I am happy to report that the boys agreed to let go of 3 really bulky remote control vehicles and a pair of roller blades - straight off to the charity shop. The oldest boy SOLD his long board for $30 last week after finally admitting that he preferred his bikes by about a million percent too! (proud mommy)
I am horrified at the volume of crap that me, my husband and our 2 boys have been clinging to with the lame excuse of "having the space". It would be truly wonderful to cut my shelving in half to be able to tuck my freezer in the space instead... I am getting there, slowly but surely.
My focus has to be on the goal. It is a mountain that I am determined to climb. Like an alcoholic that has tried to quit a thousand times, my clutter habit (the fact that I keep bringing stuff home) is not going away just by knowing it's the right thing to quit. It's not even enough to know the benefits of quitting or WANTING to quit. I have to feel it in my bones that's it's life or death. I have to beleive with all my heart that that phase of my life is truly, once and for all, OVER. The packrat must retire her bins, boxes and attachments. She must find the strength to overcome bad habits, the fortitude to NOT look at garage sales, thrift stores or sales racks. She must find it within herself to say NO to hand-me-downs that look useful and recognize when enough is enough... and whoah baby do I have enough!
The original Twelve Steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous* can easily be adapted to what us serious recovering packrats should follow:
1.We admitted we were powerless over [the potenially useful items]—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.Came to believe that [less stuff] could restore us to sanity.
3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of [faith in what we can do with less].
4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves [and our stuff].
5.Admitted to ourselves, and to other human beings the exact nature of our wrongs [that we let be in our home]
6.Were entirely ready to remove all these defects of character [and obstructive things].
7.Humbly ask [thrift shops, charities and garbage disposal] to remove our [excess stuff].
8.Made a list of all [spaces] we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9.Made direct amends to [remaining valued belongings] wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10.Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11.Sought through [careful consideration of belongings] to improve our conscious contact with [our true space and core values] and the power to carry that out.
12.Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to [packrats/shopaholics] and to practice these principles in all our affairs.* I mean absolutely NO disrespect to AA, I am just drawing a parallel from one addiction to another and honouring these proven steps that work so very well for so many sufferers.
In addition to the physical decluttering, I will be going on a spending diet. I pledge to only buy immediately consumable items (ie: food, fuel, paper products) until Halloween - unless there is an absolute emergency of course. That's only 51 days, I am quite sure I can manage that!
The boys have enough clothes, the school supplies are in their bags, there are no birthdays for a bit and there is nothing I "need" right away. To launch this endeavour I will be pantry-shopping for as long as I can... it'll give my canned goods and freezer items a good use-it-up rotation!