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.
With the onset of June has come a slightly more relaxed schedule, which has meant that I’ve felt reinvigorated on the home front to start tackling indoor projects again. One of my goals for this month is to unpack and get all the boxes moved out of our master bedroom that have been there since we moved to our house in November, and working towards that end has also had the nice side effect of boosting my decluttering efforts in the process.
Here’s what we’ve been decluttering lately:
Decluttered Since April:
- 4 shirts (mine)
- 2 pairs of jeans (mine)
- 1 swimsuit (mine)
- 29 pieces of kids’ clothing
- 4 blankets
- 25 books
- 2 dress shirts (Matt’s)
- 1 suit jacket (Matt’s)
- 16 toys
- 2 pieces of workout clothing (mine)
- 1 baking pan
- 4 hot pads
- 2 hats
- 1 pair of baby shoes
- 1 hairbrush
- 3 pairs of kid shoes
- 2 kids’ dress-ups
Total for April Through Now: 100 items
Grand Total Reached Thus Far: 853/1001 (85.2%)
The Lost Items
There are actually more items that we’ve decluttered than are listed here—I had two boxes filled with things to take to the thrift store, and when I got back from dropping them off, I realized…my phone had somehow deleted the list I’d made of the items I’d given away. So in all reality, our total for the last couple months is higher than this, but just because we still have pleeeenty to declutter, I’m okay with not counting those two boxes and just continuing on with the challenge.
The Last-Minute, 5-Item Challenge
Our nearest drop-off donation center is nearly an hour away, so we want to make each trip COUNT. This last time, we made a family event of it and had Matt get off a bit early from work so we could get out there in plenty of time to make the donation AND have a little family dinner out and some time at the park. Right before we left, I challenged every family member to find 5 quick items they could part with. While not every family member was able to find the requisite five, I was able to find enough extra items quickly so that we came out with a whole extra box to donate filled with around 20-25 things.
One notable thing about this last-minute challenge?
It didn’t give us too much time to think about things, which meant that we weren’t second-guessing our initial decisions.
How Many Blankets Does One Family Really Need?
One area that’s been ripe with low-hanging fruit is the linen closet, specifically when it comes to the number of blankets we own. Before we had kids, I felt like our blanket collection was fairly reasonable—we had two nicer throws for our couches that we could use to snuggle under on chilly nights, we had a couple old blankets that were perfect for taking outside for picnics or for laying down in the car trunk if we had to transport something messy, and then we had a couple sentimental blankets we kept just because.
Well, one of the many things I’ve realized since having kids is that one of the most commonly gifted baby items are blankets, which has meant that with each new addition to our family, we’ve acquired somewhere between 5 and 10 new blankets to our stash. That’s a LOT of blankets!
Now that our kids are getting a little older, it doesn’t make much sense for us to keep two dozen blankets in the “baby” size, so we’ve slowly been paring down. We’ve still kept our kids’ favorites and the ones that were handmade, but we’ve been trying to part with the rest where we can. While I still feel like we have forever to go before I can actually TELL a major difference in our home, this has at least helped to free up some obvious space in our bedroom closets!
One Major Category I Haven’t Been “Counting”
While it’s usually fairly easy for me to remember to “count” the items I’m decluttering that go into the donation boxes, it’s a lot harder for me to remember to “count” the items I’m throwing away. One major category I haven’t been counting?
The other week, I was looking for our car title (yet again…seriously, I am the worst at keeping track of stuff), and while I was at it, I just quickly shredded and threw away several dozen old papers that were lurking in the filing cabinet. Paper is something I’m constantly getting rid of (and one that visibly makes a lot of difference with its presence or absence), but it’s not something I’ve been putting towards the total.
Just in case you were (randomly) wondering.
Why Is (My) Clothing So Hard to Go Through?
I’ve been watching a bunch of YouTube videos (mostly from The Minimal Mom) to motivate myself through this decluttering journey, and every time I watch one on simplifying your closet, I get all excited and go to my wardrobe, determined to get rid of half of it.
But then when I get there?
All of a sudden, I remember all the compliments I got when I wore that shirt (even though it’s not one I reach for regularly), or I remember how cute that cardigan looked in that Sunday family picture, or I reason that I haven’t really given that dress a fair shot because I’ve only worn it a couple of times…
You get the idea.
However, I figure I shouldn’t be *too* hard on myself since I do already HAVE a pretty pared-down wardrobe, at least compared to what it used to be. Once I finally came to terms with the fact that I’ll (probably) never have the same body shape/size that I had before having kids, I let go of everything in those smaller sizes, including my (rather large) professional wardrobe that I had when I was a teacher.
I’ve also been getting rid of things that don’t have flattering fits or that are in colors I never choose to wear or that are uncomfortable for whatever reason.
So I have made a lot of progress, but I also still have plenty of clothes that I don’t really wear all that often. Maybe I should try that hanger trick where you hang everything backwards and then turn it around to the front after you’ve worn something, then anything you haven’t worn after a couple months gets donated.
We shall see.
I’m hoping that my next progress report will mean that I’ve completed the challenge, but at this rate, I’d almost have to triple this challenge before our house really got to where I wanted it to be in terms of stuff!
Out of curiosity, about how many blankets would you say your family owns? A dozen? Five dozen? I’d say we currently own somewhere around 20-25 at this point, which just seems crazy to me…