clean slate

dresser with wedding photosomething about the holidays stirs up my need to purge; that itch is always there, just below the surface, and something about christmas break enables me to scratch it. i think it’s a combination of having some free time (off work), the fresh start (new year), and new stuff (christmas and my birthday in the same week means at least some new things, which need to find homes in our very small home).

i started 2014 with a dumpster in my driveway. things didn’t need to be quite as extreme this year; i may have acquired some things i don’t need or want, but i didn’t have 1,600 lbs of debris in my basement this january. i feel like what i don’t need could fill at least a few garbage bags, though, and the thing is, not only is that true, but — i pretty much always feel that way. and i bet a lot of other people do, too. i feel like i work pretty hard at not acquiring junk, and yet, somehow, every year i find myself with  a whole bunch of stuff that’s not necessary, useful, or beautiful. (the things i do buy are supposed to meet at least two of those three criteria, but obviously there’s always room for improvement.)

i decided to try and get rid of (throw away or donate) 100 things that were gathering dust over the holidays, so i could start 2015 with a clean house and a clean slate. i hope this list is a lot smaller at the beginning of 2016, meaning i got a lot better at not buying things that are not necessary, useful, and beautiful — i’m going to try and buy only things that are all three.

okay, so here’s what i got rid of this year:

  1. plastic tupperware — all of it. we got some great glass stuff for christmas.
  2. digital picture frame — i always had it set to the same picture, so why not just frame that picture?
  3. peeling frying pans — i got a few cast iron frying pans late last year, which we love, so there’s no sense hanging onto their inferior counterparts.
  4. plastic, electric fan — this hasn’t been used since we got air conditioning.
  5. sony dream machine alarm clock — yes, the one that has been waking me up since i was five. it took up an entire night table and pierre bought a slim replacement a few months ago.
  6. bread basket — if we have guests, bread goes on a cutting board. if we don’t, bread does not go in a bread basket. so.
  7. wrist stabilizers for doing push-ups — these were literally covered in dust.
  8. vases. tea light/candlestick holders — why do we all have so many of these? vases took up an entire cabinet above my fridge. and now i have room for my soda stream.
  9. expired food —there’s a reason we still had that beer can chicken thing: because we were never going to use it.
  10. mugs — we are two people, so we really don’t need twenty coffee mugs. i got rid of any that were chipped, cracked, or neglected. if neither of us ever reach for it in the morning, what’s the use of holding onto it?
  11. books — i did a massive purge a few years ago when we painted the living room, but there was still literary fat in our living room. so many books i’ll never read again, but which someone else might like to try.
  12. bookends — since i made some new ones!

…and the list goes on: mini bottles of moisturizer, nail polish in terrible colours, a fondue pot missing its skewers, expired over-the-counter drugs, half-burned out christmas lights, tights with runs in them, shoes that pinch (but that i love…but that pinch), workout clothes that have lost all reflective or elasticity, foam hair rollers, membership cards to businesses like “carlton cards” (unsure if they’re even in business still), and so on. sometimes people ask us, “where do you keep all your stuff?” but trust me — we obviously have stuff. too much stuff. but no more. and you can call me on it if you think i’m buying crap again. do you do a cleansing purge at christmastime? what did you get rid of this year?

update: a friend shared this short ebook, you have too much shit, on facebook the other day. if you’re still an unbeliever, you should read it. trust me, you have too much stuff. everyone does.

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