Reducing clutter and rethinking our "stuff"

Shyane and I have been actively trying to reduce our clutter and the sheer volume of possessions that we own.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that we have so much stuff.  Granted, we have a lot less than many people we know, and I'd venture to say that we have considerably less than average.  Our garage isn't stuffed to overflowing, our closets aren't packed, and we have room to move in our basement storage area.  Still, it's much more than what we need.

And really, how much do you actually need.  It's an interesting thought.  Many of the things we own are certainly not necessary to our survival or even our day-to-day life.  I read a blurb online about a man who reduced his possessions down to 100 things or less.  I suppose some of it is in the counting; is a set of dishes 1 item?  8?  32?  If I were to count things individually, I easily have 200+ items in my kitchen alone.  And I know we have at least 150 to 200 books.  We did donate about 1/3 of our collection, but books are something I enjoy having around.

We try very hard to have possessions that are both useful and beautiful.  My bookcase for example.  Yes, a $30 Sauder case would serve the same purpose as my $600 antique.  But my bookcase has character and adds quite a bit of beauty to our home.  Same with our secretary desk, dining room set, and most of the furniture we've aquired since moving to the Prairie Box.  While I'm sure I could survive in a modern, minimalist home, I do derive joy from being surrounded by what I consider to be beautiful things.

I was looking around the main floor today, after I'd completed my morning tidy-up.  I realized that there really isn't much clutter left in any of the three downstairs rooms.  What clutter we do have is hidden away in cupboards and drawers, and I go through the "landing zone" baskets pretty frequently to make sure things get back to where they should be.  It's simple without being sterile, and I'm really happy with the way it feels.

The rest of the house... not so much.  The basement, while not being Hoarders material, is awful.  I don't like going down there much, even when the family room area is picked up.  It has our junky furniture, a crappy futon, and ugly carpet.  The storage side feels like a rabbit tunnel, and I can't wait to go through and purge.  The office upstairs simply suffers from not being finished.  It's just become further complicated by the fact that we're considering adding a second baby.  The office would then become Ethan's room, and the new addition would move into the nursery.  My dresser and clothes would go... where?  I think an armoire is in order for our bedroom.  Then Shayne could stash his t-shirts in drawers instead of hanging them.  It's still a work in progress, obviously.

My goal, all in all, is to get rid of 2011 things in 2011.  Considering we have to go through the house and garage, I have no doubts that we can meet this goal.  I'll be posting updates occasionally and may add a sidebar to track my progress.  Want to join?  Let me know and we can help keep each other motivated!


Minnesota Landscape said...

I don't like to think over stuff, stuff is stuff it may be useful and useless... just guess which type of stuff you have if it is useless through to dustbin and if useful keep it safe place of your home...
Thank you for post...

Jim said...

Boxes and baskets are my way to go when the clutter clearing bug bit me. Love clearing, to give way to new clutter=)