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Cleanliness – Women & Money


By Tracee Sioux

One of the things I wish I had inherited from my own mother was cleanliness and organization. My mother is very clean, neat, tidy, and organized.

At a recent visit to my mother’s house I saw that she had kept the original little people that went with the Little People Bus. All of them in good condition.

I could never have pulled that off. After picking up the same $1 store toy about 5 times I simply rid myself of it by throwing it in the garbage.

Suze Orman, in Women & Money, says that we can never become wealthy if we are not clean and don’t take care of our things.

Let me first state that my home is not filthy. It is simply too small and there is no where to put things away. We’ve simply outgrown the house. There are also two small children running around getting stuff out all day long.

It’s a total fiction that your home is cleaner if you stay-at-home or work-from-home. It is, in reality, much messier. Think about it, if you picked up the house, then left the house all day long it would be clean when you got back. However, if you’re trying to write and there are two children at home all day then the only thing that can result is a messier house. Yes,I know that picture at the top looks bad. But, as I said, I can’t write, keep two children occupied AND keep the house clean. If you can do it – well, good for you. I, myself, have limitations.

My car looks like a freaking garbage dump half the time. Frankly, I didn’t care enough about that hideous old Oldsmobile to clean it. Too, I’m always exhausted when we get home so lots of stuff gets left in the car. Not to mention all the crap my kids are constantly dragging home. Why can’t the school throw away all the drawings and coloring book pages? Why does it have to end up in my car and my house – am I supposed to keep every single thing they ever draw, write, glue or color? I don’t have the space for that.

But, putting away my Shame & Blame as Suze recommends I realize I’ve got to stop making excuses.

But, I admit my attitude about things is getting in the way of better things.

First, obviously this is a good problem to have – not enough room for my stuff means that we’ve got more than enough stuff. We’ve got a plethora of stuff that is ripping the house apart at the seams. That means we are prosperous and should be grateful about our prosperity rather than complaining about it.

Second, I think we’ve got left-over feeling of lack around here. We had to do without lots of stuff for a while. And that translated into accepting every hand-me-down and gift offered. It also translated into us buying stuff we didn’t really love or enjoy because it was “better than nothing.”

Third, we feel like we’re being ungrateful by cleaning out and getting rid of stuff. For instance, there were some lovely people who made Zack some blankets. In fact, so many people made Zack blankets that he never used several of them. I finally got the courage up to take them to the shed to be sold at a garage sale. Obviously not the ones my mother or grandmother made, but the ones the secretary at my husband’s old job. I just don’t have room for it. Likewise, I need to banish my emotional attachment to cute baby clothes that don’t fit the baby anymore.

Fourth, what if it comes back in style? I have clothes I love and have pulled them back out for the second time now. But, really could I live if I had to buy another belt or a another top in 20 years when it came back in style? Is it costing me wealth to keep it around? I certainly don’t have room for new stuff if I’m keeping all that old stuff around. And while we’re talking about clothes I keep my fat clothes around too – just in case fattness overtakes me again. Well, since he got that vasectomy I don’t intend to get fat from pregnancy again. So, maybe I could just commit to not needing the fat clothes again? Besides, it will serve me right to have to go buy some if I end up in size 16 pants ever again.

This is, I think, hanging onto old baggage and old issues. To change the way we feel about money we have to change the way we feel about the things money can buy. Hanging onto things we don’t need anymore is just telling ourselves that we don’t have enough. If we get rid of it, we will miss it. That’s true in some cases, believe me I’ve rid myself of everything I owned several times and I DO miss some stuff.

But, most of the stuff – never thought about it again. Since the 8 qualities of a wealthy woman chapter the Suze Orman book I’ve hauled out 4 giant garbage bags of stuff to the shed to be sold at a garage sale. Money for a down payment on a bigger house.

2 replies
  1. jen says:

    I know it’s hard to tell by looking at my house, but I do declutter often. I usaully keep two boxes around for things we get rid of. One is a box of stuff to be donated to the mission store, and one is a box I put things in to give to friends and family. When they are full I put them in my trunk and take them to the apropriate places.

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