I moved two years ago after being in the same house for 5 years, not thinking we would have much to move. I mean how much can a single parent with three kids accumulate in five years? A LOT! I even had unopened boxes from when we moved in. Not sure why we moved them in the first place? And what the heck was in those boxes anyway? The entire basement was full of stuff we had hardly been using, bookshelves full of books I read once, toys nobody had played with for years, extra cooking stuff I didn’t even remember I had. All that extra space just wasted.
There was no way I was moving it all again, we had to declutter! So we went thru it all (thankfully the kids helped) . We made several piles:
- Give away
- For sale
- and the Maybe pile!
We did it a few hours at a time. It seems like it took forever! As soon as we had stuff for sale I would post an ad. The “maybe” pile was a tough one. Those things you keep and never use just because they remind you of happy times, happy places or someone you loved. I would keep going back and forth on that one and eventually got thru most of it. By the time we were ready to move, we were close to done. We managed to drastically reduce the amount of boxes to move. I got rid of what seemed to be my entire basement; boxes of books, toys, other things we could have used one day, maybe. It was hard but we did it. I still had a few “maybe” left so I moved them with us to deal with later.
Then in December, it had been 1 year and a half since our move and I noticed how much more we, once again, had accumulated. How did this happen? So in the first week of January I decided it was time to declutter again. But this time, I would take my time. Any other way sounded too overwhelming. I would look at my walk-in closet and get so discouraged. Never knew where to start and how long it would take me so I just didn’t do anything.
Around Christmas time, I visited with a friend who had just decluttered her house for the entire month of December. What she had done was start by getting rid of one thing a day on Day 1 and then added an extra one each day so by December 31st she got rid of 31 things on that one day. It sounded pretty good but to me 31 items in one day seemed like a lot.
My decluttering plan:
So I came up with my own decluttering plan, I would get rid of one item per day for as long as it took. I started on January 1st . Anything goes as long as it belongs to me (kids and house stuff later). I was so focused on our basement and garage when we moved that I sort of ignored my “personal” belongings. I just put everything in boxes and moved it all!
At the end of each month, I put everything on display for my girls to check to see if there is anything they may want. It’s like our own flea market! Whatever they don’t want gets dropped off at Sally Ann. If there is anything I think I could make a reasonable amount of money selling then I try. Some days I just don’t want to get rid of anything so I look for the stupidest think to get rid of, like a perfume sample or an old pair of socks. Why do we even keep that stuff in the first place? I took a break at the end of June after 6 months of daily decluttering, it feels great! My closet looks very organized, I found clothes I forgot I had. My bathroom vanity and my office are looking clean and organized too. I still have a few old laptops to go thru but it should be manageable. It’s not that we lack the space anyway but we really don’t need all that extra stuff.
I plan to start again soon with the kitchen. We seem to have accumulated a lot of junk in some of the drawers!
Where should you start?
If you want to declutter but get overwhelmed every time you think about it, here is what you need to do:
- Select one room to start with.
- Get rid of one item a day (anything goes)
- For every item you bring in (new purchase), one extra item has to go out! It will make you think twice about future purchases.
- At the end of each month, put it all on display and add up how much money you spent to acquire those treasures! Keep a running total. Next time you want to buy something, think of that number first.
- Make piles (give away, sell and garbage)
- Move on to the next room.
How will this help you save money?
Here is how decluttering can help you save or make money:
- Because you know what you already own; it should prevent you from buying the same thing twice. I am sure I am not the only this happens to, right?
- You may stop buying some things you have been giving away. I stopped buying books after I gave away 8 boxes full of them. So much money spent on those books. I now borrow them from the library or friends.
- It’s not because it is on sale that you need to buy it! You may never wear/use it. Just picture all the clothes you gave away with the sale tag still on!
- Avoid getting the “wrong” gift. That one can be a tough one. When you declutter you will realize how many gifts you received over the years and don’t care for. But because they are gifts, you usually keep them anyway. To try to avoid this in the future, just make a list of things you may want or need. Whenever it comes up with friends or family, just let them know what’s on your list. Why make them waste money? I know it may not work for everybody but you may want to try it with the people you are the closest to. I always liked getting “surprise “gifts for my birthday and Christmas, it was so exciting. But then over the years I realized I never used most of it, what a waste! So now I have a list of things I need or want and that is usually exactly what I get. It is very pragmatic but most frugal people are:)
- You can sell the extra stuff. You don’t have to give it all away; why no try to get some of your money back?
Decluttering is like saving money, it takes some discipline at first and then you get addicted.
How about you, do you own too much stuff? Is it time to declutter? Any other tips?