I periodically go through massive cleaning-out binges. I suspect it’s a prodromal symptom for a mood swing, but whatever. It helps me keep the accumulation of things a bit more manageable.
Our house is modest size, just enough for our needs. Even so, it still requires more cleaning than I’ll ever keep up. And more stuff means more cleaning; clutter accumulates dust. Solution: less stuff!
There are all these great rules of thumb: if you haven’t used it or worn it in a year, get rid of it. Fix it or discard it. If you haven’t unboxed it since you moved, you don’t need it. Don’t get more stuff than you have room for. Get better stuff, but less of it. Sentimental stuff is still just stuff. I totally get it, and I totally buy it. I really admire the Minimalists, but I can’t get quite that extreme.
Of course, Mr. Chickadee is a packrat. He doesn’t like throwing out anything, so I’m careful to make sure I leave his things untouched, or at least consult him before discarding any such. But I regularly go on these rampages: sometimes it’s my wardrobe, books, desk, knick-knacks, etc. Mr. Chickadee pulls some of the things I discard out of the pile and keeps them because he thinks I throw too much away, but I rarely ever feel like I “miss” whatever I’ve eliminated.
So. I recently had a weekend of cleaning out focused on my art-n-crap supplies. The goal was to get rid of everything I won’t be using anymore. I’m pretty adept at making stuff, so I’ve been a dilettante over the years and accumulated a lot of stuff. I decided I will no longer do any beading, jewelry making, calligraphy, embroidery, glass etching, scrappy-booking, or (much) drawing. Sounds like a lot to quit, right?
It’s not. Getting rid of most of those materials only cleaned out about half my crafty supply storage (yarn is managed separately.) For awhile I waffled about the artists’ pads; I could use my felt, the fine paper, a few other materials we already have, and create a handcrafted journal. Oh wait, I already decided not to do that. Problem solved…
What’s left are materials for knitting, crocheting, drop spinning, practical sewing, and felting. More than plenty, and that’s not even considering my grandiose long-term hypomania projects (more on those another day…) I knit fairly regularly, but only do other crafts occasionally. When you add in outdoors pursuits and photography, I still have enough hobbies that I can’t do them all justice.
So two of my dearest friends in Michigan are getting surprise packages in the mail soon. One is loaded with drawing supplies; the other embroidery, beading, and jewelry supplies. A bunch of the miscellaneous stuff will go to my nieces and nephews. And I feel much better after cleaning out a bit of the clutter, even though there is plenty remaining. If only I could do the same with my brain!