Several things inspired this project.
1- The birth of our second child. Adding another person to our little family meant more things... another wardrobe, another crib, etc. I felt the need to get rid of old things to make room for new things and to make a space for our daughter.
2- Our 1950's built home with the tiniest closets. Seriously, where did people put all their junk in the 50's????? We simply have no storage.
3- A desire for less stuff to manage. As the primary home keeper, I do most of the picking up and cleaning on a daily basis. I was burned out dealing with the overwhelming amount of STUFF to manage.
So one day last February when my mom was here helping me with newborn baby Laurie, she suggested I start de-cluttering by throwing away 50 things. And I was hooked. I threw away/gave away 50, then 100, then 150 things. I marched stuff to my curbside and watched neighbors drive by and load it up in their vehicles. I boxed stuff up and drove it to goodwill. Years worth of stuff - clothes from college, outdated nursing textbooks, garbage bags full of Capt' Steve's old boat-grease stained clothes. I examined each closet, shelf, drawer, and cabinet, trying to make the most of our space. It was so freeing. I literally felt lighter on my feet as I walked through my house that was becoming decreasingly cluttered each day as I went through this process.
Here I am, over a year later, and I plan to have another major clean out in the next couple of weeks. In fact, I have already started a little bit. It's a spiritual experience. This year will be so much easier because I'm starting with less to begin with.
As I reflect on the past year and am about to go through the process of de-junking again, I feel compelled to share the benefits of going slightly against the grain of the "American way" to constantly consume. So for what it's worth, here is what I found to be beneficial from less is more.
1. We saved money. Once I un-cluttered I naturally didn't want to junk the place up again. So I found myself less compelled to buy random un-purposeful stuff.
2. I knew what I had. I knew I had 2 jars of cinnamon, 3 bottles of baby lotion, 4 pairs of exercise shorts. This made buying and replacing items so much more efficient. When I had less, it was easier to stay organized and know what I needed to replace.
3. It freed up my time. There was physically less, which meant I physically had less to deal with.
4. It freed up space. Rolls of wrapping paper did not rain down on my head every time I opened the coat closet. We had space to store things comfortably.
5. It freed up my mind. There were less physical distractions and this enabled me to enjoy life more. I felt more content playing with my children or taking them out in the back yard. It was okay to just be.
7. It was so liberating. And that was exactly what I was hoping to gain from de-junking my house and my life. I was hoping to find time and space to enjoy and appreciate the meaning and depth that life has to offer. I was hoping to feel less burdened by constant projects and closets that needed cleaning out. I wanted to stop buying stupid stuff at Target. I wanted to sit down, read a book, and drink a cup of tea without feeling guilty about it. Un-cluttering set me free to do all this sanely.
I feel almost certain that a big clean out will be an annual event in our home. This year I'm excited and I hope to share some of my progress.
Here are some of my favorite blogs that frequently write about de-cluttering and organization. I visit them often and they keep me motivated!
Memories on Cloverlane
Here is my first project this year. The master closet. This is the after picture. I threw away several frayed and hole-y sweaters. I also said good bye to some really old ties of Capt' Steve's (per his approval, of course).
I feel a little immodest showing you our clothes. But I think it's okay.