De-Crapifying My Life

Do you ever wonder, where the hell you got half the crap you have laying around your house? I do. In fact, that’s all I’ve been doing for the last couple of days and most intensively the last few hours. Everywhere I looked there was crap, junk, dust collectors, cluge. Drives me crazy.

Well, maybe it doesn’t drive me that crazy since I seem to let it pile up, until I’m about ready to have a serious head implosion – then I get a big trash bag and get to work. The fun thing about doing this is in trying to remember what inspired you to buy some of crap you end up pitching. “Why did I buy that book? How many vases do I actually need? When did I become enamored with Goth lipstick?”

Although, that’s the least of it. For me, it’s the paper. The notes. The scribbles. The mystery phone numbers and 8,000 receipts for God knows what because I can’t even read them, let alone figure out what they are for. Then there are the drawers – same – old gum wrappers, miscellaneous hardware for curtain rods that no longer exist. Empty check boxes, old batteries – and really who needs 7 glue sticks? Oh, and when did I begin collecting the business cards of strangers? Who are these people? I have absolutely no memory of them. Guiltily I begin thinking about all the sacrificed trees for those little rectangles of mystery people’s identities.

Though all of this is just a microcosm of what is to come. Time to assess once again where things are with me. Where the crap is and to divest myself of it. I like to call this getting organized, maybe preparing to deliver? I don’t know, call it what you like – but it’s time to get rid of the mental and spiritual cluge too. That stuff in my head and my life that collects dust and dirt and obscures my thinking and actions. Actually figure out where I’ve submitted things and where I need to, who I’ve queried and who I should, where I’ll find work – taking stock, getting busy, blah, blah.

I love to moan and groan about all this stuff, and my back is none too pleased either but the truth is, I actually find throwing stuff away quite exhilerating and freeing. I guess I’ve always liked traveling light and when I start feeling bogged down, I get grumpy.

So anyway, for the next little while I’m going to be de-crapifying things. What about you? Packrat or de-crapifyer?

WC

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24 thoughts on “De-Crapifying My Life

  1. I’m both! I tend to gather all those little receipts in my wallet, on the counter, in my car. Then there are the articles of mail that come in that I put aside thinking I’ll read them sometime but that time never actually comes. Then I get tired of all the crap and start getting rid of it. Yard sales, e-bay, trash, whichever makes the most sense. And when everything is de-cluttered, there is a much better sense of peace in the home and in my head. I am starting to really believe that it is better to live with less.

    Hey Teens, I laughed about the mail that you put aside to read later. I do the very same thing, then I look around and think, ‘what is all this freaking junk mail doing on my desk?’ Living with less useless crap is definitely better.
    Annie

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  2. Good one! I use to be quite the hoarder… but was somehow able to turn it around. I figured out it was not only mucking up my home but my well-being too. I’d buy something and get a high, then a few days later it was a dust collector just like the rest of the crap. It only made me happy for a brief moment.

    I’ve purged an entire basement of crap. It was freeing. LESS IS MORE. I don’t ever want my crap to own me again.

    Hey JQ,
    I know what you mean about the temporary high of buying stuff. I noticed I was doing that too. I’d feel bad or blue or bored and go off and buy stuff. Then a few weeks later look at is and think, WTF? The crap owning you scenario could make a groovy, 50’s style sci-fi movie, though, couldn’t it? 😉
    A

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  3. The bookshelves in my room in my parents’ house are filled with all the useless schoolwork I accumulated over the years, but it’s not that I never had the heart to throw it away. No, it’s that I know that some day, a loved one of mine will be kidnapped, and the ransom will be that report on amoebae that I wrote in third grade.

    Wow, if I ever get kidnaped I want to have those kind of kidnapers. School papers are so much easier to get to than money, especially at 3 a.m.
    WC

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  4. Having a serious hoarder as a grandmother (who should probably be in a institution) and moving so much from military wife life I am a decrapifyer. It is too hard to take it all with us, especially in the tiny houses we end up in. I usually need or don’t wanna part with half the stuff I have to. We are buying a house soon, a normal size one, not a breadbox, and we hope to be in it awhile, so I may become a pakrat.

    Hey Jez,
    Wow, it must be difficult to move around so much. I’ve always thought that we should give our military families palatial abodes in which to live, you know, with maid service and continental breakfasts? I hope you get a nice big house soon – I’m sure that would be quite the delight after living in the little bread boxes. I don’t want to sound hoaky but thanks for what you and yours do for our country.
    Annie

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  5. I’m the de-crapifyer, my husband is the packrat. After 16 years, we have a mutual understanding as to where I am “allowed” (LOL) to de-crap and where he is allowed to packrat. We are both still alive so it must be working great.

    Glad to hear you worked out a system. I assume the garage belongs to the packrat? 😉
    A

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  6. Yup. I run around the house when my son isn’t home and throw crap in an opaque garbage bag. I can’t stand the used stickers, the rock collections, the scraps of paper, must I cherish every singe thing he colours if he generates 5 new pieces/day? I also get much junk in the mail, I have been sticking it all back in the mailbox for them to deal with. Down with junk!

