My decluttering journey has ebbed and flowed all year. In fact, one month I didn’t part with a single thing.
While I still maintain that no journey is a straight line and decluttering has to be done with starts and stops, I can now say something else. Sometimes, decluttering is a flurry.
All last month, we were getting rid of things left and right. In fact, we parted with so many things, I’m not sure I accurately recorded all of it. In fact, I know I didn’t.
Most people look for their fresh starts when the calendar officially flips from one year to the next. However, as both a student and now a teacher, life always feels freshest to me in August. That’s why it doesn’t surprise me at all that my motivation to declutter is so amplified toward the end of summer.
Here’s what we ditched in July:
What I Decluttered in July
- A collectible cabinet – This was given to me to sell or give away. So I did. $5 toward our fall apple picking trip.
- A Coach purse – I sold a really lovely leather purse for $35. It was likely priced far too low, but I decided to part with it and wanted it gone before I could change my mind. I listed it on OfferUp, and it was claimed within 24 hours. I also had it on Poshmark for a few days, but it didn’t budge.
- 42 pieces of men’s clothing – My husband’s natural tendency when he came into our relationship was to keep everything. And I mean everything. His mom cleared out a storage cabinet that he used to use in their house and gave us a box full of receipts and scraps of paper. Nothing valuable. Think crumpled McDonald’s receipts. So to see him motivated to really weed through all of his clothing was really amazing. His closet is officially more streamlined than mine.
- 17 pieces of women’s clothing – Not to be outdone by my husband, I got rid of most of the summer items that I hadn’t worn. It was actually pretty painful because it meant saying goodbye to two lovely pieces that I bought with my grandma when she was alive. Still, I told myself that it would make her happy to see these re-homed and actually worn elsewhere.
- 6 pairs of shoes – These all went to DSW’s shoe recycling program. It also means that we were able to snag a pair of rain boots for HP for free thanks to the rewards we earned.
- Assorted kitchen items – This is where my record-keeping got fuzzy. We had a donation truck coming, and I just started going through our kitchen. It’s pretty decluttered, but I did find a cheese knife set still in its gift box, a new travel mug, and a few other things that I donated.
- A handful of OTC medicines – Pre-baby, I bought just about every cream and concoction that people promised would make having a baby and raising a baby more bearable. That meant that I had a small handful of ointments and creams that were unused or ineffective. Either way, they were just in the way. Out they went.
- So many socks – Because I still feel a lot of guilt over throwing things away, I tend to keep them longer than I should. I finally went through my socks, my husband’s socks, and our son’s socks. I took them to a textile recycling bin and hoped for the best.
- Foam blocks – We were gifted a bag of hand-me-down foam building blocks. HP is far too Godzilla-esque for anything that lightweight, so we happily passed them along.
- Wedding lights and lantern – Our wedding venue had an outdoor patio that I decorated with string lights and lanterns. My intention was that we would then use them to decorate our house afterward. I kept (and use!) two lanterns, but the lights just don’t work with our backyard configuration. And how many lanterns does one household need? These were gone in a day on OfferUp.
- Bathroom storage cabinet – We probably could have sold this for more, but my husband had to modify the legs to make it fit in its original location. That–coupled with the fact that it’s lived in our basement for months–meant that I was happy to see it go for $6.
- Bachelorette party gift – For those of you keeping score, I got married six years ago. For six years, a nightgown, let’s say, lurked in the back of my closet. It was not only not my taste or my style. It was also never my size. “You’re selling underwear now?” my husband asked. $8 NWT on Poshmark, so I guess that answers that question.
Items decluttered: 79 (I think, though I lost track of a few things and didn’t bother counting socks)
Money made: $62
RELATED POST: 3 Things I Learned When I Stopped Decluttering
The purpose of my decluttering is not to make money, but I would be lying if I said that it isn’t motivating to scoop up some extra cash for some of my clutter.
Still, the biggest benefit that I feel is a smoother start to the school year. Transitions are hard. And while I want to place the blame on my son, I know that I actually have a harder time making the switch back to our fall schedule than he does. He’s just so easy to miss!
