It’s Complicated

I follow a lot of blogs about clutter, de-cluttering, simplicity, simple living, minimalism, etc…

This post was inspired by one I read today entitled “21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own” that can be found here:

I moved almost every year while growing up and therefore, have a weird relationship with stuff.

Inevitably, in April or June, my Dad would announce that we were moving at the beginning of the summer.

Thanks Dad…I don’t actually have any real friends since we’ve been here less than a year, but I would love to spend the whole summer somewhere new where I know absolutely nobody.  Sarcasm intended, in case you missed it.

During the month of May, I would often get home from school and find that my Mom had been packing up my room.  It wasn’t until we got to the new place and I unpacked, that I found out stuff was gone.  Really gone…in another city or state gone.

Eventually, I got old enough to rebel and pack my own stuff.  Problem somewhat solved.  Stuff still had to go, but I got to make the decisions.

But the damage had already been done.  I “needed” my stuff in order to feel at home, comfortable, safe wherever I was going to end up.

So the decisions were really hard to make – and they still are.

This is all compounded by the fact that my parents were older and lived through the “Great Depression” so they both tended to save stuff.  In case we needed it some day.

Talk about mixed messages.

I bounce back and forth between wanting to get rid of it all and hoarding.

I don’t know what normal is.  A normal amount of stuff.  A normal mess.  I worry about whether I have too much or not enough.

What if a disaster happens?  Should I stockpile food and supplies.  Some folks do.

The faith I grew up in tells me that “God will provide” and “not to stockpile treasures on earth”.

I worry about whether I spend too much time worrying about possessions.


  • I don’t like to clean house.
  • I like a clean house.
  • I can’t imagine renting a space in a storage facility.
  • Certain things in my house make me happy.
  • I am obsessive about the inside of my closets and cabinets being tidy and organized.  (OCD anyone?)
  • Worrying about worrying is not productive.
  • Cluttered table, counter and floor surfaces make me anxious.
  • I don’t like unfinished projects or issues.
  • I am skilled at avoiding completing things I don’t want to deal with.
  • I would not be comfortable living a minimalist lifestyle.


  • This issue will never be fully resolved in my life.
  • I’ll keep bringing stuff in to make a home.
  • I’ll keep de-cluttering to make a home.
  • It’s complicated.

Now, I’m going to go compare my stuff to the stuff in the blog post and see how I’m doing.


2 thoughts on “It’s Complicated

  1. This post reminded me of my new custom “ownership” questions. I recommend them to you. After checking to see if I actually like something, if I know why I want it, and if I remember when I actually use it; I ask myself:

    1. Does this fit my real life, or my wishful-thinking life? Which part of me says I need it: Fear or Confidence?
    2. Do I need it often? Can I borrow one when I need it? Who can I share this with that needs it more than I do?
    3. Does this storage method fit our natural lifestyle?
    4. Where does this always end up in the course of daily life? How can I store it there?

    (Since I want to travel, a version of #1 stops me from buying things I don’t want to put into storage when I’m ready to travel around the world. LOL Travel _is_ my “real life” darn-it! I refuse to behave as if it won’t really happen.)

    I have solved so many problems of clutter by putting custom storage (vinyl wrapped boxes anyone?) where the clutter is. I also put items that are always used together onto a working tray, so everything in a project can just be lifted and set into a box or onto a shelf when I need the surface. Cookie sheets and trays are lovely for this.

    I’ve also fixed quite a few perpetual messes by accommodating household habits instead of trying to change them. If it’s not traditional, so what?

    The most recent solution? I put a stack of small plates next to the toaster because my kids think using plates for toast is pointless and just butter the toast at the counter and walk away. I also moved the toaster to a corner where there is only enough room for the butter and the plates right next to it. With only plates as available surface, suddenly there are no more crumbs on the counter. Yay! If they leave crumbs on the top plate, it’s easy to wash it quickly. Sometimes they even use the plate to carry the toast!

    Other examples: The kid who always takes shoes to their room has a pocket shoe storage on their wall there.

    The kid who does crafts in their room has a crafting table and storage unit in the bedroom. They tend to have their own supplies because it was too hard to keep it all in a central location, and that’s what they generally receive for birthdays, etc.

    I keep clothing shelves for folded clothes next to the clean laundry baskets, and either one is fine for clean clothes storage. Nobody may own more than fits in their space, so anything new must be better enough than something old for it to be a direct exchange. (I’m inches from just giving them all laundry baskets to sort clean clothes into and skipping folding. All anyone seems to care about is that the clothes are clean.)

    The living room, where all the fuzzy blankets piled up, now has a box for blankets beside the couch.


    This customized (adjusting to life as it actually is) method takes off so much of the stress, and lets me focus on the things I really want to spend time on. Nobody else will ever do it all the way I do, and that’s fine. It fits our life. I don’t think it matters how much you have, as long as what you have fits your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have some great ideas. I like the “actual life” part. I got rid of a lot of books that were part of my going to seminary/becoming ordained segment. It was hard to let them go (and let go of that dream), but I now realize that letting go and moving on is bringing me to the place I wanted to be. That’s a post for another time. I need to work on my “real” home definitions as opposed to the “ideal” home issues I deal with. Getting rid of the decorating magazines was a step. A hard step. I want to live in Country Home or Flea Market Style! I’m going to print out your comment and post it on my bulletin board. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

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