The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Simplifying: Decluttering will save us money

So, Marc and I pretty much had it out this weekend over my buy nothing new compact and desire to simplify and de-clutter. My new rule is, if you buy it and it didn't need to be purchased, or even if it did need to be purchased but ended up having to be purchased new, then stuff needs to be sold to cover the cost.

It kills two birds with one stone. It saves us money (the ultimate goal here) and helps us to de-clutter and simplify our home and our life. I am doing very well with this. Marc came home from winter camp yesterday with a tie dyed bandana. Now, it was only $4, but he didn't need another bandana, so my question was, "What are you going to sell to pay for it?"  He found something in his drawers that I could list on Amazon Marketplace, and we moved on with our day.

Then, I got started on my "This place is a disaster" kick tonight. I am dying to get this place completely in order. I feel like de-cluttering is going to be the key to simplifying my life and increasing my happiness quotient. Let me explain why....  Yesterday, I spent an hour looking for 6 AA batteries for Vinny to put in a toy he got for Christmas that we hadn't opened yet. It was a cold and rainy day, and he was trying to find things to do inside, so I tried to help. After an hour of digging through 5 different drawers, I had unearthed 5 of the 6 necessary batteries. So the project was a fail. What bothers me most about this incident is that, if there weren't 5 drawers full of clutter, I wouldn't have wasted an hour of our day figuring that out. This lead me to clean out Marc's nightstand yesterday. When I showed him today how beautiful it looks now, the first thing he said was, "What did you throw away?"

Marc is not a hoarder, really, he isn't, but the problem could be summarized by something Marc said to me tonight when I was complaining about a cluttered drawer. He says, "What? If it's away, then it's okay."  And so, when he wants to "clean up," he just puts stuff "away" although not always in a logical spot. Just... away. It then is forgotten about until someone (usually me) goes looking for it. Either someone eventually finds it, or it is forever forgotten and a new one is purchased. This is why we have 6 opened packages of AAA batteries. Because we don't have the time to look through every drawer in the house, so new ones get purchased.

I started explaining to Marc today that I feel like this is costing us money and time. We have more nightlight bulbs than we will ever need. We have multiple tubes of open super glue. I am finding this stuff as I attempt to de-clutter and reorganize. This stuff all cost money at some point. This is making me feel like it is even more important than ever for us to make every effort this year to buy nothing.... heck, chances are, we probably have whatever we need already here! But the only way to know this will be to have an amazingly organized house. Marc just doesn't think it is that big of a deal and doesn't feel like taking the time to deal with it. He says, "All people have junk drawers." Okay, maybe, but we have like 8 of them! It may seem like a lot of time and work right now, but if it prevents me from spending an hour just looking for batteries, then I feel like it will be worth it in the long run.

Ultimately, with much prodding, Marc helped me clear out our kitchen junk drawer, and he even cleaned out an old wallet that he found in the drawer. He promised me he would clean out the bottom drawer of his nightstand (I only got to the top) by next Saturday. I have a week left until I go back to school, and I think, with his support, I can make a lot of progress in this week.

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