I am not done decluttering. I may never be. I am most assuredly not a decluttering expert.
But I do know this about decluttering: it happens in waves.
And we don’t talk about that nearly enough. It’s almost impossible for me–and I suspect for most people–to declutter an entire home in one fell swoop. Whatever criteria you use, whatever methodology you apply, one pass just isn’t going to cut it.
I actually think one pass shouldn’t cut it.
This month, we slowed our pace when it comes to decluttering, largely because we are playing around with organizing, reorganizing, and the shift in seasons. Some days in Chicago, we have all four at once. ::insert grumbling about the snow that just fell at the end of April here::
One of the most frustrating things about the minimalism movement to me is how absolutely cavalier people can be about getting rid of stuff. Purge the excess! Get rid of it all!
OK, sure. I can appreciate the feelings of urgency. BUT. I’m not going to purge my medicine cabinet so I can meet some arbitrary criteria that some suitcase salesman decided on. I’d rather declutter in a way that won’t wreak havoc on the Earth or my wallet.
So for us, that meant slowing down some this month. Still, we got rid of some noteworthy things, thanks in no small part to Earth Day initiatives.
- An old carseat. Tell every parent, grandparent, nanny, babysitting, and au pair in your life. Target is collecting used car seats for one more week. This is a huge deal. Car seats actually expire, and they also take up a ton of space. We had one from my sister-in-law that expired, and it’s just been sitting in our basement until Target started this promotion again. They actually give you a 20% off coupon on select baby gear, but I was just happy to drop it off.
- A handful of my clothes. I rounded up 14 more things that I was finally ready to part with. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my stories about the sequin shirt that I haven’t worn since Patron shots seemed like a good idea. My liver is cringing as a type. In addition to that bedazzled party gear, I also found a few dresses, tops, and sweaters that I haven’t worn enough to justify keeping.
- Two more bags of my husband’s stuff. He got rid of 18 items and filled two garbage bags with them. Basically, he went through all of his winter wear again and parted with anything he didn’t wear or only wore once.
- A pair of shoes. I dropped off another pair of shoes at DSW. The donation amounts to a $2.50 store credit via their rewards program, and I knew I would only get a few more dollars than that on Poshmark. It just didn’t feel worth my time.
- 5 pantry items. I do not donate expired food (even though I’ve been known to eat it from time to time). But we did have a few different canned goods that I purchased with good recipe intentions that have just sat…and sat…and sat. Know thyself is good life advice, and since I know me, I knew it was time to give these things away before they got close to expiring. I also took a half opened bag of lentils and a half-eaten box of puffed rice cereal and added that to the compost.
- So many books. We don’t keep books in our house except for HP’s (massive) library. But I have a few thousand books in my classroom library, and I’m moving classrooms (again) next year. It took a few tries because I’m unreasonably attached to them, but I rounded up 74 titles that I put out for my students to take. Anything they don’t claim is going to book recycling program that picks up textbooks and other materials at the end of the school year.
Items decluttered: 39 (or 113 if you’ll allow me to count my classroom library decluttering).
Money made: $0. Unless you count the time savings I’ve recouped. Then, we’re Mastercard commercial priceless status over here.
(I also listed a few things on Poshmark yesterday, but that doesn’t count as decluttered until I get my money and the mail carrier whisks them away.)
How I Know I’m Not Done Decluttering
- “I think we might break the drawer.” My baby’s dresser is bursting with summer clothes, so it’s definitely time to go through the hand-me-downs and do some sharing of our own.
- “I just closed the cabinet and hoped for the best.” My husband is a Pack Rat. He’s caught a bit of the decluttering bug when it comes to the things that live inside our house, but the garage is another thing entirely. I tried to take something out of a cabinet, and when the Jenga tower of metal, wood, and lawn chemicals we no longer used threatened to tumble down, I changed my mind.
- “Someone’s got a birthday coming up.” That is relative-speak for “I am going to buy your son a bunch of things he may or may not need but will definitely enjoy”. So it’s time to give what we already have another run through. See? This is what I meant about decluttering in cycles.
RELATED POST: 3 Things My Toddler Helped Me See About Minimalism
So Tell Me…Did you do any decluttering this April? Are you donating or selling? A little of both? Any tips or tricks that I can steal?