Is Clutter Your Plague of Ghosts from Christmas Past?

Although I wrote Is Clutter Your Plague of Little Ghosts almost a year and a half ago, I thought with the approaching Season of Giving it may be a good time to share this again.

Before you buy a little Do Dad or Thing-a-ma-jing for your loved one, grab a cup of rum egg nog then read on…

Clutter!

What does clutter mean to you?

Is it a few Knick knacks handed down from your great Aunt Mary gathering cobwebs in a forgotten corner of your living room?

Is it papers seemingly multiplying on your dining room table?

Is it your closet filled with clothes, some you haven’t worn in years, some still with the price tags?

Is it accumulated Christmas, Halloween, other seasonal items, party or craft supplies? Projects you never seem to have time for.

Spaces filled with stuff.? Stuff that’s gotten out of control. Stuff you keep moving around to make space for more stuff? Is it just plain unmanageable?

You all know my story. I, like you had a lot of stuff! I had so much clothes I rarely wore the same thing twice to work, yet when I was at home, I wore the same favorite things over and over.

During  roller derby I had quite a collection of skirts, shorts, leggings, tights, wheels, laces, skate tools, bearings, gadgets and OHHHHHHHHH the skull and zombie socks! I was obsessed to say the least. Don’t even get me started on crystals, necklaces and the scarves!!! Oh my!

Going through the insurance process was a huge eye opener! OMG!!! Did I really spend copious amount of hard earned money on all this STUFF??? Listing every single item we owned and accumulated over the years was not only excruciating and exhausting, it was sickening!!! It took many months to list everything for our family of four. The Halloween stuff I didn’t mind, as I made a lot of my own props. That was a hobby and MY Christmas.

Having lost everything in the wildfire except the little bit we could pack on that fateful day put a lot of things in perspective. I miss those sentimental items like the kid’s drawings, their baby pictures, ultrasound pictures, hospital bracelets, baby outfits, the precious gifts they made us each year, antiques, jewellery and Christmas ornaments handed down from relatives who passed away. As for the rest… I feel relieved that it is gone.

I remember all those precious weekends spent cleaning, rearranging clothing, seasonal items, sorting papers and trying to find room for new stuff. Every week while cleaning the fridge, I threw out spoiled food. There was just too much to eat. We were a typical middle-class family, by no means were we rich or could afford to waste things. We didn’t have fancy or expensive things, but oh man did we have stuff. I won’t even talk about all the musical equipment my hubby collected. He gravitated towards vintage, so he had quite the collection of gear.

After the fire, many people reached out to us with their hearts, donations of money and things that we could use while we eased into our new normal. We are ever so grateful and wish we could somehow repay each and everyone of these beautiful souls. We try our best to pay it forward to others in need.

During the transition and while we went through the rebuild then sale process, we bought essentials, enjoying a minimalistic lifestyle. Less to clean, less to shift. Friends and family would visit without me going around like the Tasmanian devil trying to tidy up. For example, we each had one towel and facecloth, a set of sheets for each bed, 4 plates, bowls, cups and 4 of each utensil. As time went on some well-meaning friends and family sent us stuff they no longer needed to help us, despite our assurances we had everything we need. Don’t get me wrong we are very grateful to our loving friends and family but we absolutely did not need anything. Sometimes it meant us having to spend lots of time going through things and finding others who may really be in need.

Living a simpler lifestyle in a temporary home, we knew anything we bought would need to be moved into the new home. My hubby and I decided we would only buy the essentials. One of the musts…we absolutely must LOVE and NEED the item. One of my LOVES, that was a must purchase: a piece of art entitled “Coyote Plagued by Little Ghosts” I stumbled across at a local art show. There’s a story as to why I had to have it that I will share someday.

Slowly days turned into months, a year, then 2 years before our home was rebuilt. This presented a bit of a problem when Halloween, Christmas, celebrations and family/friend’s gatherings would take place. We then needed to purchase more utensils, plates, mugs, glasses, seasonal items and party supplies. Sometimes a fork or spoon would go missing as we have young adult kids. Later getting back into hobbies, camping and kayaking required more purchases than we would like. With changing seasons, winter coats, boots, mitts and hats were needed. It had nothing to do with the money, we just didn’t want our STUFF to accumulate.

We purchased our forever home in Calgary just over a year ago. There was quite a bit to move, donate and larger items like furniture to purchase. As you can imagine we have copious amounts of papers related to insurance, rebuild, home sale and purchase. The papers drove me crazy for many months prior to the move, as our dining room table served as a command post. Sometimes it was difficult to serve dinner or find room for my neighbour to sit while we chatted over coffee. Thankfully, these papers have been organized now but it was a struggle for a long time.

For the most part our new home contains things we absolutely NEED, LOVE and make life easier. NOT STUFF that clutters up spaces, require moving around before family and friends visit or vast amounts of time to clean.

What are your thoughts and experiences with clutter? Any similar opinions or opposite? Please share?

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