Like everyone else, January often hits me hard with the urge to declutter, simplify, pare down, eat less chocolate…you get the idea.
While I got rid of about half of my possessions back in 2013 as part of my 50 Weeks to Organized project, I have acquired PLENTY more stuff since then, especially as we’ve added three children to our family and upgraded from a small apartment to our first and now our second home. When we couldn’t fit all of our possessions into the largest moving van that Uhaul offered for this last pair of moves, I decided that enough was enough.
So, naturally, I set myself a challenge. Because that’s how I roll, folks 🙂
My goal is to get rid of 1,001 things in the next two and a half years, as part of my larger 101 in 1001 challenge.
Now, part of the goal was to document my journey here because I loved the accountability and motivation that it gave me when I did a similar update during my 50 Weeks to Organized project.
The problem is, I got rid of a LOT of stuff in the past couple months as part of our move, and I didn’t record ANY of it.
So in all reality, I’ll be getting rid of more than 1,001 things, since I’m not guesstimating what I got rid of before and am starting from this point on. Also, in my decluttering totals, I don’t include things that I would have gotten rid of anyway, such as Raven’s old school papers, mail and bills that have been dealt with, used-up products, etc. The only items that “count” are things that I’m not replacing and that I’m removing permanently that wouldn’t have already been removed were it not for the challenge.
This is what I’ve gotten rid of so far:
- 103 books
- 7 magazines
- 3 Happy Meals toys
- 3 articles of my clothing (a 2-piece pajama set and a skirt)
- 31 articles of kids’ clothing
- 9 play dishes
- 3 Christmas decor items, including a big garland
- 1 old dehydrator
Total: 160 items
Let’s Talk About the Books
The last time I officially tried to count all the books we owned was around four years ago, and I came up with a total just under 750. Since then, I’d estimate that we’ve added AT LEAST 200+ children’s board and picture books to our collection, as well as probably around 100 books for us. That means we’re looking at over 1,000 books in our collection, folks!
So, even though I got rid of around 10% of our collection during this particular culling, WE STILL PROBABLY HAVE AROUND 900 BOOKS.
Nevertheless, getting rid of over 100 books is nothing to sneeze at. How did a book fanatic such as myself manage such a feat?
Well, it basically came down to me coming to terms with a very important life realization:
I am probably never going to return to teaching.
Or, if I do, it will be under very different circumstances, meaning that I would be teaching a subject where I had much more freedom to do as I pleased (so, perhaps Spanish again and a class like creative writing or something rather than Language Arts), and I would probably want to try teaching high school rather than middle school.
While I enjoyed my years teaching and wouldn’t trade them for the world, I’ve long since come to the realization that I don’t really miss it at all, and that I don’t really have a desire to go back. This probably merits a post all of its own, but for now, it definitely made one thing a lot easier—
The decision of whether to keep all of my education and curriculum books, as well as the YA books I’d been using for my classroom library.
That was the vast majority of the books I decided to donate this time around, and in the (not so distant) future, I plan to do a further weeding out of the titles that I either have already read and never plan to read again (and don’t care if my kids have access to or not), as well as the books that I haven’t read that I’m either not super excited about anymore or that I probably wouldn’t want to keep after having read it once.
I am constantly going through my wardrobe and weeding out pieces, so that’s why there wasn’t a whole ton from my stash this particular time. The reason why there are so many articles of kids’ clothing is because my daughter just went up a size, and since the first time I usually go through all the clothing I get secondhand from my siblings is when my children are going into that size, I’m usually able to get rid of a fair amount.
We’re getting all the hand-me-downs from both sides of our family, as we’re among the last in both of our families to be having kids, which means that we’re basically getting two full wardrobes for each gender for each size. That adds up to a LOT of clothing! The vast majority of the boxes we have in our big storage area downstairs are kids’ clothing, especially considering that we have girls’ clothing up to size 14 (!) at the moment. Considering that Raven is not even quite 6 yet, I’ve finally told my families to lay off on giving us any more girls’ clothes (ha ha).
All that is to say, 31 articles of kids’ clothing is basically peanuts when compared to the gigantic mountain we have in our basement.
This is definitely an area that will have some low-hanging fruit if I get to the end of the challenge and am struggling to find stuff to get rid of (though I doubt that will happen).
These first 160 items weren’t even a little bit of a stretch—I remember that by the end of my 50 Weeks to Organized project, I was making some pretty brutal decisions when it came time to decide what to let go, but everything so far has just been what’s come up in the course of normal day-to-day life that was easy to pass along. Imagine how much more I’ll be able to pare down over the course of the challenge when I’m actually TRYING to go through stuff!
Something I’ve thought about a lot is a statistic mentioned frequently in The Dragons on FIRE blog posts on their decluttering process—-they often quote a stat that says that the average American home has 300,000 items in it(!), and that it will probably be quite awhile into your decluttering process before you really actually notice a “dent.”
That’s definitely the point I’m at right now—when I finished up my 50 Weeks to Organized project, I remember how drastically different our whole space looked, and how everything had earned its place in our apartment (and actually HAD a place in our apartment). In the 7+ years that have transpired since then, we’ve accumulated soooo much more stuff as well as bought a house that’s three times the size of that old apartment…so there’s a lot more sheer space to justify having more.
However, as I’m not the greatest housekeeper in the world (as anyone who’s been around this blog for awhile will know), clutter and stuff overwhelm me very, very quickly, and the only way for me to really even have a hope for a tidy home is to get rid of pretty much most everything that isn’t in frequent use or that I don’t find beautiful.
So, even though I know it’s a long road ahead before I start to notice that “dent” and feel like everything has its place again, I’m happy to be able to report such a solid start!
Percentage of 1,001 goal reached: 16%
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