Too Much Stuff


Lately I’ve decided that there are too many other things that I would rather spend my time on than constantly maintaining my possessions. I don’t enjoy having to put things away, dust them, organize them, and remember what I have. I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, less is more.

Having drawn that conclusion does not make it easy to let go of stuff. After all, there are memories attached to stuff. And what if I need it some day? But I am getting better at letting go.

I think one thing that has helped change my perspective is my current favorite place to shop. That almost sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it?

For most of my life, my budget has been too tight to enjoy shopping much as a recreational activity. However, I do like to go to the thrift store now and again. Even better, I’ve discovered that Goodwill has an outlet store.gwoutletNow, shopping at the Goodwill Outlet is not for the faint of heart. It is kind of a cross between dumpster-diving and treasure-hunting. Nothing is organized. Everything is piled in a big jumble in row-after-row of shallow bins. The quality ranges from brand-new-with-tags-still-on to should-have-been-trashed-instead-of-donated, from designer-brand-names to dollar-store-cheap. Whatever you can pile in your cart, the price is 99 cents a pound. The fun comes in never knowing what you might find. It’s not a shopping experience everyone would enjoy. I get that. But I think it’s kinda fun.

Just the sheer bulk of perfectly-useful stuff at this place has helped change my perspective on accumulating more stuff. What makes it seem like a contradiction is that I’m there to take home stuff. However, seeing the ginormous mass of perfectly-useful stuff that someone wanted, bought, took home, and then discarded is downright embarrassing.

Don’t get me wrong. When I find something I can truly put to good use I’m happy to get it for a bargain– not to mention keeping it out of the landfill. But it does make me think twice about what I do take home. Not only there, but in other stores as well.

I’m realizing that once I have something in my possession, I have to start thinking about it– where to put it, when to use it, how to maintain it. And then after awhile– do I still want it? do I really need it? should I get rid of it? At that point, it becomes easier to stash it somewhere and not think about it.

Which is how clutter builds up.

It seems to me that in our consumeristic society there are 3 kinds of people: hoarders, declutterers, and minimalists. I can’t imagine that I will ever become a minimalist, but I’m working hard at clearing away the clutter so that I can truly enjoy the things that I choose to bring home and keep.

It’s an overwhelming job. Got any good tips?


  • sabrinascheerer

    Oh yes! I am about to embark on decluttering. It is hard for me, for the reasons you stated. I’m not a hoarder but I am a packrat. I’m always afraid that item I haven’t used in years will be exactly what I need a week after I get rid of it (and I’ve been proven right more than once). But we move in a year and need to get everything organized and purged. I have a schedule to do one floor a month (we have 4 floors in our house, 4 bedrooms plus a large basement) and should be done by June if all goes well.

  • Rowen

    Funny, we’ve been having these conversations lately also! But at least you have moved recently. We moved here in 1989 and did not have even enough furniture to put some in each room. But 4 more kids later, and all these years, we have packed the place! So we have started the decluttering, downsizing journey with our school book collection, and also have been going through all of our other books. We are determined that if/when we move, we will be pared down so it won’t be so painful or stressful. ~Janet

    • A Romantic Porch

      Having moved our office 3 times and our household goods 4 times between Aug.2010 and Oct 2015, I am over it! The clutter and extra has got to go. I’m not at a place where I can tackle it just yet but soon as I can my heart is on board! !

  • Chris Carter (@themomcafe)

    Oh this hits HOME with me… literally. 🙂 I LOVE thrift shopping, and I am often convicted of all the STUFF I have in my house- that I didn’t need to buy- that I rarely use- and that is a waste. I would have so much fun at this outlet- I admit. But I am also trying my best to let go of my stuff and be very intentional with what I buy.

    It’s time to clean house! I am with you in this!

  • Susan Gaddis

    After visiting our son’s family in Finland, I’ve become much more selective about things I buy. Which means I buy almost nothing. I have everything I currently need, and now I just replace things that get worn or broke. Finns live simply, so we’re headed that direction. It’s good for my soul … and the savings account! I get to visit my grandbabies in Finland more often! 🙂

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