I saw this post the other day on Pinterest:
That was powerful to me.
I am always organizing things so that they fit better or that they are more out-of-the-way. I’m a big fan of “Oh look at that container, I could organize so much in there!”
It’s time to stop “organizing” and let go of those items that really aren’t bringing value to my life.
I’ve been listening to The Minimalists podcast, it’s in the rotation of all my others, but I’ve really enjoyed how they look at life. It’s not about how little you have – it’s not about saying “I only have 300 items in my house”, it’s more about what you do have and how it impacts you.
I’m learning a lot about how free you become when you remove all of that extra “clutter” in your life – and I know it’s true – I know it is – but I don’t always practice it!
This weekend I did.
It was really hard, but I went through my DVD collection. Now, I don’t go back and watch these DVD’s very often. I have access to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and several other free movie sites – there is very seldom a need to pull out a DVD. But, I’ve always enjoyed collecting them. They brought me comfort, in a weird sort of way, so I knew that removing them would be a challenge for me.
And a challenge it was! I can honestly admit that I didn’t get rid of as many as I wanted, but I did manage to let go of about 100 DVD’s. Some went home with my sister or parents and some went to a resell shop.
It felt good! I’m not going to lie, I’m ready to go through the rest and really free up space in my house and in my soul!
I have started a donation box.
That’s not new – I donate stuff all of the time.
What’s new is what I put in the donation box.
It looks like an ordinary cordless house phone with built in answering machine. It functions like one… although, this guys hasn’t been used in over 10 years. It has been sitting in my nightstand drawer for over 10 years.
Now, if you guys have followed me at all, you know I did a big de-clutter challenge a few years ago… so why didn’t this phone go? Why was I holding onto this phone?
It has a voice mail on it. It has a voice mail on it that is pretty darn mean. It has a voice mail on it that I have been saving just in case. And not a “this could happen” just in case scenario, but a really far-fetched, “there is never in a million years that this situation could happen but just in case it does, I will have this recording” scenario.
I’ve been carrying this phone around with me, just for that one voicemail, for a situation that would never happen.
Today I let it go.
I didn’t just physically let go of the phone, but I let go of the mental and emotional weight that I’ve associated with that phone.
I didn’t realize just how much “attachment” I had to holding onto that phone, not just the physical reminder, but all of the mental and emotional attachment that I was associating with it.
And you know what?
I don’t miss it!
I look forward to making more decisions around the house! Some people ask “Does this bring me joy?”, but I am liking the “Does this add value?” question. That is really resonating me right now!
It resonates with me, because I like things neat. So I’ve kept all of these boxes from when we gave up cable and went to internet TV – just in case I move, I have the original boxes to pack things back in. The reality is, those boxes take up sooooo much space and if I had to pack, I would decide that they take up too much space! (And maybe I need to be an ambassador for Roku!) Of course, I still had to text Adam twice and make him tell me that I would be okay if I put those in the recycle bin!
In my mind, it was worth keeping those boxes in case I moved – but with my new mind set, I was able to say that they don’t bring me any value and let them go.
So what about you? I know some of you have gone through this recently – any tips or tricks? And how to you manage the clutter at your place? I love knowing what others are doing!
28 thoughts on “Beyond Decluttering”
I totally need to declutter. I don’t even know where to start. Not the kitchen though. 😉
Right?!? Not the kitchen has been my issue! LOL! But, things like all the little samples and makeup I don’t use was an easy spot – I donated all the unused items to a women’s shelter, so that made it easier for me to get rid of items I might have held on to!
I try to keep the scrapbooking stuff organized. Every few months it’s a mess again. 😉 We donate a lot of stuff- not the scrapbooking stuff though. But there’s still more stuff. How do we get all of this stuff??
Hope you haven’t quit blogging!
I’m afraid this is also my problem (well obviously not yours anymore ;). You should be my desk! It’s too cluttered. I’ve been meaning to de-clutter once T went back to school. But haven’t done it yet. To be fair she’s only been back a few days. I have to de-clutter T’s toys/clothes, not to mention mine. I yearn for for a simple and decluttered house. The problem is we have so much books!
But books are y’alls life! I can see keeping 90% of those! And yes, I’m really looking to de-clutter my house for a simple life, a life where I’m out doing stuff instead of home and dusting all the knick-knacks!
I’m all for decluttering and donating or throwing away items that you no longer need. I did a “summer cleaning” a few weeks ago and ended up filling my car with bags of items to donate to a local charity. IT was ridiculous the amount of stuff I accumulated over the years!
Great post! I’m in the process of decluttering as we prepare to move. Thanks, Kate!
I keep looking at things and thinking “would I want to move this?” 😀
Seriously, we have very similar tendencies. I think the exact same thing whenever I see organizational containers- love them! And I keep all the original boxes. You never know when you might need them! I try to purge and de-clutter- especially since I don’t have a lot of room to branch out but it’s hard.
It’s so hard!! So very hard! I’m not kidding that I made Adam tell me twice that I wasn’t going to die if I recycled those “original” boxes!! 😀 But, it is getting easier. Now, I decorate my table every month, so those bring value and I keep those decorations, but the 4 throw blankets that were “giveaways” that have been in my closet for 7 years and never used… those I finally let go of!
