May 13, 2015

More Crap

A while back I published a post about dealing with unwanted stuff or, crap. A short while later a dedicated Not Buying Anything reader emailed us regarding her own struggles with stuff. I have received her permission to reprint her experience here.

I've read your post titled, "Crap" and comments at least 30 times in the past 5 days since you posted it. Your piercing words of truth resonate deeply with me.

My life and relationship with crap is changing radically as a result. The radical part is because it is being followed up with action... crap is leaving here on a large scale, more crap out than ever before.

Since reading your post I've sorted, boxed up, bagged up, and hauled out a whole lot of crap from my apartment. I've experienced everything you write about dealing with your crap on the large scale with which you've just dealt.

I've found it very difficult to drive up to a thrift store and leave my crap  I had some of it boxed up to send to relatives because they said they want it. I've stopped calling and asking them because I hate how I feel sending my crap to add to their crap problem that they don't even know they have.

NO, I AM NOT going to try and sell my crap ...calling a thrift store that will come get it for free is the easiest and best way for me to handle larger pieces of crap  OR I might post it on Free Cycle...but that sounds maybe not.

'Damn if you do, damn if you don't is how it is with crap  If you give it away (which is a lot harder work than we think even if we are just leaving it at thrift stores), then we are contributing to other peoples' crap problem. If we send it to the landfill, then we are contributing to that CRAP problem. I've had guilt about some of this.

I've read countless books and blogs on de-cluttering, organizing, right-sizing, minimalism, reducing, simplifying, small steps till its nauseating.  Some books that I own only produced more crap on my shelves...and a reason to keep the damn shelves!

There seems to be a wild obsession to manage stuff. So many books and blogs to teach others how to manage crap in one way or another. Books on how to manage crap  organize crap  de-clutter crap  decide about crap  right-size crap  minimalize crap  reduce crap  simplify crap  store crap  reuse crap  repurpose crap  what to do with your crap  reduce the size of your crap so you can keep it in a smaller space. It makes me dizzy. It's an endless hamster wheel.

What the hell are we doing? I've just realized we've created a whole new industry to manage crap.

Are we compounding the crap problem by being obsessed with managing it?

Crap is a lucrative industry.

And if this isn't enough, I woke this morning with a sobering thought. I actually pay for insurance to replace my crap if it is lost in a fire, flood, tornado, disaster or if I am robbed. I have renters insurance! A.K.A contents insurance. My crap is insured!

I'm seeing this in a whole new light today! I got on the phone first thing and called my insurance agent to see how much my crap was insured for and how insurance companies calculate the value of my crap to determine my rate. Is it square footage of my apartment home? I was SHOCKED to hear I'm paying for insurance on THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF CRAP!

I'm tired of managing crap  I'm tired of managing my emotions about my crap  I'm tired of returning to my de-clutter project over and over again. I'm tired of small steps. Repeated purges. I'm tired of people giving me huge volumes of crap because they think I need it and they want me to deal with their crap by giving it to others. I'm just tired. Tired. Tired. Tired.

Small steps were good, a good place to start as I was learning what was happening. It is very useful to take small steps in many situations.

For me, the time has come when small steps are not enough. I'm sick and tired of endless purges that don't fully deal with the crap.  I've drawn a line in the dirt. I've leaped over that line. I'm dealing with my crap on a large scale.

Ernie Larsen said "When your truth doesn't match your life, chaos exists." I'm beginning to feel harmony as I further de-crap my life.
I'm no longer calling it a de-cluttering project. I am now de-crapping my life, purging chaos. I'm not mad at myself so much. I am determined. I am determined to live as far away from chaos as I can. That means losing a lot of crap.

You and Linda have had something to do with this determination and the most important thing ACTION. I just felt I wanted to share some of my experience and how your blog and your own experience has helped me take action that I've not been fully able to take until now. Thank you.

Thank you, Terri, for making us laugh and nod knowingly at the same time. Like you we have come to enjoy the benefits of a major de-crapping. Hopefully your experience will encourage others to make the same leap into the liberation of simplicity.


  1. Awesome! Recently my family and I went through a GIANT store of crap. Colorful crap. Perfectly displayed crap. We "oohed and ahhed" ALL the crap. I even took photos of the pretty crap. We left the store with NO crap. It was a nice feeling. :-)

  2. Anonymous5/14/2015

    Thank you for posting the letter from Terri, and Terri - thank you for writing it! It is a powerful letter that has lit a fire under me to take action, to stop "making plans" to get rid my crap - and actually GET RID of it! I appreciate your honesty. Thanks again, very much. -- Mary

  3. Well done Terri! Most important - decide not to bring any more crap into your home, then you never have to undergo this painful process again! This might involve offending people by refusing to accept gifts (unless of course they are truly beautiful and useful and you need them).



  4. Anonymous5/15/2015

    Recently I found myself thinking I needed more crap. I talked myself into believing that it was a need, not a want. After I ordered the crap, I had a sick feeling in my stomach. Back online to cancel the crap! It is still a battle for me and I'm truly down to a bare minimum. Thanks Terri for sharing your journey. We can all gain strength and resolve from one another!

