Friday, June 20, 2014

Dump the stuff

Clutter (Photo credit: spykster)

     In this months NW Examiner newspaper which covers the northwest section of Portland, my friend Kate Washington has a great article on how she and her husband had to downsize their stuff when they moved from a house in Washington State to a apartment in Portland's Pearl District. The newspaper is in PDF format and the article itself can be found on page 16.

June NW Examiner 

     I have to be honest and tell you that for many years I was a major extreme pack rat. I would keep every scarp of paper because I knew that I would need it some day or it might be valuable some day. Of course all those papers, magazines, books, souvenirs, post cards all started to pile up. Now this wouldn't be so bad if you lived in the same place for your whole life but I moved 5 times as a child and have moved 15 times as an adult so all that stuff can really add up.

     My first big change came in 2004 when my father passed away when stuff just didn't seem to be that important anymore. Then the week before Thanksgiving in 2005 my mother suffered a stroke and ended up in a nursing home where she passed away in May, 2007. My brother and I had to make a trip up to Spokane where my mother lived and clean out her apartment. While we put much of it in storage we still ended up taking a couple of truckloads of assorted stuff to Spokane's Waste to Energy plant to dispose of it.

     After she passed away it fell to me to give take care of what was left. When it came down to it none of the family wanted what they were giving in the will because it meant nothing to them. All that stuff that my parents had saved over the years had was of no value or meaning to anyone in the family. It was eye opening to see how stuff we treasured as being so special ends up being nothing but something that someone else will get stuck hauling away some day. While there might be a treasure or two to be found in someone's life collection, most of it is pretty worthless.

    It was also about this time that TLC's show Clean Sweep came on the air along with a similar show on HGTV which really brought to life for me how much crap I had. While shows like Clean Sweep were dramatized, it did show what can happen with the stuff has control of you instead of you having control over your stuff.

    Over the next few years I cleaned out a large amount of my stuff but some of it still lingered because I was going to sell it online and make some money off of it. Then a couple of years ago we rented a house that was the biggest house I have ever lived in and of course you have to fill it up so it doesn't look so empty right? While that may be fine if your planning to stay in a place for 20 years and even then it can be a dangerous trend, we very well could be moving by next June which will probably be into a much smaller space. Therefore we have started purging in order to get the amount of stuff down by the time June rolls around next year.

     If your one of those people that is drowning in stuff, get help now. It has been proven that clutter can have detrimental affects on your health and productivity. Don't leave it for someone else to clean up after your gone, take care of it now and make life more enjoyable.
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