Sunday, October 26, 2014

Diagnosis: Over Abundance!

I am truly blessed when it comes to friends.   Helpful, caring friends, who go out of their way to be there for me, in person or in spirit.  When I host a gathering at my house, they come and help with the cooking and cleaning, as needed.  When I need companionship, they are available for a visit or a chat.  And when I complain about various problems, they offer helpful suggestions and possible  solutions.

One of my friends, who often shares tips about getting organized, read my post about the lack of storage and sent me a very thoughtful and thought provoking  email.  I have her consent to refer to her email and post portions of it here, as I wish to share some of her ideas and suggestions and what I am doing in response.

My friend offers me a diagnosis as result of reading my blog post:  " suffer from [dare I say it]...overabundance."  She goes on to say that, if I don't have a place for everything, then, I clearly have too much for the space available.  She asks, "How much is enough?"  And what do I have in my storage spaces.  She gives me several pointers about dealing with paperwork (she knows I've been struggling to get caught up with my filing - but that's another post!), clothes, etc.  She says, "Our most successful 'protocol' was to implement the 'new item in, old item of similar size out'."

Over abundance!  I agree!  I do have a lot!  Too much!  Some of it is useful.  A lot of it is of sentimental value.  Too much of it is decorative.  But, I do tend to hold on to stuff, whether they are useful or not, whether they have sentimental value or not.  Often, it is the "might come in handy, one day" line of thinking that keeps the stuff in storage, rather than given away, recycled, or, even, just tossed.  I know the conventional wisdom is to get rid of the "might come in useful someday" items and buy new if and when needed, but that goes against my frugal nature.  So I hold on to stuff. 

One of the questions my friend asked was:  "Does an inventory of the linen cabinet reveal more than 3 sets for each bed [now considered adequate]?"  And since I did laundry, yesterday, including some bed sheets, I decided to take inventory of my bed sheets!

I've 4 beds in the house: 1 queen sized and 3 twin (1 in the guest room and daughter's bed which pulls out to make 2 twin beds).  So, going by the 3 sets per bed guideline, I should be able to have 12 sets of sheets.

I've 4 complete sets of queen size sheets - 1cotton flannel for winter, 3 cotton blends.  Of the cotton blends, right now, 1 set is on the bed, 1 set is in the linen closet, and 1 set is doing double duty as family room sofa dust/cat fur covers. In addition, I've 3 spare flat sheets (the fitted sheets seem to wear out more quickly than the flat sheets) which I use as dust/cat fur covers on the sofas and/or my bed (over the quilt, to protect the quilt since sheets are easier to wash and dry than handmade quilts).

4 complete sets of twin sheets (one of which is cotton flannel for winter); plus 2 fitted sheets being used as mattress covers, 2 additional fitted sheets for spares, and 2 flat sheets, one of which has a floral border hand-embroidered by my grandmother. 

So, 8 complete sets, and, if I pair some of the spare flat sheets with the 4 twin fitted sheets, another 4 mismatched sets, for a total of 12 sets for the 4 beds, with one extra flat sheet!

And then...I run into trouble.  Because I have 5 other items: a king-size flat sheet, which until recently (August), was used as a bed skirt for my bed, a canopy bed cover from when daughter had a canopy bed as a little girl, 2 bed skirts (twin size), and another twin flat sheet.   Why are these extras being kept?  Well, they are all solid white and they are used, at least once a year, occasionally twice, when I use them as sofa and chair covers during a religious ceremony called an almsgiving at my house.  I can't use the other flat sheets because they are patterned and not plain, solid white.   I also use them as sofa covers at other times, too (when I am not using the spare queen size flat sheets), but the white sheets and bed skirts are needed at the almsgivings).

I guess I should get rid of the 3 spare queen size flat sheets and one of the twin size flat sheets (not the grandmother hand embroidered one).   On the other hand...they can be used for quilt making as foundation pieces or backings (frugal because I won't have to buy fabric for the purpose).  Oh, did I forget to mention the solid purple twin flat sheet that's stored with the fabric stash?  It's being kept for a quilt backing... 

My friend suggests giving myself a deadline for projects and getting rid of stuff if I don't complete the projects by the given deadline.  I had better get busy sewing!

So, does anyone else suffer from over abundance?  Does your linen closet overflow with extra sheets?  How do you keep your storage spaces from getting too full?


  1. I grew up with grandparents that went through the depression and saved everything. This way of thinking stayed with me and I save everything. Anytime something was given to me, something "useful" was found, etc. etc. it was saved. Through some help from a friend, l've been letting things go. The question I ask myself is what is the value in this ____ for me? If I can't find a real value for it - it's gone. I now can walk into my room and I have the space now to feel creativity coming on rather than the usual dread of 'all this stuff I have to do something with'

    1. That is a good questions to ask of ourselves when we debate whether to keep something or not. It's one I am learning to ask of myself. Thank you for your comment.


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