Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Items To Declutter in 2014: Brace Yourselves

Boxes waiting to be filled with donations
Fuck clutter. I mean that with an open heart. Fuck clutter.

We have too much stuff here. It's all books, toys, clothes. My kids are the sweetest and most amazing beings on this Earth, but they keep insisting on growing out of their clothes almost weekly. Why do they do this? It breaks my heart.

Two years ago, I followed along with a challenge on Mothering.com. There was a posting on a message board for people who wished to declutter 2012 items from their home/lives in 2012. There was one last year as well. Initially, I blogged about the challenge and you can find those posts here, here, and here. I never did come back with a final update, but I did manage over 2012 items in 2012. Go me. Since then, more stuff.

Paper is just evil. It's always coming into my house. My son is in school and they just love to murder as many trees as possible so they can send home 589798573283865894783478947594835748 pages a day. It's gotten a lot better this year. Last year, his teacher sent home so much on the daily. It was extremely frustrating. Between school, medical crap, and bills, paper is a big problem here. I am always unsure of what to keep and what to shred. There's so much conflicting information about what to keep for tax purposes. Keep all check stubs for 10 years. Keep all check stubs for 7 years. Don't keep all check stubs. Keep all utility bills for a year. Keep all utility bills for 10 years. Keep all receipts. Fuck the receipts. Keep every piece of paper. The IRS will get you 25 years later and you need to keep it all. ARRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Frustrating.

There are many clothes to be purged. Both kids have done a growth spurt recently, especially my daughter. She's been flying through sizes. I make kids who are initially tiny and can fit into the same size for quite a while....and then they grow and grow and grow.

I've talked about my issues with clutter in the 2012 series. I hold onto things for sentimental reasons and I have a very hard time letting go. I was not treated very well by peers as a child and when someone gave me something out of friendship, I'd want to hold onto it forever and ever as a reminder that someone liked me. That thought process still lingers in the corners of my mind. It's hard to beat, though I have been working on it. One of the things that helps me is taking pictures of everything I donate.

To complicate things, my son was diagnosed with OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, as well as ADHD. I was also diagnosed with adult ADHD over a year ago, something I had always suspected. We do not medicate. We're working on behavioral therapy, counseling, organization. The organization is key for my son. He thrives much better when there is routine, planning, and organization. I must get my home well-organized for him. This has been such a challenge because my brain simply does not operate in a Pinterest-worthy way. I know I want organization, but I lack the ability to implement it. It sucks and it's something I need to work on every single day. My son also has major anxiety over letting go of things. He has anxiety due to changes. It's been very difficult to work with him to get rid of clothes that no lonfer fit, toys that are broken, etc.

Another roadblock is poverty. My family is doing quite poorly in the financial realm. If it was not for charitable individuals, I would not be sitting in my home right now. We're struggling a lot and it's intensely stressful. We're doing everything possible to change our situation and we're keeping faith and hope that things look up very soon. Poverty changes a lot of things in your mind. It changes the way your mind works. You have stuff that you no longer need or it's broken/ruined. You know it needs to be donated or thrown away (not counting items that can be sold - those are dealt with properly), but you develop this mental block that you need to keep it because you might not be able to afford something new in the future. Take clothes. I have a couple of things that no longer fit and are rather threadbare. It's hard to get rid of them because....well, what if I can't afford to buy something new? At least I won't be naked if I keep these clothes that are falling apart. And laundry. I live in an apartment. Laundry is $3.00 total per load. I can't afford to do laundry several times a week, so if I have extra clothes, I don't have to wash as often. Make sense?

I need to get this done. I need my house to feel like more of a home for me. I need things to be more organized and structured for my little boy. So, here I am again, challenging myself to declutter at least 2014 things this year. So far, I have a bunch of things bagged up for donation. We donate to a an organization that offers pick up service, so there's no procrastination with packing up the car and driving off to a donation center. I just have to leave the items on my doorstep and they'll pick it up once a week. Sadly, they are scheduled to pick up tomorrow and we now have a Winter Storm Warning with the possibility of a good bit of the white shit. I may just end up waiting another week to get all of my bags picked up.

I'll be blogging about this throughout the year, updating with my official numbers as well as pictures. Follow along. Also, you may be interested in checking out the official thread on Mothering.com if you'd like some inspiration.

***I'm putting this out there - I know the moment someone mentions being po', there is someone out there thinking, "well, why do you have the internet if you're so poor?" Puh-lease. I have the internet because you need it for jobs nowadays - communication with employers as well as for putting in applications. The library is not a viable option for my area. Please read this excellent article on poor people who have the audacity to use the internet.  ***

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