Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Exactly what is clutter?

Yesterday I was on Pinterest and I clicked on a pin about organizing your socks and underwear (yes, I know my life is so exciting and you're so jealous).  It took me to this site - The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking - and I love it!  I only looked around a little bit, but she's got lots of tips for cleaning, organizing, DIY, recipes, and more.  Plus, all her posts have lots of beautiful pictures.  She even did a series called "31 days to an organized home", which fits quite well with my current goal of giving up clutter for Lent.  I haven't had a chance to look through all 31 days, but day 8 caught my attention - defining clutter.  I love the way she defines clutter:
"Clutter is the stuff that is keeping our homes from being what we need them to be. Clutter is too much and too many. Too many toys. Too many clothes. Too many things to do on a Saturday morning. Clutter complicates life without adding anything to it.  Clutter is the meaningless getting in the way of the meaningful."
 - Kelly Oribine, The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking
She also says "when we clear out the things that don't matter, we make room for the things that do" (day 1).  I like that a lot.  My goal in giving up clutter is not to do a major purge so we're living with next-to-nothing, nor is it to have a picture-perfect show home.  I don't want to become a neat freak who makes her kids eat cookies over the sink, so there are no crummies (Andrea, I know you caught that reference, anyone else??).  :)  I just want to create a place for us that is relaxing at the end of the day, inviting to share with others, and welcoming of play and exploration.  A place where the meaningless stuff isn't getting in the way.

So here's the dilemma I've encountered while decluttering - what do you do with the things that you don't want lying around, but can't quite throw out or give away?  Like extra copies of our old photo Christmas cards, or birth announcements?  We've given them out to friends and family already, and I've put copies in our photo albums and the kids' baby books, but now what to do with the rest?  Or the giant King James Version family Bible (engraved with our names and wedding date) that we received from my Grandma (who has since passed away)?  It's big and impractical, and I don't really have any sentimental attachment towards it as a keepsake (I have an old Tupperware container that my Grandma used to keep cookies in that is much more meaningful to me).  Or those toys that the kids never play with, but they were a gift from "so-and-so"?  It may be time to get a bit ruthless, but it's difficult for me, since I'm a combination of sentimental hoarder and pack rat (some things I keep for their meaning, and other things I keep because they might come in useful one day - like my large collection of empty boxes).  But maybe it's time for that to change...


Melissa said...

You know my philosophy, I say be a bit ruthless, it's the only way!

The memories we hold onto in our hearts mean much more to me than any material thing that just takes up space!

Just my thoughts though, and I love a good purge. By letting go of the old stuff you make room for the new, change is good dear friend, and ever so freeing!

Andrea said...

Oh yeah, baby - you know I love the Friends reference. ;)