If my mother wasn't going blind and living in Maine, she would be very disapproving. "How can you live this way?" I am drowning in stuff and keep buying more. It's my old obsessive-compulsive behavior. It isn't so much the buying as not being able to get rid of the stuff that I don't need or use anymore. I called Rachel because I needed someone to tell me to throw stuff away.
Rachel is not judgmental. She's there to help, not to criticize. She came to help me get my clutter under control. There are three levels for clearing clutter—give things away, throw things away, or put things away. I have too much stuff I never use put away and too much stuff I tried to give away but nobody wanted.
For example I don't use my Melita Thermal Coffeemaker any more, but it is too good to throw away. I tried to give it away on Freecycle, but nobody took it. So Rachel will take it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, and I won't feel like I'm throwing away something someone could use.
Magazines are my biggest source of clutter. I get trial subscriptions or free subscriptions online, but the magazines just pile up. I don't want to throw them away until I've read them, but I don't take the time to read them and then the next issue comes in. Rachel will take them away and shred them or donate them to an organization that can use them.
I get too much mail from organizations with sob stories or worse on the awful treatment of (fill in the blank) dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, dolphins, children, and old people. Of course they ask for money. If I send them $10 or $20, and I usually do, I get on more mailing lists from more heart wrenching organizations.
Rachel said I should mark the envelopes "Return to Sender," and after two or three rejections, they would stop coming. I hate to do that because the abuse doesn't go away. I just won't see it. The abuse is sadly real.
I do check most of these organizations out on Charity Navigator and mostly support three or four star organizations, but not all of them are rated yet. The ones that annoy me are from professional fundraisers. They enclose 50 cents or a dollar, and even a $2 bill to get recipients to open the letters. If that isn't enough waste of money, these fundraisers charge up to 50% of whatever they raise.
Even if the organization is good and the person running it barely takes a salary and works 20 hour a day, I'd rather he or she was paid better and had an assistant than have half the donations go to fundraisers.
I went through and sorted out the charity letters I would answer and threw the rest away. "They'll come back," Rachel said. I know, it takes three or four times not answering to get off the mailing lists.
Rachel took away three heavy black trash bags full of "stuff." I had room in the pantry to put away all my cans of tomatoes, tomato sauce, and Ro*tel (diced tomatoes with green chilies).
Next week she'll come back with racks and door hangers to organize all of my spices and cooking ingredients. It will be nice to get rid of the clutter and find exactly what I'm looking for the first time I try.