It’s official, I’m in my decluttering era. After a particularly stressful morning where the clutter got to me, I followed every decluttering account and website that I could find for tips on how to gain back control of my home. My husband and I made it a goal to work together to complete the 1,000 item challenge before the new year. I was blown away by what we actually accomplished. We donated, sold, and trashed well over 1,000 items, and yes, we kept count room by room.
Why? I finally realized that so much of my stress around our home was because of STUFF. You know the cycle. You wake up and immediately trip over something on the way to make coffee. Kick it out of the way. You can’t make coffee yet; there are items in the way on the counter. You clear items. Finally, coffee in hand, you walk to the couch. Tripping over more items, you spill coffee. Grumbling, frustration, and zero relaxation.
I realized that a lot of the arguing I was doing each evening with my son was over STUFF. Asking him politely to pick up legos before his baby sister swallowed them whole. Politely offering to help him pick up clothes and toys on the floor. Not so politely threatening the TV time he so desperately loves. And finally, definitely not politely, yelling that if items weren’t cleared before I got back with a trash bag, they were going to the trash! Tell me I’m not the only one.
So, in an attempt to find some calm in the clutter, and with my husband on board, we worked room by room. We cleared out a storage unit that we had been hanging onto since a move three years ago. I cleaned every kitchen cabinet one by one, and the pantry and spice cabinets I’d been avoiding. My husband picked apart the garage and basement, bringing me boxes of saved kids’ items to sort through. We “ruthlessly” quizzed ourselves about the necessity of each item before deciding whether it was a keep, donate, trash, or sell item. It was painful and boring, emotional and rejuvenating. It took several months!
I’m proud to say that the end result has been less grumbling and more doing. I never realized why I didn’t bake more when I said I wanted to learn to bake. When I organized my baking and spice cabinet, I realized I’d been avoiding it to an extreme. I hadn’t been baking anything because I didn’t know what I had, what was expired, what I needed. Now, with everything sorted and organized down to the bare essentials, I am meal-prepping and baking like a pro.
This has been the same experience with art supplies and toys organized. It’s easier to give my son options for independent play, and there is less arguing at the end of the day because there are fewer items that are out to put away.
Fewer items in our home have meant that we have stayed pretty true to a nightly or morning routine of picking up our most commonly used spaces. This has meant more relaxing mornings and, you guessed it, less frustration and arguing on my part.
If you are also in your decluttering era, here are some places that we have donated and sold to.
Baby items: Little Timmy Project
Large items/Furniture, appliances, housewares: Habitat for Humanity Restore
Kid’s Clothes and Toys: Once Upon a Child
We also used our local neighborhood Buy Nothing/Sell Nothing and swap groups to donate and sell items. Find a full roundup of places to donate items HERE!