Living in the same house for 17 years means you have 17 years worth of stuff. Once I started to look around at how much our family had, I knew I had a big project. Knowing full well that we intended to sell our house, I initially began cleaning for staging the house when we listed. It only took about a week to realize that my little project was bigger than I had imagined.
First thing I did was join a group on Facebook for decluttering, and it turned out it was really all I needed to get myself moving in the right direction. My biggest take away was that I had to get rid of things. And that most of our things were things we didn’t need. To push yourself into sorting, donating, and trashing, the people in this Facebook group suggested that you take the date on the calendar and then get that many items out of your house.
Today is January 23rd … so you have to get rid of 23 items. Tomorrow the goal is to rid your home of 24 items. The next day … 25 items.
I started on January 1st, and I committed myself to do this until our home was listed with a real estate agent. It’s easy at first, of course you can find one thing to clear out. But when the date is May 31, and you have already cleared out 150 items, it becomes very difficult. But I powered through it.
Sometimes it was painful, which made me realize that I was emotionally attached to “stuff”. When that happened, I took over the dining room, and I would lay things out on the table to decide. I would look at it, ask opinions of my family members, and then sort out. I would keep some, but find that later, I really didn’t want to keep it anyhow.
I sorted through our clothes buy hanging all the hooks backwards, and when hanging up after doing the laundry, I would hang them the correct way. This was I could see what was being worn and what wasn’t. After 3 months, if we didn’t wear them, out the door they went.
I had four junk drawers. FOUR! Now I don’t have any.
I had duplicates of a lot of things: garden tools, kitchen gadgets, holiday decorations, linens, desk items, I can go on and on. Now I don’t have any duplicates.
The hardest to get rid of was the kids swim tee shirts. I had bins and bins full of them. My original thought was that my kids would want them someday, how crazy is that?? When I asked them, not one of them wanted any. I was emotionally attached to their shirts, doesn’t that sound even crazier?? It took me most of the year to finally get rid of all them, and guess what?? I don’t miss them!!
When we did finally list our home, and every closet was organized and cleaned out, what a great feeling that was. I only kept what we use, and what we treasure and love. Oh I still have more to go through, like all my photos. I know that is a project, and so put all of my photos into bins, and hard drives, with the plan to go through them soon. And I do have three totes full of the kids art work still. But these things I truly treasure.
If I can do this, so can you!! Are you already in the process of cleaning out?? How are you doing it?? Are you overwhelmed? Follow these tips: join Facebook groups for decluttering, watch YouTube videos, get ideas on Pinterest, and there are even a couple series on Netflix. All of these can motivate you into getting started!!
When I was finished, we rented a small storage unit for our most treasured items, and then we were able to move into our RV full time comfortably. We were already used to living minimalistic, and so our new lifestyle was easy!