Last month, I shared that my word for the month was “LESS.” Yes, I actually came up with this word goal before watching Marie Kondo! While “less” definitely refers to having less stuff (I’ll share more on that in a moment), I also want to consider other areas in my life that I may be living in excess. For instance, can I do with less social media and mindless screen usage? (Um, yes!) How about less foods and drinks that aren’t healthful? (For sure!) Or how about less worrying and being negative? (Absolutely!)
I did make some pretty meaningful headway in decluttering my house last month, and I thought I’d share a few things that have worked for me.
#1. I scheduled a donation pickup.
There’s nothing like imposing a deadline on yourself! To make sure I kept with my decluttering efforts, I have scheduled a couple donation pickups. (I chose Northwest Center because they’ll come to your house and haul it all away.)
I’ve used Northwest Center a few times and I love that you can just schedule the pickup online. Pick a date, let them know how much and what you have and that’s it. It’s really slick and beats making multiple trips of stuff to the thrift store. However, there are other options too. Last year, I wrote a post compiling a number of non-profits (Puget Sound area) you can give items to if you’d like to take a peek.
#2. I joined a local Buy Nothing group.
Now many, many of you are already likely participants of “Buy Nothing” groups on Facebook, but I just joined in late December. It’s been nothing short of amazing! Whenever I have a nicer, or more sentimental item I want to part with, I post it on the local Buy Nothing group. I think I’ve given away upwards of 20 items this way now and it’s really wonderful knowing items have gone on to bless neighbors! Some of my son’s old books now grace a local little library and my daughter’s old red rocking chair is now the reading chair in a kindergarten classroom. Being part of a Buy Nothing group will give you the warm fuzzies and really help if you’re struggling with parting with your things.
If you are not currently a part of a group like this, I encourage you to take a look. You can head to the website to learn more how it works, then locate the group closest to you on Facebook. (You can only be a part of one, and it needs to be in your neighborhood as it’s a hyper-local focus.)
#3. I’ve mixed bigger tasks in with smaller tasks.
My energy, like most people’s, waxes and wanes. Some days, I find I’ve got lots of energy to declutter. On those days, I might tackle the kitchen cabinets or a junk drawer. Other days, quite frankly, I need a break. For the last couple weeks, I’ve been working on my office, which is a room I’ve honestly not dealt with properly in about 10 years. The picture above is literally the condition I had to start with. It has lots of categories of items, so on one day, I just dealt with recycling old computer towers (guys, Best Buy will do this!). On another day, I managed to snag a great photo organizer (thanks again, Buy Nothing group!) and started that task.
Here’s how the office looks today, about two weeks after I started. Check out that FLOOR! While you can still see there are some stacks of items left to sort through, it’s MUCH more manageable then when I started. I can do this!
The important thing is that I’m working towards getting the entire house done, bit by bit. I’m not concerned if it’s not completed in a week, or even a month. I’m more concerned this time around in being thorough, being ruthless in giving stuff away, and assigning proper homes to everything else I wish to keep.
#4. I’ve actually made decisions about stuff.
Part of the reason I procrastinate with decluttering is that I just don’t know what to do with some items (or maybe I do, but I think it will be too difficult!). So I’ll handle them, and put them back. Here are some decisions I’ve happy to say I’ve made:
- I paid a local computer store to remove hard drives from my old computer towers so I could finally recycle the towers that had been living in my office closet for years.
- I passed off boxes of family photos to other family members so we could share the images (and I could get the albums out of my house!).
- I decided to throw away some odds and ends that had been sitting in the junk drawer.
- The kids sold their Lego collection. They had decided they didn’t want them anymore and they were making a mess in my office. It was nice to get them out of the house and get some money that they can put towards the trampoline they want this spring!
- I figured out what to do with the old Kindle and Fire tablets that had been sitting in my office. (See my post from last week on how to get instant Amazon credit!)
It’s funny, but each time I make a decision, I feel empowered to make another decision!
At this point, I hope to finish the inside of my house this week. I’ve just got a few drawers in the master bath left, the end tables in our bedroom, the guest bathroom, and the coat closet. I’m pretty pleased with that!
After that, I’ll be working my way through the garage and then finally, our shed. Again, my goal isn’t to work with speed so much as it is to just not lose steam and be thorough. At the rate I’m moving, I’m hoping to be done sometime in March.
If you’re in the process of a major home declutter, I’d love to hear how you’re doing. What things are working for you to stay focused? Please share!