  5. Please forgive my delayed response, technical difficulties on my end.

    Gregg and Linda, Thank you so much for valuing my experience and expression and posting it here. I am deeply honored.

    We Are Clamo: You made me laugh reading about your experience of going to the GIANT crap store! I was right there with you in the crap store! When we frame it in what it really is, it is easier to walk away crap-free. Bonus to walk away laughing!

    Mary: From me it often takes just getting angry and using that energy to just get the crap out the door. Capital letters, GET RID OF IT takes the stagnating emotion out of the venture because it is a strong action statement. When I read Gregg's post titled “Crap” I got mad and empowered to move a lot more out. I love all the space left behind. My life is much more functional.
    Sigh, I still have a few areas of my home that need an energetic de-crap attack! Your comment lit fire for me to get to work on those areas!

    Madeleine: So true! Thanks for reminding me about more crap coming in via gifts. There are people who see my more simple life as deprivation. They want to help by giving me crap. They mean well. I’ve learned to say “no” politely and explain that I really love my space with less chaos. They look at me strangely. I’ve gotten used to that too. Like you say, remembering the pain and difficulty to de-crap helps keep it from coming in. Thanks for that.

    Miss Marla: Oooo, the lure to have some more crap is ever persistent. I'm staggered at the skill marketers have to manipulate us into thinking we 'need' more crap. I think you have the key which is listening to what you are feeling. I get that same sick feeling when I am about to acquire crap that is not consistent with my values.

    Usually if I back up further, I can see that it was an emotional, intellectual or social need (primal need) that wasn't being met that caused the trigger to 'need' to buy something. Marketers manipulate with that too. Kudos to you for being able to back out of the deal. Often a phone call or visit with a friend, a walk in the park or a nap will meet the need and I forget about ordering the crap or going shopping because the primal need got met.

    Thanks to all of you for such warm and kind compliments.

    There is tremendous momentum in community. It stabilizes, focuses, and energizes. Gregg, Linda, and the commenting community on this blog are truly helping me transform my life. Thank you.

    Cheers to simplicity!


  6. Anonymous5/21/2015

    Ah, the journey to de-crap. I know that one well! I only finally started getting a really good handle on it in the past year.

    It still boggles my mind how much crap I have loaded up in the car and carted off to donation centers. But I'm grateful for it nonetheless. It makes me realize I will NEVER allow that much crap into my house AGAIN.

    I've managed to get rid of so much crap that I don't need a shelf any longer. I got rid of a chest that was filled with crap. My closets are almost entirely devoid of crap! I even have empty cabinets in the kitchen - no crap! I have kicked boxes and bags and umpteen piles of crap to the curb and, as a result, I'm reading more, exercising more, spending time more focused on my fulfilling work instead of going to stores to look at crap, buy crap, organize the crap, and showing off all the crap. I can clean the house in under ten minutes. That's sweeping, vacuuming, dishes, and mopping! BAM. Lickety-split. Easy to do without so much crap in the way!

    Thanks for being a supportive, guiding light in the fight against crap, you all!


  7. A.M., What a powerful response. Your experience is greatly appreciated. I too, got rid of shelves, furniture and most the crap that was stored in them. I emptied kitchen cabinets too. All my dishes are in one double cabinet, not 3 or 4 double cabinets like before. Yes, isn't house cleaning a much easier task with less crap? I'm not at 10 minutes though!


    I have a few more areas to get sorted and moved out in order to reach my full vision. Seeing this post, my words written about a year ago, and hearing comments here reminds me of how utterly ridiculous it is to acquire and hold on to crap.

    I had a few stalled out periods as I embarked on this about a year ago when Gregg posted "Crap." When I got stuck, I asked for help. I asked a friend to come over on Fridays for a couple of hours, asked my daughter to come one time and my neighbor visited to check progress and encourage me. All were enormously helpful. It was just what I needed to push more crap out of here. I also went back and re-read "Crap" on this blog and that helped get me back on track too.

    Life changed when I de-crapped. I enjoy a much more functional, manageable and rational life now. I am getting outside on trails and sitting on my patio more often. I feel I know myself better or maybe I enjoy myself because I don't have the burden of crap in my environment. My life feels more real or more true to who I am. My truth is closer to matching my life, thus much less chaos. Things are fresh and new and fewer of them!

    One of the best things that happened is I am now able to deal with some other big obstacles in my life that have been keeping me stuck in a rut. I am convinced that this would not be happening if I had not gotten a lot of physical crap out of my home.

    Getting my bedroom done was a milestone. That night, this haiku by Mizuta Massahide came to mind:

    "Barn's burnt down.
    I can see the moon.

    Happy moon-seeing to all,


  8. Yes, yes, and a thousand times yes! Terri is spot-on and echoes so many of my own feeling regarding all the crap in our lives. Thank you for posting this, and thank you for this blog. : )

  9. Sandy, Thank you for such a nice compliment. Glad you are part of this community. This blog is transforming for me. Gregg and Linda do a stellar job living what they write about and encouraging and supporting their followers where they are. It is a great place to be!


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