Items 19, 20, and 21: A sleeping bag and two bedrolls

The winter holidays are for giving, right? This Thanksgiving I made a point of giving. Giving back, that is!

I think these three things snuck into my house for some long-forgotten camping trip in the days before I owned my own camping gear. I had borrowed them from my parents. Time to return them to their owners.

~ The Reckoning ~

Original Cost: Free. (OOPS — Oy, Other People’s Stuff!)

What convinced me to get rid of them: I own my own sleeping bag and bedroll now. And they’re both quite a bit smaller than these!

Fate: Handed them back to mom at Thanksgiving yesterday.

Total $ wasted on junk so far this year: $153.

Items 17 and 18: Victoria and Secret.

Don’t I wish I could throw Miranda Kerr out as well. Good grief does she look like a photoshopped, emaciated alien.

No, I just got rid of my two most uncomfortable bras. Now I’m down to 8 in total. I’m going for 7. Do I really need more than one a day each week? That seems like plenty of styles to give me some variety and meet my needs.

Really, how many bras and panties does a woman need? Before I get to today’s reckoning, let’s take a poll:

Now, let’s try a reality check:

Was there a difference in your answers? For most of us there is. What’s the solution?

Probably depends on how much you love Vickie’s. Some people like to have no two alike. I prefer versatility. I like the idea of getting everything in black, replacing items as they wear out. No worry about mis-matching tops and bottoms in the morning (or at night..) And if there were a sexier color than black, why do women AND men love the little black dress so much?

~ The Reckoning ~

Original Cost: Likely around $40 each.

What convinced me to get rid of them: One word: Madonna.

That, and I realized that I only wear them when everything else is in the wash. Never should’ve bought them in the first place.

Fate: The Planet Aid clothes donation box in our basement.

Total $ wasted on junk so far this year: $153. Ouch.

Decluttering tip #4: If it’s not yours, give it back or give it the boot!

‘Could you keep this for me?’

Part of my clutter problems started with this simple question from a family member.

Ever been asked that? What did you say?

If you’re like me, the answer was ‘Sure, why not?’ Turns out that there is a good reason why not:

Your home is not your friends’ and family’s spare closet!

Again, if you’re like me, you can already hear the whining and see the (crocodile?) tears welling in some of those folks’ eyes. But we can handle this now!

If someone is trying to foist an object on you, ask for some time to consider where you’ll put it, and tell them you’ll get back to them. In reality, you know that you’re not going to put it anywhere. But hopefully in that time they’ll forget and will find another alternative.

If they still insist on “giving” you the object, say honestly that you do not have the space. Keep saying no.

If they won’t listen when you say no, then it’s time to look at why they are so stuck on you keeping this item. Remember that they may be struggling with the same issues letting go of items as we are. Share some of what you’ve learned about downsizing. And offer to help take that TV to the Salvation Army.

Sometimes the items that don’t belong to us are more sneaky about the ways they get into our house. The sweater a friend left when she visited from out of state. The baking dish left by your cousin at Thanksgiving (no, this is part of the reason I don’t tend to host Turkey Day for my family).
If the objects are already in your home, call the person who gave them to you and give them a deadline to pick up the item, or you’ll donate it. If they can’t stop by, offer to mail it. The postage to mail it may be worth the emotional cost of keeping it.

But most importantly, do not give in and say yes figuring you’ll get rid of the object later. Even if you do get rid of it, this other person now may feel that you’re their spare closet just because you said ‘yes’ once.

I realize this is how I became my paternal grandmother’s dumping ground for kitchen equipment. Her best friend died and Grandmom got to clean out Emily’s house. Now I’m stuck with half of Emily’s kitchen because Grandmom didn’t want to see all those pots and pans ‘go to waste’ and I couldn’t say no. Teriffic. All part of the reason I’m doing this challenge, right?

What’s the most aggrivating thing you’ve kept just because someone else asked you to?

Apparently Best Buy isn’t completely evil

Yeah, I had trouble believing that one too.

My husband is still at his mother’s for the holidays and they spent yesterday cleaning out her basement (wait, why is he helping her and not me?! just kidding.) They unearthed a pile of 1980s electronics, including a VCR and some walkmans.

Then he told me they were going to Best Buy. Wait, what? I thought the idea was to get rid of stuff.

Turns out you can recycle electronics at Best Buy (for free, doesn’t matter where you bought the item). Huh. More info is available on Best Buy’s site. Small electronics, big ones too. Even CDs.

I never thought I’d say this, but challenge yourself this holiday to actually go to Best Buy. But only to recycle something! I’d love to see what archaic electronics we can all dig up from our closets.

I guess that’s where this huge box of computer stuff is going to go…along with my collection of Celine Dion CD’s from middle school.

Item 16: Ugly race shirt

I’m not sure which was uglier: this shirt or the race I ran yesterday to get it.

(Okay, it wasn’t that bad. If you ignore the “uphill the whole way” part.)

~ The Reckoning ~

Original Cost: Free. (really? wow, a lot of free junk shows up in my home.)

What convinced me to get rid of it: The fact that no, the photo doesn’t do the awful snow/mud/slush brown color of this shirt any justice.

Fate: The wonderful Planet Aid clothes donation box in the basement of our building.

Total $ wasted on junk so far this year: $78.

Item 15: The sewing scissors Gram gave me

Gram gave me these scissors when she first taught me how to do embroidery. Even though the scissors were broken, I’ve kept them because I’ve been afraid that throwing them out would mean I would forget about the wonderful times she and I had sewing together.

Well, I didn’t. In fact, I think I’m less likely to forget these memories that I now keep in my memory book, instead of keeping those memories in a broken pair of scissors (what would she have said about that, anyways?)

The Reckoning

Original Cost: Free. A gift from Gram.

What convinced me to get rid of them: I realized I had a better way to keep my memories of her than keeping things she gave me that are now broken.

Fate: Trash can.

Total $ wasted on junk so far this year: $73.

Item 14: Extra Coffee Pot

One of many duplicates we found we had after my husband and I moved in together. Shame it took me over a year of marriage before we decided to part with it. Especially given that neither one of us drinks coffee.

The Reckoning:

Cost: I think my husband spent about $20 on this.

What convinced me to get rid of it: Seeing both of our coffee pots stacked up on top of our cabinets while I was digging for a mug for tea, the only hot caffeinated beverage we drink.

Fate: The “free box” area in our apartment complex’s basement.

Total money wasted on junk this year: $73.