Crap sucks


As you know Girl Ninja and I moved in to our new condo last month. After some super fun vacations, we are finally getting a chance to feather our nest and settle in. As we were putting clothes in our walk in closet, we couldn’t help but feel somewhat disgusted by how much “stuff” we had.

Why do I have 30 t-shirts? Why do I need six pairs of jeans? Or 20 pairs of shoes? I’m pretty sure I could clothe a small country. It’s quite disturbing.

As we were setting up our computer on our new desk, Girl Ninja told me she was gong to buy me a wireless mouse and keyboard since the cords on our current accessories are so annoying. Immediately after she made the offer, she realized how silly it was. There’s nothing mechanically wrong with our mouse and keyboard, and although they may not be ideal, they’ll work just fine. Why pay more to upgrade, when it’s not necessary?

Although I have no desire to be a minimalist (I like my flat screen TV too much), I do like the idea of being more mindful of the stuff we have and the stuff we want. We’re both seriously committed to reducing the amount of crap in our closet. I’m not talking about getting rid of a few old shirts, but donating clothes we love, simply because we don’t need ’em.

Have you ever been confronted by your own consumerism? Do you ever feel guilty looking in your closet? Or do you get sad when you see two people sitting at restaurant spending more time on their phones than with each other? Have we lost sight of what is important?

27 thoughts on “Crap sucks”

  1. Sadly, I’m a hoarder. I wonder if it stemmed from growing up below middle class. Now that I have a little bit more money I tend to treat myself too much. I have way too many dvd’s considering I barely watch them. It’s funny how I think they are such a great value at $10 because I wanted to own movies when they were $80 on a VHS tape! Also, I think my obsession with car audio came from wanting to go boom back in my high school days when I could never have imagined having enough money for that hobby. Now that I got some money I can go boom 🙂

    BTW Vibrams rock!

  2. Since I really don’t like clothes shopping, our walk in closet is certainly not packed to the gills; in fact, if I took inventory of what I actually wear on a regular basis, I could probably get rid of about 1/3 of my clothes (and that ain’t a lot). Most of the stuff hanging up is actually fall/winter; I don’t have a lot of summer stuff. Neither Hubby or I like clutter, so we keep our home paired down to mostly just the essentials.

  3. I just moved into a townhouse and can identify with the STUFF issue. My boyfriend and I have a lot of stuff. What we have though, is a lot of stuff with different functions / categories of clothing related to usage (sporting, work related) but each actually has a purpose and a use. Anyone who’s into several sports or activities will know what I’m talking about. I have rock climbing shoes, kayaking/water shoes, running shoes, hiking boots, weightlifting shoes (Chuck Taylors, represent), steel-toed work boots, winter boots, casual sneakers, sandals, and several pair of nice work shoes. I’d love to reduce the amount, but I can’t donate shoes I actually use on a regular basis even if it is only here and there. For example, I’m not fond of my steel-toes (they’re clunky and covered in what I’m assuming is cement and coal dust) but…I absolutely can’t perform parts of my job without them. I also need to keep an amount of “on the job” clothing separate from my normal dress/casual stuff. I can’t go into a plant wearing good clothing unless I want to ruin it. Soo….more clothing I need to keep for specific use.

    Now, I know a lot of people shake their head at those with lots of sporting goods and say it’s useless but we actually use ours on a regular basis. Take for example our 2 kayaks. Don’t use them everyday, but every weekend we can during the summer, we take them out on a river. Our rock climbing gear (rope, harnesses, safety devices, belays, etc etc) isn’t used all the time, but when we get the opportunity (usually 2-3x month and usually combined with kayaking), we use it. We continue to upgrade and add more equipment. Some is used much more than others, but as other climbers may know – it’s good to have redundancy and back-ups. Something tells me rock climbing is NOT a sport for the ultra-frugal. Most of our equipment is made in France, so well, go figure on what the price of all that is!

    So we have a LOT of stuff. But I always keep in mind – are we using this stuff? Is it serving a purpose? I don’t care if it’s bulky or takes up shelf space, but as long as we’re using it and enjoying it, I have no issue. If we give up on a sport or activity, then we will reconsider keeping it around.

  4. Working in a restaurant I see that all the time. Couples will come in and spend their entire meal messaging someone else or doing work. I’d like to think that for half an hour people could put down technology and just enjoy someone else’s company.

    Because I’m moving I made the decision to clear out my closet of the things I never wear. I have three bags full of clothes and I’m now challenging myself to a fourth one because I really have more clothes than I could ever need. And some of my stuff I simply never wear anymore..

