Wednesday, August 13, 2008

THE Crusade!

More specifically, the one-hour anti-clutter crusade - it began yesterday.

Every single day, until...oh...I don't know when, I'm going to spend one hour each morning systematically going through every square inch of floor space/cabinet/drawer/dresser/shelf to eliminate things we don't need. Our house isn't cluttered at all, but...

...there's always room for improvement!

I tackled our not-too-big-bookshelf in the guest room yesterday, and at least 20% of the books are either going into the garbage, into recycling, or are being passed on to other people. Here's my question:

Why keep books?

Sure, we'll keep the books we reference frequently like cookbooks, gardening books, and coffee table books, but why keep anything else? Have I ever re-read a book?


If I feel the urge to read a book a second time, I'll just go out and buy it again. Who needs a bunch of extra books sitting on shelves getting moldy and collecting dust?

Also, while going through the books, I discovered some that neither of us have read that we probably bought fifteen years ago. We'll keep those, read them, then chuck 'em...or pass them on to others.

This morning, I tackled the IKEA cabinet in our office.

Why do...I mean, did...we have fifty 9x13 mailing envelopes and about a zillion letter-sized envelopes?


Old APS camera?


Carrying case for a Sony Discman?


French and German workbooks?


Oh...and here's a little bit of advice:

Don't waste your own money on foreign language classes, books, or tapes UNLESS YOU HAVE AN INCREDIBLY STRONG DESIRE TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE!!!

I mean, how many people are out there, and how many BILLIONS of dollars have been spent on foreign language classes/materials with the result being that the people who bought them can't speak the language even at a conversational level AND the materials are just sitting on some shelf taking up space...getting moldy...collecting dust?

Learning a foreign language is a good thing, but...


Wow! Few things give me as much pleasure as a manic, clutter-purging binge.

I think I need a cold shower!


Global Librarian said...

There's little I like better than a really good clutter purge.

Our house is not cluttered, but that's because I go through an anti-clutter purge once or twice a year.

It's a good thing...

Sara said...

im one of those wierdos who re-reads books...

for the electronics, i know in france at least all electronics stores have to take back the stuff you dont want and dispose of it properly (you pay a small fee when you purchase all electronics that covers this). maybe there is something similar in switzerland (or you could smuggle it across the border). it helps keep some of the more toxic metals out of the garbage.

Unknown said...

You are smart! We just moved to Germany and even though we thought of ourselves as non-packrats-let me assure you we were WRONG!!! We need to take your approach. Gut Idee!

BTW: I am also from the IL burbs-Elgin to be specific. Hope you had a nice time on your vacation (in the humidity?)

Unknown said...

I think you'll inspire me too, but we are moving so there's more of a reason to take your advise!

Jul said...

In Zurich we had to bring electronics to the Electro-Tram, which was in our 'hood every month or so. I wonder what we're supposed to do with them in DE...

The Big Finn said...

sara - I've only had to get rid of a couple of small appliances (i.e., the evil Jura machine) while living here, but I've always brought them to our local dump that has an electronics return bin. You CAN also bring them back to the store they were purchased from as in France.
Thanks for reminding me...I have to take the battery out of the old camera I'm throwing away.

Heavy metal = Good!
Toxic metal = BAD!

The Big Finn said...

Oh, and Yelli...


islandgirl4ever2 said...


I MUST do this one day... Our apt. is a "clutter zone" because both Alex and I pack rack stuff... He's MUCH worse than me because he saves EVERYONE he hasn't used in YEARS so that he can sell it on EBay, then never does!! Hehe... I have so much cutter here... and it drives me nuts cuz our place is 42 m2 and I down-sized 50% or so before moving to France-- PLUS--- I didn't bring any furniture with me!!!! Take care, Leesa

The Honourable Husband said...

I read books again. Often, over and over again. I reference them. I lend them to people. Most of the books I own are out of print and unavailable, so I have to keep them. I look at these books, touch them, savour them, love them. I collect them. Like shot glasses.

When I moved from New York to Munich, the container weighed eight thousand pounds.

Of course I do make exceptions. I actually threw this book away.

It was dreadful.

Anonymous said...

I'd be happy to take those old books off your hands... always looking for something else to read! In exchange, I could give you some fun Entertainment Weekly and New Yorker magazines my mom just brought over from the states. And I owe you your Salsa cookbook back. Shoot me an email and let me know when it would be a good time for me to drop that off! :) Liz

The Sour Kraut said...

There is a growing trend here in the US towards professional organization businesses. You would be perfect! Would you like to intern at our house?

Anonymous said...

LOL! We need a purge. It's just so discouraging when you only get one free Sperrmüll day a year and we completely forgot about it last year.

Oh, I'm also one of those weirdos that rereads books. Plus I have a decent collection of first editions, not that they're really worth anything, but I can say, "Hey, I've got blah blah blah first edition!"