I’m the last to buy a book on organizing and decluttering, because I think “this will add to the stuff in my house and then I’ve got to find a place for it.” But this book on “tidying” I thought was interesting - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I read an article about the book and this magical plan for tidying your house, with promises that if you follow this method, it will stay organized and clutter-free forever. Okay, well we’ll see about that.
While I’m reading, I’m going through areas of my house and trying to get rid of some stuff. So let me clarify – it’s not like they could shoot an episode of Hoarders or anything around here, and it is a very civilized home, I just have lots of stuff. And what I’ve discovered is that all this stuff is not really my fault. It’s all those corporate and event giveaways. If places would stop giving away FREE stuff, then I wouldn’t have so much stuff. Like what, you might be wondering?
Reusable shopping bags. They are so popular now and you get them everywhere – conventions, meetings, organizations. And then you buy some cute ones at the store or the functional ones at the grocery store. I’ve got about a 247 of them, and not one is in the trunk of my car when I go back to the grocery store. So what do I have to do? Either pay a nickel for a plastic bag (yes, I live in one of those counties that has a bag tax, you know, to encourage you to bring your own bag instead of using the plastic ones) or pay $1 for a new reusable bag, feeling like surely you will use it 20 times and make your money back. They pile up in the laundry room and garage, with the intention of getting them back to the car.
Water bottles. I’m not even sure when these became the big rage, but every sports activity gives you a free water bottle. Sounds great, until I have a collection of 115 water bottles, in every hue with all kinds of team and corporate sponsor logos. I try and I can’t even lose these things! They pile up in the cabinet.
Ink Pens. Okay, keep giving me the free pens, but only the ones with good ink that don’t skip or the stylus for my phone and are kinda cute or fun. But for the count, I have about 395.
T-shirts. Like water bottles, there’s a t-shirt for every sporting event. And school event. And group/club/class/thing you or your child will get involved in. And although I donate most of our old clothes, I try to think “would someone want this?” before I put it in the bag. And every time I pick up the kids’ team t-shirt with their teammates scribbled names on the back, I think “no.” Because if you are a kid whose mom is getting hand-me-down clothes, it’s really not helping your self-esteem to be walking around in a shirt for a team you never played on. So these pile up in the closet.
Notebooks and notepads. Some are cool – they’re a good size, they fit in your purse, they have a nice clean cover. But others – they just don’t fit what I need in a notebook – they’re too small, flimsy, some color I don’t like. And they have the conference name or corporate logo emblazoned on the front. I have 22 of these on a shelf in my office because it feels like a waste of paper and trees to get rid of them.
But I’m tidying and I’m going to find a new home for these things. A new home that is not my home. And the key – I’m going to do it soon. The t-shirt, I might just have to throw out, there’s only so many cotton rags I need. The notepads and water bottles, I think I can take to my neighborhood collection agency for household goods. And I’m going to put them all in some of those shopping bags. Then – no more FREE stuff!
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