Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Clean, Purge, Recycle and Otherwise Get Rid of Stuff

If you feel like simplifying your life, here's a quick list of a few things I've learned to live without. Simplify starting here. But beware, it's addictive.

1. Memorabilia
The Eiffel tower statue that you bought in Paris, the honeymoon pictures you took of just the scenery. You don't need any of these things. Because guess what? Without them you'll still remember what it felt like to visit Paris and the beautiful Grand Canyon. None of those memories are going anywhere. Donate or recycle this stuff — you won't miss it.

2. T-Shirts (and Other Clothing You Don't Wear)
I'm not talking about those soft, perfectly fitted T-shirts you love and wear all the time. I'm talking about what's down there in the bottom third of your dresser drawer. Those logo-boasting shirts from events or places, which were likely all given to you for free, donate them and free up your closet or dresser.

3. CDs and DVDs
This one's a no-brainer. You don't need these anymore. All the music and movies you want are on the internet now or can be stored on a hard drive. So rip them and make some space on your shelves. Bonus: most urban recycling centers accept CDs and DVDs in your blue bin.

4. Books
I'm personally anti-Kindle because I believe real books have a longer life-span and most Kindles will end up in the trash. But if you own one, then this part might be even easier for you.

There are three types of books worth keeping around longer than it takes you to get through the last page. First, books that have strong sentimental value (is there an inscription on the title page, does the book have a history?). Second, books that are signed by the author or are otherwise valuable to you? And lastly, books you plan to read soon or that you reread regularly. That's it ! I suggest you sell the rest to your local used bookstore. Get store credit for them and go there or the library next time you need a book to devour.

5. Bags and Baggage
You only need one suitcase, one bag, and possibly a purse (or two). (Okay, so I fail miserably with this one. But I do use all six of my suitcases regularly, and I don’t want to admit anything about my purse collection).  Spend some dough on these few things so you get quality stuff that will last you a while and look good. All those other bags and duffels you have crammed into each other under your bed will be happier at Goodwill.

6. Kitchen Gadgets
Now, let's head to the kitchen. First off, let me say that I hate to cook. And it does stop me from owning a gaggle worth of gadgets and ice cream makers. Here's what I've learned. First, I need a microwave. Second, you can get by fine with a few good knives. Get a medium-sized quality one that costs way more than you ever imagined spending on a knife. It'll last you forever and cut everything you need it to. Lastly, you don't need any of those gadgets you haven't used in the past two months. If you never use your food-processor because it's too hard to set up and clean up, get rid of it. The best food is fresh and only requires your two hands and a few simple tools.
7. Things That Are Neither Useful, nor Beautiful
So after getting rid of the things listed above, take a look around. Sit in your reading chair and
observe your home. Do all the things hanging on your walls make you smile or think? Do the pieces of art you own make your heart sing?

I have a few family plates that hang on the wall. But mostly I have all of my favorite poster size photos that my husband took on our travels, and a few tea pots that I bought in China. All of these things are beautiful and unique, and they remind me of what I love in the world.

Do not get rid of those things. If anything, make more space for them. Those are the objects that inspire. And without all that clutter, they get to shine for us that much more.

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