Studio Brunstrum

Banish Clutter All Year Long

August 26, 2014

This past month as I was packing up boxes for my move to Chicago, I couldn’t believe how much stuff I had accumulated since my move three years ago.

Thispast monthas I  waspacking up boxes for my move to Chicago, Icouldn’t believe how much stuff I had accumulated since my move threeyears ago. I thought I was keeping the lid on acquisitions, but I was onlykidding myself!

You canimagine how much furniture and accessories and “stuff” I had to sell or giveaway when thekids and I movedfrom our7,500-square-foot home to our2,000-square-foot home in Libertyville in 2011. Now we’re moving full-time into my 1,200-square-foot urban condo and I have to pare down even more! Not having a garage or basement really makes a difference.

If I’ve learned one thing from this process it’s that “spring cleaning” is a year-long process. Think of it the same way as your email inbox – if you don’t delete daily or weekly you’ll end up with a toxic build-up of so much stuff you won’t remember what you have anymore. 

When I moved three years ago I gave away many hundreds of books and since then have acquired a lot more that I’m never going to re-read, so I let them go.

And boy did I have an epiphany when I was looking through my nine packed boxes of 72 family photo albums. I was so proud of my organization, but no room at the condo for this many photo albums as they take up so much space! So,what to do? I wanted to keep them- they are our family history, but how to pare down? I bit the bullet and slowly(every night) I have been removing  all the photos from the albums and putting them in zip-lock baggies. Of course, I am labeling each by month and year. Once completed (I need a few more weeks as this is taking longer than I anticipated), I will then transfer the photos to labeled photo boxes. And… hopefully the small photo boxes will all fit inside a cabinet in our living room!

I don’t know what it is about my generation. Maybe we accumulate so much stuff because we were told we could “have it all” and we took it quite literally. Not even my kids want all the school work I saved for them, and I have even decided to give up my China. I’ve only used it twice in three years. Time to purge! 

I can’t say it is always easy to part with all this baggage, but I’m ready for it. It’s kind of like going from a steamer trunk to an overnight bag for a trip to Europe. I feel relieved and light on my feet.

Susan Brunstrum
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