Stop stealing my joy!

I’ve been a decluttering fiend lately.  If I were a good blogger, I’d have before and after pictures to show you.  But that would only slow down my progress and I am more concerned with the state of my home than perfecting my blog posts.  I give a lot of credit to the decluttering ebook from this blogger:, but I must say I don’t know who to credit with the biggest key to my success.  The reason the back of my Suburban is packed full of trash bags for the thrift store is this one little phrase: “You are stealing my joy!” I honestly don’t know if I came up with that phrase on my own or not. I have a feeling I probably read it on a blog and now I don’t know who to thank for it. Here are some examples of how I purged joy-stealing clutter from my home:

1. As I clean out my sewing studio, I find a bag of polar fleece fabric. I think, “Ugh, I really need to make something from this. I didn’t even buy this stuff–my mom gave it to me. I hate polar fleece. So maybe I should get rid of it. But that is wasteful. Lots of people like polar fleece–people who don’t have shedding pets in the house or kids that play in the leaves outside. So maybe I should use it to make gifts or items to sell. But it gums up my sewing machine and I don’t like the plasticky feeling from touching it. But it would be wasteful to toss it, so I should save it until I need to make a gift.” The last several times I cleaned out my sewing area, that is where I would have stuffed the bag of fleece back in the cabinet. But this time? I said, “You are stealing my joy! Sewing is supposed to be enjoyable. I have plenty of other fabric I could make gifts from.” I realized it would give me more joy to chuck the whole bag into my donation box and imagine someone who DOES like fleece finding it at the thrift store. I chucked it into the donation pile and realized the fabric would be a blessing to someone else, rather than a joy-stealing burden on me. (PS: Mom, please don’t buy me any more polar fleece.)

2. Here’s another scene from the sewing studio. I came across a book entitled “Sewing Clothes for Children.” Indeed, it is a detailed book that gives instructions for everything from drafting patterns to creating elaborate smocked dresses for girls. The problem? I acquired it from the pubic library about five years ago when I tried to check it out and they informed me it was supposed to have been sold at the last used library book sale. “Would you like to buy it for a quarter?” the librarian asked. Of course I did. And I have never used it. If I haven’t used it in five years, when WOULD I use it? Believe it or not, the reason I almost put the book back on my shelf was because I thought it might be a handy resource in the time of zombie apocalypse when I will have to sew all of my family’s clothing and I can’t look things up on the internet anymore. Seriously. Yesterday, I finally told the book, “You are stealing my joy!” and into the donation box it went. (Besides, I have enough patterns to meet my sewing needs in time of global crisis.)

3. If you need one of something and use it a lot, that means you should have a ton of them, right? WRONG??? Twelve sippy cups are NOT better than 3 or 4. I found a bag of older sippy cups on top of the fridge from my last decluttering attempts. I wanted to see if I missed the extras. I didn’t. So I finally had the guts to tell them, “You leaky beasts! Be gone and stop stealing my joy!”

When I can stop listening to that little naggy voice that constantly tells me the things I “should” make use of and start to focus on what I actually can and do make use of, the guilt of throwing things away or giving them away disappears. Let my trash be another’s treasure… and let my trash be trash! And let it stop stealing my joy!

What kind of clutter stresses you out the most? Do you have any decluttering tips or success stories?


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