Over the last six months, my family has embarked on a decluttering journey. Our goals didn’t include achieving a minimalistic nirvana, but we noticed a decent amount of… let’s call it “build up”. It ranged from a stack of magazines intended for collages and a few too many hangers supporting clothing that was sure to fit again.
The first part of the voyage was prompted by a challenge in the vein of: get rid of 100 items from your home. This mission felt both easy and a bit daunting all at once. One hundred is a big number right? We prepared a box earmarked for donations and a trash can with some extra trash bags.
Sidenote: If you find yourself getting worked up about making so much trash, keep this in mind: If you own an item that is not being used and not worthy of donation, it’s already garbage. Don’t let this argument prevent you from getting it out of your life.
The process started a bit slow, but as the trash bags filled up and the donation box was about to overflow, we neared item one hundred in no time. Stepping back for a moment, it was interesting to see what 100 things looked like. On one hand I was proud of what we had done. On the other hand, if this was 100 pieces of stuff we probably owned thousands, if not tens of thousands of items. This thought was terrifying.
Months later, armed with our previous experience and Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” we began the next, more involved leg of the journey. I’ll spare you the play by play, but suffice it to say that we donated/consigned/sold pounds of clothing and hundreds of books at this point. We’ve stalled at the book phase, but only because it’s taken many weekends to sell them at a local book store.
You might be wondering, “What prompted this journey in the first place?” I’m glad you’ve asked as there were a few things in particular:
After three years of living in a lovely but small one bedroom apartment, we had filled up the closet and storage space. With a newly arrived child, we knew we’d have to move soon. The thought of boxing, lugging and unpacking all of this stuff was weighing on us. This prompted the “jettison 100 thingies” stage.
Once we had moved, it was clear that our previous concerns were valid and removing 100 hundred things was not enough.
There were many tell tale “packed from the prior move and never opened in three years and simply moved again” boxes.
We were sinking up to our necks in “storage solutions” and “moisture/rodent proof closet systems”.
If you find yourself in any of the above situations, you might want to consider a conscious decluttering of your home. Remember, you only have to go as far as you feel comfortable. Though I will warn you, once you get going it can be tough to slow down.