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Fall Cleaning: A Lesson in Simplicity
by Sara Duggan
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Fall Cleaning: A Lesson In Simplicity
© 2003 Sara Duggan

Today I woke up thinking I would spend the day catching up on a crocheting project I had been working on. I got sidetracked into going into the garage to go through my son’s Fall clothing. As I was going through the piles of clothing, something got a hold of me and I just could not stop cleaning. “The Fall Cleaning Bug” had bit me.

I first went to see what clothes they were able to wear. Having done that I went through my own clothing – that was the challenge because although it is very easy for me to get rid of other peoples stuff, it is like pulling teeth trying to get rid of my own belongings—However, I did it with no war wounds in site.

I then proceeded to wash the stored clothing (about 5 loads full) and went into the boy’s rooms to decide what summer clothing needed to be tossed. Having done that I thought Wow! that was great, I accomplished something today now is a time for a break. Little did I know, but my husband was watching me and guess what? Yup! The bug had bitten him too.

Now we both were bitten and he dragged me back into the garage to “look” through our belongings to see what else we could get rid of. (2 roll away beds, a rocking chair, lots and lots of plastic kiddy toys, shoes, more clothing, and the list went on) Having spent the greater part of the day rummaging through our stuff, our house now looked like a tornado hit it!

We gathered the “giveaway” piles and placed them into garbage sacks. At the end of the day we had 15 garbage sacks full of stuff. Stuff that we had gathered over the last 1 or 2 years. Stuff we thought we needed at the time but found out later they were just dust catchers. Stuff that robbed us of our time and energy. Stuff we thought we could not live without.

We had planned of having a garage sale but by the end of the day we were beat. We didn’t want to waste our valuable time and energy into an event that will probably only gain us a couple hundred dollars. (I think high don’t I) So, we loaded up the cars and headed out to the local thrift store. We unloaded the cars, one by one, the belongings of our lives. Trash to us now but treasure for those soon to be customers.

On the ride home my husband said to me, exhausted from all that occurred today, “Honey, that goes to show you that, YOU do not own your stuff but YOUR stuff owns you!” Did those words just come out of my husband’s mouth? Was he trying to tell me something?

You see, my husband is a minimalist – meaning he tries to get by with the least amount of everything—food, clothing, car, etc… I on the other hand am a pack rat—A pack rat who LOVES to SHOP! Although I learned a few things from my wise husband, I am still far worse at accumulating things than he is. Throughout our years together he has gotten us in the habit of regularly going through our belongings and weeding them out. This was rough on me at first because I carried a lot of emotional baggage to my stuff. But, over the years it has gotten better.

Lately though, I have been developing the habit of going to thrift shops and picking up “this deal” and “that deal” and the “oh I can’t pass that one up deal”. This led to our 15 garbage bags of Stuff. Who knew that someone could actually be addicted to thrift shop “shopping”? How much money had I wasted over the years “saving us money”? What was I teaching my children?

Something had to be done -- I was out of control. I made a game plan. I would make a list of questions before I went out shopping. Did I need this? What constitutes my needing this object? Will I use it? How will I use it? For how long will I use it? If I purchase said object will I be willing to also give it up? This as well as making a budget of spending money for myself that did not interfere with my family’s budget was the game plan I thought was going to solve my problem. I set aside a small amount of money to spend with as I choose. This is all the money I am able to use for these purchases and I must bring my list of questions with me before I make any purchases.

My husband has so graciously offered his assistance in this matter. He said he would just tell me “no” if he thinks we don’t need it. I on the other hand was not satisfied with that game plan because if left to my husband, we wouldn’t purchase anything. I am not at that point yet. I still have the “shopping” bug which can be dangerous I know, but I think with my game plan I can curb it, and maybe learn to live with it in peace, without it causing too much damage.

Life is worth so much more than our belongings. Time goes by so fast. Why waste it cleaning, mending, and repairing useless “stuff” when you could be using this once in a life time opportunity making memories with your children, husband, friends, and family. My husband was right, “stuff owns you” if you let it. I know this Gal will think more deeply and clearly before making another “good deal” in the future.

Hope you have a fantastic Clean and Clutter Free Fall Season!

Sara Duggan

Mrs. Duggan is a proud wife to her best friend and mother to two beautiful boys. She spends her time serving other Mothers in her Volunteer Postpartum Doula Service. http://www.mommie-care.com . She also crochets blankets that she sells to fund her volunteer work. http://www.lavendardreams.org She maintains a site MommieCare http://www.naturalmommies.com that offers New and Seasoned Mommies information and products that will enable them to be the BEST that they can be. Sign up for MommieCare’s newsletter at mommie_care@yahoo.com?subject=newsletter to receive articles and tips on budgeting, organizing, and Mommiehood as well as updates on MommieCare’s Postpartum Doula Service, LavendarDreams, and MommieCare.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sandy Hammock 08 Mar 2006
Sara, I saw all 5 of your articles that are on FaithWriters. They are all very good. Why haven't you submitted anything in the past 3 years? Sandy
Beverly Murrelle 23 Oct 2003
It sounds like you and I are blood relatives. A great reminder to keep our cleaning or anything that runs our life in the proper perspective. Good write.


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