Thursday, January 2, 2014

Use it or lose it

Not a post about exercise, but about excess.

In reply to Louise Michie who seems to think my statement on my culling post "do not keep anything you are not using" is ridiculous. 

I considered not publishing her comments, after all, this is my blog and I can do what I want :)

But then I thought perhaps it might encourage some discussion.  So here are my thoughts, and if you have any you would like to add, please do so, but be nice....

(Unfortunately I can't seem to copy and paste her comment to this post, so if you want to read it you will have to go HERE. ) my thoughts....

I do not consider any statement that makes people think is 'ridiculous'.  And this obvious has made Louise think.  (We may not agree with each other, but I'm happy to agree to disagree.)

I think we need to use a bit of common sense here.  I am not advocating getting rid of everything you are not using at this moment, but more the principle of 'using what you are keeping' and getting rid of excess.

In the past I have kept things ...just in case, which has created a lot of excess.  9 times out of 10, the 'just in case' never comes, and as I do most of my shopping at op shops/thrift stores, I can generally pick up the 1 time in 10 thing that I might eventually find I have need of.

I have winter and summer clothes (most op shop bargains), I pack the winter things away in summer and the summer things away in winter, because I know I am going to need them again.  But I do go through each year and cull those things I have not worn in the previous season.

And do I really need all those sets of sheets... and towels... and books that I've read and know I won't want to read again... and coffee mugs??  I keep 'enough' and give the rest away.

And if you have family heirlooms (or family) I am not suggesting you give them away, but use them in your everyday life and remember those who gave them to you.

I have some lovely gifts that have been given to me. I enjoyed them and used them.  But sometimes circumstances change and they are not able to be used anymore.  Rather than pack them in a box, why not pass them on to someone else who can benefit from them and enjoy them.  I first came across this principle in a book by Jose Hobday . I really admire her attitude to life and possessions.

Ok...enough from me.  It's over to you.  Any thoughts?


  1. I have to say that over time, possessions, and even things like paperwork can and do have the capacity to accumulate. These items them require storing, which in turn can cause the home to appear cluttered or "too small", when in fact it is items causing that distress. Over on my blog I am actually hosting a " simplify your home challenge" which looks at getting things sorted and simplifying our homes so we can enjoy it and family and friends so much more.

  2. Perhaps Louise took your words too literally?
    I believe a good sort out is invaluable and should be done a few times per year otherwise you simply become overwhelmed with stuff.
    Every few years I clear out my bookshelves, I now only have books that I know I will re-read because I enjoy them. And why should books simply sit on my shelves collecting dust if I am never going to read them again? Twice I have culled my book collection, first taking all of the unwanted books to work and letting my co-workers pick through them, then after a week I donate the remaining books to Goodwill.
    I sort through my clothing at least once per year. Unless an item is damaged beyond repair or completely worn out, if I no longer want it, I donate to Goodwill. I do not buy clothes very often, most of what I have is either made by me or purchased from the thrift store. The other day I wore a favorite sweater that I have owned for over twenty years and it is still in great shape.
    I sort through my kitchen cabinets about twice a year, if I find items I know longer need I offer them to my daughter and daughter-in-law, and if they don't want them I donate to Goodwill.
    We are quite selective in what we purchase anymore, we have reached that stage in life where we have what we need and purchases generally are to replace items that are worn out.
    I like to tear apart a room and thoroughly sort it out periodically, I don't do all rooms at the same time, but each room gets done at least once per year. Things do seem to accumulate.
    I stopped shopping at yard sales/garage sales as I found myself purchasing items that I did not need and ultimately ending up donating to Goodwill and that seemed to be a waste of money and time.
    Clutter stresses me out, I find order to be calming.

    1. Thanks for all your thoughts Bean.

      We seem to be 'kindred spirits' as clutter also stresses me... and we seem to have a lot of it around at the moment, with Denver on school holidays. He seems to take after his mother in that if you see a cleared space you fill it with something :))

      And books are where I fall down as I find it very hard to part with them. Until it all gets too much and then I go overboard and part with some I really shouldn't have.

      Quite often I offer my books to the library and if they are less than 10 years old they are generally happy to take them. They also go to friends and op/thrift/goodwill shops.

      Marnie is a reader too and as we each cull our collections we go through each other's piles and take out what we want...which usually results in still having the same number of books! I don't know how many times books have gone from her bookshelves to mine...and back again :)

      And we do it with clothes too!! xx

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  4. Blessings!
    I have to say the first thing that caught my attention was the reference to getting rid of an aunt who no longer can write…really? It made me wonder if she "uses" the aunt, old friends who only send a Christmas Card, and other such people in her life? Your post didn't even imply that you meant to get rid of the useful and obvious. Like the winter clothing vs. summer clothing and more.

