Friday, April 27, 2007

On Decluttering

Ok, so this post is like over a year old, however, I look for it constantly and never seem to be able to find it on this blog (must not have moved it over from my other blog). It is LONG, but well worth the read (if I do say so myself). It encourages me and reminds me about decluttering. Something which I really needed reminding of today. This is my post to the MakingItHomeMagazine yahoo group (one of the best groups out there if you ask me).

At the end is a challenge. You were to pick three things not to bring into your home for 21 days. I do not think there is any harm in choosing three things NOT to purchase for 21 days. :) So I am going to do this again. Who's with me? At the end, write in the comments what three things you will not bring into your house for 21 days! :)

-----------Feb 2006-----------
SOOOoooo I think I am finally caught up on the reading for the decluttering challenge.

We are asked to share what we have decluttered. Here is what I took to Goodwill recently:
10 Boxes children’s toys/games (it is amazing how this accumulates, especially during garage sale season)
12 boxes children’s clothes (see note below)
4 boxes books (children and adult)
10 pc set of pans no longer used (the were aluminum and we went to cast iron and steel LONG ago)
2 5 pc. Place settings of china we got for our wedding but have never used and don’t have the money to buy any more place settings, we should have chosen something cheaper instead of $75 a place setting)
4 boxes of my clothes (see note below)
2 bags of stuff from the bathroom never used (see note below)
Plastic children’s outdoor play house (the have plenty of outdoor playstuff that doesn’t kill the grass below)
Some old computer stuff (that my husband decluttered himself! =^) )

Children’s clothes --- this is one of my am addicted to buying things. I see a great deal at a garage sale or thrift store and can’t help myself. I have three girls and LOVE to buy cute dresses to dress them. I also have kept a lot of their clothes to keep passing down (or incase we have another one). But I think it is better to bless others with the clothes rather than hold onto them. I also noticed that I kept buying more and more clothes (not just children’s) because I was not keeping up on the laundry. So I was always running short on clothes because they were always dirty (or washed and dried and sitting in the basket to be folded and put away). Now that I am keeping up with the laundry AND on putting it away once it is dried, I don’t have enough room for all the clothes! LOL! I am keeping ten outfits per child (as I do laundry once a week and that leaves enough clothes to wear an extra outfit a day should it get soiled).

My Clothes --- I read something by Anne Ortlund once about simplifying her wardrobe so that all her clothes matched. 90% of my clothes are blue, brown, black or white. The other 10% is pink or a full dress that doesn’t match anything but is really pretty. I narrowed my wardrobe down to fit into my closet (which is like the closets in apartments --- pretty small). Everything is either hanging, in a small dresser that fits inside my closet (all my shirts are hung on the top area), or in a box (which holds winter/summer clothes interchangeably. And that box is on a shelf in my closet. (I will have to take pictures of this too).

Bathroom stuff --- it is amazing how something gets bought for the bathroom area (toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, etc.) and then get shoved back into the abyss to never been seen again. I was amazed at how much stuff I had that was used a few times and then never used again. I was also amazed to see all the soaps and stuff I had been bought over the years as gifts and just held on to it because it was so pretty or smelled so nice. I don’t know why. So I am resolved not to buy any more bath products (like shampoo or soap) until I have used everything I have already been given. Now of course, I will have to buy a bar for hubby (as I am sure he would not want to smell like roses or peaches).

I notice that while I am decluttering/organizing, I am still holding onto a lot of stuff! I keep rationalizing “I paid good money for that! I am being a good steward by keeping it.” I then resolve to use it, but never do. So now I am really going to USE those things ( the specialty soaps I have been given). And if I can’t use it (or already have something to use instead), I will declutter that item. I was thinking that there are plenty of people out there who could really USE some of this stuff. 4 of the boxes of clothes I am getting rid of are being sent to families in need.

It also really hit me about what you said about those decluttering shows. I would watch and think “I would NEVER want to be in that position and have them decide what I keep or don’t.” But what you said hit me --- that they take thirty minutes to decide their whole room. I spend WAY too much time deciding over an item. I started thinking “what would my basement look like if I really took a timer, set it for thirty minutes and then decided what to keep and what to not and when the timer went off, if I had not gotten to it yet, it was gone?” I am VERY tempted to do this (as I really do hold on to too much stuff), but I know hubby would not go for it. But it does help me to realize that I am wasting so much time of my STUFF --- if I am not cleaning it, I am thinking about it (to declutter or not to declutter).

So on the topic of three things to no longer bring into this house (at least for 21 days):
  1. clothing for the children
  2. books
  3. bargain finds (I buy most anything and everything if it is pretty or what I think is useful if I can get it at a bargain)

I know this was long, but it was helpful to me to get it all out. I hope it was helpful to someone else.

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