I have recently noticed a troubling trend around my home. Over time we have accumulated a bunch of stuff. We have many things that we don't really use, need or want. Having too much stuff mentally drains me. I was thinking that if I could have my way I'd minimize everything. Then I realized I can have my way so I decided to do something about it.
One of the by-products of having so many little kids is that we frequently find clothes all over the house. They will often discard shoes and socks in whatever room they happen to be in. There are so many clothes that it has been hard to keep track of them all. Despite the over abundance of clothes, we usually can't find a pair of shoes or socks every Sunday so I end up yelling at my kids as a regular weekly tradition as they are getting ready for church. Many times I feel like Frank Costanza screaming "serenity now!" when dealing with all the clutter. I have also wanted to say "Calgon take me away" but taking a bubble bath is not a very manly way to deal with the situation.
What has compounded the clothes clutter problem is that we have many good friends, neighbors, and family who have passed clothes down to us over the years. I appreciate their generosity and don't mind my kids using nice hand me downs, but we have failed to get rid of the old clothes when the new ones came in. That is until recently. I got fed up and told each kid they could have their pajamas, Sunday clothes, work out clothes, and besides that we were limiting every one's wardrobes down to one weeks worth of clothes. I got rid of 6 full garbage bags of clothes in one day. It was a huge psychological relief. I was able to donate them and by donate I mean pass the curse on to someone else. I am all for simplification.
Without the clutter it is much easier to focus on more important things. I'm pretty sure that in Guantanamo Bay they had rooms full of junk where they would put prisoners just to stress them out. I'd prefer water boarding to clutter exposure. Even if the stuff you have is nice or expensive, it is still clutter if you have too much. The paintings at the Louvre could be classified as clutter if they weren't spaced out and arranged to give you breathing room.
I used to help people selling their homes by preparing or "staging" them to make them more appealing to buyers. By far the most important thing they could do was to get rid of all the unnecessary junk that had accumulated over the years. I think de-junking is just as important as cleaning or re-painting since it makes a room appear bigger and gives it a more spacious feel.
So in an effort to simplify things I am keeping a closer watch on what comes in my house. When new clothes come in old ones will have to go out. When new toys, papers, books, or furniture come in I will make sure old ones go out. It is a challenge to maintain equilibrium while living with so many little pack rats, but the effort is worth maintaining my sanity. I would much rather have fewer material goods that are in better shape than have a ton of stuff and feel like I'm living on the set of Sanford and Son. I'd encourage anyone else who needs to get rid of old stuff to do so. It's therapeutic and it will simplify your life.