A Confession, Regarding Decluttering

I love minimalism.

Living this kind of lifestyle has done a lot for me.  It has:

  • Allowed me to spend less time on housework, which I despise.
  • Kept me from spending so much time looking for things I’ve misplaced.
  • Allowed me to pursue sailing and writing, my passions.
  • Allowed us to live comfortably on one income.
  • Helped us to get out of survival mode and be less dependent on earning a certain amount.

Two years ago, I did the “great purge” and seriously decluttered our house.  I’ve spent a lot of time going through items, and eliminating those that we no longer need.  The end result has been very freeing.

As far as decluttering is concerned, I have not found Ithaca poor.

But I have to confess that I don’t enjoy the journey.

Decluttering makes me angry.  Which is interesting, because I don’t feel anger all that often.  So it’s kind of a unique experience.  But still.

I get angry, because:

  • Accumulating all this stuff wasn’t my choice.
  • I feel obligated to keep so much of it.
  • The stuff is preventing us from realizing our dreams.
  • We are paying money for the storage of the stuff.
  • We are spending our free time on the management of the stuff.
  • Getting rid of the stuff is so incredibly daunting!

In the past, I’ve set goals, such as eliminating 100 things in a day, or taking one carload to Goodwill, per day.  That worked well, but we have not pared down enough to easily fit it all in a minivan-sized motor home.  So I’m emptying out one room per day, and fitting all that we’re keeping into the motor home.

What have I done, to deal with the anger brought about decluttering, as well as the fear and general feelings of being overwhelmed by the change in situation?  I’ve plowed forward, doing only one room per day, and I’ve taken frequent breaks to refresh.  I ride my bike instead of driving, whenever I can.  I make it a point to do things I enjoy each day, while I am taking breaks.

After today, the living room and kitchen will be emptied, except for the furniture.  I will post pictures for you tomorrow.

decluttering

18 thoughts on “A Confession, Regarding Decluttering

  1. Try to be happy about all you have accomplished. And focus on how satisfied you’ll be when you’re finished. I wonder if your anger isn’t really fear disquished. You have every right to feel some trepidation as you start a big life change.

    • One of my other friends said something similar in an e-mail today. I think fear definitely is the issue, in a number of ways.

  2. Aaron and I were having a conversation this weekend about the things that will likely enter our home, in the years to come, from our parents. I’m very frustrated by it, as the furniture-type items are large and will be subject to damage during the moves to come. I don’t want these things to leave the family(and I truly want these in our home), but I get flustered thinking about the accumulation.

    (I think that was one of the most disjointed comments I’ve ever made.)

  3. I felt something similar when I first started going through my things a few years ago. I was shocked by the amount of stuff I had actually bought at one time but wasn’t worth the money I forked over for it. Then there were the things given to me that I had to get rid of without hurting anyone’s feelings. Once those were taken care of and the donations I hauled out decreased to more of a weekly thing I began to feel better and by the time I made my big move I was so excited and happy with what I’d accomplished I was no longer frustrated/angry with myself for having wasted so much time holding on to stuff that didn’t make me happy. I think when you are done and start to drive away you will feel a similar contentment, maybe even excitement.

    • I have no doubt we will. When all the details are taken care of, things will be great. I just have to remember that we WILL get there!

  4. De-cluttering can be very frustrating. It is overwhelming to realize how much money was spent on all the stuff and how hard it actually is to get rid of things. I also hate the “obligation feeling” that inevitably rises, whether internally or from other people. But, when it’s all done and you reach that place of FREEDOM, you will feel so great. : ) Sounds like you are handling everything just right, Bethany, by taking breaks and doing it in bits and pieces. : )

  5. Sorry you are feeling so stressed and angry. I think we all feel that way sometimes, thinking of the money we’ve wasted, etc. Try to focus on happy you’ll be when you’re done.

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