Controlling clutter, collections and stuff

Ever since I can remember I've been a collector of stuff. Books, stones, seashells, candles, art supplies, frames, furniture, etc, etc… I've tried a few times to whittle down the amount of stuff I have, but it just builds right back up again. I have a talent for squeezing lots of stuff into small spaces - my childhood room was the size of some people's closets, but that didn't stop me. I managed to have stuffed animals, knick-knacks, special notes from friends, clothes, magazines, books, and junk all packed into that tiny room.

My excuse has been that I'm an artist and being surrounded by stuff inspires me. It's true, but I don't necessarily want to SEE all that stuff everyday. There have been many times that we'll need something around the house (an extra chair, shelf, bookcase) and I'll remember something I bought and stored in the basement. We don't buy many new things - lots of my purchases are from thrift shops or Craigslist. It's my version of recycling.

The collecting gene has been passed along to Malayna. She collects a variety of things - shells, rocks (everywhere we go she finds rocks to bring home), picked flowers (and weeds), papers, papers, papers (an unending supply), trinkets, toys, etc. Sometimes the things go right in the trash the next day, but the majority of the time she remembers and asks where her prized find is.

We have too much stuff. I'm ready to get rid of most of it, but I don't know where to start. Should I start on the first floor and go room-by-room? Then what? I do donate things to thrift shops, but sometimes I'll start a bag for donating and then put the bag on the third floor or down the basement or in our mudroom where it'll sit and sit and sit. I lose interest. The job becomes too big and overwhelming. I'd rather do something else.

Part of the problem is that we have a total of 6 closets in our 100+-year-old house. And four of them are in our two bedrooms. I've had to get creative with our storage options, but then it starts to look cobbled-together and messy.

Is anyone else feeling this way? I'd like to start some kind of group, maybe on Facebook, where we share tips for purging and organizing, and even post before and after photos. If I don't do it with someone else, I'll just keep putting it off.

I'm ready to throw things away and have less stuff! Who's joining me?

edited to add: Here's link for the Facebook group, called simplify. I think you have to request to be a member and then I'll add you. Join us!


Redbeet Mama said...

Call me the queen of the purging!
I am in! I am taking a bag to BATS today - I do this twice a month! Of course though I come home with some new stuff.

I'll help you - I love decluttering - it is my addiction.


lisa {milkshake} said...

Yay! Except your house looks so nice and organized and clutter-free. What will your before photos be?! Maybe you can be the group mentor… I'll start an FB group and send you an invite.

Karen McLaughlin said...

We have great trash pickers in our neighborhood. Seriously, they saw all the stuff I left outside the garage after cleaning out (I just couldn't bear to put it back in), came up and knocked on the door to ask if they could look through and take anything. Yea! Right before the trash man came, if there was anything I felt that could be recycled that wasn't already taken (there wasn't much), I put it back in the garage. Here's a cool site you can list a curb alert!. http://www.freecycle.org/

Jennifer said...

I haev been wanting to clean out my whole house of stuff that hasn't been used but then I feel bad for throwing it away or I think...Maybe we will use it again! It is annoying. I found some tips online that I have been following and it has really helped! I requested to join ur FB group and I will post all my helpful tips i have gotten!