I recently called my local trash pick up service to order the FREE dump day service they offer four times a year. It is basically when they drop off two giant bags that you fill to the brim with anything not on the no-no list and that weighs less than 75 pounds per item. You then park all that junk in giant bags on the curb and they pick it up on your next garbage day. I did this as part of saving dump fees with my backyard renovation project but because they can’t use it to get rid of chunks of concrete or many building materials, I found myself with one entire large bag left to fill.
This means I had to face my habit of buying too much stuff. I am talking over a period of decades, not months or years. I simply find that if I don’t weed out, there is a lot of fussy little stuff that I need to get rid of. I kept thinking my backyard was high maintenance, too much work and while that was partially true, it also felt that way because I never weeded out the stuff I had back there.
Turns out, less is always more. More time, more freedom, more options that did not include having to clean, reorganize or take care of stuff.
Less is more.
So, in getting rid of so much stuff I realized that I don’t need a bunch of garden decorations. I don’t need three of the same gardening hand tool (because I could not find the first and second one, I’d somehow bought a third over time). I needed very little in fact. The cute gargoyle? My daughter loves monsters so I am sending him to her house to protect that domicile. A couple of the other formally cool urns and such? Donations to local charities of course. I also do not need three watering cans when I always use the hose. I don’t need much. I somehow had pressed an old metal tv stand into service as a potting stand. It did not work. Gone. All gone. This sort of random but needed purging is not only freeing but tells me I should have purged long before I did. I already feel so much lighter and less stressed about the backyard because the only thing I will be tending back there are the new planters which I will fill with summer vegetables and herbs.
I knew I wanted new standing planters when the backyard was completed so I am waiting on ordering those because I still don’t know exactly when the backyard will be done. That and a five tiered garden planter for my herbs. There is now a little nook in the back where the sun shines and the herbs will flourish out of the way in the nook but still handy for my use. As I’ve said before, planting a simple herb garden saves you a lot of money in long run. Paying $3 for a couple of sprigs of rosemary is highway robbery. Grow your own. Herbs are notoriously low maintenance and thrive in poor soil. They are perfect for the black thumbs among the frugal. I have a couple of straggly old rose bushes on the side of my backyard but I never took proper care of them. No time, no interest, no motivation, take your pick. I don’t deserve roses right now with my current lifestyle and time restrictions but my dogs deserve more fake grass so that strip of yard is being turned into more grassy real estate for my deserving pets. Because I have such a tiny patch of a backyard, I have to maximize what I do have and make it match my current lifestyle which it has not for many years. Time to make it work. And while I wait for a firm finish date, I continue to scour the Internet for a better price for the planters I have my eye on.
Admitting that I do not need to grow everything or deck out my yard comes with wisdom that comes with age and the realization that I don’t have anyone’s opinion to live up to but my own. I don’t need to grow prize winning roses unless I love them which I really do not apparently. I do however love and use homegrown vegetables and herbs all the time so that is where my efforts will go.
I confess I also had collected dozens of planting pots in my backyard to my ever lasting surprise and shame. Tending those plants did not give me joy. Over time, I felt burdened by having to take care of them so gone, they are gone. The empty pots I am donating to my daughter’s frankly HUGE side yard where she plans on planting a container garden of her own this summer. She does not care what they look like or that they never matched, they will be useful in her botanicals hobby as well. So, I gathered them all up and dragged them to her house last weekend where they were warmly received and appreciated. Recycling never felt so good. This saved my daughter a lot of money because all she needs now is dirt. She has seeds ready to plant. A great way to recycle your own old pots might be to stick them out on your curb with a ‘FREE’ sign on them if your city and county regulations allow for this.
I still have a dwindling pile of stuff in the garage to go through but I already know most of it will end up being donated at a local charity. I do want to wait until the yard is done to keep just a few but most of it is still going away. I know I want to keep my comfy and chic chaise lounge for working out in the warm weather and a very few antique garden items I collected over the years but like a fire sale or a business closing, everything else must go.
Organizing experts preach the mantra that less is more. Get rid of the fussy little figurines, the brick-a-brack and let’s be honest, the junk. Just get rid of it. You will spend less time dusting, cleaning, organizing and dealing with the clutter.
So, as spring approaches, challenge yourself to clean out one drawer, one countertop, one shelf at a time and toss what doesn’t bring you total joy. Get rid of the junk and clear out the clutter.
See? Don’t you feel lighter already? \