Sometimes a thing is stored too long.

Dry goods that expire in the pantry, or adhesives that dry out for example.

Yesterday I visited that found box of stationary and found that the many envelopes that I had been hoarding for years had all sealed themselves up over the damp time spent in the shed this winter. About 3 pounds of pristine and pretty envelopes rendered useless by neglect. Now they are recycling.

Live and learn.


Heading that way

Yesterday I had to go to the bank, and my youngest said he wanted to see that the thrift shop next door had to offer. So I thought "Yay! An opportunity to make a donation!"

I asked my son to follow me to his room and we pulled out all his shirts and I held them up one by one and asked "Keep or Donate?" When he looked like he might be waffling, I gently reminded him that he had lots of shirts and if this one wasn't one he loved that it still would be a NICE thing to donate. After that was done, we went through the same routine with the pants. To show him that I wasn't picking on him, we went to my closet and I let him chose a dress that he thought was "hideous" and a pair of flip flops that are a garish color (he was getting impatient so I didn't push farther). The loot stuffed one of my extra fabric shopping bags (that I was planning to donate).

Banking, donating and browsing was all done efficiently and my son didn't even find anything he wanted to buy (except a bag of candy from the pharmacy next door... so close!).

I think it may be something to consider as a new habit as a compliment to the one-in-one-out rule. Fill a bag for donation before even going to the store, it's worth a try to do it every time.


Nice Mug

It has been a subtle transformation with removal of the excess in my household.

One box or bag at a time - a broken item not replaced, a rarely used thing just disappears, not dramatic at all (except the actual moving house last summer part)

It's funny that lately people keep noticing (for the first time) some furniture that I've had for over a decade -- now that it fits properly. "Is that new? It's nice."

Others are starting to notice that I have "less". Most are comfortable with it, but some folks have interesting reponses.

"Is that ALL your coffee mugs?"  More than one friend over for coffee has mentioned the number of mugs we have now. I don't run out of them even with big family dinners, so I'm not sure what they mean. MOST of the time only 2 per day are used, then they are washed. I was thinking the dozen we still have is a bit excessive, but apparently others think we need more.

(oops, that menu shouldn't be there!)


GOAL #37 Linen Closet

Finally took my own advice and let go of some of the "baggage" attached to the overflowing linen closet's contents! Namely, resisting the facts these items are past their prime, outlived their usefullness or ruined (no matter how expensive they were). I should use the nicer items that I already have, I need to release the left overs to leave room for the good stuff!

Here is the goal:
  • For linens- 2 sheet sets per bed (so there is enough for when company comes), with a maximum 2 pillowcases per pillow and no more than a winter and a summer duvet per bed.
  • For bath towels- only the ones in good shape!
  • For dish towels- only the ones in decent shape that fit in the drawer.

To resist the temptation of putting the threadbare, bleached or stained back into rotation (some were very expensive/past efforts to remove them had failed) I made sure to tear them into rags right then and there and put the bags of rags out in the garage for the super messes. And for the excess linens, the local thrift store will be getting a decent bag of donations tomorrow (I seemed to have been hoarding pillow cases for some reason). I had cleared out most of the decorative oddballs (duvet covers and throws) before we moved last year, so it wasn't too outrageous... even still, 2 STUFFED grocery bags of rags and a cloth shopping bag of donated linens made a BIG difference to how tidy and functional the closet is. Its a big improvement with only 15 minutes of work.

On a footnote (pun intended) I brought out the summer shoes and culled a couple pairs that I have decided I don't need anymore. And a handbag that is very cool and well built, but ridiculously heavy so I don't enjoy using it!

Bu-Bye :)

Here is the result! Way better than the over stuffed chaos that was there before.... the striped baskets (that areNOT full anymore) each have a specific theme: 1) twin sheet sets, 2) spare queen sheet set and 3) housekeeping rags

Bad Feelings

If you don't have it anymore you can't:
  • Feel anxious about how much it cost
  • Feel guilty about  never using it
  • Feel embarassed that it doesn't fit anymore
  • Feel overwhelmed that it hasn't been repaired or finished it yet
  • Feel frustrated over having to clean/maintain it
  • Feel buried by the space it takes up
  • Feel shame/loss/anger over the memory that is attached to it

Those are things I know about decluttering.
It is work to remember all these points, especially if you have had the thing a long time,... that's the hardest part, admitting that the item may actually be emotionally toxic.

Have the courage to admit that the time is up with the items that invoke the above feelings: say good-bye, forgive yourself and move forward to more space and a wide open future. You have my permission to give it a new home and toss the 'baggage'.


Easy Choice!

While looking for my gardening books, I found a whole box of stuff I don't need. All of it in very good condition, these shirts and hats are going to my favourite charity thrift shop.


Missing In Action

It was inevitable... I am missing something I feel I need.

I'm pretty sure that I did NOT declutter my favourite gardening reference books... but I can't seem to find them! Since the move and the paring down of books, I guess they could have gone astray. They aren't in the bookshelf here.

There was a box of books under the house that hadn't been opened yet, but the gardening books weren't in there - it had my yearbooks from high school! (I am keeping those until both my kids graduate at least because they think it's funny to look at me as a teen)

In the sheds I found a forgotten box with stationery in it... It will be be edited agressively because the only thing I missed was the geometry set that I needed for the kid's math homework. Thankfully, I resisted replacing it because I KNEW I had one SOMEWHERE!

I wonder where the books are? I really want them to plan my new vegetable garden this year! I need plant pairings and soil preference and planting times for my zone... that's a lot of digging on the internet (pun intended).

Besides, that's half the fun of gardening- sitting with a good plant book pouring over it taking notes and sketching plans! Dreaming of big harvests and the freshest yummiest food.


Putting on the brakes

I've had to slow down my decluttering efforts because of other, more urgent matters. Note I said "urgent" not necessarily important.

Spring has sprung and I had to squeeze every available moment of decent weather to work on the yard. We have "decluttered" a long row of neglected and diseased hedges along the driveway and a tottering cinder block wall in the front. As well we have prepared the veggie plot for the new season and built a better gate for the free-range-chicken-zone of the garden.

With all this yard action I have had little time to think about the other goals that I've already started! So the laundry room still looks much the same.

It didn't help that the freezer decided to die and all the contents had to taken in a mad rush to my sister's freezer. Thankfully my handy husband found the problem and resuscitated the appliance, so we were spared the unpleasant task of buying a new one! I am so lucky we did the freezer challenge in January, otherwise there would have been far too much to fit in my sister's space!

Easter, birthdays and a whole mess of new, demanding contracts for work have also interupted my desire to purge the clutter. The desire is still there, but I can't do much about it right this minute.... oh well.

Don't give up on me, there is more to toss, and more to see.

Small victories like these are still happening:

 (an empty cabinet that needs to go to a different house...
... it was a hand-made present so it's a tough one to let go of)
PLUS my husband has purged 3 coats and a pair of shoes too!