  5. I have come to realize that I buy way too much crap. It’s an addiction to buy crap. I posted about it here. I look at my closet and realize that I buy the same things almost every time. Since I like what i have in the closet and don’t really want to let much of it go, I decided that I will not buy anything until I have no rescuing or replacement when the item is falling apart.
    Maybe you could do the 100 things challenge? or 200?

  6. Sometimes I truly wonder what the point of going out with people is when they sit there on their cell phones? If you really want to be talking to that person, perhaps you should have went out with them instead. I think it’s rude, especially at the dinner table, restaurant or own. Growing up we ate dinner as a family every night (or Mom would have your head). Never were we allowed to even entertain the idea of answering the phone during that hour. Call me old fashion, but I still believe in those rules and am almost 100% sure they are why my family stayed so close over the years.

  7. We move every two years for work. We get confronted with it all.the.time. Pack, unpack, pack, unpack. I have to be pretty militant about the one-in, one-out rule, or we’d lose our minds.

  8. I recently went through an entire purge of my house: I went through every room and de-cluttered the crap out of it! The result is a very organized closet in my bedroom that now features the Law of “One In, Out Out.” If I buy anything new, I force myself to get rid of at least one thing before adding it to the mix. I have a serious aversion to clutter, so this seems to be working well.

    And it drives me absolutely crazy to see people on the phone/texting while at dinner. It’s also very sad. People like that seem to have no regard for common decency–ie. manners, people! I wonder if those couples actually feel fulfilled in their relationships or if the phone just masks deeper issues…

  9. My wife and I are always going through our stuff and deciding what we do and do not need. I went through our books and decided which ones we want to keep and which ones we want to donate. Some of them we will never read again, and they are just collecting dust in our house. DVD’s? Who watches DVD’S any more? We stream on netflix, or rent a redbox, but the ones we own we never watch anymore.

  10. Over the past several years I have developed a serious aversion to clutter. It’s kind of funny…I used to live at the mall and have knick-knacks everywhere. Now I go to the mall only when I have to find something particular, and if the store is too crowded or the line is too long I just leave. I can’t stand shopping for anything anymore!

    My husband calls me a “goodwiller” because I am constantly giving things away. In my mind if you don’t use it currently, you most likely never will. So why have it cluttering up your house when you could give it away to someone who will actually use it?

    I’m becoming pretty minimalist and I love it. I highly recommend going through your stuff and getting rid of things you don’t use/want anymore. The space is very freeing physically and emotionally!

  11. Wow down to only 30 T-shirts that is huge. The shoes, come on that has been a thing for you for sometime.

    Dadninja and I have created a rul for every new tshirt he gets he gets rid of 2 that helps alot.

  12. I’ve been writing about this a little on my blog. Cleaning out my closet has been therapeutic, but there’s still so much in there that I’d never have the guts to show a picture of it! I’m moving in a year, so I’m going to keep at it. Little by little I hope to be rid of a lot of it!

  13. Hubby and I helped set-up an apartment for an incoming refugee family arriving in Seattle. The government (and World Relief) have developed a check-list of what this family will NEED to start their new life. It’s minimal. I felt very thankful for what I have and very aware that I probably never need anythin again. Interesting perspective.

  14. This is something that I have been struggling with for some time. I stopped clothes shopping and have started saving for better items that last longer and that I really want/need. In terms of replacing things I already have, I generally try to leave it be unless it is broken. It sometimes takes me months to spend on a big purchase. (I had the money for a new camera for 7 months before I finally bought it because I wanted to make sure that I really wanted it).

    Overall our society is way to consumerist and if you do not partake people at times act like there is something wrong with you.

  15. I hold on to a lot of things that don’t need replacement. My camera is 7 years old, my cell 3 years, my old SONY TV 12 years, and I just replaced my 20-year-old watch (for a whopping $100) because I couldn’t find my old one. The computer (7), fridge (22), and mattress (10) however are all due for replacement soon ’cause they need to be. I still keep a lot of books, CD, DVDs, and even LPs I’ve been too lazy to transfer to digital. (It’s easy to do a basic LP-CD copy, but a lot of tedious work to properly clean up all the pops and clicks.) But every year I donate several dozen books and CDs to the local library – good tax write-off too.

