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So don't ask why but lately one of my favorite netflix shows is Clean House with Niecy Nash. It's like "Hoarders"-lite. The houses are definitely over-the-line cluttered with junk, but the people aren't "I can't function in society" mentally ill. They don't find dead cats under the furniture or closets full of feces in grocery bags, the sorts of things that just made me feel hopeless and awful after I watched Hoarders.

I guess this show went off the air like four years ago so damn... but I love it. It's Niecy Nash being sassy and fabulous, which definitely makes people with hangups a little easier to take. The format of each episode is the same. First they visit a house that you can barely walk through because there is junk EVERYWHERE. Then they hard-bargain with the owner to get rid of some stuff. This part is a little tense because the residents think the staff can make each room look magazine-perfect, and still provide space for their precious 30-year-old floral couch with a missing arm. After all the arguing is complete, they have a huge garage sale and sell whatever they can to use the money for the redecorating and make the house awesome.

Most common reasons I see that the people cling to their junk:

1) It belonged to my (mother/grandma/aunt/special person) - Oh really? This was the ONLY thing your grandmother left you, it was her favorite thing and you have a million happy memories involving it? On her deathbed, she said "Please take care of this coffee mug"? Do you think she's happy that you live in a house crammed full of crap?

2) It was a GIFT - There was a great episode with David Alan Grier's brother, where DAG was even shown saying "Yes, I gave my brother these shoes. I wouldn't have done that if I'd thought he'd keep them for 20 years!"

3) This is my collection, I'm investing in these antique footstools - Well if they are worth something, let's sell them now, no time like the present!

4) This is who I am, it represents me, it's from my favorite time in my life - Don't you want some new times of your life too? Quit clinging to everything old. Your future life is going to be okay, we promise.

5) I'm going to use that someday - Well you haven't used it this year. Give up. It won't be hurt because it's a thing. If you saw it in a store today, knowing what you know now, would you buy it? Probably not!

This year Marc did a wonderful thing for us - picked up the scary room in the basement. You know, the one where we moved into the house and put lots of random boxes in that scary back room where we could close the door and never open it back up again? Some of the stuff is okay - Christmas decorations, camping things, things we really use once a year every year. Some of it is not - old coats, ugly lamps, CDs, baking dishes that are not proportionate to the amount of baking we do. He did not organize it - Marc is not the organizer in our family. But he did throw away lots of trash, and he got everything into clear bins on shelves so we can see the floor, and I loved him for it.

So next spring we are going to have a GARAGE SALE. I close my eyes and imagine myself just like Niecy, with a big flower in my hair waving my hands around while everything just vanishes. We will clear out the scary room. Sell the baby stuff. Sell our furniture and buy a couch that actually seats four people, since that's what size our family is. I will walk around the house and just grab things left and right and get rid of them. We will be minimalists. I will stop hoarding fabric and craft supplies. I will sell all the zipper pouches I made that didn't move on Etsy. They were fun to make, yes, and now they need to be out of my house. I even read an article about how your wardrobe should consist of only 30 articles of clothing... I'm going to see if I can't get down to that. It's a little hard to know what to dump now, because I was just pregnant and still changing sizes, but in a year I will be whatever size I really am... that's why the garage sale will be wonderful. Life-changing. Money-making!

Just thinking about it makes me feel so free and liberated and wonderful, I can't wait.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 30th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
I wonder if I can convince the household to have a garage sale next summer. Either that or do a purge and donate session where we must load up the car at least once.
Aug. 30th, 2013 07:37 pm (UTC)
I love not having extra junk in my house, but have a special loathing for garage sale because my borderline-hoarder mother had them ALL THE TIME and made us help with them. She still has a garage and my old bedroom full of junk from my grandparents' various cycles through our house as they passed away (no lie, she is keeping the wheelchair my PawPaw used in the nursing home because "we'll probably need it someday.") and from her teaching days (can't reason with her: "Mom, no one is going to want bulletin boards and magazine clippings from 1979..."). I go through my house at least twice a year and anything I haven't used in a year I will Craigslist or give to GoodWill because:
a) it's never enough stuff to hold a whole sale to myself,
b) I don't want to hang onto it until I have accumulated enough stuff to have my own garage sale,
c) I don't want to bring my stuff to my mom's garage sales because they're never fun and she doesn't make that much money off of them, and
d) most of my stuff is not worth enough to make it worth my time to sit out front and display my crap. If my mom makes $200 from sitting out in the sun for 6 hours, it's a good sale for her. That is just hell for me. If I do, by chance, participate in a sale of hers, my rule is that anything that doesn't sell goes straight to GoodWill, not back in the garage or a closet or cabinet. Stuff has got to GO.

She does this because she feels like she didn't get what she needed (emotionally) from her parents as a child, so she wants to get something (monetary) from their crap now that they're gone. Unfortunately, no one wants the old crap so it just keeps sitting in the garage taking up space until the next garage sale. She is also not computer/internet savvy so she considers Craigslist more trouble than a garage sale. I am of the opposite opinion, obviously. :-P

My sister and I, having grown up in this environment, are militantly against the gradual collection of STUFF. I refuse to live that way. And I made a pact with my husband that we would NEVER have a storage unit like the one my mom pays for every month, which holds things she hasn't seen in nearly a decade. Don't even get me started on what's wrong with us as a culture when we have a massive storage industry built on the fact that we have so much stuff we can't even house it all in our primary residences...

But for you, man baby stuff will move like crazy I'm sure. My sister volunteers at the consignment event called Just Between Friends (JBF) in Fort Worth and it's HUGE. People bring their stuff for consignment, sell it at a reasonable price, and the organization takes their cut. I wonder if there's anything like that near you? Seems like they usually get a better price than you would at a garage sale. /shrug

My husband feels like we should decorate the interior of our house more. The thought of having more stuff makes me a little sick sometimes, unless whatever it is actually means something to me (got it for a special occasion or on a special trip, or whatever). Also it's just more stuff to clean around, LOL.

Edited at 2013-08-30 07:38 pm (UTC)
Aug. 31st, 2013 02:00 pm (UTC)
We were going to have a garage sale but got annoyed at the stuff and took it to goodwill/gave it to people we know. I think we could do good business if we held it on the same day as the church around the corner but we never make it that far.

Anyway more power to you for getting rid of stuff via garage sale. If things don't go on the sale remember you can tax deduct the goodwill stuff.
Aug. 31st, 2013 06:56 pm (UTC)
I fast get fed up with preachy crap like that sort of TV show. Fine. You hate clutter. Get rid of yours then.

I like my clutter. It's nice. I use it. It's convenient for me to have it all out where I can see it, not hidden away where I'll have to deploy a ladder to get it out and use it.
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