I can’t believe how much stuff I’ve gotten rid of so easily, and also how much more I can still part with and not even miss it!
I’ve purged approximately 300 items from my house so far (goal for the month: 465).
I started off following the “1 item on day 1, 2 items on day 2, etc.” formula, but I quickly found that when I really dug in, I eliminated many more things than the date called for. So I simply carried my “balance” forward a day or two until the numbers evened out and I was back on schedule.
My husband helped boost my numbers last weekend by cleaning out the basement and dumping a bunch of old magazines, albums, and countless other objects. He’s a bit of a “collector,” but he admitted that he enjoyed eliminating some of the overflow. It felt great to finally get him on board with my goal and relax my assault on my own stuff for a few days. I didn’t get an exact count, but he claims to have removed at least a hundred items, so I’ll take him at his word. He’s definitely redeemed himself since the steak knife incident in my previous post.
On the “down side,” my uncle sort of moved in with me this month, and brought with him a whole bunch of his own stuff. My pantry closet is now stuffed with junk food! While this presented a bit of a setback for my “Stuff Challenge,” I’m really enjoying having him around, so it’s all good. Family before stuff. Always.
I’m looking ahead to the last week of the month and wondering where to start, but I have hundreds of books, magazines, and CDs that I haven’t even touched yet, so I’m optimistic!
“While I love goal-setting and bucket lists, you really only need to ask yourself one question to change the trajectory of your life: How can I solve the one problem in my life that keeps resurfacing?”
~Sandra Bienkowski’s The One Question That Can Change Your Life – mindbodygreen.com
I’m one week into my de-cluttering experiment, following The Minimalists‘ formula for getting rid of one thing on the 1st day, two on the 2nd day, three on the 3rd day, etc. for an entire month. Here’s a quick day-by-day summary of my progress so far:
- Tossed out a freezer-burned bag of blueberries.
- Put a jar candle and candleholder in the “Yard Sale” pile.
- Got rid of 3 bras that were no longer fulfilling their purpose.
- Shredded 4 old job-bidding cards from the post office.
- Gave a small crock pot and Dremel tool to my friend for her new jewelry-making hobby, and added a plant pot, laundry bag, and pitcher to the yard sale pile.
- Picked 2 suits, a dress, a jacket, a pair of pants, and a purse out of my closet for the “Donate” bag.
- Trashed 7 expired food items from my pantry shelves.
Most articles so far fit into the following “disposal” categories:
- Gave to a friend
- Sold (via yard sale or Craig’s List)
The donated and yard sale items haven’t gone anywhere yet, but are forming two piles in my bedroom, awaiting their final destinations. By the end of the month, I plan to have several bags of clothes to donate, and multiple boxes of items for our yard sale.
As soon as I started this challenge last Monday, it became clear that I would have to take it to the next level by not only getting rid of old stuff, but also by NOT acquiring anything new this month. That means no new clothes, household items, electronics, etc. (Still waiting to buy that iPad!) Consumables like food, and personal care & cleaning products are OK, as are electronic purchases that don’t take up any physical space, like Kindle books and iTunes.
I also realized that I would have to get my husband on board with my mission when he came home Friday night with 5 steak knives that he picked up at a yard sale! SIGH. Five steps forward, one step back.
By the end of the month, I’m sure I’ll be scraping to find 30 items to eliminate, but this early in the game, I’m having the opposite problem. It’s hard to stop at one or two things. Inertia is a strong force! De-cluttering one area leads to another, then another. In addition to the list above, I also found myself shredding 53 debit card receipts that I’d stuffed into my checkbook, and eliminating the pile of junk mail and catalogs that had accumulated on the table by my front door. I’ve got big plans for the piles of unread magazines in my office, but they’ll just have to wait until week 4!
These days, I definitely derive more satisfaction from having less stuff and holding on to my money than I ever got from spending money and buying new stuff.
My, how I’ve evolved!
“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.”
So I’ve reached the end of my month of daily blogging, and I have to admit, I’m glad it’s over! Don’t get me wrong. It was a great challenge, and I’m certainly proud of my accomplishment, but sometimes I felt like I was neglecting some other important areas of my life. Sleep, exercise, reading — all things I enjoy and need — were pushed to the back burner on more than one occasion.
Thinking about Downshifter’s Journal all the time occasionally detracted from my ability to be fully present and live in the moment. Pleasant diversions became annoying interruptions. The looming daily deadline sometimes got in the way of enjoying time with friends and family.
But it was SO worth it! I learned a lot about prioritizing. And focus. I learned that I can accomplish a lot more in a day than I previously gave myself credit for. Now I’m looking forward to relaxing for a few days and catching up on my reading. And I fully intend to maintain a regular, although probably not daily, blogging habit.
Now that my post-every-day-in-May challenge is almost over (so sad, I know), I’m looking ahead to next month and thinking about what else I can do to improve my quality of life in 30 days. As I mentioned in last week’s post on decluttering, my plan for the month of June is to follow the Minimalists’ suggestion and remove 465 items from my home by June 30th. I’m already scoping out my closets, drawers, and cabinets, and tallying up all of the stray articles that have outlived their usefulness and need to be discarded/relocated. I love getting rid of stuff. It’s cheap therapy. This should be fun!
I also have an idea that I’d like to quit drinking for 30 days, but that will have to wait until June 7th, because I have a family wedding on the 6th. I can’t even begin to explain how much I really hate weddings, plus alcohol always makes my in-laws more tolerable. I don’t expect this challenge to be nearly as much fun as decluttering.
Of course, I’ll keep you all up to date on my progress. If I learned anything this month, it’s that accountability partners are an important factor in staying motivated and following through on my promises to myself. Thanks for the help!