  16. I have a rule about buying new things to reduce clutter: If I buy a new shirt (for example) I have get rid of an old one (donating it if it’s still in good condition or throwing it out if it is not). When I buy a new book, I try to do so at my used book store using only credit from selling some of my old books or DVDs. So, I get some new things, but I have to get rid of old things too! Saves on the clutter!

  17. I have just a ridiculous amount of STUFF. Like, books, DVDs, CDs and vinyl records. I could open a library. It’s sick. And I don’t want to get rid of any of it.

    I really fear moving because of it.

  18. 1) Dudes. Stop judging the couple on their phones at the restaurant. You have NO idea what their communication as a couple is like. We do our best talking at night before going to sleep– definitely not at restaurants, where we’re in public. Your comments make me want to pull my phone out at meals EVERY time I go out with my guy.

    2) It feels super good to purge out my closet every now and then. Ditto with my bookcases.

  19. Ninja, I couldn’t agree more. I am constantly getting rid of things that are nice and in good repair, but that I just do not need. It drives me nuts sometimes to look around my house and see all this STUFF that I don’t use all that often, but I keep because it’s “good stuff.” Lately my mantra has been: “Let it bless someone else.” So when I think, “But that’s such a good book, I don’t want to get rid of it,” I say to myself, “It’s such a good book, I need to give it a chance to find someone who can read it for the first time and love it.”

    I’m also with you on needless upgrades. I try to think about that whenever I’m anxious to replace something in my house just because there’s something newer and shinier out there. A small example of this, that I have been guilty of for years, is buying a new bottle of shampoo (or lotion or hair spray or lipstick or whatever) and tossing out the old one before I’ve finished using it. Am I really so impatient (and wasteful!) that I can’t use up the 50-cents-worth of “kiwi strawberry” scented body wash that’s left in the bottle before I start using the “mandarin mango” stuff? And it’s really easy to think, as I’m flipping through a home decorating magazine or walking through the aisles in Target, that I “need” new sheets or towels or whatever because the ones I have are “old and boring and ugly.” Funny, I thought they were exciting and pretty two years ago when I bought them, and they’re still in good shape – maybe the problem isn’t with the stuff I own, but the attitude I have about it.

    I’m far from what one would call minimalist (we love our big-screen TV as well!) but I love feeling peaceful in my home, and I just DON’T when I’m crowded by a ton of stuff. It also saves me lots of money when I think honestly about why I want a new pair of shoes or kitchen gizmo or whatever.

  20. We recently helped my parents move from an acreage they’d had for 17 years, to a smaller house in town. It was incredible how much stuff they had because “we might need/want it someday”. I’ve learned that anything kept for that reason will not be wanted/needed until two weeks after it’s been disposed of (doesn’t matter if you’ve had it for 5 years or 5 months-won’t want it until two weeks after you’ve gotten rid of it). So I figure I might as well get the stuff gone cuz I definitely won’t miss it until then. Keeps the house uncluttered. It’s made it possible to go from a 1750 sq ft house (plus basement) to a 1250 sq ft house with almost no discomfort.

  21. I didn’t feel guilty but I had quite a few shirts that I never got to wear. I donated some and I still don’t get to wear all in my closet but I do try. I probably had about 40 shirts total if that much.

    On the restaurant phone issue. Not only do I feel sad but I get extremely upset but at least it’s never happened to me as yet. I always remember this one time I saw a guy and a girl out to get ice cream and they spent their entire time with their heads glued to the blackberries.

  22. We’re slowly decluttering. I’m actually hoping that I can get transfered to give me an excuse to pick up and start over. When I transferred here, I wanted the big house, two-car garage, all the trappings of a consuming society. I wanted to keep up with and pass the Joneses.

    6 years later, I realize how much more important friends and family are to me than status and possessions. I mean, I always knew, but I didn’t always act like it; now, I want to lead by my actions.

  23. Whenever I clean my closet out I’m disgusted with the amount of clothes I have. Thankfully I recently sold the clothes I no longer wore/wanted, so it left some more room, but geez, I still have a bunch of stuff! I’m slowly trying to eliminate as much as possible.

  24. Just this week my husband and I took everything from our bedroom and put it in the other room and went through all our storage bins under our bed and we tossed a lot of things away…

    and it was so nice and our room is soooo clean now. We are planning on going through the walk in closets and our dresser drawers this week as we can… Part of it is that we have a small condo and we have a lot of furniture… but thankfully we could rearranged the furniture in the bedroom and it made a world of a difference.

    We make a point of going through all our belongings once a year and tossing things we don’t need and organizing the things we need to keep.

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