Progress: Purge

Step 1: Empty the contents of my closets onto the floor.

Fortunately, I don’t have much storage space, so that didn’t go as badly as it sounds. I also cleaned out and repacked the containers under my bed, and stowed 95% of the Christmas stuff (last year it took until March, so this is pretty good for me). Left to do: dig out the corners where I’ve been storing more stuff, since as I said, I don’t have much storage space. It is projected that, in these corners, I will find over 30 yards of various fabrics and my college diploma.

donation pileI have a gigantic pile of stuff to donate in my hallway, precisely where I can stumble over it then remember to put other things in it. Contents: ping pong equipment (but no balls), 4 very similar rugs, clothing, 2 pillows I’ve never liked, a metal basket, sunglasses I’ve never worn (or seen before), cleats, and a night light. Among other bits. It’s all in good enough condition to be used, and I’m not going to use any of it.

Step 2: Banish the pile. There are a lot of ways for me to get rid of this: Craigslist (free or sale), Freecycle (like Craigslist, only everything’s free), the Salvation Army, and yard sales come to mind. I tend to take all my things to the Salvation Army- since they’re close by, and I know they’ll take it all at once and use as much as they can. Plus, I don’t have anything worth enough time or money to make reselling or listing it free online make sense.

I still have a lot of stuff left, but now it’s all stuff that I can and want to use. A very persuasive school of decluttering rids one of all unessentials- but that’s not for me. I’m not anti-materialistic at all- I’m not getting rid of things just to not have things. I found a surprising number of items that I don’t want and don’t need floating around in my apartment. There is plenty of stuff- my glass penguin, my shelves of books- that I don’t actually need, but I appreciate having in my space, so long as I have space (not like I take them camping with me or anything- just a few of the books). Plus, keeping random stuff around means I can save money by buying in advance and in bulk, and have all that I need for architectural and personal projects. So, the bits of foam board and cotton scraps stay. Though I do need a new place to store them. Ack! Acquisition! But only of the useful kind.

Fake Plastic Fish, a blog about consumption, waste, and plastic, wrote an interesting post last week on a similar idea of purposeful consumption. Her point was, people tend to over-consume items because they don’t respect, or like, or care anything about, the items that they use or have. Similarly, by clearing my place of the things I don’t want and putting them to good reuse, I have more time and space to respect my other things- and maybe even use them- I’ve been meaning to make a quilt from some of those scraps for years.

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