I challenge you to read this article by Joshua Fields Millburn and not get a little choked up. It’s about a man whose mother has passed away and he has to clear out her apartment. To his surprise the apartment is filled to the rim of stuff that she wasn’t using, reading, or enjoying. It was full of his old report cards, table cloths that didn’t have a table to cover, baskets, clothing that hadn’t been worn, makeup and other unnecessary. It was packed full of relics of time gone by but not the kinds of things you’d want to pass on to your children.
Days 29 & 30: A Pile of Random Things
If you were looking for a grand finale I hope you are not disappointed with my pile of random things pictured here. I ended up combining the last 2 days and clearing out a couple of closets that hadn’t been touched before. Just like I said in yesterday’s post, when you’ve got the mindset to clear things out, you look at your stuff with a different perspective. Do I need this? Have I used it? Do I love it? Because if the answer is “No,” I am on a mission now to jettison.
What did I get rid of today? Nothing terribly interesting and it makes me wonder why it was still in my closet. There was an unused notebook, some cardboard boxes (surprise, surprise), some plastic containers that I was “going to use to store things someday,” a guest book engraved with an old company’s name on it, sealing wax that ripped the paper when I tried to use it, a bunch of old buttons from clothes I no longer own, an old coffee can I covered in burlap that didn’t look as cool as I though it would, some marketing swag from other companies, some plates and cups that I didn’t need, etc.
I could go on but the truth is there were no treasures here. Nothing that I needed to keep. Nothing sentimental and nothing that I really questioned twice. While I did have some items on other days during this challenge that I had to ponder, getting rid of today’s 30 and yesterday’s 29 really was easy. That means YOU can do it, too.
Thanks for the suggestion, Minimalist Guys! You provided inspiration for a fascinating and challenging month for me that I’ll remember and share with others for a long time!
Day 28: More Children’s Books
It’s always amazing what you find that you can let go once you have the mindset of clearing out what you don’t need. We get used to having our “things” around us but when we sit down to examine if we really need or use them we realize that they aren’t relevant to our lives today. This is an important shift that has to take place in order to effectively declutter.
You have to let go of things you no longer use.
You have to let go of the mindset of “I might need this someday.”
You have to let go of things that don’t suit your lifestyle today.
Fortunately, I have a younger niece and nephew that are avid readers and learners so today is going to be like Christmas for them. Remember there is always someone else who can benefit from what you are ready to donate or give away.
Days 26 & 27: China
Today’s & yesterday’s donation was challenging for me. I’m willing to bet all of you can relate to this: you’ve been given something from a family member, don’t use it, but feel guilty getting rid of it. Familiar?
This is a china pattern that my grandmother used and that was completed by my father and given to me for our wedding. It’s very sweet and touching and lovely but the reality is I don’t use the china. I love the sentiment that goes with it and the idea of using something of hers but I don’t love the pattern. I’ve used the plates just once (am wincing here thinking of him reading this) but wasn’t sure what to do with them.
And then I was talking with my sister in law and she loves and needs some china. Another win! I just have to get it to her which I’ll be able to do in the next few months.
I know a lot of people have really nice things that they don’t use and they want to give it away but they want it to be well used and loved. That’s exactly how I felt about this china and it makes me feel great that it will stay in our family. And be used and loved.
Remember if you are keeping something from a family member or friend in a closet or basement but not actively using it, you’re not really honoring the person that gave it to you. Keeping something out of guilt isn’t healthy. Finding a good home for whatever it is will help everyone.
Ask your family if they would like sentimental things that you no longer use. Your gift to them might be something they’ve been wishing for all along!
Do you agree or not? What sentimental item have you gotten rid of lately?
Day 25: Old, Dead Flowers
No joke, I had 25 old, dead flowers to get rid of today. I did not retouch this picture except to crop it so you can see they are very brown and sad. No that there is anything wrong with brown but I draw the line at faded and sad.
They used to be gorgeous, though. I cut them last summer/ early fall and they started to dry out into these gorgeous pink, purple, green tones.
So why did I still have these in my home when they were way past their prime, you ask? Like anyone else, your eye gets used to seeing something, like a flower arrangement on a table or shoes in the living room floor. You just get used to it being there and you expect it to be there. It’s not until you change your perspective or company is coming over that you look at your house with a different eye and you see the things that really shouldn’t be there like the now brown, dead flowers or shoes on the floor.
That’s one reason why this challenge is great because it forces you to take a different perspective on your possessions and really evaluate the value and purpose of everything.
Do I love it?
Does it serve a purpose?
Do I need it?
Only 5 more days!
Happy organizing and clutter clearing!