Oh man, it seems like we are always throwing things away and yet there is still clutter. I am by no means an expert. I do have a more disposable mindset these days though and will even throw out pretty cool stuff that we just haven’t been using. You know those nick nak type of things that seem like a cool idea and then just sit around and never get used? I ditch those now. And Yu can always get more boxes so way to go throwing those out. I used to have shelves and shelves of books and I truly do love books but I hated moving them everywhere and I am not a re-reader. It is once and done. So now they all go to someone else or the charity store. The only books on my shelves are ones I haven’t read yet and ones I adored so much I must keep copies of them. Those I may actually read more than once. I ditched all my DVDs and cds ages ago. With online everything I just figured they were wasted space. The only down side of that is that I do forget to go back to some old albums and artists that I truly loved as my brain forgets about them. Booo Anyway, well done you! It is not easy to ditch stuff at all. X
I got rid of 99% of my books – like you, I only have those I haven’t read, and those that I have read more than once and will read again! The DVD’s were hard, but I’m happy to report that a week later, I went through and discarded another bag full! I’m excited, I’ve done the spare bedroom and am starting to really enjoy it!
Good for you, lady! I’m allergic to clutter, so it pains me to no end that my husband and daughter are basically hoarders. (Not really, but to my minimalist POV, they totally are.) I’m often accused (by them) of being cold-hearted for throwing out the kids artwork from 20 years ago. TWENTY YEARS AGO. yeah, ‘cos I’m going to frame that shit and hang it on the wall, right???!!!??? Anywho… good for you! I hope you feel way lighter! I know I do every 3 months when I go thru the closets and cupboards and make several trips to the Goodwill. 🙂
YES!! My family thinks I’m cold-hearted too!! But, for Mr. T’s artwork, I talked to him (years ago) and we agreed it was okay if I scanned most of it in and turned it into a photo book – that little book takes up less than a 1/4″ vs the 3 tubs of his random artwork that neither of us ever went through again!!
When my family has objected over me getting rid of something, I always offer it to them – if you like it so much, you take it!!! 😀
Good for you Kate.
I hate clutter and am big on organizing. I have some minimaist tendencies and I like space.
I am not surprised by that at all! You totally strike me as someone with minimalist tendencies! But, doesn’t it feel good to have that space to breath? I’ve always worked to have a space free of a lot of clutter (I just keep it hidden in drawers and closets!) and love how it makes me feel… now I hope to have that feeling in more of my house!!
Oh, it feels so good!
That’s what closets and drawers are for – I’ve said this to my wife on plenty of occasions.
I grew up in a house that was cluttered, and I’ve revolted. My kids will probably go back the other way. It’s a a cycle.
I need to do this too Kate, especially with clothes! I have so much clothes I don’t even use. I even keep some that don’t fit me anymore, thinking by some miracle I’d lose weight and will fit into them again. And T’s old toys! Oh my goodness, where do I even start?!
When Mr. T was little – from the time he was born – almost twice a year we would go through his toys together, and bag up those that he didn’t play with any more so that they could go to a home that would play with them. And then we’d donate them to a local shelter or drop them off at Goodwill. By the time he was a teenager, on his own he would bag stuff up – and when he moved out a few weeks ago, the first thing he did was grab a bag and start a donation pile! So maybe if you get Little T involved, it will be a good habit for her, and a lesson in giving to others!
OH gosh, Kate, I am not a big clutter/declutter person, although I have friend who are. What stuck me here was your line-” I’ve been carrying this phone around with me, just for that one voicemail, for a situation that would never happen.” My gosh, how often do we all live like this!!…”for a situation that would never happen”. Thank you for showing me an area where I need to clutter emotionally and mentally.
I’m telling you – it makes such a difference! I felt better when I got rid of the phone and all that it represented to me! When I meditate, I’ve been trying to picture a big tree, and letting the thoughts go, the duplicate thoughts, the ones that aren’t serving me, and I picture them floating to the ground and being turned into compost to grow new things. I like the idea of turning the old into something new!
After reading Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James in 1997, we started decluttering. Since then, we moved from a 4,000 sq. ft. house to a 2,000 sq. ft. house, to our current 1130 sq. ft. villa.
You would think by now that ALL the extraneous would have given way so that only the essential remained.
But, no. We still have clutter (just lots less).
We did jettison all but 20 DVD’s (one shelf) ~ and those are rarely watched or considered for viewing.
We did jettison all but 100 books ~ and I could still weed out a few more.
This morning I pulled out a PILE of FILES for travel destinations stuffed with brochures and menus and info on attractions, places to stay, etc. My goal for today is to cut the PILE by half!
Less is More!!! Good luck “letting go.”
I have managed to release all but a couple dozen books – and that was hard – I used to have a whole wall of bookshelves, stuffed to the brim! I love that you are going thru the PILES of FILES! That sounds like a worthy endeavor! Slowly but surely, I’m making my way through all of my furniture pieces, I inherited and have purchased several antique pieces – it’s time to find out what I’ve just put in there to get out of the way! (And I’m going to check out that book!!)
Here’s a synopsis:
BRAVO KATE!!! Bravo! I am going to check out that podcast. Love this!
I knew you’d enjoy it – I was excited to read that you are doing the same thing!
Dude, I LOVE the podcast you mentioned in this post. So much so that I learned how to download their podcast onto my iPod. Thanks! I am going to listen and continue to declutter all weekend long. 🙂