I have been married 23 years and have three teenage children and have accumulated A LOT of stuff. I love your idea of simplifying everything from wardrobe to Tupperware, but I have no idea where to begin! I need some guidelines, please!! -C
and this one too…
I have four small children (ages 2, 4, 6, and 8), I homeschool (love it!), cook mostly from scratch for dietary and budgetary reasons, live on one small income in a little-ish house in the woods out of town, and have never been naturally organized or tidy. I want to devour everything in your blog, but I tend to start things with a bang and then fizzle out. So I was just wondering if you had one or two things you recommend starting with, what would it/they be? -J
If I had to think of one answer that could apply to everyone’s circumstances, it would be this: start by getting a cardboard box or a grocery bag, fill it up with some of your old stuff, and then donate it.
Otherwise you’ll spend most of your time moving your stuff around.
I don’t know what it is, but it’s more than symbolic; there’s something about getting rid of old stuff that works in a loosening, break-the-chains, release-the-baggage, make-space-to-breathe kind of way. Looking at something and being able to say, “I don’t need this anymore” can set you free. And focusing on sending stuff out of your house can help slow the incoming flow of stuff.
I know it’s tempting when you live with a spouse and kids to view them as the source of the clutter and ignore yours, but it’s better to start by cleaning out your own stuff. Focus on your closet or some general kitchen stuff instead of trying to control or change other people.
As you find stuff to donate, you might need a moment for a last look or a memory, but once it’s in the donation box, that brief hard part is over. Afterwards, you’ll like the stuff you decide to keep so much better. When you clean out your closet, you’ll feel like you just got a refreshed wardrobe. It’s practical and emotionally satisfying, all at the same time.
It’s really normal to reach the point of, “I’ve given away so much, how is there so much left?”
If you’ve lost 700 square feet of living space, but you’ve only given away twelve boxes of stuff, two words:
You’re going to need to make several more trips to Goodwill over the next year. The good news is that the number of trips eventually decreases, as long as you don’t buy a bunch of new stuff to replace it. When I was living in an apartment I would make a donation run to Goodwill four times a year or more; now I probably do it once or twice a year, and it’s not because I have a house with more space, I just don’t buy as many clothes as I used to, or other stuff.
I sympathize about not having closet space though. Perhaps you will find some storage ideas here: 7 Ways to Add More Storage Space to Your Home.
For more ideas:
- 10 Ways to Simplify Without Becoming a Minimalist
- Undo the Mess (nearly 100 good ideas in the comments)