Friday, May 4, 2012

Taking Control: House

I didn't go without as a kid.  My parents are and grandpa was very loving and did their best to make sure I got everything I wanted, within reason of course (still hoping for that pony).  The downside of that was I had a lot of stuff: clothes, toys, stuffed animals, knick knacks, etc.  On top of that, for personal reasons, my Mom was and still is a hoarder.  As I grew up, our house became more and more cluttered with stuff: crafting supplies, sewing supplies, clothes, knick knacks, pictures, antiques, etc.  The older I became and the more cluttered the house became the more it bothered me.  So much was just tucked into a closet which became a whole bedroom which became numerous rented storage sheds.  Most of it was never used.

I fell into a similar routine.  My Mom ran a flea market for a couple years during my high school years which was such a bad thing for people like us.  We bought so much just because it was pretty or cool.  Since graduating high school in 2003 I started renting a storage unit and I have moved 5 times.  Packing and moving your belongings is NOT fun especially when you have SO much stuff.  It's overwhelming.  I am a neat and organized person, away from home, but once I got home from school and/or work I was tired.  I didn't have any motivation to do anything.  That plus a lot of stuff meant a messy house.  I hated it.  I started to completely go through my stuff a couple times a year and donate the items I could part with.  Very, very slowly my hoard got smaller.

I met the love of my life in 2007 and we were married on February 14, 2009.  My 4th move was into an apartment with my husband.  He moved from Canada to marry me and brought only what he could put in his carry on, 1 checked bag, and 1 mailed box yet we moved boxes and boxes of stuff into our 2 bedroom apartment.  I still had so much stuff pre-husband and received a lot of kitchen supplies from our wedding that we only really needed to buy a kitchen table.  Yes, I already had a couch BEFORE college.  It was crammed into my bedroom at my parents house.  When my husband and I moved into our first home together I made a BIG step towards reducing my stuff.  I EMPTIED my storage shed!  What I couldn't part with went into the 2nd bedroom, the rest my parents kept or was donated.  Yes!  I continued to periodically go through all of my stuff.  I found that each time I did, it was easier to part with things.  Repacking everything I wanted to keep and having an empty box left over was SO satisfying!  I love my family and friends but do I really need to keep everything they've ever given me?  NO!  The memory is in my heart not in that vase or bunny figurine.  If the item goes away, the memory doesn't!  Take pictures and/or start a blog/diary if you are afraid of forgetting anything so you don't need the item as a trigger to remember something.

My husband and I bought a 2,000 square foot house in December 2010.  That was my last move (for now).  I am happy to say that I have taken control of my house.  I have drastically reduced what I own and I do not purchase anything without giving it a great deal of thought.  I feel that what I have reduced my belongings down to is what's most important to me and necessities with a little bit of likes and some hobby items.  If there's something we want, it goes on a wish list.  I love Amazon's universal wish list button that I added to our web browser.  I also try to add it to a list on my iPod for when we are not at home (no smartphone here).  We really do not want to re-clutter our house and have decided to try to be as minimalist as we can.  We are by no means hardcore minimalists, but we do try our hardest to get over the OOO THAT'S COOL I WANT IT impulse and wait a while to purchase (if at all).  A lot of things we decide are just not worth it as it won't get used very often although it would be handy during the rare times we would (fancy ice cream scoop? spoon works just fine).

We are currently designing the house we are going to build in the future.  It is going to be 600 square feet with a 160 square foot loft master bedroom.  With that in mind, we've been working even harder to go more minimalist and will be putting a lot of items up on Craig's List soon!  It is SO relieving and refreshing to not be owned by my stuff.  I own them.  Most are just things.  If my house was destroyed for whatever reason, Heaven forbid, I would be OK.  It can't destroy my memories.

Taking control of your house, for most, will likely not be instant.  It took me years.  YOU have to REALLY WANT to for YOURSELF.  Once you want to, then take baby steps.  Go through a box here and there.  Any amount you can sell or donate gets you closer to your goal.  Think before you buy.  Don't buy now.  Put it on a wish list.  Get rid of a couple items to make room for that item.  Is there something you have already that's similar and can do the job?  Is it a convenience, necessity or cool gadget?  Will you get your money's worth out of it?  Don't forget your goal to take control of your house.  Write it down and put notes where you'll see it if you have to.  Thanks for reading and good luck!