Day 23: Random things from the Garage
“My, what a beautiful picture of junk from your garage,” said no one ever, the meme might read. My garage is my albatross. It’s dusty, there are cobwebs, and there is stuff in there I can’t identify….until this challenge!! Remember the old paint I had from this post? I have conquered my garage and finally cleaned out stuff that was gathering dust and tormenting me. Yay me!
Whose is this?
Do I need this?
Some of the random things I’m throwing out from the garage today:
- cardboard box that held a portable heater
- husband’s sales training materials from the last decade
- leftover vacuum handle from previous home owner
- leftover trunk cover from previous owner (sorry!)
- assortment of bags, tools (I use the word lightly), and containers that don’t serve this home
- old curtain rods
- old chair covers for chairs I no longer have
- old school set of girl’s golf clubs
The garage, basement, & attic can be dumping grounds of Delayed Decision-Making.
It doesn’t take long for these piles to grow and become scarier so don’t let them take over. Take control by starting small and you’ll feel much better about conquering this clutter.
For those who are interested, the majority of what I’m throwing out today will be taken to a county recycling center. The golf clubs I’m trying to sell but if I’m not successful will be donated.
Day 22: Kids’ Toys, Books, & Games
Can you believe it’s day 22 already? This means I’ve gotten rid of 253 things from my house. Next Wednesday, the total will be 465. That’s what I call progress!
Ok, today’s pile may not seem as applicable to any of you who haven’t had kids living with you but it’s always important to go through your books, games, and, yes, toys to determine if you (or your kids) are still using them. If there are books, games, phones, electronics, sporting goods, or tools that you’re not using and can’t imagine using again then now is the time to pass it on. You can donate these items to charity or give them to any church or school that you might need them. Check with family and friends to see if they might be interested, too.
Don’t worry about the money you’ve already spent on these items. Hopefully you used and enjoyed them and now it’s time to pass it along for someone else to enjoy.
Expired electronics like old cell phones, VCRs, and fax machines can be recycled properly by checking your county’s website. Type in your county name and “recycling” and you should get a list of locations to take just about anything you need recycled.
Day 21: Old Christmas Cards
I know some of you are not going to be happy with me but, yes, I threw away (actually recycled) old Christmas cards. Yes, the ones that you painstakingly posed your family for a lovely photograph or glued your fingers together for a glitter fest that was beautiful. In December. Of last year. Or the year before.
I love Christmas cards and think they are a wonderful way of staying in contact with friends and family and sharing annual updates. I savor the cards during the season and post them up in my house. They are a highlight of my Christmas decorating which means they come down just like the tree and the wreaths and ornaments.
You just can’t save everything.
Do you have a stash of old cards? Do you regularly keep them? Do you think I’m crazy for throwing out cards?
Day 20: Paper Plates & Cups + junk
It’s Day 20 already! Can you believe it? I thought I’d be done by now but I’ve opened a cluttered closet and been able to find 20 things to discard because of the Minimalist Game pretty easily. This picture may not look impressive but it’s paper plates I’ve moved twice in the past 6 years which means I’m not going to need them! The mug and cup haven’t been touched in at least 2 years so I know I can let them go, too. They are in the “to be donated” pile.
When you sit down and really think about the last time you used something, it really makes the decision to discard pretty easy. If it’s been over 2 years since you last used something, why do you think you’ll need it again?
I understand wanting to keep something because it might still be useful but let it be useful for someone else by donating it.
What you can’t see that is also included in the 20 items is a pile in the background of papers, a folded box, used (and too damaged to be reused) gift bags, and other clutter from this closet.
How are you doing with the 30 Day Challenge? Any exciting things you gotten rid of?
Don’t you feel great clearing the clutter? I feel so much more at ease knowing that the cabinet I went through yesterday and today’s closet is clear and now organized. Everything is in its place and that makes my household very happy and calm. That is 100% worth the time and effort.
Day 19: Cardboard Clean Out
Oh my goodness, I never thought I had as much cardboard as I found in our house, in particular one cabinet in the kitchen. Here’s the scenario and tell me if you can relate: you get a package in the mail, open it, and say “I’ll use this box again when I have to ship something.” I understand that nobody wants to go out and buy a cardboard box to ship a package but do you really need 19 of them?
I had boxes from packages received, appliances, and gifts plus packing materials like bubble wrap, tissue paper (remember Day 2?), cellophane wrap, and unusable paper bags. It was amazing to see how it all accumulated and how quickly.
All of it went into the recycle bin (yay!) which made getting it out of the house pretty easy.
How to handle this going forward? Keep a few boxes of different shapes, like 5, and some bubble wrap, and that’s it. Ditto for shopping bags and paper grocery bags.