Many women are familiar with the reality of ‘clutter’. It is spoken of frequently these days and many of us have undertaken sessions of ‘de-cluttering’. I got rid of a fair bit of clutter before moving house last year but still find I have more ‘stuff’ than I have room for. This house is smaller than my previous home so there isn’t space for things I don’t need or love. I have set the date for a garage sale and am now sorting, pricing and generally dealing with my surplus stuff.
Some of the items I am sorting through have not been unpacked since I moved 16 months ago. If I have managed without them, this shows I don’t really need them. Some of the items I had forgotten I ever owned or thought I had already parted with them. I guess this shows these things are not important to me at this stage of my life.
It is interesting to reflect on how things have changed in the forty years since I set up my first house. Back then it was the done thing to use a nice milk jug and sugar bowl when people came over for a cuppa. These days I sometimes meet a friend at a café for coffee rather than having coffee at home.
As I unpacked small milk jugs and sugar bowls I realised I don’t use these any more. I keep sugar in a glass jar with a lid and this can go on the table. I don’t need to transfer sugar to a sugar bowl. We always have both skim and full cream milk in the fridge so guests get a choice and I add the milk as I make the cuppas or they add their own and then the cartons go back in the fridge. I never use a milk jug so they can go out at the garage sale. (I have kept a couple to put flowers in as I love to have fresh flowers on display.) I do hope some people out there still use milk jugs.
I remember selling serving platters at my last garage sale but I still have more than I need. When I entertain, which is rarely these days, I only have a small number of people so I really don’t need lots of plates and platters. As I looked at a couple of serving plates I had unpacked I realised I don’t like them anymore. My taste has changed.
I acknowledged there are things I have kept simply because I have had them since I first had a place of my own. My lifestyle has changed over the years. My tastes have changed. My hobbies have changed. I thought about this for a while and decided it is okay to change and in fact it can be a good thing. Some things I never use now were once very important to me. However, if they are now only taking up space or collecting dust, they need to find a new home.
There are things I have held onto out of guilt. I feel a need to justify the money I spent so I have held on to the item. This is the case with some pieces of clothing. When I tried the item on I thought I would wear it a lot but this hasn’t been the case. I tell myself everyone makes mistakes and it is better to part with these items.
Sometimes I hold on to something ‘just in case’ I need it one day. To help part with this type of thing I ask myself if I actually did need it could I borrow one? Is it something I could buy cheaply at one of the many thrift shops, garage sales or bargain stores around these days?
It is hard work sorting and deciding what to part with. However, it also feels like a weight is being lifted from my shoulders as I make decisions and remove superfluous items from shelves and cupboards. Now I just have to ensure I don’t accumulate things I don’t need in the future.
Sometimes I find it hard to acknowledge something I was once interested in isn't of interest now. Then comes the truly difficult part, feeling okay about parting with the physical things associated with that redundant interest.