I am (again) on a mission. My goal is that in the next two months I will go thru every single item in my home and decide whether to keep it, donate it or toss it. I started this weekend, going thru half my kitchen cabinets and all of Zach's clothing. I ended up with 4 bags of trash, and 3 bags of clothing/4 boxes of kitchen items donated to Goodwill. Thanks to my hubby, it's all GONE (either on the curb or at Goodwill). What prompted my mission? I won THIS Dave Ramsey Starter Set, and have begun reading The Money Saving Mom's Budget. Now I'm inspired. I haven't started with the Dave Ramsey set yet, but am completely enthralled with The Money Saving Mom's book! I got thru Chapter 2, and stopped, as she advises not to go any further in trying to streamline your budget until you've streamlined your home and removed all the clutter. Her theory is that it's all tied in together, and it makes sense to me!Here's what I realized in just the small amount of de-cluttering I did this weekend:
- It's incredibly liberating to toss things. Over the years I am appalled by how much STUFF we have accumulated. I'm overwhelmed by the sheer volume of STUFF I have in this 2,400 square feet.
- What child needs 35 t-shirts? (YES - I counted! Zach had 35 simple t-shirts in his dresser/closet. And that's just the short sleeved ones! Don't judge me too harshly, before you go thru and count the number of shirts in your kid's closet. Go ahead and do it right now. I'll wait.)
- When you have so many things you literally cannot see the forest for the trees. Zach wears the same 4-5 shirts every single week. They are his favorites. Everything else sits in the closet/dresser causing clutter. I would hazard a guess that he had not worn HALF the stuff in his closet. It was filled with old hand-me-downs, and stuff I'd bought DIRT CHEAP and couldn't pass up on the deal. Let me ask you (OK, I'm really just talking to myself here) - is it a deal if it's never worn? Isn't that just money wasted? After my cleanup, he looked thru what was left, and it was like he had a whole new wardrobe of clothes. He didn't even realize he had half this stuff (it was so cram-packed in his closet he couldn't see it).
- Every day I cursed my "Tupperware" cabinet (I use that term very loosely, as none of it was actually Tupperware). It was so jam packed that I could never find what I needed when I needed it. Stuff would fall on me, I could never find the right lid to fit the container I had in my hand. I had old, stained, nasty, cheap plastic stuff in there I have no idea why I was saving it. Old butter tubs? Yep. TONS of those Hillshire Farms lunch meat containers? Uh huh. So I meticulously went thru it all and kept only the best stuff. Everything else went in the trash. Lids are ON the containers. It's all stacked up neatly and organized. I kept about 1/3rd of what I had, because seriously....how many plastic containers does a person need?
- I got rid of all the old sippy cups. I finally came to the realization that my youngest is SEVEN, and my TEN YEAR OLD should NOT have a sippy cup. This is me doing a happy dance that I will no longer have to mess with trying to find the right little plastic thingy for each cup! I replaced them all with nice, new eco-friendly cups I just got from the Shopko sale. LOVING the new cups!
- I also got rid of all sorts of junk that I bought but rarely (we're talking every few years) used. Now some nice new family can enjoy my George Foreman grill, air popper, Dora/Scooby Doo/Spongebob muffin tins (YEP - I had all three. I am an overachiever!).
I am REALLY wishing that I had taken BEFORE photos, so you could see the dramatic difference. But I was like a woman possessed. I had a small window of opportunity while Tim was flying kites with the boys, and I JUMPED ON IT. HERE is what my cabinets look like now:
This is just a START. While I should be feeling a big sense of accomplishment, I'm really just thinking about all the OTHER cabinets and closets I need to go thru. What keeps coming to my mind over and over is how every time I do this I feel so much free-er (I know, that probably isn't even a word!). Which begs the question....is all this STUFF possessions or is it possessing you. The Park house is beginning to feel a lot better WITHOUT all this business. Over the last 6 months, Tim & I have been trying to make a conscious effort to downsize. Not for economic reasons (although that is a nice byproduct!), but for our own sanity. The more possessions you have, the more you have to worry about. The more things you have, the more things that need repairing, replacing, more stuff to put away, etc. And I'm rapidly discovering that the less stuff you have, the more you appreciate and take care of (and actually USE) the things that are important to you. I'm really trying to fill our house with items that are important to us, and getting rid of all the other stuff that just takes up space. Unfortunately it seems to be a never-ending process. But you gotta start somewhere, right? I've begun my baby steps this weekend. I'll keep you posted on my journey!