Cluttered thoughts: Jasper

May 29, 2011

Image from

More de-cluttering ideas from the comments.

‘if we don’t use it for more than 12 month, it’s headed for ebay or the charity bin.’


What about this one people?

Is 12 months long enough? too long?

Does having growing children make a difference?


I’ve gotta be straight with you. I like it …but I can’t do it.


5 Responses to “Cluttered thoughts: Jasper”

  1. Sarah Kelly said

    Heard that one before. Like it. Can’t do it… esp with clothes… which I actually do sometimes come back to… though, perhaps shouldn’t…
    See you Saturday!

  2. Ruth said

    I find it intersting how two ideas have become very ‘in’. One is de-cluttering, the other is recycling. Why do the gung-ho de-clutterers who are revered for being able to throw their stuff away every year not feel guilty about their disposable attitude to resources? Why don’t they work harder at making use of what they have? why don’t they take a longer view of life and give things time to reveal their usefulness or re-usefulness. Why is 12 months the extent of their patience? Some relationships are revisited in greater periods than 12 months – do they get jettisoned with the ‘stuff’?

    My point is, if people want to throw their stuff out so they can buy newer stuff, be more fashionable, dash on to another interest or lifestyle, that’s fine but please don’t make it into a virtue in a world where contentment with what we have is so much more laudable.

    • allysonadeney said

      Thanks Ruth for your comments.
      It is true that recycling and de-cluttering have both become very ‘in’ lately. Good noticing. I hadn’t made the connection.
      A couple of thoughts in response to the rest of your comments…
      – I don’t think these 2 ideas are necessarily opposing. Often those who seek to be resourceful end up with way more resources than they can use alone….so de-cluttering becomes necessary, also if you have the things to recycle/reuse but cannot find them at the time you need them (because of the clutter) you end up repurchasing goods … hence not recycling.
      – Getting rid of something after a year doesn’t necessarily mean throwing it in the rubbish… it may mean putting it back in the system (ebay, donate to friends or organisations who could use them) for them to be recycled.
      – Making use of what you have takes skills that we may or may not have… eg: I can’t resole shoes, or fix a car, but I can make one piece of clothing from another. So I can only make use of some of the things I have, others may be able to make us of those things I can’t.
      – Sometimes having one thing that suits your needs well can be better than having 4 things that all do an ok job.
      – I agree, 12 months seems pretty arbitrary….
      – Not all people who are de-cluttering are doing so to make room for new purchases, or more fashionable things.

      On contentment I think you make a valuable point. It is a very laudable virtue, and one not applauded enough. I am not convinced, however that being able to let things go (maybe to someone who needs them more) is a sign of discontent. I’m not sure we can tell a person’s contentment levels by their things (or lack thereof).

      You have really got me thinking though thanks! …..

      I would love to hear what others out there think too.

  3. Deb said

    Hey Ally,

    I find this is a tricky one for me with clothing because of stage of life – fluctuating through the various stages of motherhood: pregnancy, immediately post-pregnancy (fatter than normal + breastfeeding) and then in the latter months of breastfeeding but skinnier than normal (back to wedding weight in fact!). So while my body is changing so much I don’t think 12 months is a good blanket rule for me. ie. it’s been more than 12 months since I was last pregnant but since we want more children it would be silly and wasteful to give away all my pregnancy clothes. (However, they have been ‘doing the rounds’ among pregnant friends and family in the meantime – which helps reduce clutter.)

    But I HAVE done some serious culling of clothes recently, and I found some good criteria from ‘Sorted’ (which I bought after seeing it on Nicole’s blog, recommended by you I think!):
    “Don’t ask yourself, ‘Do I wear it?’ It’s too broad a question. Instead, ask yourself, ‘When did I last wear it? How do I feel when I wear it? Is it comfortable? Do I love the colour? the fabric? the fit?'” (p. 192)
    I felt able to apply those criteria more helpfully to the clothes that belong to the different stages through which I’m oscillating, rather than using a time-frame.

    However, I still have to be careful. What I am trying to achieve is a small wardrobe of very wearable, versatile clothes adequate for the different parts of my life. But I don’t want this to become an excuse to get rid of 10 things I don’t really like and go and by 5 things I love but don’t actually need. Not sure if that makes sense, but I guess it’s what Ruth was getting at. I have to make sure I’m not just being discontented.

    That is, I think it is legit to get rid of clothes that I actually do not like to wear as long as I don’t use that to justify a fresh spending spree which, even if it doesn’t result in more clutter, MAY be poor stewardship. Sometimes God might want me to tolerate clothes that are just ‘ok’, rather than making sure every piece is really spot-on! I’m trying to just take a long-term approach, so that when I DO need to buy new clothes, I make sure I choose carefully, rather than just buying something because it’s cheap, or I like it but it doesn’t go with anything I already own… etc etc.


    • allysonadeney said

      Thanks Deb,
      Yes, I often hear or see de-cluttering being talked about as ‘making space for the new’ or ‘to be open to the new’. Your example of clothing get rid of 10 ordinary bits so you can splurge on 5 better bits, I think is a great one…. and could be used to refer to books and electronics and all sorts of things…. all across life.
      And yes, life is fluid. So just as you have more clothing than you ‘can’ actually wear this year, we have kept books that the girls will get to later….rather than give them away and re-buy them, and we have toys in this category as well.
      I think we need to consider carefully the other costs incurred when we hold onto things.
      For example… there was a time when Tim and I rented a garage to hold things (mostly furniture) we might need in the future. It seemed very sensible at the time….but the weekly rent, over time, added up to be more than the repurchase price of the items inside. While we looked frugal, we were actually being poor stewards.
      I have to constantly remind myself that it may not be more space I need but less stuff. I also need to remember that it is God who provides.Therefore, I don’t need to stockpile just in case He doesn’t come through.
      Thanks again for your comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: