Monday, June 22, 2009


1: materials, supplies, or equipment used in various activities: as aobsolete : military baggage b: personal property

A few days ago, I proposed to the girls that we clean out the basement in order to make a playroom for them down there. The entry to our basement is not, and sadly, will not ever, be attractive. The stairs are very steep and it would be prohibitively expensive to have them re-done. I've always let this keep us from using the basement for anything more than storage (and laundry). However, J recently saved up and bought a new, flat screen (very large) television, so we now have a spare TV and there is already a futon sofa being stored in the basement. I thought these things could form the backbone of a kid-friendly zone in the depths of our home.

The girls were excited and motivated.
A immediately said, "Yeah, Mom. We can move our toys down there and then you can use the back room to write." Sweet child. On Thursday, we cleared a large area, filled our recycling containers to the brim and hauled a van full of boxes to Goodwill. Saturday we made two trips to the recycling dumpsters and another Goodwill haul. Progress is being made.

As I drove to Goodwill on Saturday, with the van weighed down with stuff, I thought about how light it made me feel to get rid of these personal possessions. We don't need the vast majority of the items in our basement. If we needed them, we would be using them. There are a few exceptions like the Christmas decorations and the washer and dryer, but by and large, the basement had become a repository of obsolete supplies, equipment and clothing.

And it felt really good to get rid of it. Some of it might not be of much use to others. But my personal style has evolved a lot in the last five years and much of the clothing I gave away is still wearable, just not by me. I like imagining someone walking into Goodwill on a treasure hunting expedition to find just the right shirt that used to be mine. I like thinking that it will make someone happy to have it for a reasonable price. And I like that it is not sitting in my basement, doing no one any good.

There is still work to be done and we still have far too much stuff for a family of five. Only in this country would this type of material accumulation occur, and it saddens me that I am not a better steward to purge our possessions more regularly. But I will give credit where credit is due and say that five van loads in two days are steps in the right direction... pictures to follow (eventually) of the finished space.


aimee Guest said...

I am right there with you. I feel like I spend half my time re-arranging, re-organizing, re-grouping, and making look pretty-our STUFF. I too feel like we have way too much. We have an attic to clean out because nothing else can fit up there and I think "what in the world can be up there taking up all that space-it must be stuff we don't need if it's just sitting up there." sometimes when we're organizing, I forget to throw out and get rid of instead of just move it around in a different shape. So funny, I was thinking just the other day of a blog about "stuff"

Chris and Tiana said...

Can you have a little talk with my husband? I'd love to get rid of some stuff, but I'm married to a pack-rat. I should use your angle- somebody else could really find our stuff to be a treasure! How could he refuse that??