    The important thing is not so much getting rid of things you want or need but rather getting rid of things that impede your walk with the Lord (anything can become an idol), that simply clutter your life, or sit on a shelf and gather dust while someone else who really WILL put it to use, really needs it! "One man's trash is another man's treasure"!

    I have "downsized" many times over the years and is common with most of us, it needs to be done every now and then because we will always begin to accumulate "stuff" over time. For instance…I love vases. I love to find unusual and delicate vases. I like them tremendously! But seriously…how many vases do I need? I can't possible afford to keep them filled with flowers and if I grew them myself I'd have to be out dealing with those and wouldn't have the time to FILL THEM! :D Nuff said :)

    Books is a passion. I love books no doubt about it! But really, how many times am I actually going to read them? Once! Except for my bible which I read daily so that doesn't count as a "book" in my thinking. It's more like a necessity of life :) So I read them and pass them on. It's easy to do and frees up a LOT of space. Yes there are books that I have that I have had for a very long time. I"m a historian and I have a LOT of reference books. But I use them…thus "keeping it only if you use it." Granted I don't use them every day but I do use them several times a year and usually when I am referring to certain era's for clothing design and costuming. It's a lot cheaper to hold onto them than it is to go out and buy yet another book so I can look some things up. And no, our libraries don't carry the kinds of books I have. But I digress…

    Sister Lori (writing another because it wouldn't all fit :P )

  5. Continued from my first…boy am I talkative :P :)
    How many pairs of shoes do I need? I only have 1 pair of feet! So I have winter boots, mucking boots (for barn and animal work), summer shoes and a nice pair for church. My feet aren't growing so i don't need to replace them until they fall apart. Saves me money and I'm all about pinching pennies till they cry :)

    Same with clothing. I only have 1 body and there are only 7 days in a week. In addition of my 7 dresses I do have two nice things to wear. One being more formal and more for weddings and anniversaries and such and the other is more church appropriate. It works!

    I once thought about getting rid of all my sewing things because I was only sewing for myself and I couldn't possibly use all the fabric I own. Which is nothing short of a fabric shoppe up in my sewing room! Just when I was going to box it up and donate it to the nursing home where they make block quilts for charities, I started getting a LOT of orders for certain types of clothing that I needed that fabric for! I am still donating quite a but to them but most of it will stay where it is because God has clearly had a purpose for me in that area. I still make my own clothing so it's handy in that way too.

    Yarn? Yikes! I have a TON of yarn but…as I said previously…some things I use at certain times of the year and my need may not be daily but it's definitely not something I would want to replace again. I knit and crochet throughout the year. Some months (and medical moments) more than others. It is a brand I have used for the last 20 years so it's not like I will get bored of it and end up with it stacked someplace and replaced by something else.

    It's been a bit difficult getting rid of things lately as our grandchildren used to be a huge part of our lives here but after they were taken from us in May of this year, I keep coming across items that we had purchased for them and they loved so much. I'm getting better about though and those things are heading out the door little by little.

    I think the most important thing is that clutter effects each of us. So many people don't want to admit that but it's true! Just as listening to the television for "background noise" effects us subconsciously, so does the clutter. When things are clean and orderly and "a place for everything and everything in it's place", our minds become orderly and cleaned up too. We don't stress as much, we don't lose our temper as often, we don't overeat or get so depressed that we can't bear to get up in the morning. (This is what getting rid of our television 18 years ago did for me ;) )

    I know I'm rambling but you know me…I tend to get on a soapbox and stay there till someone knocks me off :)

    Sure do miss you Sister Lynda. I still read and reread the note you sent me a few months ago. It was so timely and when I am feeling overwhelmed and downtrodden I read it and it lifts me right back up again. You bless me! I'll be sitting down to write again soon. My life has gotten so busy this past year (a God thing I'm certain) that i haven't had a moment to myself. Thankfully I am surrounded by godly folks in what I am doing now and with a wonderfully godly husband at home I feel a tremendous sense of peace most days :)

    Writing soon,
    God be with thee!
    Sister Lori

  6. So nice to hear from you Sister Lori !!

    Love your 'rambling' :))

    Seems we've both had more than enough to contend with in 2013. I'm sure the Lord has many good things in stall for us in 2014!!

    I am endeavouring to catch up with letter writing this month, so we will see who gets in first :))

    May God continue to bless and encourage you. xx