I have kicked into spring cleaning mode. It’s not some stupid New Year’s Resolution. I’m just sick of all the crap in my home.
It actually started when I started buying a new wardrobe on after Christmas clearance sales. It was rather needed as most of my clothes were ridiculously large on me. When I started putting my new, clearance-rack-purchased clothing away, and realizing I couldn’t fit them in my closet, I decided it was probably time to get rid of those XL sweaters and size 16 jeans. It was so hard to part with some of the clothes but the sting was balmed considerably by being able to replace those things with size 8 dresses and size medium tops and sweaters.
Once I cleaned out my closet I hit my drawers and then my kids’ closets and dressers (all good-condition clothing was donated to a rummage sale to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research). While cleaning, I kept coming across things that we didn’t know we had. How sick is that? We had clothing that we didn’t remember owning.
Then I started looking at the other things in my kids’ rooms. I was overwhelmed by all the stuff we’d amassed. All the toys and just general junk that we didn’t even realize we had. I’m not sure exactly how my house got this way. Ugh! But I know I need to fix it. I need to teach my kids (and myself) that we really probably don’t need whatever crap it is we think we need. I’ve been fortunate enough to have disposable income that I need to make not disposable income. I’ll have more money diverted to a savings account.
I did decide that I’m taking my kids on a real vacation this year. I’ve picked a destination and they are all excited (except the oldest, who is excited but is trying to determine how she can get her boyfriend invited also). This may not seem related to getting rid of all the crap in our house but it is. Part of the whole planning proceses has been telling them how much the trip costs and how we need to save for it. And that they need to save their money too (to buy their souvenirs). So we’ve talked about things we won’t be doing for a few months so that we can put the money toward our trip instead.
My middle child seems to be understanding this lesson best. She has a few things that she wanted to buy, and now she’s weighing which things will make her happiest. My youngest doesn’t even really understand money yet, but he offered me everything in his piggy bank to help pay for the trip. He was quite offended when I declined to take it. He kept insisting that I take it because I’m doing something for him. We’ve talked.
It’s learning for me too, especially for me. I’m quite used to just buying what I want when I want it so I end up with stuff that I really don’t need littering my house. If I budgeted, this would be curbed, however, much like a strict diet, I get overwhelmed by the details of a budget. The only way I was able to lose weight was to change (slowly) what I ate and exercise like crazy. If I did the food diary and calorie counting, I got discouraged and quit. It seems a strict budget is equally unappealing to me, but I’m going to find my own solution. So, I’m going to start by focusing on my goals 1) to stop cluttering my house with crap I don’t need, 2) set a good example for my kids, and 3) save money for this vacation. It makes it much easier to spot the things that aren’t important. Already, I resisted pre-ordering that amazing pair of Nine West sandals with the huge (4.5″ ? ) stacked heels and all the pretty straps that would look so good with all my little billowy summer miniskirts.
I’ve already gotten positive reinforcement. I feel much better after cleaning out some stuff (I need to go back and make a few more passes at this though). I feel happier with a little more money in the bank. Baby steps. Just like my weight loss. Little changes that I can keep are the key.
And I hope that we all (me too, me too) learn to live with less “stuff”. Otherwise we’ll continue to drown in our own shit.