, and still more which I'm selling and which I intend to sell. I do a run to the charity shops with Stuff every couple of months.  I bin Stuff. I give Stuff to friends.

I have had to become unsentimental to a degree. And I'm a horribly sentimental person. It pulls me in two.

But I look around me and see clutter. I need to become more minimalist in order to feel less dragged down by all this Stuff.

As I've mentioned in previous posts Mum left me everything she had. And she had cupboards bulging with Stuff most of which she never used and as I haven't either, a lot of it has been moved on in some way, shape or form. But there's still too much Stuff.

Apparently we only use 20% of everything we own on a regular basis. 20%. That's not much. But when I think about it, that figure seems correct. For example when I'm cooking I usually use the same pots and pans each time. The tagine cooker gets one outing a year and I suspect that sooner or later I'll move it on too, even though I love its bright red colour. I probably don't need all the ramekins I have (two sets) but if I have a dinner party with more than 4 people I'll put them into use for individual puddings.

I plan to go through cupboards again over Easter and see what else I can move on either on eBay, Gumtree, Facebook buy swap and sell or simply give to charity. Although the charity shops are getting fussy now. I tried giving some oldish books to them this week and they refused them as they were foxed, and stated that no charity shop would take foxed or old books any more in case they had dust mites or similar. So bugger, I had to bin the books. Bin them! I nearly cried. I love books but wasn't going to read these again and it made me grit my teeth when I put them in the recycle bin. They weren't interesting enough to try and sell on eBay, either. :-(

My new hardline attitude towards Stuff is saving me money though. No more impulse buys at homewares shops or online. Department stores no longer hold any thrill for me. If I buy something it's to replace something useful which has broken. My rule now is that if I buy something new, something old has to go. (This doesn't apply to animals. Despite bringing a new puppy into our lives last year we have kept our elderly spaniel LOL!)

How I'd love to have a neat house without crap everywhere; like walking into one of IKEA's fake rooms. I'm working on it. The living room is looking more '50s minimalist these days which is a start.

But I can only achieve this if I stop feeling guilty and become unsentimental about getting rid of Stuff I don't use.  For me, it's very hard to do but I do feel a mix of exultation, lightness and some guilt when I achieve a purge of Stuff.

Do you get the guilts when you move Stuff on out of your place?

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