It’s not about the “Number”

It’s really not about the final number, but about how we feel after reaching a particular number or looking around our home.

The average home (2014) has about 300,000 items (LA Times article link here).  Since our house is 1300 sq ft, we probably average about 230 items per square foot.  How scary is that?!?!  This is just for a “typical” house.  What about those of us who really need to declutter??

Decluttering isn’t about the number of items leaving the house.  But counting allows us to have a concrete goal.  Vague goals prevent follow through.  Decluttering is something we need to ensure we stay on top of.  Counting the items leaving our home has definitely kept us on track.  When we first started decluttering, we didn’t count and it was hard to see the progress.  Knowing a certain number of items left was encouraging when the progress was less obvious.  Even today, counting reminds us that stuff (really us) has a habit of becoming clutter.

Since we began seriously decluttering in the fall of 2014, we have removed 14,013 items from our home.  How does it make us feel??

  • We have more time for other activities now that we aren’t moving the stuff all around to get to other stuff.
  • We have a sense of accomplishment when we reach our number goal.
  • We are more relaxed in our own home.
  • Household chores take less time!  We joked the other day that the house is decluttered enough to get a housekeeper (but we aren’t – we can manage it now ourselves!)
  • We don’t worry about someone dropping by on the “wrong” day.
  • We feel more welcoming!
  • We have a sense of contentment.

How about you?  What have you noticed?

Declutter Recap of 2015

So here we are – the end of 2015.  We have decluttered so much from our lives!  We are feeling lighter every day with our attitude changes toward stuff,  less commercialization in our daily lives, and simplicity/minimalism.

Some of the biggies:

  • 11,827 items were removed from our house/garage.  And to think, we thought the removal of 2015 would be difficult!  Our modified goal of 10,000 was reached (thanks in part to our house flooding) and surpassed.
  • IMG_2498[1]
    Our 6 counting sheets for the 2015 in 2015 Challenge.  We were tempted to go on a decluttering spree to fill the last page but decided against it tonight.  Party with friends won!
  • 44 donation trips – we averaged one every 8.3 days!  It has been so helpful having a donation box by the front door.  When it fills, out it goes.  We even had the Salvation Army do a pickup of large furniture items.  So easy to do!
  • We are afraid with the number of donations that the IRS will audit us!  Thankfully we took pictures of every item donated!
  • Documenting the number of items, while difficult, was really eye-opening.  Who knew that we had over 400 unworking pens in the pen drawer??  I guess if you have a pen drawer, that should say something!
  • Our closets and drawers open and close without fear of something falling on you!
  • We decided to purchase just one item for each other for Christmas and stick to a $250 budget per person – this was a new concept for us.  John asked for a fitbit surge (and it is a small item to have enter the house!)  Barb asked for a kindle voyage.  She has figured out how to borrow e-books from the library and it is small.  Win Win!  Now to finish going through the boxes of books in the garage!

We have decided to continue the challenge for 2016.  As of today, we aren’t sure we will count for the entire year, but who knows.  We were really surprised at the number of items in 2015.

Thank you Nourishing Minimalism for the push we needed to make this happen!

2015 in 2015 Update #8

It has been a crazy month for us.  The master bath shower is done being tiled and grouted.  Walls have been painted.  Waiting for the shower doors to arrive!

Our decluttering project has been increased this month!  Kiddo #1 came home and cleared a few boxes!  We also cleared out a filing cabinet – 4 overstuffed drawers down to 2 usable drawers.  This took an entire weekend sifting through each piece of paper.  Goal is to remove the filing cabinet! Continue reading

2015 in 2015 Update #7

Decluttering the stuff has slowed down this past month.  Our focus has been on finishing the master bath shower.  We’ve had delays in getting the contractor to do their part on the shower floor.  Now that we are both working again, time seems to be our biggest hurdle to getting the house back to normal.  There are only a few boxes left in the garage.

We have noticed that our time after work during the week is less stressful.  Having less stuff makes picking up so much easier!  If only we had recognized this when we had small children living here!

So now for the numbers!

House = 5780

Garage = 2500.

Barbie’s, etc =  2301  (See this post for details)

GRAND TOTAL = 10,581 with 38 trips to Goodwill.  1 trip in September!

Items removed this month = 71 !!

New Goal – 12,000 by the end of the year.  The garage is our next focus area!  Barb still has boxes of books to go through!

2015 in 2015 update #6 – We made it to 10,000!

So here we are – another month of decluttering the stuff completed!

We’ve been moved back into the house now for a month.  Most of the boxes are empty or stored for the kiddos to go through or pick up.  I’m assuming some of it will be here for a while.  Good thing we have an extra closet!

In unpacking all of our belongs, we decluttered some more stuff – 516 items to be exact!  We have basically gone through everything in the house and are feeling pretty good about how it is turning out.  Now the garage is a different story!  There are many items (mostly furniture, storage containers that are empty, and master bath stuff) we didn’t put back into the house and now we really need to make a decision about that stuff.  Good thing we have a 3 day weekend coming up!

So here are the numbers – Continue reading