Decluttering Status Update #3

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)

Breakdown of items:

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Giving away some new stuff in an old bag

My friend had a baby girl a few months ago and so when I went to see her recently I decided to look in my house to see if I could find anything I could give to a baby.

So I went down to the basement (or the “Underground Store” as I like to call it), I found several boxes of toys. And this is the part that confounds me, they were all NEW toys! As in, toys still in the packaging that hadn’t been played with by me or my brother. Granted there were even more boxes of used toys, but that’s to be expected. I’m not sure why my mother collected all these children’s items and never gave them to any children.

Anyway, I picked out this cute little Curious George stuffed animal.

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Then I found an appropriate card from our giant box of unused cards (I think we’ve had this baby card since the 1980s), and a suitable gift bag (from my cousin’s baby shower last year) from our seven bags of gift bags. I store all our gift bags in seven larger gift bags. I’m hoping to reduce this to six after Christmas this year.

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Trick-or-Treating for Candy and Christmas Decorations?

My grandma was told by her condo board/property manager to clear out her storage space so that they could do some sprucing up. She took it as an opportunity to downsize even more and decided to get rid of the majority of her Christmas decorations.

She has a mini tree she puts up each year and hadn’t taken her full size ornaments or lights out for several years. My Mom took the decorations home and called my aunt to come over to look through the box and take what they wanted.

After that, there was still a fair amount of ornaments left. I was just going to leave them out on the front lawn, but my Mom suggested we leave the box on the front porch so trick-or-treating kids and their parents could take some after we gave them candy.

It was actually a good idea. Some kids and parents really wanted Christmas decorations. Some people weren’t interested at all. They took them if they wanted some and didn’t take them if they didn’t want any. We did get rid of a lot of ornaments that way. I think I’ll just leave the rest out on the lawn when it stops raining and the ground dries out.

Next year, maybe we’ll leave out books for the kids.

What's left of the Christmas decorations after Halloween. The box was overflowing pre trick or treaters.

What’s left of the Christmas decorations after Halloween. The box was overflowing pre trick-or-treaters, but I forgot to take a picture.

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How many key chains does one person need?

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Well, if you are me, the answer is twenty-four. Yup, twenty-four key chains for my two keys.

Why do I have so many? Well, I have to cover all my key chain bases. I definitely need one keychain that doubles as a flashlight, and one that is a laser pointer, and one that is a compass, and one that is a whistle, and one that is a measuring tape, and one that is a pen, and one that is a screwdriver, and one that’s a globe, and one that has a bell on it, and one to ward off evil spirits, oh, and at least two that play music. I’m being sarcastic, but my key chains actually have all these secondary features.

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Check out this key chain (circa 2000) that plays two songs by N’Sync. How about that for portable music? Take that iPod.

IMG_1296And of course I also have nineteen cell phone charms, because apparently I am a key chain and charm hoarder.

When I actually sit down and count the items I have in my possession, I think,

“How did it get to this point?”

“How did I let it get to this point?”

I refuse to take all the blame on this one though (just most of the blame), since I did not buy a single one of these key chains or charms. They were all gifts.

I think some re-gifting is in order.

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Am I really decluttering if I just give my stuff to a relative?

We had our Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday this year and had nine of our relatives over to visit. I mentioned to them that I have started to declutter our house and that I was donating most of the 553 books in my room.

My aunt (not the one that just moved into the retirement home, another one) then asked if she could have a look at the books I was getting rid of to see if she wanted any. I said that was fine, thinking she might want one or two. But of the 60 books I had put into the donation pile so far, she took over 30! And these were mostly children’s books! My aunt is in her 50s.

So, while I am happy to get 30+ books out of the house right away, I have a feeling it’s going to come back and haunt me in the future. 25 years from now, when she has to move out of her house, I bet I’ll have to help her get rid of 30,000 books. (I don’t know exactly how many she has, but it’s a lot. She likes books more than our family and, that’s saying something). Her house is two-thirds the size of ours, but I’d estimate she has three times as many books as we do. She also has a storage locker full of books. Seriously.

So I’m feeling kind of bad, because now my poor uncle has another pile of books in his already cluttered house. A few years ago, we had to switch Easter from their house to our house because they had so much stuff, there wasn’t room for the family. So even though I myself am less cluttered, I feel bad that I have added to someone else’s clutter.

IMG_0957Perhaps I can look at this as finding a good home for my books, where they will be appreciated (because like I said, my aunt really loves books). And I can’t be all that judgemental because I am also guilty of accepting relatives’ cast-offs. My aunt (not the book lover, the one now in the retirement home) recently gave me her 8-setting, 6-piece bone china dish set, tablecloth and napkins. And I accepted them, even though we already have dozens of dishes. They really did make the table look nice, but I’m sure no one cared about what dishes we used. We were all just thankful that we had a delicious meal with family we love.

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