The trouble with getting rid of stuff

…is when it’s not just your stuff. Maybe it’s just an excuse I use to hold onto things we haven’t used in ages, but after 7 years of marriage not a lot of what we own is his and mine anymore, it’s ours. I don’t feel like I can just dump our entire DVD collection in the Goodwill box without going through it first with him, but he’s not as on-board with getting rid of everything as I am so waiting for him to flag the things he wants to keep is like waiting for someone to hand me a check for a million dollars.

We tried putting a system in place where I would put everything I wanted to get rid of in a box, then he would have a week to go through it and pick out anything he wanted to keep. After a week, whether he went through it or not, it would go to Goodwill. The only problem is that the motivation that was there when I put everything in the box is completely drained by week’s end. So the box sits there for months, I never empty it, so I never fill it back up again, and every time I look at it I feel as though I have failed and that I am continually failing.

I’d like to say I got a good jolt of inspiration this weekend when we helped move a couple of our friends. They only have a small apartment but they have a lot of stuff – far less stuff than I have, mind you, and a lot of it they chose on purpose; it’s not just stuff they happened to accumulate over the years, but still a lot of stuff. She is really good at finding exactly what she wants on Craigslist and seeing how she can re-purpose things to meet their needs. She’s also quite adept at selling things while I say I’m going to sell something and three years later I still haven’t sold it, or even tried, and now the item is out of date and worthless. Every time I think about selling online I scare myself out of it by thinking that I really shouldn’t meet anyone by myself, but my and Husband’s schedules are so different that there would never be time to go together to make the exchange. I know to do it in a public setting, like a busy parking lot or the Police station, but still. The stories I’ve heard of sales going very, very wrong are potent de-motivators.

I can’t seem to sell stuff and I can’t seem to give it away either. I don’t know how I let my motivation to do these things disappear and be erased by excuses and fear. I’ve got never-been-used software that is at least 7 years old (and thus, will not work with any current operating system), clothing that is stained but I’m sure someone could figure out what to do with, DVDs and books I’ll never watch or read again – and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it.

Part of the problem may be that I have so much stuff that it’s overwhelming and I don’t know where to even start. The amount of clutter is massively oppressive and just sucks the life right out of me. I always come up with great plans for what I’m going to accomplish when I get home, or over the weekend, but as soon as I walk through the door all that planning and motivation just dies. It’s hard to finish something you don’t start, and it’s hard to start something before it’s finished.

Hopefully in a year’s time I’ll look back on this post and think how silly I was and how it’s a good thing I got over it and just started doing what I needed to, rather than how said it is that it’s still true.


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