Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Decluttering over 1,000 items in only 30 days

Decluttering over 1,000 items in only 30 days with plastic totes full of random items
Have you ever looked around your home and decided you just have too much stuff? 
Maybe you want to 
  • de-clutter before a move
  • get rid of stuff so you can clean less
  • have people visit without worrying about tidying first
  • feel less scattered and more at home in your actual home
  • leave less for your children or loved ones to deal with when you are gone
  • or any number of other things.
Years ago, I inherited a whole lot of stuff from my grandmother. More recently, I inherited a whole lot of stuff from my hoarder uncle. 
Dealing my grandmother's things was fairly easy as she had already downsized several times, so there wasn't actually a whole lot to deal with.
My uncle, however, was another story. As a hoarder with a three bedroom, built out basement, and large garage, he had a lot of stuff! Most of it was junk, but I still had to go through all of it as I couldn't find a will and was pretty sure he had other documents and possibly money tucked away into weird places (I didn't ever find a will though). It took me a few years to go through all of his stuff! 
The experience of going through all of my uncle's stuff was overwhelming and felt never ending! I don't want to leave my child with such a burden when it is my time to die.
As I was going through my uncle's things, I decided to go through my own belongings as well. This has been a multi-year process.

Even after a few years, I still had far more than I wanted and decided to really accelerate my de-cluttering.
In December of 2022, in just 30 days (I took Christmas day off), I de-cluttered more than 1,000 items! I started tracking the items going in and out of my home (excluding business related things). I started keeping a record of every purchase and every discard. I used a simple notebook with three columns:
  • The date
  • Green or red color coding (green if I got rid of something, red if I brought something into my home)
  • The number and description of items
At the end of every page, I added up the items. By the end of the month, I had de-cluttered over 1,000 items, even after I accounted for the items I added to my home. In the following months, I've continued to de-clutter, though I've slowed down some and had a few periods where I didn't de-clutter at all. 
Even if I wasn't actively de-cluttering, I noticed that my shopping habits and my willingness to accept stuff from well meaning friends had changed. I said no more often and window shopped more than I actually made purchases. If I purchase anything now, it's typically something I need (my wallet fell apart and I replaced it, for example) or something I've thought about for a few weeks before purchasing.

Since December, as of writing this post, I've de-cluttered well over 2,500 items!

What has your own de-cluttering journey been like? Or are you wanting to de-clutter but not sure where to start? Or are you trying to de-clutter but friends or family don't understand why? Drop a comment and let me know!

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