I have finally found the nature of my problem. Juhli (thanks, Juhli!) asked how much was coming into my house, since getting rid of stuff didn't seem to be as productive as I hope (she was much nicer about it, but these are my words). As it turns out, stuff keeps slithering into my house at an alarming rate, and I largely am unaware of the slithering.
This weekend (in which we got rid of nothing), my husband and I stopped by the thrift shop to buy him a mug to replace one that broke. We found a lovely mug, but then we kept looking! We bought a bicycle helmet for my son (his old one is in bad condition, so we needed it!), a pair of pajama shorts for him (he's grown out of everything else, and summer is coming), and a wetsuit for my daughter (who grew out of her wetsuit last year a will swim even if her teeth are chattering). All good stuff, right? All stuff we need, right? All stuff that is taking over our home!
Also, a friend came back from a trip to Japan and brought beautiful and useful gifts for all of us. Socks for my daughter. A tea cup for me. Another friend brought me food that her family can no longer eat and shopping bags from her mother-in-law's home (which she is clearing out). I am so blessed that I have friends who think of me and give me goods. But, as everything is flowing into my home, it is filling up as quickly as I am working to empty it!
Recognizing the problem is the first step in solving it. Now I know why I still have so much stuff. I will pass along the shopping bags to my nieces, who have just moved out on their own. They can use shopping bags! I do not need to keep more "just in case." Some of the food will be donated to the food bank so it won't become food clutter. (Again, first world problem!) Duplicate items will be trashed or donated, as appropriate. I will not make homes for these things if we have not needed them, and I will try to find a way to block them from setting up shop in my home.
And on that note: my daughter is having a birthday this week and people are demanding we come up with suggestions for birthday gifts. (I should have such problems!)