I’ve always struggled with tossing stuff and getting rid of things. If I spent money on it, I somehow feel like I have to keep it, even if I’m not using it anymore. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but it’s something I’ve been working on, and lately I’ve been making a lot of headway.
Over the last couple years, I’ve shifted away from using commercial cleaning products, makeup, hair products, etc. I haven’t used any of them for at least a year, much longer for some things. But they were all still sitting under my sink, and in our bathrooms. I had bought them when I was less educated about chemical toxins, and they were still hanging around. This process of switching to organic and non-toxic products has been very satisfying, and it keeps growing on itself. I’m never going back. So why was I still hanging on to all this stuff? I don’t know, but I know it felt good to clear it out.
I started going through our under-sink cabinets yesterday. The intent was to start baby proofing, since our little guy will be on the move by the end of the year, and I’d rather stay a few steps ahead of him in this process. So I got a big box, and started filling it up. Cans of Comet and Ajax that I think were here when we moved in. Carpet cleaner that was definitely here when we moved in. Bleach, perfume, facial masks, sunless tanner that I honestly think I’ve had since college (had no idea that was still hanging around. I only used it once, and it turned me orange. I don’t think the technology was so great back then, but what was I thinking anyway?) I found lotions with sparkles in them, cuticle cream, antiperspirant, lipsticks, nail polish, bubble bath… it was quite the pile by the time I finished. I’ve packed it all up to take to the local recycle center. They have a program for safe disposal of household chemicals, and I think my pile fits the bill.
So what am I left with? Cocoa butter that I use as lotion. Baking soda that I use to clean everything, including my teeth and hair. Vinegar that I also use to clean, and as a hair conditioner. Some Burt’s Bees and California Baby sunscreens that I use on my hands – I just keep the rest of me covered up when I’m outside (haven’t used it on the baby yet – we just keep him out of the sun). Some Calendula baby oil. Coconut oil. And some Burt’s Bees deodorant. I think that’s about it. Less is truly more sometimes. Of course we’ll keep all of that out of the baby’s reach anyway, but it feels good to know that if he did happen to get into my cleaning supplies, and took a swig of vinegar, we wouldn’t be heading to the emergency room.
I had to laugh when I saw the huge pile of crud that I cleaned out from our bathrooms. I hadn’t used any of it for ages (had to be at least 10 years for the sunless tanner) and yet it was still hanging around. Probably because I had paid for it all, and felt some sort of weird need to use it up in order to not feel like I had thrown my money away. But here’s the thing – I threw my money away the day I bought all that stuff. Hanging onto it wasn’t going to get my money back. And I was never going to use any of it again. It’s a very freeing feeling to just get rid of it all.
I’ve begun working my way through the whole house, taking a closer look at our stuff. I’ve loaded several bags into my car to take to the thrift store, and I’ll be adding to that over the next few weeks. If I find something that really is worth something, I could always sell it on ebay. But most of it will probably be small stuff – and chances are I got it second hand to begin with. We have a finite amount of space and time on this earth. I don’t want to be filling either one with useless remnants of my past that no longer have a place in my present or my future. Just because I spent money on them some long-ago day doesn’t mean that I still have to be dragging them around with me. And at least I’m not still spending money on them.