Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Cut the Crap Challenge

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. Chile has started another challenge this month, and it dovetails so well with Crunchy Chicken's challenge that it just didn't make sense not to do it. Crunchy is challenging people to not to buy anything new in April, and Chile is challenging us to responsibly downsize the amount of stuff we already have. This combined approach tackles the problem of 'too much stuff' from both sides, and should result in a more simple, streamlined, parsimonious house and home.

Chile has made some good suggestions already as to how to avoid having unwanted items in your home and life, and I'm pleased to say that I've already implemented a couple of these. I've mostly stopped the scourge of junk mail coming into the house, and just this weekend I canceled home delivery of the Sears catalog. We've also completely stopped filling out those seemingly innocuous forms for "free draws" which seem to be everywhere these days. We had filled out a bunch of these at a couple bridal fairs some years ago just before we got married, and that was a big mistake. It's taken all of the four years since then to get off of assorted mailing lists and calling lists. Plus, I'm always worried about the identity fraud potential of these things, so I just don't fill out anything like that any more. I also consistently ask to be placed on the "do not call list" when telemarketers call the house, so the amount of this verbal junk mail is also decreasing over time.

But I have a lot of decluttering left to do. I have clothes that are in good condition but I just don't wear anymore. These could be donated to any number of worthy organizations. We have boxes of stuff in the basement, that we haven't even unpacked in 5 years. I'm pretty sure I don't need what's in them. A lot of this could be donated too. My filing cabinet drawer barely closes anymore, so I really need to go through it as well and shred/recycle what I don't really need to keep.

This should be a very interesting month!


Chile said...

Oh yeah, those free drawing cards are for suckers. There are lots of tricky ways that folks can obtain your name and address for advertising purposes.

One question though? What makes you think I'm going to promote responsible downsizing? ;-)

Theresa said...

Oh, I just meant you weren't encouraging people to just throw stuff away, into the landfill! I guess I will just have to wait and see what you have up your sleeve!

CindyW said...

This past weekend, I cleaned out my kids' small closet (not walk in, just the old in the wall kind) and came away with two huge boxes of clothes and toys that were no longer needed. How did we horde so many things? Urgh. All of a sudden their closet looks nice and tidy. And I am not about to ruin it by filling in new stuff.

I get scared to start with the rest of the house.

Theresa said...

It does pile up quickly. I used to move once a year on average, when I was a single university student - I traveled relatively light those days. Being married and now in the same place for 5 years, I shudder at the amount of boxes there are in the basement. This will definitely be a long term challenge,which I'm sure is why Chile didn't give it an end date!

daharja said...

Auction the boxes off and see what you get for them. In fact, if you know a local charity or are involved in a local school or church, you could auction them off unopened as a fundraiser, and see what's in them AFTER the bidding ends as a surprise - if you're game!

Theresa said...

That would be a very bold thing to do, auction off the boxes without knowing what's in there! I am a chicken though, and will root through them first - there are a couple things I would like to find, like my pottery loaf pan which I would like to use instead of my non-stick baking pan. And some candle holders I still have somewhere. But there will be lots of other stuff to donate, I'm sure!

daharja said...

You could still auction off the boxes anyway, een if you decide to peek first :-) If you haven't used the stuff for years, unless it is sacred stuff (like I hae my wedding dress boxed, for instance), I reckon it is up for the 'chop'!

Before we sold our house, we donated about 20 boxes of stuff to charity, sold three bookcases (floor to ceiling height) of books, and then did four Trash and Treasure markets to clear the clutter. I don't miss any of it, nor do I need any of it. It was a good call. If we hadn't sold/donated it, we'd still be storing the stuff, and humping it around for the rest of our lives!