Stuff. A minipost about a maxiproblem.

I have too much stuff. And one reason I have too much stuff is that I have too much stuff.

I didn’t realize this for a long, long time. What brought it to my attention a few days ago was getting an ad for a yarn sale, 30% off everything. Everything. I came thisclose to ordering some, even though I know I have way too much on hand.

Why didn’t I? Partly, yes, because I’ve been practicing the skill of stepping back and saying “Yeah, but are you really going to use that??” But I think a bigger factor was that I wanted to get yarn for a specific sweater, and I was pretty sure but not certain that I had some of what I needed. I had to check and make sure which colors to buy before placing the order.

And I couldn’t find the yarn I wanted to check on. Because I have so much stuff that there isn’t room to store the yarn in an easy-to-locate way.

A few years ago, I would have shrugged and ordered all of it. This time, I didn’t order any. That’s a step forward. But how do I get the Stuff under control? I’ve got a couple of ideas:

  • Spend ten or fifteen minutes, a few times a day, sorting through the piles of paper. (Spending hours on it won’t work; dust allergies and frustration do me in.)
  • Take an inventory of things like books and yarn, so that I can avoid buying something I already have. (Of course, that means I need a way to label things as “already inventoried”, or I’m likely to count the same skein of yarn six times.)

But I need help. Does anybody out there who’s naturally organized, or even better, anybody who’s learned the hard way how to get organized, have other suggestions, this side of “Just throw it all away right now”?

18 responses to “Stuff. A minipost about a maxiproblem.

  1. Hmmm, is now the time to start knitting? Less yarn, more garments.

  2. I have a better idea, just pick up the pile and bin it. If the pile as been sat there for the last 6-12 or more there is nothing in it that you need, there may be things in it that you think you need but if you don’t know, then you won’t have anything to worry about 🙂

    • I really, really have to think about this. Half of me says that you’re probably right. The other half says “But what about the times that we all go nuts searching for something that eventually – weeks later – turns up in one of those piles?” Then the first half says, “See? You can’t find it anyway when you want it, so it might just as well go in the trash!”

      Unfortunately that’s not the end of the internal argument. But maybe it should be.

      • Ha ha! My friend invited me round to her house to sort out a particular cupboard, mainly so she would just get on with it. We found enough boxes of Christmas card for the next 2 years and enough pens and pencils to never need to buy any ever again lol.

      • Oh yeah Christmas cards – every few years I just use up the mixture of leftovers! Somehow they never put just exactly the right number in the box to match the number of people you send cards to 😉

  3. A few years ago I learnt to stop myself buying as many clothes and its really helped keep my clutter down!

  4. I think the solution should include reducing the clutter, even if its just trashing a few small things each week. Not organizing, thats just another way of saying moving the clutter to a different place, but getting rid of completely.

    • Very true. There’s a lot of stuff that we definitely don’t need, the trouble is that it’s mixed in with things we do need or want. And I’ve tried more times than I can remember to plunge in head over heels (why do we say head over heels? Isn’t that how we normally stand? anyway -) I’ve tried to grit my teeth and keep going until it’s all cleaned up, and that doesn’t work out. So your suggestion of a few things each week is a good one.

  5. from some time ago I have felt the urge to get rid of things. Me like you, have plenty much of just everything you can think of or almost everything.
    I believe this urge came in, when I moved back and forth to other cities and countries. It was cumbersome to be carrying lots of things and some of them I didn’t even use at all.
    So I started to get give things away…. It was hard at first and still is. When I am going to trash something I say “hey! it is still in good condition, I should keep it” (even though I don’t use it at all).

    I have set myself and goal, and it is to have things neatly organized. For that to be achieved I need room to store the things that don’t have a place yet and that are lying around. So if I can’t give it a space, it goes away.

    What keeps me going is knowing that if there is space where I can put things, new things and newer will come in.

    My breaking point is: would I carry all this if I were to move again? No way!

    So, Live lite!

    • Yes, yes, yes – “it is still in good condition, I should keep it”! I’m trying to teach myself that’s not a good idea, but it’s hard. I suppose one reason we’ve accumulated so much stuff is that we haven’t moved in years and years – there’s a saying “two moves equal one fire” in terms of reducing the number of things you own.

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  7. Definately work in small 15-20 minute bursts when you can. A lot more gets done than you would think & it’s how I’m getting through my chaos right now. The keep,throw away,donate method well for me. Just don’t think too long go with your first thought! Good luck. 🙂

    • Thanks! So far cleaning in small bursts seems to be working pretty well, and it’s good to hear that it works for someone else. And good point about not overthinking choices – I suspect that’s one reason I get bogged down after sorting for a while. 🙂

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