Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Getting Rid Of All The Things

My house feels like an enormous Rube Goldberg machine right now.  As soon as I build that dresser, I can move the bookshelf it is replacing into the garage, and then I can get all those photo albums off the floor, and then I can move that table into that spot where the photo albums currently reside, and then those lamps will come into the other room, and get the idea.  I have about five projects going on at the moment that I can't wait to share, but everything is currently a giant mess.

Number one on my Things to Do in 2013 is to Get Rid Of All The Stuff.  A few months ago I decided there was too much furniture in our living room, and too much crap in our garage, so I rented a storage unit and removed everything so that I would stop tripping over it.  Everything that went to the storage unit was furniture that I wanted to keep but didn't have room for.  I figured that we would eventually use it when we buy our next house.

I'm done with that attitude.  This is the next house. If it doesn't fit here, then I'm not keeping it.

I don't know when we will buy our next house.  Maybe next year, maybe three years from now, it depends on a number of factors that I have zero control over.  And I'm not keeping around a bunch of furniture waiting for that mythical day.  It will cost me more money to store the old furniture than it would cost to buy new furniture when that day comes.

Last week we completely rearranged the living room.  I also purged the half the garage for the 400th time--I sorted through more kids clothes bins and toys and home decor stuff, and culled seven more bins. (The other side of the garage is still waiting to be done, but there are only so many hours in a weekend.)  We donated an enormous pile to Goodwill.  When the garage was emptied, we brought everything back from the storage unit and filled it back up.  I gave some furniture to a friend.  I have listed the rest on craigslist.  If I don't sell it within the next week, I will donate it.

I feel ok with getting rid of all the furniture, except for one item.  A few years ago we bought a lovely round dining table with a pedestal base from Crate and Barrel.

It chipped if you looked at it funny, or put your silverware down, or breathed near it.  Since we paid a lot of money for it, we decided to retire it to storage until the kids were older and buy a table from craigslist that we wouldn't mind if the children destroyed.  The pretty table lived wrapped in blankets in a garage for the past three years.  Unfortunately, when we took it out of the blankets this weekend to look at it, the blankets did not do a great job of protecting it.  It is really chipped, dinged and scratched, but worse, the cable that allows the table to open for an extension leaf has snapped. Keeping this table would entail expensively repairing it, since we frequently need to use the extension leaf.  

I should just accept this as a loss.  It doesn't work, it will not stand up to the wear and tear my family will put on it, and I should just accept this as a sunk cost and move on.  But ARG I paid SO MUCH MONEY for this table.  I'm having a hard time letting this go. I could refinish it! We could get it repaired! Its a nice table that might work in the next house!

Basically I am having a hard time accepting that it was a poor financial decision and thus I will just hold on to it to make it seem like I didn't throw my money away.


I've really been quite ruthless in purging this time around.  My rule is if there is not a designated spot for it inside the house, it has to go. Can I easily replace it? Yes?  Begone with you then.  No storing in the garage. The "storage" in the garage is reserved for hand me down clothes and Christmas decor and children's bicycles.

It feels good to be getting rid of stuff.  Or it will when all this crap is out of my garage again.  


  1. I know exactly what you mean. We all have those items that we paid so much for, yet no longer fit into our lives. I used to hang on to EVERYTHING..... but once I met my in-laws, I started to change my ways. You see, they lived in a house that was so crammed with STUFF that they couldn't park their car in the garage. They had boxes of kid's tube socks in the attic (despite the fact that their kids were now in their 20's). And black and white TV's kept "just because".
    It is a lovely table. But I say craigslist it and be done. Put that money towards new dining chairs. I promise you will feel better about it when it's gone.

  2. I totally get you on this. We've been spending some time in our basement which is basically a mini home depot. We (my husband) are so unorganized. If he can't find something he just buys another one. I had to lay down the law and tell him that unless he plans on building a home himself he has to start unloading this crap. I have also been purging lately which is difficult since I'm a borderline hoarder. It does feel good though to let go of things and try to live a simpler life.

  3. Good for you! You know, that table will bless someone else. And boy oh boy do I know that rube goldberg feeling! Well put.

  4. Good for you! Yes! You are on the right track. I came to the same realizations through clothing (and had all the same dilemmas). I went through a lot of body changes and was keeping all kinds of things just in case I would need something in whatever size again. By the time some things fit again, they were no longer what I liked/needed. I realized what a waste it was to hang onto them. And I had some expensive mistakes that I hung on to because I didn't want to admit they were mistakes. I felt so much lighter when I let them go. I know a table is different from a sweater, but I've used the principles I've developed through clothing on our house, and they totally transfer. Looking forward to seeing how all this goes for you.

  5. I totally know what you mean. I've starting thinking more along the lines of "how much can I sell this for and put towards something that will really work" instead of "I'll hold on to this until it works somewhere."

  6. I love getting rid of stuff and then having more space and rearranging things. Rearranging is key to not missing what you got rid of. If everything looks the same except that glaring empty space it's too obvious.

  7. Sometimes in life it seems like the exception proves the rule. In your case, the expensive damaged table sounds like the exception to the general rule that we all feel so much better when we have less stuff in our homes. Congrats on the purging!

  8. The money is "wasted" when you make a purchase, not when you get rid of it. Sometimes it helps to think of that money as a "rental fee"... like you rented the table for X amount of dollars for X amount of time. Call it good.

  9. That is sad that that table is not the quality you paid for. Boo!! However, I would SO take it off your hands--I have a furniture painting fetish.:)


Yay! You're commenting! I love comments!