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?

December 2016 Update

We woke this morning needing to remove 39 items from our home to reach our goal of 2016 items gone in 2016.  So what did we do??  We decided to go through the magazine holders that have been stacked in the kitchen and removed 37 magazines, 1 magazine holder, and 1 pair of thermal undies – I know the undies seem odd in the dead of winter.  They have been in the drawer for years and not worn.

Can you tell we subscribed to this magazine for years?  Some were from 2007!   John and kiddo #2 have Celiac Disease, diagnosis was in 2003.  It was a challenge at the beginning with limited resources available so we subscribed to many magazines over the years.  We went through these looking for any special recipes that we just had to keep.  15 recipes made the cut.  Most can probably be found online now.  The amount of information on the web is mind-boggling!

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With the removal of these magazines, WE REACHED OUR GOAL OF 2016 IN 2016!!

Here is a breakdown of the numbers for the year:

  • January = 603 items
  • February = 121 items
  • March = 100 items
  • April = 172 items
  • May = 103 items
  • June and July = 39 items
  • August = 19 items
  • September = 147 items
  • October = 30 items
  • November = 424 items
  • December 258 items

Our beautiful chart!

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Lights

We are finally getting around to putting out the Christmas stuff.  We have so much excess!  It is kind of weird looking at it with our new outlook of living with less stuff.

Why do we have so many UNOPENED boxes of lights?  I’m sure we had a grand plan years ago!  The box is full of used lights for the outside.  How long would it take to untangle them?

Less lights on the house:

  1. less lights to store the other 50 weeks of the year – deluttering win
  2. less electricity used during these 2 weeks – environmental win
  3. less time prepping/decorating for the holiday – less stress win

These all sound like a win-win-win situation for us. Off to the donation center!

 

It Brings Him Joy!

We were decluttering some of the Christmas stuff yesterday.  Barb decluttered these Santa salt and pepper shakers.  When John saw them in the donation box, he made a sad face and exclaimed “These bring me joy!  They stay!”

After he said this, we all had a good laugh – he does occasionally listen to Barb!  Kiddo #2 had a friend say a similar thing to her recently.  Guess it’s the season for Joy!!

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Decluttering Update -November 2016

I can’t believe another month has passed!  We have been crazy busy!  We won’t bore you with those work related details.

Kiddo #2 is home for several weeks (sort of).  She is interviewing for residency programs and many of her interviews are closer to our house than to her apartment.   She decided to use us as her home base.  She is here a few days, gone a few, back here a few, etc for about 6 weeks.  It’s nice to have her popping in!  It’s also nice that she was able to go through some more of her boxes!

Thanksgiving was wonderful!  We hosted it this year.  A few items had to be purchased but several more left as we cleared space for the new things.  Tablecloths, napkins, etc.

Our decluttering total for November is 424 items (most of these from kiddo #2)  We figure these count since they NEVER left our house when she moved out 5 years ago.

Our total so far this year is . . . 1758 items left our house!!  258 more items to reach our goal of 2016 items in 2016!!

We are about to start decorating for the holiday season.  Maybe the 258 items will come from this!