I love to organize, as you know, and since we moved in Chris and I have been on a quest to purge our entire house of stuff we don't need. I find superfluous stuff overwhelming in my environment. It makes it harder to keep the house clean because not every thing has a "home" and a cluttered environment can stress me out. The amount of stuff we accumulate and how much of it we don't need, despite continually trying to be intentional about the stuff we acquire, is mind boggling and makes me feel wasteful.
I'm not sure if it's because now there's a little one to consider in our environment or if it's because I have less free time to deal with extra stuff but recently my commitment to getting rid of stuff has been renewed. On Sunday, Chris and I got up early, made coffee to fuel our morning, and spent much of the day going through our entire bedroom, Dashiell's clothes, and the linen closet. We got rid of so. much. stuff. I let go of clothing I've held on to through other purges and yet haven't worn. I took a hard, honest look at my pre-pregnancy wardrobe and made decisions about what I'll likely be able to wear and not wear again (my waist is approaching pre-pregnancy size, my chest is another story...). I made myself deal with the things I've been putting aside, telling myself I'll deal with them later. I went through Dashiell's clothes and kept only what we really used and put together a small tupperware box of newborn - three month clothes and started another for three - nine month clothes. We took at least four garbage bags worth of clothing and stuff to Goodwill. It's amazing how we've been living with so many things we don't really need - and we're not even done going through the house.
Through the process we kept singing out, "Buddhist sand painting!" to remind each other not to get too attached to stuff when we wavered on an item we knew we should get rid of. I absolutely love how in synch Chris and I are on dealing with accumulated stuff. We both love getting rid of stuff we don't need and are excited to achieve our goal of an entire household where every item is intentional. We're just two closets and a few drawers away! And then we'll continue to work to maintain the house that way.
I'm so surprised at how freeing getting rid of all the unneeded stuff has been. On Monday morning when I remembered that my bedside table drawer was no longer a junk drawer and that I have exactly one pair of jeans in my closet I thought, "Ahhhhhhhhh." I love it so much.
Even though most of the change in our house when we get rid of stuff is behind closet doors and in drawers the space feels lighter; less bogged down. Through this process we reclaim our house as ours, not our stuff's, and remind ourselves what we want our house to be - a haven for our little family where there's uncluttered space to engage in activities that are really important to us: cooking, making music, laughing, dancing, reading.
As Dashiell sat amid our piles of stuff I realized that the ability to let go of things is something I want to pass on to him. I want him to be sentimental and hold on to things if they have true meaning to him but in our culture there's such a mad focus on buy, buy, buy, stuff, stuff, stuff and I think it can completely overwhelm people's lives. I want to give him the gift of living contentedly with fewer things and seeing how you can really live more with less.