I’ve just completed month three of my decluttering journey. While I’m still decluttering (albeit at a slower pace than when I first started), I’m finding it difficult to keep posting about it. I just don’t feel like it anymore.
This Christmas, I suggested to my family that we give each other consumable gifts or items we had lying around the house. My aunt that moved to a condo gave us a raw prime rib roast. All I had to do was put it in the oven and 1.5 hours later, we had the YUMMIEST GIFT EVER! So I’d say my idea of consumable presents was a success! As well as a bunch of goodies I baked, I gave away lots of items I found around the house, but I didn’t keep track of them all for this blog. Oops.
Anyway, here is a status update for December.
Total Items out of the house: Approximately 115 (it’s actually more, but I’m not counting the all the items I gave as presents)
I found a whole bunch of guidebooks, maps and boarding passes from various cities I’d visited over the past several years floating around my room, in bookshelves, in the closet, under my bed. Don’t ask.
I had kept them as mementos of my travels but I’ve found I’ve rarely (or never) looked at them once my trips ended.
So, I put them all in the recycling bin. Now, I realize I may end up regretting this in the future. Case in point, I had forgotten that I ever even visited Regina and I only remembered once I saw the map that I’d kept from that trip in 2000.
However, I think that perhaps I don’t need to remember every thing I ever did in my life. I think if a trip was eventful or important enough I’d remember it.
Besides, I need to keep some room in my brain for living in the present.
While the variety of items I’ve gotten rid of is down this month from last, the number of items has more than doubled, thanks to all the books. I probably could have accomplished a bit more if I hadn’t taken a two-week break, but we all need a rest sometime.
After being extremely gung-ho about simplifying my life for the last a month and a half, I suddenly lost all desire to declutter. I just got tired of all the decision making that occurs when decluttering. My brain was starting to hurt. It’s very difficult to whittle away stuff day after day. Even though I knew that I would feel better with less stuff, I just didn’t feel like minimizing anymore.
So I took a break. For about two weeks. And now I feel refreshed. I feel like I can tackle the decisions that come with decluttering again.
I’m pretty sure I’ll lose my enthusiasm and drive for decluttering many times in the future, but because I have solid reasons for simplifying, I know I’ll be able to keep at it (even if I have to take a few breaks along the way).
While decluttering one of my bookshelves, I came upon a book called Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
It was written in the 1950s and is a collection of thoughts about simplicity, relationships, taking time to recharge yourself, embracing change, living in the present and finding inner peace. It’s geared toward the “contemporary” woman of the 1950s, but I think it still applies to women today.
I found it a good read and will keep it as a source of encouragement to keep on decluttering. I know this may seem counterproductive, but so be it.
Considering my goal was 30 items (1 item a day), I’d say it’s going pretty well so far. It’s actually more than 160 if you count the individual items of clothing and cutlery, but I just stuffed them in boxes and bags and didn’t count them.
I know I said this after the big CP pickup, but even though I’ve gotten rid of so many items, it’s hardly made a dent inside the house. It is, however, a little better, so I’m encouraged to keep chipping away at piles of clutter.
I do expect decluttering to become more difficult though as time goes by. It’s easy to get rid of things I consider to be useless or garbage, but one day all the “garbage” will be gone and I’ll start reducing the things I think have real value, be it sentimental or actual. That won’t be so easy.
I know I said on my About Page that the impetus behind my desire to declutter was the process of my clearing out my aunt’s 4-bedroom house once she had moved into a 1-bedroom retirement home, but really, that was just the final straw.
It actually started in the summer of 2012, when I sublet a condo for two months. The person who owned the condo was quite minimalist to start off with and had also put some of her items in storage while I was there. It let me see how other people live.
I had become used to the clutter in my family’s home and in the homes of my relatives (clutter-keeping seems to be hereditary). I thought it was normal to have piles of stuff everywhere and 3 or 4 sets of everything (you know, for backup). But living in this condo with only four sets of dish ware and cutlery, one dvd, zero books, and only the clothes that would fit into one suitcase was extremely eye-opening.
I realized that I really didn’t need as much stuff as I thought I did. In fact, it was freeing to have less stuff. Actually physically freeing. There was room to walk around without bumping into furniture and there was no domino effect of items toppling over if you happened to knock one thing down.
When I moved back home after those two months, I found myself feeling almost buried under stuff. In the next two weeks, I donated six garbage bags of clothes and other items to charity, just from my bedroom. That held me for a while. But things have started to pile up again. That is why now is the time for me to do more decluttering, so that I will have less stuff getting in my way. And I hope that will lead me back to the sense of freedom I had when I was subletting that condo.