30 Days to Less Crap

I have too much crap. Clothes, toys, dishes, old medicine, fabric, craft supplies, junk and stuff etc ETCETERA. I have too much of it all. Our house is tiny, and if I don’t keep our stuff down to a minimum, it just starts to pile up and creep out and take over the whole house and my life. Because I’m a self-aware hoarder at heart, I take the opportunity every Spring to toss some of my excess, and this year I’ve got a plan of attack.

Several years ago I read For Packrats Only by Don Aslett (the Master of Dejunking), and it really changed my life.  Most of it is just simple common sense and ideas of how to go about it, but there are some nuggets in there that blew my mind at the time.  Things about what you’re allowed to toss, a) never occurred to me and b) and opened my mind up to what I really need to be happy. Problem is, I forget a lot of those things, or even more frequently I just don’t take the time all the time to go through things and toss as I go. I do frequently donate stuff, but you know–it still mysteriously builds up.  It takes a lot of mental and emotional stamina to get rid of things, and sometimes I just let it go til’ I have time to go through it properly. That too is a problem because extra time is a laughable fantasy. So I’m blogging these painfully ghastly pictures here, so that I’ll have some accountability for this project, and also invite you to join me in dejunking if you so choose!  

Here’s my plan:

I’ve made a detailed list of 40 different areas in my home that I need to go through. I won’t post my full list here, but they are things like clothes hanging in closet, hair stuff drawer, pots and pans cupboard, under bed storage, top shelf in closet of death, and on and on. Basically they are very specific areas that are not too large and overwhelming, for example I would never list my entire closet of death, because that would be suicide and incredibly unrealistic. Each day of April I’m going to attack one small area and toss, reduce, and organize that jazz. I’m also going to be instagramming my little victories as well as tips and other nuggets of dejunking wisdom via Don Aslett and will hashtag it #30days2lesscrap, if you want to join me! Nothing like a hashtag party to get you motivated! I would love to see any of your reduction victories or tips!

This is the ACTUAL state of my Closet of Death, as if I would ever stage something this scary. It’s Allan’s clothes closet (not enough room in our tiny bedroom one for BOTH of our clothes), my craft closet and the only real storage in the entire house. It’s a beast.  That WILL be tamed.

mad mim_30 days to less crap_01

Part of this (okay, a BIG part) will be going through my hobby supplies, of which I have in abundance. I really need to weed out the unneeded and organize that biz’ness. My fabric stash is getting down right hazardous, and so in between family Easter stuff I’m going to be unloading and swapping some of my stash at the Fabric Swap Event, hosted by Melissa and Leanne. There’s still room left if you want to join us!

mad mim_30 days to less crap_02We’re actually just barely starting to house shop a little(!!!), so this dejunking will be a great precursor to moving, if we do find a home. And it just feels so much better that have what you need and nothing more, do you agree? It’s like cleaning underneath your fingernails after a long camping trip.  And what about you, do you struggle to keep your stuff from accumulating, and how to do you go about dejunking? Do you do it bit by bit or marathon style once a year? What’s the hardest for you to let go of, and what is your least favorite to go through? And what about rewards, do you give yourself incentives to get your motivated?  Share your tips and join the toss-fest!!

PS Happy Easter! I love Easter, and love sewing Easter Best for my kids. I’m pulling a Easter-Best-Athon (#easterbestathon), and have already made three pieces this week, and have at least that many more planned! Hope you have a wonderful Easter filled with loved ones and at least a moment of quiet reflection!

 

28 Comments

Kristie

I am doing this too. Maybe not as detailed as you. But it is time to stop keeping things around that don’t need to be around. This idea (http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2013/03/11/10-excuses-we-make-to-keep-our-clutter/) helped me a lot in watching what I am keeping. And it prompted me to hurry and clean out my clothes. It was so nice to fill a apple box of things to go away.
Might I suggest that you hit up the grocery store and grab some orange/apple/grapefruit boxes? They are a uniform size, and are easy to fill, without being overwhelming.
Wish I was on instagram so I can see what you are doing. Also, I wish I could come and go shopping in your fabric. That picture looks so pretty! Stripes, polka dots, and pretty solid blues. Oh, happy things!

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Miriam

That is such a great article, a lot of those principles were some of the ones from my book that changed my life. And I love your tip about fruit boxes,I think that’s exactly what I’m going to do! And don’t worry about not being on instagram, I’m going to post it all on facebook as well!

