Thursday, 16 October 2014

The 21st Century Life - Waste not want not?

Does anyone else feel like they are absolutely drowning in stuff?

We live in an apartment which should have more than enough space for two adults and two kids, and yet everyday I open drawers and cupboards and wish for more space for the stuff that is cluttering up our home.

It's only when I start to actually look at what is inside the cupboards, that I realise that the problem isn't anything to do with not having enough storage space (except the kitchen, the kitchen is tiny!), but the problem is that we just have more stuff than we can possibly need.

I am usually pretty good at going through my clothes and sorting out anything I haven't worn in the past year and either selling it on, or giving it to charity. This has slipped in the past couple of years and I can now count no less than 17 dresses in my wardrobe. Not 17 dresses i.e. day dresses and going out dresses, 17 very dressy date night type dresses. Guest at a wedding type dresses.

SEVENTEEN! That is more than a little ridiculous. Especially because we are no longer the carefree childless couple that randomly decided to dress out and go out on a Tuesday night. Life has changed, our priorities have changed, but my wardrobe still hasn't caught up.

My husband is worse. I regularly offend him by calling him a Hobbit. Not because he is three feet tall and spends all day eating cake and meat and potatoes, but because he hoards stuff. Clothes mostly, but anything if you give him a chance.

For those of you not familiar with the Hobbit, and in particular one called Bilbo Baggins, you can catch him here, either in book form, or on DVD.

We had to move countries twice before he decided that the twenty or so mismatched glasses (that were once part of a nice set) were taking up valuable space and I could get rid of them, especially as we had already bought or been gifted a completely new set of glasses to more than adequately replace them.

He has four stacks of t-shirts in his wardrobe. Stacks so high that they are in danger of toppling over. I would hazard a guess that the bottom 1/4 of each of those piles haven't even been touch since we moved in here over two years ago. I know that because they are still neatly folded and in exactly the same order I carefully placed them in when I unpacked our clothes.

It would seem from what I've said so far that Gary hoards more stuff than I do.... which is actually untrue. It's just that my hoarding seems so far to have gone unnoticed.

My secret stash, it's cosmetics. I am literally incapable of going into Boots without buying so many products that I do not need. I am actually disgraced to say that I have no less than 8 bottles of perfume sitting in my drawer waiting to be used.

I don't think I purchased any of them, but I certainly asked for them. They were on Christmas lists and birthday lists. I even have a perfume I bought specifically for my wedding day, so that every time I wear it I remember that day. One of them is almost eight years old, as Gary bought it for me the first Christmas we were together. One is even older. I haven't worn Cool Water by Davidoff since I was about 18, and it is still half full.

I have three mascaras sitting in my make up bag. All different brands, and all almost full. I keep discovering eyeshadows when I am hunting in drawers for other things. I can't even remember the last time I wore eyeshadow. With two kids to get to bed, I'm lucky to get on a decent lick of eyeliner before it's time for my rarely experienced nights out, whether with or without Gary.

The kids are just the same, but the responsibility for that lies firmly at our door. They have more clothes than a rather large mall. You'd think I had five children in this house, not just two. I don't even want to think about the toys, which I have managed to put in boxes and store in the wardrobes, just getting out one or two each day. The toys that go practically unnoticed when there is a stick, or a balloon, or even some bubbles to occupy them.

So I have set myself a task. I am not allowed to buy anything (especially cosmetics) until I have had a proper search through my various drawers and made absolutely sure that I do not already have one hiding in plain sight.

My going out wardrobe is going to be depleted to ten dresses (and even then I'm being rather overgenerous). Those shoes that I haven't been able to get my feet into since I had my two years old (no one told me that feet do not go back to where they were before no matter how much weight you lose) are to go too.

We are going to draw up a list of exactly what clothes the kids need for the next size up, and then when we do our bulk internet order (which we do twice a year) we won't duplicate things  that we already have, or buy too many nice dresses when our daughter just wants to scramble around at soft play and dig in the park.

I'm hoping that a decluttered house will have a positive effect on the whole family, when we aren't stepping over or digging through things to get to what we want and need.

What do you hoard and how do you intend to reign yourself in?