When I get stressed, I clean. Very productive, right? Well, when something big happens, or is about to happen, I end up overhauling entire areas. With my wedding approaching, look out little apartment! The other night, somehow, moving furniture so that we could practice our dancing (we don't have a routine, but we do need to remind ourselves of the moves) turned into cleaning out the closets. I now have several bags ready to go to the homeless shelter, with shoes (I almost never wear high heels, so why would I need more than two pairs?) and clothes.
Something as monumental as our wedding is naturally going to get a big cleanup. For one thing, we've got more stuff coming in. (We got our first wedding presents the other night! I still need to write a thank you note....) We were very careful when selecting stuff to register for, keeping it to things we'll use. Sheets (we're down to one set, and those were free), towels, and kitchen stuff mostly. I also tried to make sure that it was in line with our values: wood, metal, and very little plastic. This step also allowed us to evaluate our lives: what kind of home do we want to create? What is important and worth bringing into our home? Stuff we registered had to be stuff that would actually improve our lives in some measurable way. Anything that we're trying to replace (like our blender and dishes) will be either given away to friends who need them or donated. I'm hoping it will all get reused in some way.
The house cleaning will continue this weekend, when Shane and I have set a date to go through our things. But here's something: what to do about boxes we haven't looked into for more than a year? We have a few of those. Should we just take them to thrift store and let them throw away what they don't want? Or should we go through and actually make decisions? If we haven't even looked in these boxes for so long, we obviously don't need what's in them. But there's always the chance one of us will think, "Oh, I should keep that...." We're both packrats, trying to fight that tendency.
Then there are all the things we've set aside for friends but haven't actually delivered to those friends yet. I have a pile of ripped jeans that I can give to a friend who sews. I should actually give them to her, because they're not doing any good in a pile in the closet.
We're also evaluating the things we have. Before I met him, one of Shane's friends who was moving gave him a TV for free. In the dorms we used it a fair amount. Watching movies, TV shows, etc. But it's been turned on maybe three times in the last two years. If we're going to watch a TV show or movie, we inevitably do it on our computers. (Or at J and L's--they have an enormous TV. Mostly we have it on as background while we chat.) We should have gotten rid of the TV a long time ago but have just been lazy about it. So now it's up on Craigslist. We'll probably start getting rid of a few of our DVDs, too. At least the ones that are easy to get through the library. Since I work there, it's not like it would be out of my way to check them out. If our library doesn't have it, it can be obtained through interlibrary loan, as well. In fact, that's most of what our ILL department sends out.
As much as it pains me, I do regularly purge my book collection. Will I read it again? Is it one I want to loan out? (Quite a few of my books have been read multiple times.) Does it have some intrinsic value, like reminding me of something I learned from it? (Basically, did reading it make me a better person?) Does it contain knowledge that I might want to reference in the future? If it fits any of these criterion, it stays. If not, it goes to Gulliver's. (Shane claims I still have too many books.)
Because we clean out regularly, we keep our "stuff" to a minimum. This is one reason I don't think we'll ever need a huge house. In fact, I don't want to have enough stuff that we need a big house. Objects just aren't that important to my life, and I like it that way.