My house is now about 280 pounds lighter, and it feels good.
I mentioned a while back that I was subscribing to flylady. I'm ashamed to say (OK, to be honest, I'm not really ashamed, but perhaps mildly embarrassed) that I haven't been very good about establishing my routines. Somedays I don't even - oh! the horror - shine my sink. But one thing I have taken to heart is the idea of the 27 Fling Boogie.
For those of you out there who aren't flybabies, the 27 Fling Boogie is a fancy way of saying "get rid of all that junk". Unless you're a monk, you have junk. Clothes that don't fit/don't match anything. Shoes that hurt your feet and you never wear but you keep anyway. Broken stuff that you'll get around to fixing someday. Nicknacks that don't match your decor but you hang onto because they were given to you by a co-worker you knew three jobs ago and who has about as much chance of coming to your house as you do of being invited to have tea with the Queen. That cereal no one liked but you don't throw out because throwing away food is wasteful. Magazines you haven't read, or magazines that you have read but think you might want to read again someday. Copies of DOS stored in the attic just in case that whole windows thing just doesn't work out. (OK, that last one probably only applies to my husband, but you get the idea.)
The 27 Fling Boogie is simply a routine where you periodically go through your house and gather up 27 things to throw out or give away. You do this in 15 minutes or less. It's a great concept, and the only drawback it that it takes a long time to truly rid your house of clutter this way. So, once a year, the Flylady has a Super Fling Boogie, where you really attack the clutter and see how much you can get rid of, without the 27-item limit. Participants post how many pounds of stuff they've flung and Flylady keeps a running total. Currently it's at 939,482 pounds Flung since Jan. 03, 2005, of which 280 were mine.
Where did I find 280 pounds of stuff? It was alarmingly easy. I went through all my clothes and flung everything that didn't fit, I didn't like, didn't have anything to wear with, or had simply had so long it was time to let go. I think I must have a deep-rooted fear of being naked, because I really, really hang on to clothes. I had sweaters I wore when I worked for J.C. Penney, and I quit them to go back to school in 1987. I do go through my closets about three times a year and get rid of stuff, but I always hang on to the sentimental clothes - the jeans I was wearing on my first date with Husband, and which are so small I can't even fit my arm through the leg; the dress I wore to my 40th birthday party; the shirt I was wearing when I passed my first test in graduate school. This time I was ruthless.
Then there were all the clothes The Boy has outgrown. Given his gargantuan proportions, this amounts to a lot of poundage. We also culled his toys (while he was asleep, since he's inherited his father's packrattedness) and Middle Daughter cleaned out her junk closet. I gave up my old iron, since I have a spiffy new auto-shutoff one. And then there was the recylcing. I always said we don't really recycle so much as collect recyclables. We set out The Boy's old carseat and excersaucer (which had been pooped on by possums) by the curb along with The UV-filter screens that used to be over Middle Daughter's windows, and this morning they are gone, hopefully taken by someone who will hose them down.
So, we borrowed my sister's van, and made a trip to Goodwill. It turns out there is a Goodwill donation center less than a mile from our house, which means a twice-monthly trip there is now on my to do list. Another trip to the recylcing center, and there is now floorspace in our garage.
The sad part? There is still more to fling. I know somewhere I still have the iron I bought when I was living in England. I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to be living in England anytime soon, and if I find myself there, I can bite the bullet and buy a new one. This morning I threw away some icky spinach-filled dried pasta stuff I bought five years ago and only cooked once.
The more I fling, the more I find. Which is the good part. Flinging is addictive. On the way home from the recycling center, Husband mentioned that he has several boxes of books which he isn't interested in reading again that could be hauled over to Half-Price Books next weekend. For him, this is a major breakthrough. Who knows? Maybe next to go will be those copies of DOS.