Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Monday, December 29, 2014


This week my husband and I initiated what we would like to call The Great Purge of 2014.  For those of you that like to collect and save things, you know what I'm talking about.  But for those of you with children in your family, you really know what I'm talking about. 

Neither my husband or myself are collectors.  We used to collect all sorts of things but after the 7th move in 8 years we decided that collecting anything was a nightmare that had would have to be moved yet again and so we stopped collecting stuff and started giving that stuff away.  I also learned that stuff is exactly that, stuff.  It doesn't contribute to our lives in any way and only causes me a headache because it has to be dusted or moved across the country so that was the end of our collecting.  I got rid of things that I thought were so valuable, a VHS copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's that I had watched 1000 times, a Casio watch that was one of the first things I bought with my first real paycheck out of college, my first Coach handbag. 

Anyway - after watching the amount of stuff that my kids unwrapped on Christmas (and I did not buy all that stuff, I know I didn't) I realized that if we didn't purge it was going to be a really cluttered 2015.  So this week while my kids were in W. Virginia visiting their Aunt, Uncle and Cousin we sorted, cleared, cleaned and donated 9 bags of stuff, one food processor that wasn't being used, a box of books, a huge bag of paper bags from the grocery store and even a table.  I even found things I didn't know I had like a crock pot - and thank God I found it because I was getting ready to buy a new one!

My 2015 resolution is to buy whatever I need at our local thrift shop.  We have 2 great ones one of which I volunteer at several times a month.  And every time I work there I am shocked and alarmed at how much Americans buy, save, collect and throw away.  And I'm right in there with them.  I just got rid of 9 bags of stuff, 9 bags of crap that at some time in my life I or my spouse or my children needed, wanted or thought we needed or wanted.  Of course our groceries I am not buying at the thrift store but all the other stuff I'm going to get there.

First up, all our ski gear that we will need for a ski weekend we are taking in January.  I need snow pants for 2 McKeon's and goggles for 3 McKeon's and some warm turtlenecks and gloves.  What resolutions will you be making?


Francoise Allamanche said...

With our renovation, it's not 9 bags of stuff that we will get rid off but certainly 100. I can't wait to start the purge, that's my goal too!

cizpaints said...
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cizpaints said...

I have stuff given to me by my mother in law, collectables, china, crafts from far away places like quilts from Asia etc. How do you deal with stuff that has been in your family history etc. and you just can't toss it? Is it still just stuff? I've tried to pair down some things but when it comes to hand sewn silk tablecloths from Tehran or India, I can't part with them even though I never would have bought them in the first place. My mother in law is getting old and downsizing. She has collected stuff from all over the world. Guess I should just say, no thanks! You have seen the size of this house and I personally dislike the large footprint and all the stuff that goes with it.

Joy McKeon said...

Here is what I've done when I have been given many items from family. I choose the ones that I love or that speak to me or that bring me joy and then I use them. "Stuff" is only "stuff" unless it is being used. I also keep a good size plastic bin with items that people have given me, I label who gave them to me and then I sometimes change the décor to reflect some of these items. And if I find that I haven't used some of them for over a year, I offer it to someone else who can use it or I donate it. We really are a culture of collectors and buyers but I believe we can manage our "stuff" by knowing our inventory and using our inventory. Good luck! Right now I struggle with artwork and the piles of it!

C said...

We purged some stuff when we moved this summer, I wish in hindsight i had let go of more but at least a few more things made their way to the moms club yard sale! The majority of things we have left cluttering our place are a lot of gifts from others as well as things that are memories of late family, so I appreciate your tips, Joy. OH and paper. Paper and I are not friends. Trying to use the scanner more, but seriously... so much of it. Just need to do a better job of keeping on top of it.