2011 in 2011: times two

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When I started this project at the beginning of the year, I never dreamed I would find 2011 items in my home that I could part with.  So imagine my shock a few months back when I reached my goal with relative ease.  I decided to keep going – I changed my goal to 4022 items, double my original number.  And I was delighted and surprised to realize this weekend that I have almost accomplished that goal.  As of today, I’ve decluttered 3888 things from our home since January 1.

Wow.  If you’d told me that six months ago, I’d assume that my house was currently empty. My reality is, that’s not actually the case.

After getting rid of a ton of clothing and toys, as well as some small kitchen appliances, here’s what I’ve learned:

  • It gets easier.  What started out slow picked up steam pretty quickly.  As I began to clear areas away, I discovered more stuff I wasn’t using or in love with.  More stuff that I could have even imagined.  And not only did it get easier to part with unwanted and unneeded items, but the rhythm of my day has gotten easier and more enjoyable too.  Less time spent cleaning, tidying, and organizing and organizing means more time for me to do other, more enjoyable things – playing with the kids at the park, visiting with friends, and getting out to enjoy the summer weather.
  • Kids don’t notice what’s gone, just that there is more space to play with what’s left.  Pretty self-explanatory, but nothing can describe the joy of not having to pick up a million toys.  My kids are playing more with the toys they do have, and they haven’t asked for a single toy that has left the building.
  • You don’t need a junk drawer.  While I do have a designated drawer in my kitchen that holds a calendar, a folder with school papers and a few pencils, I do not dream of a junk drawer that holds anything I might possibly need at any given moment in the future.  I know what I need and don’t keep anything more.
  • There is more joy in less.  As someone who used to buy multiples of things (because if one’s good, three must be better!), I’ve discovered that it’s easier to love something in your wardrobe when there’s only one.  As special as something might be, it’s more special when there’s not half a dozen of them sitting around.  The same applies for most other things as well.  Another example would be kids toys, particularly stuffed animals your kids might be sentimental about – my son loves the first bunny he got when he was four months old, and could care less about all the other stuffed toys that have found their way in the door since then.
  • “Just in case” is a scenario that doesn’t often materialize.  Leo made a case recently about not keeping things “just in case.”  There are many things I was hanging on to for one reason or another:  a jogging stroller just in case I decided to take up running (ha!), clothing for the kids that I thought was cute but that they refused to wear (maybe someday!), or a bunch of cookbooks that I liked in theory but that once I really examined them didn’t contain any recipes that were practical for our family. Of all the things I’ve let go, I haven’t missed a thing.  Trust that you probably only really need the basics, and that is usually plenty.
As I continue to work towards my goal, I’ve got a few plans for what’s next on the chopping block.  I discovered this morning that my Magic Bullet does a fabulous job of grinding coffee beans, so my unitasker coffee grinder will be the next thing to hit the thrift shop.  I’ll be continuing to donate and declutter until I hit 4022, and then I’ll revisit this project to uncover what’s next.

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4 responses »

  1. This is going on my “link love” on Saturday. Wish you were here to get me moving. I am floundering a bit. I need to get rid of a lot more stuff! Thanks for always inspiring me in the decluttering department!

    • I try not to put too much pressure on myself to declutter. If I have the time and inclination, I do it. But if there are more fun things to do, I don’t worry about it too much. Continued luck with your decluttering!

  2. Erin,
    You’re an inspiration. I’m not there yet. I’m still finding reams of stuff I dislike immensely. Can’t wait until I have cleared enough to feel unburdened!
    You’re right about the kids. I cleared a place in the basement to do yoga and both my kids migrated immediately into the open space leaving their jumble of toys on the other side. Given the choice of space or toys – my kids surprised me by choosing the later!
    Good for you for giving your kids the gift of space.
    Christine

    • I was thinking the same thing about you when I read your blog the other day! I am now at the point where I’m hard-pressed to find 10 things per day, never mind 100. I guess that’s a good thing though, right? 🙂

      Hoping that as this project wraps up I’ll begin to focus on getting back into doing yoga practice at home on a regular basis too.

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