I didn’t start the year with a concrete number for how many items I wanted to declutter.
I was invited to do a few different challenges. The most dramatic one promised to part ways with 1,000 items. I didn’t accept.
Because honestly? It seemed too easy.
For a house that generally abides by the clean countertops rule and has very little visible clutter, it’s downright embarassing to think, Oh, I could easily part with 1,000 things. Especially when I’ve been working on decluttering for so long.
Where does this stuff come from?
Last month, I parted with well over 100 items. So that totally seemed to support my hunch. We were well on our way to surpassing 1,000 without even breaking much of a mental sweat. But this month? It turns out it’s a good thing I didn’t sign up for that challenge for a different reason.
We kind of stalled out.
What I Decluttered This Month
- 2 toddler PJ sets – We got a giant trash bag of summer hand-me-downs for HP. I stumbled across two really cute summertime PJ sets. I washed them, folded them, and then realized we already have at least six pairs. So instead of adding these to the collection, I put them on Freecycle.
A box of manila envelopes – I’ve kept these in case I ever get motivated to start reselling books individually again. Realizing that I am not going back to my Half.com days (RIP), I decided there is no real reason for me to hang onto them. Now, I use sites like Buy Back Express to sell my books instead. It’s faster. There’s less fuss. And I’m not about trying to make it big or break even. I just want my space back.
- 7 toddler shirts – File this away as the same logic as the PJs. I realize that I probably could have sold this as “one lot of toddler shirts” on OfferUp or a similar platform, but I really wanted to move these out of our lives with the same spirit that they came in: as a gift to make toddler wrangling just the teeniest bit easier.
- 11 books – I had success selling books to another bulk buying company last month. But after running the ISBNs through Book Scouter, I realized that I didn’t care to keep any of these long enough to meet the sell-back threshold amount. So when we went to pick up HP’s lastest batch of puzzles from the library, we dropped these off for a future book sale.
- 1 backpack – Honestly? This is so clearly a marital decluttering sin, but I’m willing to weather this storm. My husband has been leaving this particular backpack all over our house for literally our entire marriage. (That’s nearly six years in case the previous sentence wasn’t dramatic enough.) I’ve never seen him use it. It isn’t even nice. He got it as a freebie, and he has at least two other backpacks that he actually uses. He put it in the donation box the other week. I don’t know if it was a belated Valentine’s Day gift, a decluttering peace offering, or an accident. And we’ll never know because I didn’t ask. I shut the box and sent it on its way.
- 4 pairs of shoes – While my husband never owned hundreds of pairs of shoes, he probably owned a solid 50 at one point. (He’s a PE teacher. Apparently, different colored Pumas are the spice of life.) He has been making an effort to weed out his collection and is down to less than a dozen. HP and I bought him a new pair a while back, so he decided that he could swap out four (!!!) old ones.
- Another shoe organizer – I don’t know that this was decluttered so much as reunited with its rightful owner. I was going to give it away for free, but then my mom decided she wanted it. It’s only fair that she keep it since I’m pretty sure she was the one who bought it for me a decade ago.
Items decluttered: 27
Money made: $0 (This is a stark contract to the $127 that I made essentially effortlessly last month.)
Last month, I made all sorts of noise about how I had two giant diaper boxes full of clothes that I purged but hadn’t yet officially parted with. And it’s still true. Those two boxes are still sitting in our guest room.
I am a decluttering work in progress. I still wake up in the middle of the night and wonder if I should list everything on eBay. But then I realize, no, this isn’t about money.
Really really really.
So I just fired off an email to our community clothing pantry, giving a brief overview of what I had and inquiring if the sizes and items seemed like a good fit. Otherwise, I just got a recommendation from a family friend of a little resale shop that benefits a women and children’s shelter. So my public pledge is to make sure that I have both of those boxes and all of their contents dealt with by the end of the quarter.
I said it, now it must be so.
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How I Know I’m Not Done Decluttering
In addition to those hundred or a so items that I’m still holding onto for
no good only slightly good reasons, I caught myself saying a few things this month that made me realize I’m not done decluttering.
- “Grab that green bag. The new green bag. The new green bag from Sierra Club.” While I have gotten really good at politely declining freebies at conferences, I still have a heap of reusable shopping bags and tote bags in my trunk. Plus, Sierra Club just sent us a fresh set for our last donation. In an attempt to really narrow things down for my husband before an Aldi run, I found myself trying to distinguish between not one, two, or three, but four green bags. There are also blues, reds, blacks, tans, and muticolors. In short, there are too many. It sounds like I need the ChicoBag Zero Waste Program in my life to finally deal with these extra reusable bags.
- “I think we need another bin.” HP is in the middle of a growth spurt (when isn’t he?), so I found myself sorting through his shoes. My instinct was to buy another box to store more of this size shoe. Then, I stopped myself. Buying more is almost never the answer to effective decluttering. So I made it a point to sort through his shoes to see what we can donate instead of packing everything up.
- “Wait. What did we actually get rid of?” It’s almost the end of another month, and I knew I was writing this to hold myself accountable. With a panicked look plastered on my face, I glanced around the room and at my husband. I started the month with the best of intentions, but it was short, it was busy, and I just didn’t declutter much.
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?