    Hi Elizabeth, I think it’s cute that you do it while your son isn’t around. They do get attached to that stuff, don’t they?
    WC

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  7. i am sooo both. i am a crazy packrat for years and then suddenly out of the seeming blue, i go nuts and declutter like you wouldn’t believe. 🙂

    lately, i have taken to just saying no to stuff … unless i am going to use it all the time, it will not enter my house. i have a small house so i have to be picky about what makes its way inside. the garage is a whole other matter, lol …

    Hi D!
    Oooh, you should turn the garage into a dark room, then you’d have to keep it neat. Though maybe the car wouldn’t understand. :0
    Annie

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  8. Where did you find that picture of me in my kitchen?

    I like to keep an organized home, but my weakness is mail/bills. I save every bill for years and years. They are in piles all over our bedroom closet. 😳

    I’m everywhere, Windy, so you better watch it. Hehehe. Yeah, I was really into saving the paper too – the dang IRS makes us all paranoid I think. Now, I only save the ones that could be connected to a tax return, still…that’s too much.
    WC

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  9. Hi WC,

    I know very well the two reasons our house is stuffed to the gills with stuff.

    First, I am, by nature, a collector. I grew up very poor, so every item that came into my possession was precious. Thus, I kept Popsicle sticks, bits of string, rubber bands, old newspapers, and anything else I could keep Mother from throwing out – from which mass I would construct toys. While we’re not exactly poor any longer, old habits die hard, and you can never tell when an old door knob or a bent nail will be exactly the item you need for a repair, or some bit of creative construction. Fortunately, in these “green” times, my propensity for gathering piles of used items in anticipation of finding a use for them can no longer be considered “keeping junk that should be tossed out,” but must be viewed as “recycling.” Ha!

    Second, we also have a lot of duplicate stuff, due to my Wife’s habit of visually sterilizing our home every year in preparation for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays. While our house is almost decadently large, it’s also, mostly, extremely old, the main part having been constructed in 1842, and this means that we have approximately zero storage space. Thus, every year like clock work, all loose items that can’t be forced into the two, already stuffed, closets are packed in unmarked boxes and thrown into off site storage. Inevitably, this means that several items we need for party preparation are missing, so I have to go purchase replacements. For instance, two years ago, I had to make a last minute run to Wal*Mart to acquire clean clothes to wear at that night’s party! Still, after a year or three, I manage to find the stuff I know we have that I have, usually while hunting for something else, and drag it back into the house, even though we’ve already purchased a replacement. This is why we have 8 box fans, 6 space heaters, multiple copies of several CDs, enough socks t-shirts and unmentionables to last the rest of my life, 8 mops, 6 dust pans, and a 10 pound bag of yellow onions that I discovered last week which, much to my surprise, are mostly still edible.

    Thanks for the excuse to vent 🙂
    the Grit

    Hey Grit,
    That’s hysterical. Have you guys ever considered just building a few closets? It might save you on storage rental fees. 😉
    WC

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  10. Growing up, my mother was, and still is but on a smaller scale, a packrat. It was really horrible living that way so i am one who waffles over every purchase that is not milk or toilet paper and have no problem getting rid of things.

    Except for my girls’ papers.

    i am working on my second box of their stories, awards and drawings. But even with these, i keep only the best and toss the others after a few days on the fridge. It’s always hard on me though.

    Still, i cannot abide clutter.

    i think it’s great to go through things and decrapify (i ❤ that!). Happy cleaning!

    ~c

    Hey ChIcA-ChicA
    I knew you’d love a post about cleaning, regardless of type. I read somewhere on one of those crafting sites that a cool t hing to do with the kid’s stories and projects, etc. is to make scrap books of the bits – it’s fun for them, years later to look at them and even show their own kids. Though, I’m convinced Renee is going become a writer like her Mama. 😉
    Annie

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  11. I recently became a de-crapifyer and it’s indeed freeing. My weakness is clothes. I purged a lot these last week… I estimated that half the stuff I bought was a MISTAKE. Bargains, swaps or just bad choices… Isn’t it scary?! I thought I knew what is my style but during the years I wasted lots of money on crap. Oh well, time for a fresh start 🙂

    Hey Lily,
    I was pretty bad with the clothes too. I have this genetic defect which makes me unable to resist the words ‘sale’ and ‘clearance’ – I’ve learned a few ways to stay away from such words, especially when they appear on signs in stores – still, my future is sure to hold more mistakes anway. 😉
    WC

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  12. Oh, gawd, I accumulate stuff the way unused furniture accumulates dust. (You didn’t think I lived all alone in a 3-bedroom house because I had lots of visitors, did you?)

    Hey CG, now that’s the ultimate in pack-rat-ery – to need two extra bedrooms to keep your ‘stuff’! 😆
    WC

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  13. Thanks! Especially for the maid service! 😉

    You’re more than welcome – hope the continental breakfast was to your liking. 😉
    WC

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  14. Pure and simple, I’m a packrat.

