Monthly Archives: November 2011

2011 in 2011: taking a moment to reflect on the numbers

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I’m hoping to have my decluttering challenge complete before the next two weeks are up. We’re heading off on vacation for a week to a sunny, tropical location and I really do not want to be thinking about minimalism or decluttering while I’m there enjoying the occasional cerveza around the swimming pool.  I’m closing in on my revised goal of three times my original goal of 2011 items decluttered from my home in 2011.  I’m at 5781, which means I’ve got 252 things left to unload before my vacation starts.  Eek!  I might just have to have another go at the kids t-shirt collection before we go.  Or maybe their bin of stuffed animals.  To be honest, I’m not sure where to look for unwanted clutter anymore – I guess that means my project has been a success!

I was compelled to look back at my list of things I’ve decluttered so far and tally the amount of clothing that has left my family’s closets this year.  And the numbers are shocking.  As of today, the following amounts of clothing and accessories have left our home – most of these items went to several thrift stores we are lucky to have in our neighbourhood, but a few items were passed on to family members and friends.

  • 169 articles of adult clothing
  • 5 jackets
  • 122 articles of kid clothing
  • 10 bags, purse and wallets
  • 21 pair of shoes (includes both adult and kid sizes)
  • 23 pieces of costume jewellery
I think what’s most shocking to me is that at the beginning of the year I had nearly 200 items of clothing in my closet, and I still considered myself a minimalist.  I also am grappling with the fact that I can’t fathom than these numbers include nothing from my husband’s side of the closet – apparently he is already a minimalist and doesn’t need any help from me!

Clearly clothing has been an issue for me in the past – since my teenage years, I’ve always gravitated towards having more clothing as a means to being more secure with myself. I’ve learned, however, that it is possible to feel secure in ones’ self and still have a small (and functional) wardrobe.  If you’re thinking of downsizing your closet, I wholeheartedly recommend it!  It’s freeing to be able to devote that mental real estate to other, more enjoyable things.  I’m looking forward to the end of my decluttering project and getting into the maintenance phase – I’ve noticed that shopping and looking at clothes no longer holds the same excitement for me that it once did, so I’m secure in the idea that I’ll be able to resist bringing a lot of extra, unnecessary clothing back into my home.

Is there a particular item or group of items that seem to be cluttering your home?  Do you favour knick knacks or are you more of a fashionista?  Do you have any strategies for keeping your weaknesses under control?  I’d love to hear from you!

toss it tuesdays: eureka, I broke the vacuum!

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Perhaps it was bound to happen.  Eight years old and the plastic had gone brittle, and as I flipped it over to check for crud on the bottom of the vacuum, the head of the vacuum separated from the rest of the machine.  Darn.

I must be a bad minimalist, as I have a back-up vacuum.  When I first moved out on my own (twelve years ago! where does the time go?), I bought a tiny little hand-held vacuum that managed to keep my horribly dark blue berber carpets clean (or so I thought – they were dark blue, how could one even tell if they were clean or not?)  I used it sporadically before obtaining my full-size vacuum when we moved into our current place in 2003. Since then, the back-up vacuum has done little else than take up space in the closet.  I think it’s a bit fortuitous that having decluttered nearly 6000 things this year, and I never thought to get rid of this secondary vacuum.  Yay me.

Even funnier was when I broke the vacuum, my three year old piped up and said, “Uh oh, the vacuum’s broken.  I’m sure they sell those at the thrift shop.”

project 333: update for October

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One of my goals for the year is to consciously participate in Project 333.  The main purpose of Project 333 is to have a complete wardrobe with only 33 items in it and wear that wardrobe for a period of three months.  I’m hoping that this project will motivate me to have no more than 33 items in my wardrobe at any given moment.  You can learn more about Project 333 here

My already small wardrobe is shrinking.  The amazing thing that has happened for me in having a wardrobe of only 33 items is that I am finding myself wanting less in my closet, not more.  I have subtracted two more items from my closet, having decided that the hemline on my corduroy skirts was a little too short for this 35 year old mom of two.  Also, a pair of leggings that I bought last year bit the dust this past week and I have no hankering to replace them, seeing as I already have three other pair of leggings in my closet (along with a couple of pair of tights).  I’m also considering donating my two hoodies back to My Sister’s Closet (I bought them there this past spring), as I feel a tad frumpy when I wear them and that’s hardly a feeling I want to embrace.  And so, a short update for a quiet month in the Project 333 department.

If you are participating in Project 333, be sure to get in touch in the comments section – I love to hear about others’ experiments with living with less!

toss it tuesdays: unloading the Halloween haul

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It’s the day after Halloween and there is a general feeling of a sugar hangover hanging over the neighbourhood.  Only a quarter of my son’s class showed up for school this morning. Who knew that one night of sugar highs would have such an effect?  As this is my son’s first year attending school full-time, I wasn’t quite prepared for the highs and lows that would surround Halloween and trick-or-treating.  I’m now faced with 6.2 lbs of Halloween candy (yes, I weighed it – I couldn’t resist!) and am thinking of ways to get it out of my house without tossing it all in the trash in one fell swoop.

A couple of ways I’ll be attacking the stash of candy:

  • I’ll be giving it to my son’s teacher for her candy drawer.  I know not all teachers like to give out rewards or treats in the form of sugar, but I know that my son’s Grade 1 teacher does occasionally give out candy as a reward for good behaviour.  Not a practice I would be endorsing for home, but I don’t mind that she does.  I offered her some candy for her candy drawer this morning, and she gratefully accepted – I’ll be dropping off a third of my kids’ Halloween loot to her later today (only the nut-free treats will be heading to school).
  • I’ll be sharing it with friends.  This is my favourite way to get things out of the house, especially things that are sugary treats and snacks.  I like to spread the love around, so I’ll be serving Halloween treats at playdates and home and taking them to friends houses, and you’ll probably even see me bringing treats to the playground in the coming weeks.  Whatever it takes to prevent ME from eating more than MY fair share of my kids’ Halloween candy.
  • I’ll be letting my kids enjoy it.  Halloween is a festive celebration that seems to come and go in such a short period of time.  I have lots of memories of Halloween from my own childhood, sorting through my pillowcase of loot with my younger brother each night after dinner, choosing our favourites first and finally being left with nothing but small taffy candies at the bottom of our bags.  I’d be remiss to not let my kids enjoy making some of their own Halloween memories.
  • I’ll be throwing it away.  All the sticky taffy-like treats are so bad for kids’ teeth, so I won’t feel guilty about throwing the occasional Tootsie Roll straight into the trash. Same goes for the Double Bubble, or anything with the words “jawbreaker” in the name.  I’m such a party pooper, I know.
How was your Halloween?  Did you go trick-or-treating, or did you have a quiet evening at home?