boxes to unpack and declutter
101 in 1001, Decluttering, Homemaking

Declutter 1,001 Things Challenge: Progress Report #3

The unpacking and decluttering zone

If you’re new to this series, I’m currently working on decluttering 1,001 items from our home as part of one of my goals for my 101 in 1001 list. Back in 2013, I did a massive decluttering project I called 50 Weeks to Organized, where we got rid of approximately 50% of our belongings. Since that time, however, we’ve added 3 kids to our family and have acquired a LOT more stuff (which was helped along by the fact that we moved from a small apartment into a house), so it’s definitely time to part with a lot more. We ended up getting rid of a decent amount before the two moves our family made in 2020, but we still have a long way to go.

Like most things lately, decluttering has taken a bit of a backseat since we decided to completely go for our dream and start up our flower farm this year (which you can read more about on my other blog or follow us on Instagram or Facebook). However, since the house has become unbearably cluttered over the past month since my focus has been so much on the new business and the actual process of farming (a lot of which is new to me), I knew that something had to give. Since I have even less time or energy for housework than usual, I knew that the best and most permanent way to cut down on some of the house chaos is just to get rid of stuff like crazy.

So at the very end of last month, I used the best motivational trick I could think of to want to declutter a ton —I made an appointment to go make a donation at our closest big donation store, which is a 45-minute drive away. To make that trip worth it, I wanted to donate a LOT, so I went at it for about 30 minutes to an hour every day last week.

While we haven’t reached a “tipping point” lately (where you can actually really tell that we’ve been getting rid of a ton), I’ve at least made more headway towards that, which is something.

Here’s what we got rid of this month:

  • 10 bibs and burpcloths
  • 1 throw pillow
  • 3 shirts (mine)
  • 11 toys
  • 1 eReader
  • 80 items of preschool curriculum (this is a ballpark estimate)
  • 17 children’s books
  • 13 books (mine)
  • 2 dresses (mine)
  • 10 articles of kids’ clothing
  • 2 light fixtures
  • 10 pairs of shoes
  • 12 hangers
  • 1 set of curtains

Total for March: 173 items

Grand Total Reached Thus Far: 753/1001 (75.2%)

What’s With the Pre-K Curriculum?

A couple years ago, I received two bins of preschool curriculum from my sister, who had done a pre-k co-op for years (where each mom with kids in the co-op takes a turn each month running the preschool). I had great ambitions of giving my kids an early start on learning and preschool and such (not to mention a great desire to reinforce what they were learning IN preschool), but then I realized that my ideal visions were not matching up to my reality.

The truth is, my kids’ preschool teachers have all done a fantastic job preparing them for kindergarten, and while I’m good about doing many things (such as reading every single night to my kids without fail), I’m not so good at giving myself extra work such as running at-home preschool activities. (Also? I never, ever plan to do a preschool co-op myself. Seriously, even just the thought of it totally stresses me out. There was a reason I went into secondary education rather than elementary!)

After two years of never even cracking open the bins, I just decided to donate them to someone who will actually follow through with using them. I did a low-ball estimate of there being around 80 items total in there, but I didn’t want to even crack them open to get a definite count—-I didn’t want to tempt myself by running across something and thinking, “Oh, wouldn’t this be fun/convenient/nice to do/have/use?”

Nope. Best just to get rid of it all without looking.

The Tale of 2 Dresses

Fun fact: my favorite article of clothing to purchase for myself whenever I have some extra cash flow is a dress. I basically only wear dresses on Sundays or for the rare occasion when I have to dress up for something, but I still totally love them.

Last year, I went on a dress-buying binge after basically having gone about two or three years with buying minimal new articles of clothing. Having accepted that my new postpartum shape after having my third baby was likely not going to change anytime soon (largely thanks to the fact that I can no longer really exercise vigorously because of a lingering back injury), I decided to finally invest in some new pieces that I felt good in at this new size. (I also went ahead and bought some new jeans and shirts for myself at the same time while I was at it.)

Anyway, through my favorite Old Navy hack, I was able to get a ton of the dresses for a song, which meant that at one point, I was basically buying anything they had in stock that had the length I was going for (midi) and colors I liked.

Well, I purchased two dresses of one particular style that SEEMED like they would be flattering in theory, but that just really weren’t. I didn’t take them back because I’d gotten them for such a steal and because I felt like if I ever did lose the last 10-12 pounds to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, they might look okay. However, here we are a year later and they still are not flattering, and I basically never reach for them because they only look even halfway decent when I wear them with a jacket (and even then, the fit is off).

I tend to like to keep clothes until they’re no longer serviceable at all (and almost never get rid of something that’s so relatively new), but I figured there was no point in keeping them in my closet where they just brought up negative feelings every time I thought about wearing them.

(One question that really helped me to just take the plunge and donate them is one I heard about from The Minimal Mom, where she said, “If it’s not a definite yes, then it’s a no.“)

Getting Over the “I Could Make $ Off This” Hurdle

Being the frugal, personal finance nerd that I am, I am constantly looking for ways to both increase our income and to cut our expenses. On the other hand, I have definitely seen over the past several months that my TIME and my SANITY are more valuable to me than hanging on to something that I “might sell someday when I have more time/energy.”

Now, if I can sell something on a local classified for more than $20 and can expect it to go rather quickly, *maybe* I’ll consider keeping it. But that’s about it.

So much of what is currently cluttering up our house are the items I’ve saved because “I should try selling this,” and the truth of the matter is, I haven’t obviously listed much of it because OTHERWISE IT WOULDN’T STILL BE HERE.

I feel thankful that we’re no longer in the stage when it’s worth my time and energy to list things locally for $5 or $10 (although I was in that stage for a long, LONG time!). Now my time is definitely better spent elsewhere, and I’ve also noticed that my mental health is greatly improved simply be removing things from my home that are no longer useful to me (even if I could have gotten some money for them).

(Plus I can always take the tax break for making donations to our local thrift stores, so there’s that consolation.)

Are you getting into the decluttering mood with spring in the air lately? And what are some of your best strategies for parting with some of the more difficult-to-let-go-of items?

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