Kicking off the official “War on Clutter”

by Melody on January 16, 2012

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” – William Morris

One of my goals for the coming year is to organize and remove as much clutter as possible from each room in our house.  I started this project last year and lost a little steam once we hit the ground running for the holidays.

We were able to get rid of quite a bit of our stuff by donating, throwing away or passing on things we just weren’t using.  I immediately began to realize that my anxiety level was almost directly related to the amount of clutter we had.  The more we got rid of, the better I felt.  I also realized that by clearing out space and unused items, I actually felt like we had more.  We are able to see everything we have, everything has a place and a function.

Emptying my closet of clothes I haven’t worn for years has actually made me feel like I have more options.  When I’m constantly looking at clothes and saying “Those don’t fit” or “That won’t work for this function”, I’m telling myself I have nothing to wear.

I was able to do a decent bit on my own, but I need a plan of action.  I decided to follow along with my amazing Totally Together planner‘s suggestions on which room of the house to focus on.  I’ll be sharing with you my progress and tips and tricks I learn along the way.

My Mom and I are planning on renting a table at a huge yard sale in April so I will create a pile for that, a pile for Goodwill donations, a pile for our MOPS share table and just plain throw stuff away.

I hope you’ll join along with me.  I want to tackle this clutter monster head-on before it threatens to take over the house.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather January 16, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I just did this with my kids play room and it was so liberating I want to do it with my whole home! I got rid of enough toys, that to fill up my whole entire mini van- and my kids don’t even miss them!

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Miss Jay January 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I’m started this in December and want to continue until the whole house is done. So far the kids’ room, walk in closet, upstairs bathroom, hall closet and half our bedroom are done. Once I finish our bedroom, I get to move downstairs, which is really daunting. It really is freeing in ways I hadn’t expected. I resonate completely with what you said about having clothes you can’t/don’t wear.

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Trina January 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm

DH & I sooo need to do this. It is hard, and we need motivation, encouragement! I have a hard time letting things go.

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Trina January 16, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Continuing my previous thought some more. As a frugal and resourceful person, I see some kind of value in almost everything. But I have found that if I ask myself “Does this have SIGNIFICANT value to ME?” that it helps me to really assess whether I need it or just think it is still potentially useful to *someone*.

How do you decide what to do with the things you don’t need (make choices between sell / donate / give away / throw away)? I struggle with this part because of my seeing value in it (either monetary value or just getting more use out of something). If I know for sure that someone can personally use the thing, I’m usually happy to give it to them. But sometimes people take on used stuff just to add it to their own clutter collection! (I know, I’m guilty of it!) Which is really helping nobody. And then which things do you try to consign or sell at a yardsale … I really want to see it go to a good home, and at the same time be generous, but also not “lose” money on something that has some actual resale value. I make things way too difficult on myself, don’t I? :)

In any case, I’m going to bring some items to our swap table at JOY in the morning tomorrow (large women’s bible study group) and maybe start off on a good foot.

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Melody January 17, 2012 at 5:33 am

For the majority of our kids stuff, I consign it if it is in decent condition. Not decent enough to consign, it goes in the trash.

For clothes or other household items, if it is still in good condition I take it to MOPS first. If it doesn’t get picked up there, I take it to Goodwill. It’s taken me awhile to get to this point where it’s easier to let go. I have seriously gone through my closet 4 or 5 times over the last 6 months and each time it gets a little easier.

I do keep a few things that are really sentimental and are small enough to store. For example, I’m not going to keep my kids crib, too big. But I will keep a little shirt they loved to wear or the pacifier they used all the time. Just a few things, but most everything gets passed on.

Good luck. :)

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Emilie January 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm

One of my aunt’s still has her son’s crib, 21 years later. Don’t keep the crib, that’s a wise move. It’s huge and nobody will borrow it!

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Lora January 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Oh yay! I’m excited for this one! Hopefully it will help motivate me too! We will be moving at the end of the year (with a little luck – into a house!!) so the less we have to move the better! I have that Totally Together book as well, and I’m loving it. I’m not very good at it yet, but it IS helping me get more organized and have a cleaner house, little by little.

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Miss Jay January 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm

We are keeping the crib. :) It was handbuilt by grandpa who almost didn’t live to see #2. I have dreams of my grandbabies using it. Though currently it is disassembled and lives under #1’s bed.

I have a really hard time with letting go of things I “might use” someday. Especially because we live in a small apartment, and hope to buy a house in the near(ish) future. I have a lot of things that don’t fit this home, but might fit the next. I cringe to think I will toss something, and then have to buy it again in 2 years. Still as the kids are growing, I am beginning to value our space and my sanity more than the “maybe somedays”.

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Shirley K. January 20, 2012 at 12:16 am

I can *so* relate to the having trouble letting go of things because they still have value. I’ll try the approach of asking if it has significant value to *me* when I get back to our current de-clutter project. I’ve decided to focus on cleaning out the closets, cupboards & drawers — all the places we should put the things that are currently cluttering up the house because there’s no place else to put them.

One book I found enormously helpful is Organizing for Creative People by Dorothy Lehmkuhl. It’s so much easier when you can understand and work *with* your natural tendencies instead of fighting them.

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