Even though those pangs still hit me, I’ve noticed a lot less rummaging around in the mornings and less hectic evenings. Even though he is a stuff magnet, we’ve really managed to keep his things at bay. Our house doesn’t feel empty, just roomy. There’s room for us to live, laugh, and play.
RELATED POST: Do You Live in a Home or a Storage Unit?
How I Know I’m Not Done Decluttering
While I’m tempted to puff out my chest and pat myself on the back, I know our decluttering journey isn’t over. In fact, with a now two-year-old, I know it’s really only just beginning. Here’s what I caught myself saying last month:
- “But where are his shorts? The bright blue ones. The really bright ones.” There are few things in life more frustrating to me than being unable to find something. I hate when things go missing. So the fact that I can’t find a pair of shorts and shirt that my son already wore multiple times this summer is absolutely irritating. I even used my phone’s camera roll to locate that known location. Did I leave it at a splash park? In another state? I have no idea.
- “We need more boards for the attic.” I didn’t say this because I don’t go in our attic. But my dear husband who is far more capable than I of not falling through the floorboards, shouted it down to me. Which really throws a wrench in my plans to stockpile all the baby and toddler things until we know once and for all if we are done growing our family.
- “I can’t keep doing this.” Read this quote again after you’ve conjured up an imagine of someone who is frantically trying to tidy up the house at 10:57 PM before the cleaning service comes while also knowing that her alarm is going off at 5 AM. Our house is never messy. But it’s never as tidy as I want it do be. That’s partly because we don’t always put things all the way away. And partly because there’s still just too much stuff to make putting things away easier.
RELATED POST: 5 Things I Wish I Knew About Decluttering When I First Started
So Tell Me…Did you do any decluttering? Are you donating or selling? A little of both? Any tips or tricks that I can steal?
Britt @ Tiny Ambitions
What a good month Penny! I’ve had a very productive day on Poshmark. Three items sold in less then 12 hours. But, they’ve been up for weeks lol so I guess it was just their time. I’ve also been on a DIY tear to reuse stuff that I know won’t sell and that I don’t want to burden on our local donation center (my clothing scrap curtain rod has been a particular triumph). Here’s to cleaning out our homes and closets before the start of a new year (the academic in me just gets so excited for September).
Kristen | The Frugal Girl
I don’t really feel like I am ever DONE decluttering. It’s more of an ongoing process, especially when you have kids.
They are forever outgrowing clothes/toys/bikes/books and then they need to be passed on to someone else.
Pretty much every summer, I do a declutter of my house from top to bottom, and that keeps it fairly manageable, in combo with here and there decluttering throughout the year.
We’re consistently the recipients of wonderful hand-me-downs, gifts, and trash picks, so I don’t feel any impulse to sell our old things. I keep a few diaper boxes by our front door. When I pull clean clothes out of the drawer that don’t fit one of the kids, I automatically refold and put them in the diaper box (keeping clothes aligned to sizes- such as 6 month clothes in one box and six year old clothes in the other). When I see the box starting to fill, I start asking anyone who appears to have a slightly smaller kid if they want a box of hand-me-downs. Usually, we find takers.
Aside from a crib, we kept nothing from baby to baby, and we’ve always had more than we could ever want or need for babyhood. YMMV, but if baby #2 is still a weak maybe, consider getting rid of the baby items.
Wow! Sounds like you had a SUPER productive July!!!
I actually love to declutter! My mom always called it “junking out.” Even when we were little kids, she’d send us to our rooms with a black trash bag and a laundry basket. Items that were too worn or broken, we’d put in the black trash bag, and anything we weren’t playing with or using would go into the laundry basket and be donated. She started us on this pretty young and it’s really stuck with me as an adult.
We are pretty limited for space, so I limit my toddler to two large clear storage containers – one for blocks, one for the rest. Books hang out in out TV stand in the living room because we read books before bed on the couch in the evening.
Cleaning and sorting is pretty therapeutic for me and I find my mental state is a lot clearer and brighter when my apartment is neat and orderly.
My ex-spouse was a teacher, so I can understand the motivation to get things straightened out and orderly before the busyness of the school year.