Thursday, January 27, 2011

Storage, Hoarding, and Clutter

OK, so this is not really a homeschooling post, but it is home-oriented. 

I've been reading a bunch of blogs that are very alarmist in nature.  Store, store, store, hoard, hoard, hoard.  Get a treadle sewing machine and other items for living off the grid.  Repent, for the end is near!

Well, maybe repentance is in order (it's never a bad thing).  And I'll grant that having an emergency plan and kit ready is smart.  But what worries me is that so many of these sites recommend "storing" so much that will probably never be used.

Yes, I know how to sew - and rather well, too.  I'm a good cook, and I like to have food storage on hand.  But I don't have material - because my lifestyle (homeschooling, work at home mother with a virtual assistance business and a bookkeeping business) doesn't allow me the time to sew.  It almost doesn't allow me time to blog!  And it so much of this sounds like hoarding without a plan.  Besides, I live in a small, 3 bedroom townhome with no storage space and too many people (my oldest daughter and her 2 kids are staying here temporarily).   And I have a "thing" about looking like I furnish my home in early Goodwill.  I'm not likely to make a desk by placing a board over food storage buckets or anything like unto it.

So here is my suggestion.

Don't even THINK about storage until you've decluttered.  Get the house under control.  Get rid of EVERYTHING that you don't use and love.  Really.  If you don't absolutely love it, or if you don't use it, get it out of your house.  I'm planning to empty a couple of rooms (slowly!) down to the walls, scrub the room, and then thoughtfully consider what I want that room to be used for and what needs to be in it.  Declutter at least 15 minutes a day. 

Once the house is decluttered (and it will be an ongoing challenge), if you want to do food/fuel/clothing storage, do it thoughtfully.  Consider where you will keep your storage (again, I'm never going to set the TV on food buckets, but YMMV.)  Will you love it there?  Will you USE it?  There's no point in storing things you won't use, and holding on to baby clothes when your youngest is in college is just silly.  Buying a year's supply of canned foods may make sense, but don't just dash out and start buying wheat. 

Store what you use.

Use what you store.

Don't let it take over your house.  It's not likely we'll be off the grid for years at a time. 

Put some real thought behind it rather than hanging on every word the alarmists tell you.

My personal emergency plan is to pack everyone up in the van and drive to Kentucky.  Well, not really, but I know I have items that can be bartered in an emergency, I'm building a stash of cash to keep on hand for emergencies, and although I don't generally need to butcher a chicken, I do know how. 

I want to make sure that my home is, and remains, a haven.  It can't do that if I'm hoarding "just in case."

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