    I’ve gotta say, Evyl, this surprises me. It would be fun to guess what it is you collect. Perhaps you should have a contest. 😉
    WC

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  15. I am a packrat trying to decrap! lol! When I was growing up, My mom did not keep anything.. so I always told her it was her fault that I hung on to things.. She laughed at that.

    Papers get on my nerves, (I guess it is kinda like the tag on some things saying it is a federal law to remove this)I am afraid they are gonna come and get me and I don’t mean put me in the movies..The picture I have in mind is like my drivers license photo..Not too cool! Clothes I can only bring myself to get rid of those when they are ‘history’ in the size department.

    The somewhat decraping I have done has been freeing..Got so much more to do I am thinking of calling for a prayer meeting for me with all of them claiming my release from the bondage of stuff!!..LOL! Now if I could just find the right color of shoes..
    When I moved a few months ago, I started to get serious about this matter and I must say clutter drives me nuts anymore.. Still got it..just sayin…

    Ange…
    Oh.My.God. The bondage of stuff – I love that phrase, may I steal it? I could write a poem about it – that would be a hoot. I’ll definitely be happy to join the prayer meeting, just let me know when and where. 😉
    Annie

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  16. I used to be a packrat but have recently started purging and it feels fabulous. Now, every few months I go through all my shelves and closets to see what I can get rid of. Last month I managed to fill 3 large garbage bags with junk. Where the hell does it come from…and why do I think I need sixteen gazillion picture frames?

    Unfortunately, my daughter is also a packrat. She hoards boxes of rocks and sticks under her bed. She also has a flair for collecting ridiculously odd things – miscellaneous pieces of string she finds at school, and spent pencil lead. What.the.hell? It drives me crazy but I have to deal with it because she is just like I used to be!

    Funny, 2LD, that being a reformed packrat likens being a reformed smoker…when seeing the former behavior in others, it can drive you up the wall, can’t it? I love that your daughter hides her collections under the bed, makes them that much more special. 🙂
    WC

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  17. Hi WC,

    Actually, we’re giving serious consideration to adding new rooms as the old ones fill up. Either that or building a new house and a series of storage buildings in the back yard. Since I’ve always wanted a compound, I’m leaning toward that plan.

    the Grit

    Hey Grit,
    A compound sounds like fun – then you could have one of those cool directories that says ‘you are here’ and then leads you to the right level. And think of the parties you could have. 😉
    WC

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  18. Hi WC,

    I suspect that “the parties we could have,” as publicized by the Kennedy Clan is the reason my wife is against the concept 🙂

    the Grit

    True – you’d have to cover the mud hole and confiscate all the car keys. 😉
    WC

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  20. Oh man, I am a PURGER, and I embrace it. I love that trait about myself, and Im proud to know that you’re in the process of purging. It’s nice. It IS freeing.

    This I know. I may have to fly you out here for some help. 😉
    Annie

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  21. Hey A……
    I’m inherently de-crapified. I can’t handle clutter, and have a tendency to throw everything away constantly. Drives the huz nuts, considering that occasionally I’ll clean off his desk and throw away stuff he actually needs.

    The idea of having piles of stuff anywhere makes the neurons inside my brain start to explode.

    Jess! She lives and breathes. Missed ya, girl. Yes, I could hear some poppping and bursting a little while ago – musta been you when you saw that pic. 😆
    Annie

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  22. Oh man…you hit the nail on the head with that one! My DH is quite the pack rat and I fear and loathe his visits to the Salvation Army. He’ll come home with LPs that are little more than a joke or novelty…pots and pans “for auto repair work, like draining oil,” you name it. Although he does find some bargains.
    Now, I often find myself saving ticket stubs from events I want to remember (like I’m going to forget seeing and meeting Beck?! or seeing the NYC ballet’s Nutcracker?! Not till I have Alzheimer’s). Or collecting things I think I’m going to use in my art but I never do. And way too many books. Of course I never clean, because it’s too overwhelming to look at.
    I think I need to grab a trash bag, too.

    LOL Sandra, your hubby sounds like my father. He used to roam junk shops looking for more junk he could ‘use’ for things. Although, he did manage to find quite the many bargain. Maybe we aren’t all cut out for decluttered spaces and lives – there is a certain amount of clutter I require to think, myself. 🙂
    Annie

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  23. I’m with ya! We’ve had a couple of construction projects going over the past couple of months here at the <a href=”http://www.2dolphins.com/ourhouse.html” 2Dolphins Resort & Spa and it just burns me up to have to shuffle piles of untended stuff from one area to another. I’m finding that, now with a kiddo in our lives, it’s especially easy to get caught up in the everyday stuff and not realize that you’re letting things go.
    So, I’m dedicated to decrapifying this place before the end of Summer!

    Hi Rob,
    Sorry for the delay – I’ve moved my blog to a new address and so don’t check in here too often. Good plan and yes, it is good to step back and de-cluge. Hope it works out for you.

    WC

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