Clutter Free for a Cause

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Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival
This post is part of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!

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Earth image and star field background

Photo be NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

I’m a declutterer. I can’t stand clutter and continually attempt to eradicate it from my home. Most people know this about me and the term declutter diva may have popped up from time to time. I’m okay with that. I can’t deny it and have no reason to do so.

There are many reasons why I feel this compulsion to declutter. My perfectionist tendencies drive me to simplify my life in some ways just as I look for challenges in others. With a family of six, I spend enough time cleaning. The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to clean. Fewer belongings help my frugal budgeting (sometimes referred to my husband as my tendency to be a tight a…yeah).  My list could go on. I’m rather passionate about decluttering and simple living, and I have offered my services to many a friend who has asked (I won’t offer unsolicited comments about clutter, and I’m not judging anyone else based on their clutter. I have enough to worry about my own life).

One might think that a concept such as simple living and decluttering, being personal with regards to lifestyle, might be solely about the person. However, the ramifications of simple living affect more than just the person.

  • Our family doesn’t buy a lot of stuff. We don’t need it, and for the most part, we don’t want it. This alone lessens the amount of resources that we use, from manufacturing, to packaging, to transportation of the said items.
  • When we do buy something, we tend to save up and buy something that will last longterm so that we don’t find ourselves throwing an item into the trash, only to have to replace it with a new one.
  • Rare is the item that comes into our home which does not serve multiple purposes, limiting the number of things we need/want.
  • We give stuff away. That’s right. My decluttering addiction helps other people by getting rid of items we aren’t using and giving them to people who can use them. It’s a win-win siuation for everyone involved.

There are many aspects of our simple living lifestyle which help the Earth – from buying food locally to our desire to build an ever more sustainable life. However, the decluttering is always present as we make decisions – whether we are avoiding bringing more items into our home or avoiding unwanted ingredients in our food. Consumerism, or in some cases the lack thereof, plays a vital part in how we treat the Earth.

REDUCE! REUSE! RECYCLE!

15 thoughts on “Clutter Free for a Cause

  1. You can come to declutter my house anytime!

    Living a simple life which involves buying less, buying quality items that serve multiple uses is a wonderful step towards reducing waste.

    I’m interested in how have you been able to develop this mentality with your children – many, including mine, seem to want everything they see. While we can’t afford to indulge their every whim I like to support their interests and right now my daughter loves Barbie dolls – talk about wasteful packaging!

    Thanks for joining the Earth Day Blog Carnival

    • I think one of the largest points for our family is that we have always been honest with our children about everything, including finances. If they ask for something and it doesn’t fit in the budget, I let them know the reason I’m not buying it. Sometimes, with a limited budget, they have to choose between two things they might enjoy. They also have their own money, and they have recognized, over time, what they prefer to do with their money. Our four year old is still apt to spend his money rather quickly, but our older two kids have decided that they would rather save up so that when there is something they really want, they have the money to buy it (beyond what we fit in the family budget). We also have a limited amount of space, so sometimes they have to make choices based on that. They would rather give away items they no longer use or want so that they have space for what is important to them.

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  3. My initial response is to think – OK, but what if your partner is a total pack rat who won’t allow you to get rid of anything? But I think I’m just deflecting – I know there is probably a lot I don’t need to buy/could get rid of just on my own – appreciate the wise advice and inspiration!

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  5. We de-clutter about twice per year and now that we are anticipating moving, we are even more conscientious about not buying things that we don’t need. That being said, I am not one to speak against kids having STUFF. My 4 children are unschooled, and I can’t imagine them filling their days without ample craft supplies, outdoor toys and even dolls and figurines. I guess it just depends on one’s definition of ‘usefulness’.

    • I also have 4 unschooled children, and we definitely aren’t living a minimalist lifestyle. While that may appeal to me (and of course, good books aren’t considered clutter in my mind), I recognize that it isn’t necessarily the ideal of others in my family, especially my children who are still finding out what they like. We have plenty of art supplies, books, and other stuff they want to experiement with. Honestly, their major concern with our upcoming move is their stick collection. While it seems odd to think about moving sticks, if we have room, I’ll probably hand them a box for some of their favorite sticks. However, we have always been honest with our children about everything. So, if we have certain amount of money, they sometimes have to choose. They generally will choose experiences or supplies over “stuff.”

  6. I echo Kelly and Dave (above). I love decluttering too, but my other half is a serial hoarder who gets cross if I even suggest getting rid of things! Because they may be useful some day. We live in a tiny house that’s very messy, and storage space is minimal. If it was up to me half the things we have would be removed from our home, one way or another. But he won’t have it, and it’s not worth the arguments. Ha ha.
    Maybe one day I’ll talk him around.

    • For both myself and for my husband, it was a matter of examining why we hung onto things. We each had different reasons for hanging onto stuff and came about our journey in different ways. We have always managed to work through it together, though, finding common ground even when one of us wasn’t quite in the same place. OUr entire family has noticed that life is less stressful with fewer things cluttering up our lives. My children routinely switch out their toys, going through and packing up ones they don’t want to play with right now and swapping them out for ones that they feel like playing with. The same goes for art supplies and such.

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  8. I’ve been slowly, but surely working to declutter our house as well… and the Purple Heart is making out bigtime!! :-) I have a lot of clutter still to go though, its amazing how it builds up over the years. I’m definitely trying to keep a much closer eye on what comes in to our house now.

  9. I aspire to be more this way! I tend to be a bit of a hoarder, so it’s difficult for me to part with things that I think might be “useful”…but I’m doing better now that I’ve discovered Freecycle and I know my things are being given away to someone who will appreciate them and not to a company that will make money off of them. In any case, this post has encouraged me to do more decluttering. Thank you!

  10. In my life we have moved house nearly every single year, the only positive outcome of this is that I live fairly clutter free (nothing like carting your stuff around the country to make you get rid of all the junk). I’ve come to love living clutter free and now have random de-clutter days where I purge clothes, toys and the like and give them to the needy. Plus I too, make sure every object has multiple uses and is good quality / long lasting. Loved reading your post :)

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