Getting rid of “stuff”…

I have been going through the slow and arduous process of purging our lives of “stuff” in preparation for our Great Family Adventure.   I can’t tell you how much I’m OVER having a house full of stuff!  I gave away 2 big bags of children’s clothes and shoes this past weekend – but there’s still so much more to purge.  The kid’s room – alone – looms like an ominous mountain that needs to be conquered…  and it’s not as though I have trouble getting rid of things.  On the contrary, it feels liberating and freeing to  see the stuff leave my house.  The problem is – I don’t know where to start… and because I have a creative brain (which, thanks to my ADD, is easily distracted)… I find it hard to work through the “stuff” in a methodical way.  I find it hard to group things.  I find it hard to prioritise things – or make decisions on what should go where.

For example, does Joah really need 42 plastic dinosaurs?   Which do I keep, which do I give away?  What do I do with all of these wires, power supplies and cables?  Do they get re-cycled?  Do people want them?  Can I donate them to an organisation which could use them?  Is it rude to throw away gifts – especially expensive gifts?  Does Tracey Kelsey want the bag of wood shavings for Matt’s hamster cage?  Since Rosemary died, I’m not sure what to do with her old cage or the left-over food?  How many handbags do I keep?  Will I read those books again?  What stuff do I sell – and what stuff do I give away… and what stuff do I re-cycle or throw away??


Here’s some pics (so you can share my pain):

This is a photo of a pile I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with.   Suggestions, anyone?  Here’s a list:

  1. A pile of books (on the left) which are no longer applicable to my life, and which my mother might want for her library at Fisherman’s Village.
  2. 2 boxes of individually wrapped music CD’s from 2 bands that Lighthouse Music once produced (back in the late 90’s when I was still one of the directors of Lighthouse Music).  One of the boxes contain CD’s from Nick’s old band, Big Jump Joey…!  What the heck do I do with these?
  3. A shaker musical instrument thingy that I was given in Kenya.
  4. Base of a Mickey Mouse lamp (for kids room) – will have to hunt for the top of it.
  5. Small pile of clothes that need to be returned to my nieces (left behind during their last visit).
  6. A yellow handbag which I quite like.
  7. Another pile of very random books – which I have no idea what to do with… titles include:  “Cartooning the Head & Figure”, “Designers Common Sense Business Book”, “Mr Bean’s Guide to France”, “Confessions of a Bad Mother”…. and more…. (maybe I should donate these to the Joburg Library?)
  8. More random wires (this house is FULL of cables & wires & power supplies!!!)
  9. A Spar packet full of empty printer cartridges.
  10. A coaster.
  11. The latest copy of the House & Leisure magazine.
  12. A head band thingy that holds your hair out your face when you give yourself a facial.
  13. Another printer cartridge & box.

Here’s another one:

As you can see, from the photo above, I have a “thing” for magazines.  These are just SOME of my magazines.  I struggle to part with them because I tell myself that I haven’t read them properly or mined them (properly) for all of their information.  Yes, yes, I know.  If I haven’t read them properly – I never will – and they need to go!

I’m sentimental about the round basket on the left – we’ve had it in the family since I was a child.  My Mom used to keep her crocheting needles and wool in there.  The basket on the right once housed a kitten that I purchased (very impulsively) while I was on holiday in Cape Town (at the age of 16).  The blue handbag was a gift from a friend in Uganda.  The black thingy holds random CD’s (which is another thing we have hundreds of in this home:  CD’s and DVD’s!!!!)

Above:  This is our Random Crap Cupboard.  Surely every home has a Random Crap Cupboard?  It’s here that we store towels and loo paper (since it’s right next to the downstairs bathroom)… and tools, screws, bolts, light bulbs, sleeping bags, endless keys for unknown locks, chains,  packets of pegs, string, rope, mozzie killer, car shades, polyfilla and all other number of unidentifiable objects.

The Random Crap Cupboard scares me.  I don’t know where to start!

Above:  Hmmmm.  A small pile of random stuff that lies situated in the awkward space between Nick’s office and our house.  I see various tools… more ^&%@! wires…. two camera tripods… a box for a “broadcast camera LED light” (have no idea if the light is in the box – or if it’s just the box)… plastic drawers (with nothing in them)…. and some strange poles.  I am getting tired and sleepy just looking at this stuff!  It’s exhausting!

Above:  Also in the odd space between the house and the studio:  a motorbike helmet (don’t know who it belongs to, but it’s been living in our house for years!!)… a pack of dust masks (for when Nick was sanding the upstairs floor)… various plug covers… paint rollers (all used for fixing the upstairs floor)…. more cables… and, in the corner, a collection of ‘gels’ for when Nick lights up his film sets.  I want it ALL GONE!!!

Above:  This is the kid of stuff that we have LOTS and LOTS of in our house.  Because we both work with gadgets – and because Nick, in particular, works with computers and cameras – we have endless collections of “gadget stuff”… whether it’s various adaptors, power supplies, connectivity thingies, cables,  things that make one cable fit another cable, cleaning goodies and brushes (to clean lenses and such)… and let’s not even get started on all the tapes, CD’s and external hard-drives!

And… then there’s the block-mounted movie posters (as you can see Gandalf)… and other random things… like a Jesus on wheels… a dancing Napoleon Dynamite…  Morpheus sitting on the infamous red chair… and the Were-Rabbit from Wallace & Gromit… (that teeny-tiny astronaut was taped to Nick’s camera for the duration of shooting “Semi-Soet”).

So yes… you see!  The process of purging stuff isn’t easy for me!  It’s mostly confusing… and tiring.

Nonetheless – I hope to have purged massive amounts of “stuff” within the next 2 months – hopefully leaving our home mostly bare and neat.  And… whenever I feel overwhelmed by clutter… I comfort myself with the knowledge that this house is DOABLE… because there are far, far worse clutter-situations out there than me….  Case in Point:

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