It always comes down to simplifying.
For months now I’ve had this growing desire to declutter every room in the house. And little by little I worked on it last year–not getting anywhere near my goal–but working on it.
Interestingly, both Bobby and I have come to the conclusion that living with much less would contribute to clearer thinking, greater focus, and attention on the important day to day events and our goals. You may be thinking that this should have been quite obvious to us but it has come to our minds so clearly inspired that we are both acting as if there is gold at the end of the decluttering-rainbow. We can do more and become more with less around us to distract.
My goal as first in command as homemaker of the house? Get rid of 1/3 of our things.
This challenge is testing the very sentimental being inside these bones. I’ve decluttered since I’ve had a home, every year, and in between, but this new challenge requires me to get rid of all of the stuff I’ve held on to because I feel like I’m “supposed to.” You know, the worn-out boxes of plastic high school band awards that are neither personal nor significant. And tupperware of clothes I’ve held on to from college that I just like to look at from time to time to “remember when” and I guess, these clothes have been waiting around for me to fit into. And kids’ toys that aren’t played with but I purchased and can’t let go of. And stacks and stacks of really, really good books that have looked pretty on our shelves for years that I honesty will never make the time to read. And cookbooks. And board games. And fabric. And, and….
The past few days of deepening my decluttering and getting-rid-of piles initially left me feeling like a terrible, heartless soul but now, seeing the extra space, I’m feeling peaceful, like a potentially more productive soul. I even had to call my sister in NYC to ask how she deals with living with so little in a home emotionally. Does she regret all of the sentimental “stuff” from childhood through college she got rid of when she started her family in the city? Does she regret some of the wedding gifts she kindly gave away early on because they weren’t essentials??
Her answer and my two-day throw-out journey’s answer are both a resounding No.
- If it is truly, truly sentimental and worth keeping, keep it.
- If it is mostly sentimental but not functional or sitting in a box for another 10 years,
- Will I want to see ____ in a few more years and still be debating if I should keep it? Get rid of it.
- Am I keeping ____ just because so and so gave it to me? Decide if it is truly, truly sentimental/functional and make your decision.
- Clothes: If you aren’t even sure if its your style, if it doesn’t fit (and you still don’t care for it), if it was a gift and you still can’t get yourself to wear it, get rid of it.
- Toys: Has it been played with recently? Is there a younger child that will eventually play with it? Are you sick of looking at it/shuffling it/living around it without eager kids’ playing with it? Is it worn down? Something you could always replace later if it would really be loved? Get rid of it.
- Books: Have you read it and plan to read it again? Is it a classic to keep around for the family? Is it new and you feel guilty getting rid of it? Keep it if it is a functional book (meaning a resource you use or book you’ll read, reread, or sentimentally valuable). If its just filling up space on a bookcase or you only half-heartedly care about the topic, get rid of it.
- The kids’ stuff: I get rid of all of the fluff–the random, non-playable stuff in their rooms that I know they wouldn’t challenge me on. Then together we decide what of the larger items, books, etc. from their rooms they’d like to pass on to another child to make room for their Christmas presents.
I may be typing about this “decluttering of our lives” topic quite confidently but 70% of the work still remains. When I start to get overwhelmed (especially when I think of the basement… the wonderful, awful basement) I lose a bit of that confidence. As soon as I just start working, getting mentally in the game of “to keep or not to keep” I begin to envision what our lives will be like after a month or so. On the most basic level it will physically transform our house but on the most mentally healing and functional level it will affect every single person under this roof. And that is what keeps me tossing and tossing and tossing.
the sleepy time gal