Why Do We Keep Things We Don’t Need?

A couple weeks ago, I shared that I’ve begun the lengthy process of cleaning out and cleaning up our entire house, top to bottom. One of you asked if I would please continue to share updates as I moved through the house. So here I am. In the kitchen today.

When I shared the last blog post about clutter, one of the areas I’d recently cleaned out was the kitchen island. It seemed like a small thing at the time. After all, the island only accounts for a tiny piece of our kitchen. (And just to be clear, the island doesn’t look much different than it did before the clean out. But hey, I know it’s been done and I feel better, so doesn’t that count for something?)

At any rate, I knew today was going to be another clean out day. I didn’t have anything planned outside of the house until early evening, so I had time to dedicate to a big project. It was time to get back to the kitchen.

I began on the far side of the kitchen, the side closest to the living room. I figured that way, it would be easiest to keep track of where I’d been, as well as where I’d left off for the next round of cleaning out and cleaning up. That brought me to the refrigerator and cupboard above it.

I started up top with the dusty cabinet near the ceiling. I wiped the cupboard door fronts well, and was quite surprised at how dirty they were. Then I opened them to discover all the things that are way up high, on top of our fridge, for good reason. Bottles of alcohol. A swath of glass vases. Random things we very rarely use, including an ice cream maker, an old-fashioned coffee pot, the turkey roaster, and a leather wine pouch for all the romantic opportunities we have to picnic together with wine.

I found an old bottle of alcohol in the back that had never been opened. Did my husband even realize it was there? I moved it to the front.

I combined two bottles of Two Gingers Irish Whiskey, a task I asked my husband to do last weekend when the screw top on one of the bottles was stripped. He told me we didn’t have another bottle of Two Gingers. Today, I was glad to discover we did have two bottles. I married the two and promptly recycled the stripped bottle.

I considered getting rid of the leather wine pouch, but decided who knows, maybe someday we’ll have another opportunity to picnic in the park with wine.

Then came the inevitable. All those glass vases. There was one big, butt ugly golden vase that had to go. No doubt about that. I wasn’t even sure why I kept it all this time anyway. Then all the others. I’m not even kidding you, we had about 25 glass vases. I inspected them all. I looked at all the different styles. I imagined how I’d pair them beautifully on tables when we hosted holiday meals. I imagined how I might need them someday if I host a fundraiser and want to line tables with flower vases. I imagined summertime, where I’d bring in beauties from the garden and arrange them in Mason-style vases. Sure. It was possible that any of those imaginings could and would be realities. But how many glass vases do we really need? How many pairings of vases can we actually use for our little family of five?

So I got rid of several vases. The ugly gold one had to go, of course. After that, it was just pick one, pick another, pick another, and so on. For the most part, I realized I really didn’t care. Vases are vases. There was nothing particularly spectacular about any of them.

I washed them up so I would feel better about donating them to the thrift store. (They were quite dusty, after all.) Then I got out a box and started loading everything in.

That led me to realize that I needed to just go ahead and fill up that box with as much stuff as I could. It was all going to the thrift store. Today. I was determined to fill that box as quickly as I could. So I moved a few cupboards over to the massive space I was so excited about when we moved into the house. The massive cupboard space that’s now full for the most part, full of a lot of stuff we don’t use that much. Within minutes, I cleaned out several water bottles that I hate to use or wash, some random glasses, four or five cheap plastic kids placemats, and other random junk. Okay, junk isn’t the best description at all. It was actually good stuff, decent stuff. I just didn’t have any attachment to it. I didn’t see any reason to keep any of it. In one swoop, I’d filled an entire box.

When the box was filled, I took this picture and just stared at all the items that filled it.

I didn’t care about one single thing in that box. Not one single thing. It meant nothing to me. Nothing was useful to me. Nothing was beautiful to me. Nothing was sentimental to me. Nothing.

I wondered. Why do we keep things we don’t need? What is the benefit? What is the point of having things around that we don’t need OR use? All these excess things do is clutter our minds, our hearts, our souls to the point where we can’t breathe anymore, to the point where we can’t think anymore, to the point where we can’t just BE anymore.

I’ve had enough.

Getting rid of the box of junk (a.k.a. good stuff, just fine stuff) I never use.

There’s no use keeping stuff I don’t need.

There’s no use keeping stuff I don’t use.

It’s cluttered my life long enough.

Good bye.

I promptly plopped the box in the front seat of my SUV, loaded my baby girl in her car seat, and told her we were going to the thrift store. When we got there, I picked up the box, walked in briskly, sat the box down on the donations table, walked towards my car, and didn’t look back one second.

Good bye.

Good riddance.

There’s no use keeping stuff I don’t need.







  1. Doreen Auger says:

    This is a task I do but not often enough! The “vase thing” is something that I use to face more often than I do these days and I found the our local long term care used/needed them when they got floral arrangements that they “broke down” into smaller arrangements for the dining tables or individual rooms. “Stuff” really does multiply somehow!!!!!!

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