Cutting Clutter

Today, someone asked my siblings and me if we have summer jobs.  We were joking around, and I mentioned that I am making quite a bit less per hour than both my brother and sister.  The woman we were talking to joked with my mom, saying that I should get a handicap, perhaps my parents should pay for more of my stuff or something.  My mom joked that my handicap was to clean the house (since my job is custodial work, mostly cleaning).  I’m not sure if that’s quite a handicap, but it is true that when I come home from college, our house is much cleaner.  It’s not that my mom and the rest of the family are slobs, or that it is filthy, but I am much better at organizing and deep cleaning.  When I have free time, especially when I am home, I often clean or organize things.  I am also much better at GETTING RID OF STUFF, which is something my family really struggles with.  I don’t mind hanging on to things that have a lot of meaning or that we need, use, or really love, but otherwise, I don’t see the point in keeping things.

A couple of days ago I went through a bin off artwork and schoolwork, some of which was from middle school and most of which was from my younger years.  I got rid of over half of it.  Although it’s kind of fun to look back at your old work and laugh about what you wrote about, I also know that I won’t miss most of it if it’s gone.  That’s mostly my process when getting rid of things: if I’m going to miss it, I keep it, but otherwise (for the most part) I get rid of it.  I kept some of the stuff, mostly letters and artwork that I thought was really exceptional (well, for a 7-year-old).  I also kept some of the cooler projects I have from art class, since they will be good ideas to use if I become an art teacher.  The truth is, papers and artwork take up room and create clutter, and I really don’t need most of it.

I attacked our big bookcase in the living room this afternoon with the same though in mind (my brother helped me this time).  We got rid of at least 1/4 of the books (assuming our parents don’t reclaim anything in the “get rid of” pile).  We’re hoping to par some of the categories (namely, nature books) a bit more with the help of our parents.  We probably don’t NEED and likely won’t even read 7 books on how amazing nature is.

I am hoping to attack a few more cabinets with the same process this summer.  But for now, I need to figure out what we’re going to do with all of these books.  Some are in pretty good condition, but most are rather worn.  Would it be better to donate them or try to sell them online?