The Cuisinart Conundrum

IMG_2432By Renée

When we got married nearly 21 years ago we were given a top-of-the-line Cuisinart Food Processor. We had not registered for said item and since neither of us could really cook there was a reason why it didn’t make the list. But it was fancy and expensive and we couldn’t bring ourselves to just get rid of it. We moved it from our first apartment to our first house and then to a second house all the while it remained unopened in its original box. When the decluttering bug first bit me, that was one of the first things to go. Using the mantra of “do I use it or do I love it” it clearly didn’t make the cut and out it went. Fast-forward several years later when we actually did start cooking more and we needed a food processor but could only afford a very basic one. So of course, we launched into a whole debate over why we got rid of a perfectly good thing that now we would use and love. Crap! I’m not going to pin my decluttering downfall on this particular incident but it certainly didn’t help our cause. After making do for several years with what we could afford we finally bought a 2017 version of the 1997 Cuisinart Food Processor. We use it about three times a week, and by we I mean Dave.

This time around we have set aside $300 to replace any items that we regret getting rid of. Now I don’t mean just regret but that we find ourselves repeatedly MacGyvering some solution for the thing we got rid of. I am calling this our Decluttering Safety Net and so far it is creating fantastic freedom to let go of things without worry.

You Have to Start Somewhere

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By Renée

I’ve been reading books on decluttering and minimalism trying to find the perfect way to get my house cleared out and am dealing with some serious analysis paralysis. As I looked around our 1300 square-foot, three bedroom house I starting asking myself what needs to go? Of course, my mind immediately flew to the master bedroom closet shelf where my almost 21-year-old wedding dress resides. I felt my stomach clench and then I realized that this was not the place to start but rather the place to end. If I have learned one thing in my reading it’s that you start with something easy. You need to build momentum so that you will stay energized and make it to the finish line.

Going from room to room and looking over what we have I noticed that there are three layers of stuff in our house. The first layer is what I call The Eyesore Layer. It’s the clutter that makes our house look like a mess and makes me say bad words and get angry. The second layer is The Excessive Layer. These items are put away and not a mess but we have too many of them. Books, clothes, DVDs, CDs and dishes make up this layer. The third layer is two categories that we have a similar motivation for keeping, The Emotional Layer and The Expensive Layer. Gifts and keepsakes added to things like watches we don’t wear or kitchen appliances we spent a lot of money but didn’t use after a month.

We’re going to start with the first layer and work our way down. We’re beginning with what my husband calls the junk room. It’s our third bedroom and was supposed to be a craft room for me but then really turned into a dumping ground for anything that we didn’t have a place for. I’m setting a 15 minute timer for today and diving in.

Making Sense of Our Mess

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By Renée

You are probably asking yourself “Who are these crazy people and why are they inviting me into their messy house?”

We really aren’t crazy at all; we just have a problem we’re trying to solve. I know that should really explain it all but you were probably looking for a little more to go on. We’ve been married for almost 21 years and next to our money problem which we sorted in 2011 (thank you, Dave Ramsey), keeping the house tidy and decluttered is the number one thing we fight about. We came to this marriage having been raised in very different homes but neither of us ever really got the hang of being organized and picking up after ourselves. We decided that this is the year we are going to figure this out once and for all.

This past summer I started listening to podcasts for the first time and experienced something I call “drinking from the fire hose,” which really just means that I was exploring lots of new ideas at once. One of these ideas that I really started investigating was minimalism. I started reading books and blogs and listening to podcasts and trying to get a feel for what it is, what it isn’t and how it could work for us. The more I read about minimalism the more I realized it was what I was craving.

Due to some health issues I realized that we have way more belongings than I can possibly manage with my energy level, so downsizing our stuff will be key. Knowing that I accomplish more with external accountability, I came up with the idea for this blog and hopefully if there are two or three people out there reading it, that will be just the motivation I need.