Sunday, March 7, 2010

Messy Monday: Women Who Love Too Much

Today we’re looking at habit #4 of my post, the “Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Housekeepers”. They’re ruthless when it comes to getting rid of stuff. They would rather err on the side of getting rid of something that’s cluttering up space now—even if they have to buy it again later, instead of hanging onto it for that “maybe-someday” possibility later.

image courtesy Joe Shlabotnik

When I was packing to leave London after my semester there in college, I ran out of room in my suitcase, but I still had a bunch of stuff I wanted to take back with me. There was Toblerone chocolate, and these really good sandwich cookies, and other non-edible souvenirs. I couldn’t bear to leave any of it behind, but I had to—it just wouldn’t fit. A friend had to help me make the hard decisions in the wee hours of the morning before our plane left.

Sometimes, the clutter control mantra of “only keep what you love” is just not helpful for those of us who love too much. We have a lot of stuff, and we love it all. So what’s a girl to do?

In these situations, I think it’s helpful to play a little mind-game with ourselves. Pretend that you’re getting advance notice that in a few hours, your home will be destroyed by a natural disaster. You need to pack up your favorite belongings and get moving. You have a very limited amount of time to make some hard and fast decisions about what you love the most.

What would you grab? What would you leave behind? If you’re ok with leaving it behind, you don’t really love it as much as you think you love it. Everyday life does not call for such drastic measures, but if you want to find more white space in your home, you need to take dramatic steps.

Once you decide what you really want to keep, then you have to follow through. This can be just as hard. If you decide, for instance, that you would only grab certain clothes in an evacuation, these really are the ones you love the most. Your existence would go on just fine without the lesser-loved items. Decide to pack these up, and donate them to the nearest thrift store, a friend, or take them to a consignment store if you want to earn some money for them. Do it fast, before you start thinking about how much you really do love that green sweater your sister got you two Christmas’ ago, even though you’ve never worn it…yet.

This Messy Monday, I encourage you to start by picking one manageable area to sort through. Maybe it’s a shelf in the closet, or a drawer in the kitchen. Sort through it ruthlessly, and let go of some of the loves in your life. You’ll feel much freer once you let them go.
Do you have a Messy Monday tip for getting it together? If so, please enter a link to your post. As a courtesy, please leave a link back to this post in your post. Thanks and have a great, not-so-messy Monday!

(linked to Frugal Friday)


  1. I'm about to tackle a disastrous storage area upstairs...and I've stood there looking at the mess a few times thinking there are a lot of items in there I might use in the future (yet haven't used in seven years!). Thanks for the motivation to give them away so someone else can use them!

  2. Looking at your photo was very disturbing to me. Realizing that it was a dumpster and thinking some of these things may be valuable... and they are not even mine! Obviously the reaction proves that I DO have a hoarding problem!