Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Intersection of Ideas

Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom

Back on April 13, Jennifer made this comment:
I am often surprised by the intersections between different movements — minimalism, homesteading, and green, just to name a few. I’ve made a few of the same switches you have, but for environmental rather than declutter reasons. Being concerned about the impact of what I use has been pretty effective in getting me to cut down.
I think Jennifer’s really onto something here. Isn’t what truly motivates us usually a mixture of factors? Exercising comes first to my mind. Sure we do it for our health, for the adrenaline rush, and the achievement, but we also do it to look good, to fit in the clothes we wore when we were younger, and to feel more vital and youthful. Vanity, health, achievement, camaraderie all rolled into one healthful package.
I garden because I like the results, I enjoy planting and sometimes rearranging my plants, I enjoy puttering around outside, I enjoy the camaraderie of other gardeners and my neighbors’ admiration. I also have a xeriscape (low water use) garden because I don’t need or want to use a lot of water, I want to educate my friends and neighbors about the benefits of using native plants, and I want to provide nourishment and habitat for native creatures, particularly bees and butterflies. Vanity, hobby, education, nurturing all coming together in my garden.
If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to declutter, maybe you need additional reasons to do it. Reasons you might latch onto are
  • having more space
  • ease of finding things
  • freedom from the shame of a messy environment
  • freedom from buying duplicates (or triplicates!) of an item because you can’t locate it
  • feeling of accomplishment for achieving something that was difficult for you
  • pride in reselling your goods (I have started sending every penny I make reselling to my mortgage company, and each item out of the house gives me an extra feeling of satisfaction now.)
  • knowing that you are donating your goods to charity where both the charity and the next owner will benefit from your generosity
  • realizing that you are learning new habits that will help you manage your money more successfully in the future
  • realizing that you are learning new habits that are beneficial to the environment
  • freeing yourself of the uncomfortable feeling that having too many projects that you’ll “get to some day”
  • learning new shopping habits
  • spending less time cleaning will allow you to spend more time on more valuable pursuits
  • having the encouragement of a team of fellow declutterers here at 365 Less Things
I’m sure there are other additional benefits to decluttering. What is motivating you?
Today’s Declutter Item
I have owned this item since way back in the early years of my marriage. A thermos flask is one of those items that have always been a part of my life. Picnics at the beach, my dad taking one to work every day, road trips with my parents as a child, trips to the ski fields… I have to confess though that this one has never really done a good job of keeping things hot and frankly aside from those lukewarm hot chocolates at the ski fields this thermos flask has not been use much in twenty years so out it goes. It was becoming more of a keepsake item than it was of any use and keepsakes don’t remind you of much when they are stuck in the back of the pantry.

Thermos Flask

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Sometimes I just enjoy taking a walk around the stores and seeing what it is I am “missing out on”. I usually go home thinking “what was it I used to like about shopping?” I am so grateful that I began this declutter journey and learned that less is more.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. Cindy, I have also been hit over the head recently with the collision of spending less money, being happy with the things I have and making them work, and decluttering my environment. It’s amazing how movements kind of come together, right?

    I have been following the mission this week of the keepsake box. I have already cleared out one box for my middle son and gotten it down from a full box to a very small stack of school stuff I want to keep for him. I started on the second box today and I already put one large garbage bag in the shredding pile. It’s amazing how we keep things and don’t even know we have them!

    Because I have a chronic illness (fibromyalgia), my decluttering has to go slowly, but I will have so much less to worry over, take care of, and keep up with when I get to the “maintenance” phase and that will be of great help to my physical health. And that’s the best reason I can think of not to be overwhelmed with “stuff!” You don’t even realize how much your stuff is weighing you down until you are free of it.


    • Indeed Chelle. It sounds like you’re doing great with the mini mission. My daughter has Type 1 Diabetes, and having an empty shelf in our house when she was diagnosed was a huge benefit for me. Diabetes comes with a TON of stuff and having a place to store it neatly was one problem I didn’t have to worry about.

  2. All excellent points, Cindy!

  3. I just can’t read enough of the benefits (personal and far reaching) that the simple choice to be happy with “less” has.
    Thank you for the list.

  4. Freedom from material stuff. Refocus on what really matters: people and activities.
    That’s the main motivation for me. Somehow I feel responsible for the things I own. Once I finished disposing responsibly of all the unnecessary stuff I have, I’ll be free to downsize or to relocate within a short time-frame. I used to be like that and I miss it. Having kids has changed that without me noticing too much until now. I left Europe to relocated to the US with only 2 bags and now, 12 years later, I have an almost full 2000 sq foot home . This is insane!
    Something I Am Grateful For Today: My 8 yo daughter sold today her summer clothes from when she was 4. She did everything with just a little help from me: taking photos, uploading them, writing the ad, posting it. She still has not sold the ones from when she was 3, 5 and 6… Why is it that I never took the time to sell or donate these clothes she outgrown? I was just too busy with other things and it was so easy to store them in boxes on the top shelf of her closet.

