Life

Less is More? My Adventures in Decluttering

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Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with stuff. I just have felt like I’m drowning in it. I spend so much time trying to clean and organize and it never seems to make a difference. As I started to get more fed up with it I stumbled across a whole world of blogs about being minimalist. Now, I’m not here saying that I am going to become hard core and give up everything I own, but the idea of being more intentional about what I own and why I own it has really been appealing to me.

I don’t know when it happened… little by little I guess. Slow enough to not notice it happening. It seems like I just woke up one morning and realized I had accumulated so.much.stuff. I’m a little bit of an emotional hoarder. Old t-shirts from High School and my years at an internship program, Payton’s favorite toys from when she was a baby, gifts from other people… I like to hold on to things that mean something to me. The problem is everything you own has some kind of memories attached to it, ya know what I mean?

Along with my tendency to hold on to things that have even the slightest hint of sentimental value is the overwhelming social pressure to pursue more. MORE toys for the kiddo, MORE clothes, MORE kitchen accessories to make the job easier… If we just have the newest and coolest thing we will be happy. That just simply isn’t the case. There will always be MORE out there. And it won’t make you any happier.

I’m also a sale addict. Like if it is on sale, even if I don’t need it, I want to buy it. So I end up spending extra money on things I don’t need simply because I think I am getting a good deal. I end up with less money and more clutter. But it was a good deal…. ha. I ended up with more cheap stuff that, to be honest, I never liked as much as some of the more expensive things I could buy. By not buying a ton of things on sale I can save up to buy what I really like and actually enjoy it. Win-Win, right?

The good news is I realize the issues I have that got me here. Extra spending, being attached to things instead of memories, and looking for happiness in things. It’s like blinders were lifted and I realized I was just wasting away time, money, and space on so much crap. So I’ve been working little by little on decluttering. I joined a few facebook groups to help keep me motivated including the Slow Your Home and 40 Bags in 40 Days group.

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I recently went through my closet and came up with 5 trash bags of clothes for donation, including all those sentimental high school tshirts and all my old race shirts! One of my most dreaded chores was putting clothes away, mostly because there was no order to it. My closet looked like goodwill threw up. That dresser in the pic above? I don’t ever really use it. I hadn’t opened the drawers in months. I found a bunch of old pajama shorts that were way too big and one drawer literally stuffed to the brim with ribbed tanks. I had them in every shade of every color. And they are all too big for me now. So I just emptied the whole drawer into the donation bag.

Now my closet is organized, less cluttered, and everything has a space. I’ve actually put the laundry away right away the last few loads! This is huge progress as they usually sit on the floor by the end of my bed for at least a week.

I also tackled another hot spot – our coffee cup obsession collection. I was running out of room to put cups, so I decided it was time to purge. We love coffee cups. They are usually the souvenirs we bring home from trips and happen to be the kind of presents we buy each other all the time. So I decided to purge the cabinet leaving only the favorites.

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I can now shut my cabinet without fear that something will fall out.

I hit a few other areas in the kitchen including junk drawers (YIKES) and went through the guest bath as well.

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While the hubs was out of town I loaded up everything I decluttered, along with bags of other things that had been in the garage waiting to be donated, and took them to goodwill. It was a total of 10 bags and 2 boxes full of stuff cleared from our house. It is just a dent in this project, but it was so nice to realize that things don’t matter as much as I thought they did.

I feel more relaxed and in control. I have also started using YNAB for budgeting and tracking our spending. After all, that skin surgery isn’t going to pay for itself!  It is amazing what simply being aware of your spending and hoarding habits can do! Now when I am at the store I analyze my purchases… Is it necessary? Will it serve a purpose? Do I need to spend this money right now? I can say that far less impulse buys have occurred thanks to this shift in thinking.  I’m excited and feel way less tied down and overwhelmed. I’ve been able to keep up with housework like dishes and laundry without feeling out of control. It’s a small start and I plan on continuing to be more intentional with my purchasing and collecting of “stuff”

How do you handle clutter?

9 thoughts on “Less is More? My Adventures in Decluttering”

  1. This is such a timely post. I typically declutter twice a year; back to school and end of winter. I’ve definitely been notice a surplus of ‘stuff’ in my house. Maybe spring cleaning a bit earlier this year?

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  2. Ha! I can totally relate with the coffee tumblers! I need to get rid some of ours too. We have wayyy to many and we don’t use a lot of them. I would always pick my favorite one. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

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  3. Yes, yes, yes!!! I’ve been ‘spring cleaning’ for a while now, little by little. My bathroom is completely decluttered and organized. My bedroom drawers, desk, and night tables are completely organized, however I do still have some leftover shelves I need to clean. Plus some clothes in the closet and shoes. The other bedroom I tried to tackle a little bit last night and did fairly well. Still a lot to be done though. The kitchen? Almost done. Yay for being organized!

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  4. This whole paragraph: I’m also a sale addict…” is ME. 100% ME.

    From someone with a closet of clothes with tags on it to a crazy couponer, I have gotten better.. but still.. yikes.

    I LOVE this idea!!!

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  5. Awesome job so far on the decluttering. I wanted to let you know that I just started my second No Buy Month. Really is a life saver. Basic rules are you have to prepare all of your food that you consume. No stopping at the gas station for drinks while on the run. You either bring them with you or go without. No spending on unecessary items. Let me know if you have any other questions. My first month I saved over $1000 becuase I wasn’t spending it on stuff I really didn’t need.

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  6. Courtney, I’ve been in the process of decluttering too! One trick that I have with those sentimental things- If I really don’t need the physical item, but I don’t want to lose the memory, I will take a picture of it, then go ahead and give it away.
    Sometimes, I look at all the _stuff_ in my house and think….what the heck?! I haven’t used it in years! Toss it in a box and take it right away before you change your mind!!

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