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brooke

I love it! I am one of ‘those’ people who love delcluttering. In fact I told my husband that I should start a business doing it for people and he said I was ‘too mean’. He is the packrat in the house. Another way to have an incentive to declutter is that if you take so many bags to donate you are allowed a little shop at the thrift store. I like this plan you have. 40 places! Also throw everything in to a box that you are feeling sentimental about put it aside and go through 1. not late at night 2. when the house is a mess. I can almost guarantee you will get rid of it all! Best of luck!

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Miriam

That is such a great tip, I love it. If I harden myself up, I can be pretty ruthless as well, but it does take some mental stamina for me. And then I’ve definitely lived to regret being over zealous, but in the end I think it’s very worth the heartache!

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Jessica

oh my goodness Miriam, I’m SO glad you are doing this. We have a tiny apartment too, and I think about how much junk I need to get rid of every single day. But then I get overwhelmed and just sew something or eat chocolate instead. I’m doing this! Maybe I’ll even make a list like you.

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Miriam

I get so overwhelmed too, so that’s why I’m doing this one bite at a time style. I try not to think about EVERYTHING that needs to happen, just today. Which is my fabric! I’m organizing it! May the cleaning force be with you!

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Julia

I am in! I already have my list and am going to put it out there on my blog tomorrow and we will just have to wait and see what happens in April. Best of luck to you and wow how cool about the fabric swap, I would love to convince people here in my town to do the same thing!

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the mither

I’m planning a move, as you know, and have been gradually, gradually going through things and weeding it down. But it’s getting to the crunch and I still have w-a-a-a-a-a-a-y too much stuff. Time to pull out my secret weapon: ElJay! Here’s the method: SHE goes through the stuff–and I look the other way! It still hurts (my heart, my heart!), but we’re making serious progress now.

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TracyKM

Have you heard of FlyLady? She’s a great resource for getting rid of chaos caused by clutter. She sends little missions every day, and believes in using a 15 minute timer for jobs. Some people love her, some hate her, LOL.

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Miriam

I love FLy Lady! I have her Kitchen Sink book, (whatever it’s called), and it’s become a sort of cleaning bible for me. I’ve used a lot of things I learned from for years!

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Erin

Excellent idea. 40 areas! That sounds overwhelming to me, but what a great idea to break it up into chunks. I find I’ve been doing/saying the same thing–that I’ll get to the room of death (we have a room, not a closet–possibly worse) when I have time. But that’s a joke. If I split it up into bits, though, I think I could be really happy with the results. And I went right to our library’s site and reserved the book you referenced. I recently watched a Ted talk that was really motivating, too–how one family rethought what freedom meant to them and realized that their stuff was making them less free. I wanted to run through my house and throw things out windows after I watched that.

Here’s one of my favorite getting-rid-of-stuff tips: gooddonor.org. Online aggregate of all sorts of charities that will pick up your stuff. Vastly better than hauling to Goodwill/DI/whatever, and they leave the receipt (my husband the CPA would want me to tell you to itemize on the receipt). I do this about every other month, even if it’s just a small box or two. If I quickly go and schedule a pickup, I’m committed and stuff is more likely to leave my house–hooray!

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Amanda

Thanks for sharing the website. We’ve had some fitness equipment tha tis just too difficult to drop off ourselves…and therefore it stays in the house even though no one uses it. Ummm…maybe this is how we should go about donating!

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Erin

Yeah, take a look at the different non-profits and see what they’ll take. Some won’t take electronics, and none of them will take upholstered chairs–I know because I had a mustard-yellow, very awesome mid-century modern chair I adored, in theory, but in reality had a crunchy seat and back and I never got to that project. It took way more effort to get rid of it than to acquire it–for $5. Guess that’s the story of most of the stuff we get rid of!

