Spring cleaning

It’s been a bit crazy around Siren headquarters for the past few months (and months to come, I suspect!). I am in the process of converting my home office (aka Siren headquarters) into the nursery. Fret not, dear readers, Siren HQ has been relocated and is going strong. 🙂

With all the commotion and moving things around and de-cluttering, we’ve unearthed some things that simply must go. Actually, we’ve found a lot of stuff that must go! I’ve taken countless trips to donate items to charity and I still have more to go. (For items I’m giving away, see below.)

A sampling of all the collectables in my old home office.

But looking through all this stuff got me thinking — how on earth did I get so much stuff? Look at all the energy it took for me to get in my car, drive to a store, shop in the store, spend my money and drive back home and deposit it somewhere in my home! And that’s not counting the energy and time it takes to earn the money to buy all this crap! It’s kind of depressing in a way. All that stuff takes up so much valuable real estate in my home, in my life and now I have to do even more work just to get rid of it.

My husband has a phrase that has become the mantra around the house, “Does it add value to your life?” Think about that for a second. What if we ask ourselves that every time we purchase something? What if we ask ourselves that every time we take a box of hand-me-downs… basically, every time we allow another item to cross the threshold of our lives?

Does it add value? Does it make my life better? Does it make my day easier? Does it bring me joy? Does it enhance the value of other things I already own?

Now that I am asking myself that question about stuff, I can’t help but ask it about everything in my life. Does this friendship add value or is it toxic? Does this group I volunteer for add value to my life (and does it add value to its own mission)? Does this food I’m eating add value to my health, vitality … the very essence of my life (and my fetus’ life)?

What has struck me is how easily I am able to let go of things that previously felt so important, special or powerful. I look at my small mountain of Hello Kitty treasures and ask myself why I ever spent all that money. (I’m boxing it up and giving it away to my niece, who’s 5 and loooves HK.) I feel a little stupid about all the money I’ve spent on all the handbags I own (I have well over 100 — but not for long). All the decorations, trinkets, stacks of magazines, newspapers (don’t even get me started there — 10 years in journalism weighs a lot), five sets of curtains I’m not even using (why? why?).

My husband takes his tricyle for a spin.

And I’m not the only one. My husband is a collector of things, too. Most people are whether they realize it or not. My husband’s obsession is with bicycles. We have 7!! (One is mine.) Plus, we’re storing a friend’s tandem bike for the winter. Half my garage is bicycles! And then there’s all his triathlon gear, our hiking gear, camping gear, luggage, seasonal decorations, old books …

Preparing for the baby may have spurred us to get organized and make our home safe, but this whole de-cluttering thing has taken on a life of its own now — reaching far beyond the new nursery. We’re going through every room. We’re purging that which no longer has value. And it’s amazing the weight that feels like it’s lifting off of both of us. Our stuff was beginning to own us. Our stuff was beginning to be important beyond its worth.

So what’s your relationship with your stuff? How might your life change if you started asking yourself, “Does it add value?” Only you can know the answer.

And speaking of stuff, I’ve got some that is no longer useful to me but might be useful to someone out there. (I still believe in recycling and re-purposing, after all.) Since I have limited mobility and I cannot lift heavy objects — I’m in my last two months of pregnancy — part of the package is you have to come pick it up if you want it. (PS: The list may expand soon, so check back.)

The Stuff:

  • Wood office desk (36×72)
  • Box of comic books, well-worn (not worth money)
  • Computer monitor
  • Adult-sized tricycle with basket
  • Adult 10-speed bike

One thought on “Spring cleaning

  1. I struggle with this all the time. I am no consumer or collector of “things,” and yet every time I move, I find myself getting rid of at least a few boxes or trash bags worth of stuff I didn’t need (mostly, like you, newspapers/magazines). And it seems the American way to get bigger places of living in order to fill them with more junk. It kills me. The entire notion of renting “storage” is disgusting to me. To think that people have enough extra crap that they need to put it away somewhere — and they will probably NEVER see it or use it! Ugh.

    Anyway, that being said, I’ll take those comics off your hands if you want. I like to have ’em just to read. E-mail me your address and I’ll come by to pick ’em up. I just better not find any of mine in there! 😉

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