whatever you have is under your care

photo by johnnyberg

STUFF. the Hawks are downsizing. Bit by bit, space by space, we're hoping to clean clutter and get rid of things we don't need. 

One of my wise friends, Joyce, recently gave a talk regarding "stuff." Of the many positive points she made, one of the most influential for me was this statement:

If you have it, you have to care for it. You'll have to give it a place, clean it, move it. It takes the space of something else. Is it worth that space? Is it worth your care? Does it add to your life, or do you avoid it?

This has been invaluable advice. I used to be the sort of person that would keep every knickknack because at one point, it had sentimental value. I felt guilty if I gave it away or sent it to trash heaven (or hell, depending on your point of view). My last room as a single gal was overwhelmed with all my possessions (partially because my roommate at the time wouldn't allow my personal affects outside to appear anywhere outside that space). Things I never used. Things that were dusty, crowded, and didn't correspond with any style, tone, or personality.

When I moved into the apartment we would come to share after our wedding, Hawk required that I let go of half of my possessions. He would walk around and say, "When is the last time you used this?" or "Did you even know you still have this?" I kicked and screamed and literally stomped my feet. I cried, I shouted, and acted like a complete child. 

It was extremely difficult for me to purge possessions. I'm sure that a portion of my outbursts stemmed from the loss of complete independence that is necessary in marriage (and preparing for marriage). I'm amazed we were still able to walk down the aisle, it was that difficult. 

And then, he asked me to do it two more times! The second was just before he moved his stuff in the week before our wedding (though he still lived with the guys). I had purged a lot, but there was still an entire bedroom worth of boxes and bags and possessions to be sorted. And the third time was just before we moved into our new house in August.

I'll speak more on this in upcoming posts because I believe it is a choice about freedom from being owned by the things we own.

So to start us off, I'll go with something small. A few weeks back, I cleaned out our dresser/tableware cabinet. 
Some great things to know about it:
1. We got it for free! That first apartment of ours had a basement, and in the basement was housed anything that previous renters forgot/left behind. Our manager was going to throw it to the curb, so we snatched it up! It was in great condition, very clean, and the mirror is perfectly aged. 
2. Judging by similar pieces in our friends' homes, we think it is about 80 years old.
3. It has the worst wheels known to man attached. We're hoping to someday switch those out so they stop scratching our hardwood floors!

As you can see, it has 4 main drawers--two small side-by-sides and two large drawers on the bottom. I really only straightened up the top two drawers which were completely cluttered, but here is a glimpse inside the dish drawers:

It took me about 90 minutes to sort through every piece, determine new homes or donation buckets for each item, and then sort the remaining pieces into something helpful. Another point that Joyce made:

When reorganizing, the result should add ease, beauty if possible, and definitely efficiency to your life. 

I think our correspondence drawer does both:

Here's how it works:
1. sorting: I sorted each unused card into a relevant pile---blank cards, thank yous, specific-to-the-occassion, and letterhead. 
2. reusing: I hate wasting paper if I can help it, so I reuse our wedding RSVPs and placecards for little notes. Anything from a grocery list to a love note. 

3. being creative: We kept all the C&B ribbon from the wedding gifts, so this worked our perfectly in keeping piles from spreading through the rest of the drawer as soon as it we closed it. 
4. keeping the fun: And of course, stamps and stickers have their place.

The last drawer is less interesting, but just as important. We are constantly grabbing things out of it, so it needed to house items that were relevant to each other and still keep things accessible.

How it works:
1. I removed batteries from their original packs and put them in appropriate sandwich bags. In the future, I'd like to grab pretty bags for this instead, just for the fun of it.
2. We kept the tape and scissors separate from the cards/letters because we use them for so much more than correspondence. 
3. I put our extra hanging nails, chairfoot pads, and other such items in a cute decorative and see-through box Mom Hawk gave me.
4. Grabbed a small pyrex bowl for twist-ties and rubber bands.
5. Kept our extra C&B ribbon available for future needs.

Hope this little (and long) explanation helps you out in your own organizing! Let us know what you do to keep your spaces tidy!



  1. Did your husband get rid of half his possesions (two times)also? If not,why not? If not, I would have stomped and screamed also

  2. He got rid of quite a bit, but as he was never a pack-rat like I was, there was far less he could possibly discard. Thanks for asking! His demands were entirely within reason, and I'm so happy he made them.


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