How Much is Too Much?

I have been home more in the past couple of weeks than I was percentage-wise the past few months. I have cooked more, cleaned more, and lived in our home more. Doing so, I have had to face what I have known for a long time. We have too much stuff. We have so much stuff that I can’t easily find or get to what we have. A few examples.

Our freezers are stuffed with food, so much so that I must take much of it out to try to find what I am looking for. The “try to find” is intentional. I knew I had some mozzarella sticks in the freezer because I had recently moved them from one freezer to another. But as much as I moved food around to try to find the mozzarella sticks, they escaped me. I was looking for them for our middle granddaughter, Elsie, who loves anything cheese. I found them today when I wasn’t even looking for them, and Elsie left days ago.

I have several pounds of different kinds of coffee in the freezers. Not the kind that I prefer, but good coffee, nonetheless. So instead of ordering my favorite coffee today, I decided to use up the coffee in the freezer before ordering more or throw out what I have that I am not using. I am on day three of this plan, and I miss my favorite coffee, but I am going to stick with this plan a few more days. My coffee is important to me. I do not know how this plan will ultimately go, but it is worth a try.

Since the freezers (and cupboards) are so full, I am refusing to go out to dinner, choosing instead to eat what we have. This will accomplish three things. One, money will be saved by eating what we already have. Second, the freezers and cupboards will gradually be more manageable, and we will know what is in them, and reduce the volume. Third, points/calories will be saved, since I will know what I am consuming, and not have to guess, which is more accurate.

I am hoping this will be true about my scaling down of stuff.

Our cabinets and cupboards are full of different sizes of serving dishes, some that haven’t been used in years, if ever. This reminds me of the clothes in my closet. I realized as I looked at so many dishes that many of them were purchased because they are pretty, and at the time they connected to my need for beauty. I am realizing lately that just because I love something, or just because it is beautiful, does not mean that I need to buy it, or if I already have it, keep it. Nor do I need to purchase something because it is on sale, or a good price. While I am getting better at not purchasing so much, I have not really begun to clean out. It is easier for me to admit the errors of my ways than to correct them.

A few months ago, Mike and I began to discuss whether it is time to sell our home in Raleigh. We have much more space than we need. We even interviewed a few realtors. We put the decision on hold for a few months for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons is no longer a variable. It will soon be time to revisit that decision. In the meantime, it is time to begin to clean out, so if we decide to move, the process will not strangle us. It is time to cull some of the casserole dishes, platters, and cooking utensils. If we decide to stay put, we will feel at more peace being able to use what we have without feeling overwhelmed by the volume of our stuff.

I follow several experts on Minimalism, taking inspiration from their work. Two of my favorites are Joshua Becker and Courtney Carver. One point they both make is to not hold onto something for guilt reasons, because it was a gift from someone, or because you spent a lot of money for the item. I struggle with that, on both levels.

How about you? Do you have too much stuff?

How much is too much, anyway?  

About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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