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(De)Clutter

40-yard-roll-off-dumpster

When we're at home and not in the Airstream I find myself increasingly frustrated at the amount of unused stuff we have. We've lived in our home since 1997 and it's gone through two kids and several redecorating schemes. (The redecorating where you take everything out of a room, paint it a cool color and hang up the art you like, and then all the other decorative things and stacks of arty magazines you removed stay stashed in the hall closet for the next 10 years? Yep, like that.)

One of the girls' old rooms is sort of a pretty good guest room (given about a day's notice), but mostly it's that place we stash stuff when we clean up after Christmas. The other room is now the place where Kevin keeps his hexacopter tools and parts and stuff, and my giant paper cutter is set up on the bed instead of at my studio because I've been printing a lot more at home these days. There are even things that belong to the girls in each of those rooms still. Probably if they wanted that thing, they'd have taken it when they moved five years ago. Instead, I guess we need to make that decision for them. Someday.

In the hall closets there are unused appliances (bread maker, fondue pot), a turkey pan (even though we've never cooked a turkey, ever), vases we never use, candles we never use, hot rollers no one ever uses, a shower curtain I bought that didn't work and I was too lazy to return…you get the idea. The thing is, there's real crap mixed in with the crap that has some sentimental or someone-will-want-this value, and it makes it almost impossible to deal with. It's a storage mish mash nightmare.

Oh yeah, speaking of storage, I am still paying for a medium-sized storage unit where I keep a few large easels from when I used to paint, a handful of 6ft x 6ft paintings, numerous other small paintings and frames and art supplies and studio furniture. It's so annoying. We rented this storage unit, cleaned out my painting studio when we were turning it into a photography studio, stuck a combination lock on the door and we've never gone back. (We'd need to bring a lock cutter with us if we wanted to get in there, at this point.) 

Just about every time we come home from the Airstream we go through a room and gather a bunch of stuff and take it to Goodwill or give stuff to our friends and it feels great. It's a lot of work and I just wish we were a little faster at it. I said to Kevin that we should pretend like we're moving…box up everything, have the movers move it out into the garage, and then only bring back in what we want and ditch the rest right there on the spot. 

I read something one time on Zen Habits about taking small steps to declutter…each day tackle something like a drawer or a cupboard, but I think I'd really prefer 10 burly men with handtrucks and a giant dumpster.