Well, as it heads towards the end of 2017, I can look back and feel that this year I really did make a difference. I feel freer, lighter and so much happier. I know that my donations have helped my chosen charity make money to help those in need, and I also know that people who otherwise may not have been able to afford it have some new-to-them items in their homes.
As I have mentioned before, I did not go into 2017 with a huge resolution to sort out my stuff and my life. I just started throwing out and donating a few things at a time. As I progressed and noticed a difference, I became more motivated and active in my culling, which led to me spending the summer donating and selling loads of things. I really enjoyed it because I could see how much stuff I owned that I did not use, I discovered old favourites that I had forgotten, and I realised how little we actually need.
As time has progressed I have not only downsized but replaced things that had seen better days. Out went all my NUMEROUS mismatched clothes hangers, dull scissors and knives, and towels and linen that had seen better days. In came replacements in moderation. For example I threw out about 10 old kitchen knives from IKEA and bought three really nice ones. I had so many old towels (which went to the cats’ home for birthing), but they have now been replaced by a few really nice ones which I love using.
I was ruthless with my clothes and now I have clothes I love and wear and that fit properly and look good. What I did with my clothes was that, in about March I put all my hangers facing forward. When I used an item I put it facing backwards. After 6 months, anything that was still facing forward was scrutinised. If I liked it but no longer wore it, it was packed away. If not, out it went, hopefully to make someone else happy.
Getting rid of books, CDs and DVDs was a great relief. I had so many and they took up so much space and dusting time. Now I have downloaded all my favourites and the physical ones are making other people happy. Most of them went to the charity shop but quite a significant proportion of films, novels and textbooks went to my students, who are using them to improve their English.
I am planning to continue through next year. There is less to get rid of and some of it is large furniture which will have to be collected. But I am so motivated!
One thing that I cursed over and over during the year was old cables. In some cases I had the device and couldn’t find the cables or vice versa, or else there were nests of knotted cables hidden under furniture or in drawers and I had no clue what they were for. So I just tossed the lot and decided to start over. Amazingly, I never needed one of them.
Have I regretted getting rid of anything? Maybe one or two things out of literally thousands, but the regret is fleeting. The things I have decluttered are just that – things. Everything that means anything to me is still there. Much of my clutter did not actually belong to me – it was left behind as family left home. And I fell into the trap of keeping it ‘in case they want it one day’
If anyone is thinking of doing this next year all I can say is DO IT – you won’t be sorry! Just do it a little at a time and it won’t overwhelm you. Don’t think you have to sort your entire kitchen or wardrobe – do it one shelf at a time.
I get rid of 5 things every day. It’s quite manageable & fairly quick to just grab 5 things- typically a few to be donated to charity, a few to be recycled, and a few to be binned. I stash a big blue Ikea bag under my desk at home & at the end of the week, out it all goes. Very satisfying, indeed! (Who in the world “needs” four butcher blocks? Fifteen refillable water bottles? Not me!)
It’s amazing how quickly we gather unnecessary items isn’t it?
We went through all of our bedding when we moved here and recycled some of our old quilts and pillows to Red Cross. Put the ones we kept in to cotton zip up bags with labels as to what size they are. Ready to be used on which ever bed. They are bulky and take up valuable space even if you live in a large house like ours!
I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, working fairly gradually. I keep a log of items going out – in 2016 the total was over 2000 objects, while this year it’s currently running at just over 700. It has been a bit “bursty” and variable, but the old homestead is much less cluttered than it used to be and the mental space gained is amazing. I think there has been perhaps one item I have missed, but it wasn’t a problem. I’ve been watching your decluttering efforts and quietly cheering you on – good luck with making your life even simpler next year!
That’s one thing I am really sorry about – not keeping a log of how many items are going out. I do it for my toiletries in an effort to make myself use everything I buy before buying new and it is very rewarding to put something on that list as I finish it.
I will also have fewer items going out next year but these will be the hardest to curate – Filofaxes, traveler’s notebooks,sunglasses, handbags, pens. I love them all but I have way way too many.