Saturday, June 18, 2011

How Much Do You Need?

I have found myself asking this question a lot.

How many TOWELS does a family of 3 actually NEED? 3? 9? 9+1 beach towel each? More? And if you have that answer, then please also tell me how many hand towels and face cloths are appropriate.

How many sets of MIXING BOWLS does one kitchen need? (One tiny -not enough storage- kitchen.) I found 5. One plastic with lids. One metal with lids (lids that I hate and never use and don't fit well). One metal with more bowls / no lids. One set of glass bowls / no lids. And one that I never use for mixing - but more for storage and serving because they are pretty colors.

How many plastic storage containers do you need? Sometimes it seems like the answer is - you can never have enough! However, if you had LESS storage containers - would you be less likely to forget about the leftovers you already have stored in your refrigerator?

I once found 8 pairs of scissors strung around the house (some adult, some fabric, some kitchen, some preschool aged, some older kid aged). And the crazy thing is - I CAN NEVER FIND a pair of scissors when I need them!!! I could say the same thing about nail clippers...and while I haven't counted, I'm pretty sure there are more than 10 in this house - somewhere.

How many clothes do people need? If you had less - would you miss them? Or would it make laundry less of a nightmare? Would you chose your clothes wiser? Would you save money? I counted T-shirts in my son's closet as I was reorganizing....I stopped counting when I hit 35 - and there were more to come, more in laundry, more that were out of season...

I'm trying to live with less. Maybe because I've watched one too many hoarder shows. Maybe because I find my house too full and my mind too cluttered. Maybe because at some point things become a burden and ownership makes you heavy. And maybe because more than once I have thought "If this all burned down (minus the few special things that instantly come into my mind that I would miss) I wouldn't mind starting over and being smarter and letting go of all this crap!

So I'm trying to let go. Some things are harder. Letting go of all the maternity clothes and baby items - feels like giving up on a dream. But no woman ever DIDN'T get pregnant because she didn't have baby items.

My wise friend, Janet, recently pointed out some good facts about donating vs. garage sales (which is the eternal lie that I tell myself- I'm saving all this crap until I can have a garage sale - I can't have the garage sale until I organize all this crap. I can't organize all this crap because there is no room to work with that much stuff / live with the mess while I'm doing it - it's too big of a job, there is too much crap to have a garage sale.) and NOW I am feeling better about letting go. I'm going to help others. I'm going to get a tax receipt. I can do it in small stages (I will NOT lie to myself about doing it all at once - I have no intention of renting a U-Haul). I can spread the wealth to multiple organizations. And I am going to be left with an easier to manage, not so full, peaceful house. Yeah me!

I'll let you know how it is going from time to time...

Do you find stuff building up around you or do you have a system to keep your stuff-inventory in check?


Janet said...

Well, thanks for the shout out, but I don't think I'm so good at getting rid of my own stuff. I have my moments.

I have seriously too many clothes, most of which don't even fit anymore. I know I'd be happier if day to day, when I looked in my closet, I knew I could actually WEAR everything in there.

Oh, and the towel thing...I had to think of you the other day when I realized this one towel I have, I have had it since high school graduation. (It has my name on it, was a gift.) Which means this one towel is 21 years old! I guess the good news is, it must be a high quality towel!

Karen Peterson said...

This is something I've really been working on a lot. Trying to pare down the clutter and get rid of junk that's just making my living space chaotic, rather than peaceful. I still have work to do, but I'm getting there.