Too much stuff. Too much stuff. Too much stuff. That has been the running theme in our household over the past six months as we've been working on lightening the load.
Like most everyone else in this economic downturn, we choose to use what we have rather than purchase new unless it was necessary. As part of that we decided to go through the house room by room and donate items we didn't use on a regular basis.
Beginning in the kitchen. To the thrift store went extra sets of dishes, glasses and serving pieces as well as multiple settings of placemats, napkins and napkins rings. I no longer host dinner parties, and when I do they are much more casual than they used to be. Why should I hang onto these things when someone else could be enjoying them?
Next stop, the bathroom. With deep vanity cabinets and a linen closet inside the main bathroom it was easy to tuck items away where they were out of sight, out of mind. First step was to donate towels and decorative items that no longer fit our decor. Next I began tackling the personal items. Have you ever purchased an item of make up only to bring it home and realize it doesn't' work for you? I have. And I kept them all. Tucked way back in the vanity cabinet. Good grief, what a waste of space (not to mention the money wasted). Once I tossed all the old cosmetics I sorted everything else into nice little plastic storage boxes. One box now contains all of the first aid items, one contains makeup, one contains extra toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss...well, you get the picture. And now the cabinets look very neat when opened.
Then of course there were the closets. And not just the closets, but the large plastic storage boxes filled with clothing of all different sizes. I was brutal going through my items. I go through my closet when the seasons change so I didn't expect to have much to donate. However, this time I was more critical. If it doesn't fit or I hated the way I looked when I wore it. Why waste space with something I don't love? Someone else will love and cherish it.
Oh, yes, I can't forget the books and CDs. I love books and music. I mean, who doesn't? But after awhile they take up a whole lotta room . So off to Half Price books with four boxes (think computer paper boxes) filled with books, including fabulous cookbooks and sewing books. We didn't get much money for them, but it sure was nice to get them out of the house. Next time we'll donate them to the library instead for their book sale.
Finally, the sewing room. This, by far, has been the hardest area for me to purge. A few boxes of patterns have gone to Pattern Rescue, others to a local thrift store that I know resells them, while others end up in my Etsy pattern shop as time permits. This past weekend, rather than sewing like I had planned, I went through every piece of fabric to determine if I really, really, really wanted to sew it up. If I wasn't sure, it went into the donation pile. I still own quite a few pieces of fabric, but now I own pieces I love.
Rest assured this has not been done quickly. It has been a multi-month process. Over the past six months we have made three large donations, as in multiple boxes and bags, to charities. It seems that every time we make a donation it gets easier and easier to let go of the other stuff we don't really need. It is such a freeing experience. It also makes it much easier to purchase what we need rather than what we want.
I plan to get back to the sewing machine in a day or two, but right now I need to finish going through another box of old patterns. Who knows, they might end up in your favorite thrift store!