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Miriam

Oh my goodness, did we have the same chair?? I also had a very awesome mid-century modern chair I adored with a crunchy seat and back (that my husband HATED for the entire 5 years we owned it!) It would have been fantastic reupholstered (and gutted), but it never happened and I just sold it as well. Wonder who is suffering from the mysterious mustard chair now…?;)

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Erin

That’s hilarious. That chair would’ve taken a journey from a garage sale in Minnesota to my house to a Goodwill here and then to Utah and somehow gone back in time. We had it for about three years and my husband also hated it the whole time. I had the same idea for it. Oh, we with our clever, overly ambitious plans for awesome mustard-colored chairs. I also saw the beauty within…I just didn’t turn it in to beauty without. 🙂

Kaye Saddler

I sooooo appreciate your blog, comments on a lifestyle me and friends are so entangled. So been there! I have another fruit box setting on my front porch awaiting a home in my stash. My group of loyal artist,sewers still joke of our hysterical bonds to orphaned yardage and those people we know who literally have no “stuff”. Their have been several times when I had my daughtor, friends came to my aid, I closed my eyes, looked the other way as they tossed things out to make way for new, more exciting projects. I am a person who people give large quantities of sewing stashes to as they retire or move. So I cannot stop myself from enjoying these wonderful finds. But ,oh my!! I appreciate the help and support of my family.

Miriam

What an awesome resource, thank you so much for telling me about it, I can’t wait to try that out! Anything that saves me a trip is worth while!

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K Saddler

I have a good friend who is quite the organizer who love to come over once every few montes. I find having someone look at the overwhelming task with me makes me look at it a little more critically and be more realistic on how many projects I will not be able to get to at this late date of years of procrastination. I have a catch- all closet of tasks and resources I’m currently working on. I find I have to be constantly weaning out unused or seldom used to make room.being creative is a constant struggle w organizing supplies. But I just spent a week w my gran daughtor who produced so many projects. She was so thrilled and happy to wear and share her work efforts. To me, it is worth all my efforts to keep us collaborating !

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Miriam

That’s so great, I think having someone else with me to look objectively at my stuff would be immensely helpful! Living a creative life IS crazy, and for me too it is constantly a struggle to keep it in control, organized, etc. But I think you nailed it when you said it’s a constant struggle, and something I really have to always be mindful about as I plan new projects. In my case it’s sharing this love with my daughter that’s been so rewarding! It definitely is worth it to make the effort!

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Chelsea

I use the Weave app on my phone to track what I have done and what still needs to be done. I love it because you can make your list, then set due dates for each item and it will give you daily reminders. Also, when you finish a task you can track how long it took you and whether or not you earned/spent any money. Once you finish the overall goal (ex. organizing your house or sewing alterations) it gives you total time spent and money made/spent. I love seeing he little boxes checked off and feeling like I’ve actually made a dent in a monumental task 🙂

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beckie clark

I love decluttering. Start with simple things with no emotional baggage-like the bathroom or medicine cabinet. And then when you’re going full steam go through things like prom dresses and baby clothes. I finally got rid of my prom dress which means I have moved it 1000’s of miles and to over 10 different apartments since I graduated from high school over a decade ago. My problem is fabric scraps-I just can’t let go of tiny pieces that aren’t even usable. I’m working on it.
Good luck! And I wish I lived closer to take some of those craft supplies off your hands I see you instagraming.

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Miriam

Yeah, I actually really enjoy it too, it’s pretty liberating. There’s got to be some major endorphin-release associated with decluttering, because it makes me feel amazing. And fabric is my weakness as well, it’s something I’m working on. And yeah I wish you lived closer! It’s hard to get rid of beloved craft supplies, giving it to a friend would have made it way less painful!

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Emily

Mim,

Save a piece of fabric for me. I haven’t been able to toss much lately, I’m not much help. Big plastic toys are my favorite tossers I guess. Can’t wait to see your Easter pretties.

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Miriam

I already sent away all the fabric I was tossing, but I’m sure there will be more in the future! I love tossing toys too, although I have to admit, sometimes I struggle tossing toys I feel are “good”, but that my kids don’t play with! You know that Noah’s ark toy that we got several years ago for Christmas? Well, we were going through the toys with the kids, and they chose to toss that. I had prided myself that in all these years we’ve kept all the animals and that it was in great shape, but you know why? The kids didn’t play with it anymore. Hadn’t for a long time. So I decided to give it to someone who would, and then OF COURSE a couple weeks later MErritt asked to play with it. Doh! Last night I got rid of THIRTEEN pairs of pants!! THIRTEEN! I just realized that none of them were really that cute, they were all old and for various reasons (mostly they didn’t have any stretch and were low-riders), I didn’t wear them, even when I was the right size. It feels good! I’m really on a roll!

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