    • I’m so impressed that your daughter sold her own clothes. That’s a chore! I presume you bought these clothes. Did she keep the earnings or you?

      We are responsible for the things we own. We have to clean them, maintain them, find them, put them back, and dispose (or share) them in a responsible manner. You’re absolutely right that the fewer things we own, the less we have to be responsible for.

      Like you, I used to have so little. When I was in college, I moved every single year – a couple times I moved more than once! Now, like you, I have a nice full house – full of 2 kids, a husband, 2 cats, 2 dogs, and a guinea pig, and a lot of belongings. The idea of packing up and moving makes me weak in the knees! I think accummulating more as we age and as we add two or four-legged family members is normal; however, it’s easy to way over do it.

      • The earnings from our decluttering sales go into a special box. When the kids want to buy something, used if we can find it, they use that money to pay for it. For instance, last week my kids bought a music keyboard for $20. It is a bit like a trading system. They sell what they have outgrown and they can buy things that they need or want (with our approval).
        My daughter loved her selling experience. She loves taking photos, arranging her items so they look the best, and everything that can be done with a computer. That’s no chore for her, just pure fun. 🙂

  5. Hi Cindy! I am decluttering to have more space in my house. I always liked big spaces, and before I thought I had to have a bigger house to have that space. By decluttering I acquired plenty of space, without having to own a bigger house. I am actully thinking that I can even live in a smaller place in the future. I would like everyone to know that although I was a little cheeky with Colleen about keepsake boxes on Monday post, I did go through mine and decluttered over 30 cassete tapes I had there. As I used to hold these cassete tapes in real high regard, this is really something for me. It took months to get here, but thanks to everyone.

  6. Another benefit to decluttering is the time that you will save housecleaning afterwards. It is much easier to vacuum a floor that has no piles of stuff on it, and faster to dust a shelf that isn’t cluttered.

    Another benefit might be the ability to move to a smaller place and save a lot of money that way. How much money would you be able to save moving to a smaller house or apartment?

  7. For me, decluttering means a saving of time. I just find I don’t want to spend my precious time sifting through a closet of clothes that don’t fit or through cupboards of stuff I don’t use to find what I’m looking for.

    Regarding your thermos, I have a tip I want to share that might be helpful for thermos users. Mom taught me to “warm up” the thermos before I put my coffee in it. I place boiling hot water in the thermos and let it sit for about 5 minutes, then pour it out and quickly pour my hot coffee in.

    • Hi Suddenly Susan,
      great tip and one my mother taught me too but this particular thermos just was not good at keeping things hot unlike the great Stanley brand one my mother always used.

  8. When I started my journey, I did not even want to declutter. I just wanted to be organized. I loved my stuff and blamed the messy state of my belongings on lack of time, space and proper storage solutions.
    Boy, I wish I had realized earlier, that even if I had time I did not want to spend it on organizing and cleaning stuff.
    By now I am neither decluttered nor unmessy but it has gotten so much better. The thought of being able to get the (these days unfortunately quite messy) flat in a good shape within maybe one or two hours and in a perfectly clean state within maybe half a day is so thrilling in comparison to how it used to be.
    I love the soothing feeling of knowing that even with things gotten a bit out of hand lately mess-wise the task is absolutely doable and nothing to be scared of.
    As being orderly unfortunately doesn’t come natural to me and I am easily overwhelmed by mess I see having little (or at least not too much) as my only chance. If I can’t (completely) change who I am and don’t want to change what I want … I can always change what I have.

    • Ideealistin, I like your new term “unmessy.” I used to get the most awful, sinking feeling when the house would inevitably slide into disorder because conquering it felt impossible. Now when the house is in disarray, I know that it will truly only take 1/2 hour or so to return it to rights. I like that feeling a lot better than dread!

  9. I’m so pleased you liked my comment from ages ago. A friend recommended a book to me today (Your Life or Your Money) that is all about reprioritizing living instead of making a living — and I am starting to think that I want to opt out of working full time. If that means not having the money to buy things to clutter up my life, then fine. I think decluttering what I already have would make an excellent declaration of independence!

    • Hi Jennifer, Thanks for the inspiration! Obviously it’s been sitting on my “to write” list for a while now. The last time I made Friday’s Favorite Five list, I included a Your Money or Your Life link. I haven’t read the book in years, but I read it two or three times back then. I was a little surprised and very glad to see that it’s still in print.

  10. I love this post! It’s true, all of these ideas intersect, and we may begin this uncluttering journey from one perspective and find multiple benefits as we progess…