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8 Lessons I Learned When I Decluttered My Home For A Year

Original publish date: Dec 31 2015
Updated: Dec 11 2023

 

It’s been a year since everything changed.  A year since I started decluttering our home.

This time one year ago I was reading The Joy of Less (by Francine Jay) and Seven (by Jen Hatmaker) after hearing about them on Instagram.

These books rustled me up, made me uncomfortable, and motivated me to make some big changes. They were marked with an obvious decluttering of the house, but the results have crept into all other aspects of my life.

I have spent the past year getting rid of the ‘excess’ in our house.

Nothing has been left untouched. I have rummaged through every room, drawer and cupboard in my home. I have filled the basement with bags and boxes of ‘stuff’ to be moved out and watched truckloads and truckloads of my possessions be carried off to new homes, thrift and garbage.

pile of clutter and stuff in basement

 

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Most of us can agree that we have too much stuff. Most of us will get fed up and try to declutter our homes. We turn to decluttering because it sounds like it will clear up our space, make our home cleaner and more organized.

So it surprised me, and not at the same time, that as I decluttered I would have to ‘confront my junk’.  I had to acknowledge that I was in an excess and that it felt like a burden. I had to talk myself into letting go of things. I had to wrestle the desires to buy more. All this doesn’t come without its own soul-searching, ugly crying and feeling a bit lost and icky.

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These are some of the things that I have learned/relearned/realized during my past year of decluttering my home. . . . 

1. The line between ‘enough’ and ‘excess’ is easily crossed

I don’t miss anything I’ve gotten rid of. Clearly, I didn’t ‘need’ it.

So, why? Why did I just keep accumulating? Since leaving for college I’ve spent my adult life purchasing and storing, purchasing and storing. To a point that I’ve felt like my home had become a glorified storage unit.

At what point can I say ‘enough’? Logic tells us to accumulate only what we have room, money and use for….I’ve just spent a decade and a half doing the opposite. Illogical.

messy hutch desk

2. I’ve wasted so much money

I think as North Americans we have a certain privilege that we can toss dollars (whether we have them or not) around ‘for fun’. We buy cheap crap that doesn’t work or last, or we decide we don’t like it. Then we brush it off because it was cheap and we just toss it.

We live in a culture of excess and we are so used to accumulating every time that we go out.  As I saw truckloads of ‘stuff’ leave my house it was like watching loads of money drive away. I spent money on ALL of that stuff –  for whatever reason I justified at the time. I was so disappointed in the money I had wasted on stuff.

before purging kids toys, simple on purpose

 

3. I’ve been filling space for the sake of filling space

In decluttering all the items of my early 20s it is clear that I was desperate to ‘adult’ without taking the time to get to know myself as one. 

Over the years I’ve accumulated two of everything, one for ‘2013 Shawna’ and one for  ‘2001 Shawna’ – who didn’t have a clue about herself and just bought all the token adult items without really loving them.

What’s that saying…’we spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like‘.  At least some of that was true for the young adult version of myself.  I would buy wall art, dishes, lamps,  clothes, whatever.

There wasn’t thought and attention put into the things I spent money on, I didn’t see it as an investment in creating a home but rather just a quick way to fill the space. I just bought what I saw in the store because I felt the need to have an ‘adult’ living space.

 

basement full of clutter

 

4. I’ve made so much waste

As I’ve watched truckloads leave my house, all I could think was that I was a shitty steward of the items I chose to take into my care. All of the little plastic things, electronics, clothes, accessories, and discount housewares were things I bought and took ownership of.

As I’ve decluttered I have tried to take the time to find homes for things, but the rest goes to thrift….and if they can’t sell it it’s into the landfill.

How long is my cheap wall art going to take to disintegrate?  (And disintegration ain’t’ pretty right!?)

And what about the dozen pieces of plastic toys my kids just brought in the door?

We have luxuries like tossing our items without a single thought or indication about what happens to them past our street curb. What does happen to it?

The sad this is I KNOW what happens, and maybe this is why it bothers me so much. I have a degree in Environmental Health but I was being blind to my little part in the big picture of what is happening in our world. We can all take little baby steps that help us move more towards zero waste and I realized I wanted to start by not buying crap stuff that would be discarded in the next months or year. 

 

 

kitchen table full of items being decluttered

 

5. This is all just a distraction

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t lived a luxurious or indulgent lifestyle (unless you count my need for brand-name cheese and two drawers full of makeup and hair products) but I see now that this ‘lifestyle of consumption’ has been a distraction.

The modern definition of ‘success’ is coated in a layer of consumerism and I believe we are the generation that can help shed that as we begin to live our lives based on our personal values rather than based on a culture definition of success.

As I’ve gotten rid of the excess stuff in my home there has been a void. Not only in my living space, but in my time and in my thoughts.

I see that those things I held on to for security, identity, value, or whatever reason were distracting me from living a purposeful life.

Getting rid of the excess stuff caused me to ask, what do I love and value the most? I feel like I get to live a more genuine and intentional life with this mindset of saying no to the excess.

 

6. Life is still messy

Our house is still messy (if you have seen my Instagram storieswe are minimalists, but we also live here“). There are piles of craft supplies, books, legos, etc. out. But these are things we chose to keep because we value them, so I am unapologetic.

Minimalism isn’t about a spotless home. I believe that minimalism is about clearing out the clutter and excess so you can live life in your space. Life still happens and life gets messy.

table full of kids crafts

 

7. It is a mindset, not an end goal

I would love to say I’m done decluttering, but I see that it will be ongoing. There is a constant rotation of clothes, toys and furniture when you have three small kids. I need to constantly be decluttering the space and be protective of what I bring into the home.

For me, minimalism is a mindset of how I approach my stuff, how I shop, how I store things, and how long I keep things. If I look at minimalism as an end goal, I will feel defeated.

 

8. It leads to more

In my case, decluttering my home le to me reassessing my whole life. I realized I was painfully complacent in how I handled my stuff, my relationships, my health, my dreams.

Minimalism became the action that brought me face to face with my decisions, my clutter and the way I just let life pass me by. It has spurred me to think about what gives me passion and purpose, and really try to live LIFE ON PURPOSE. This has even led to me becoming a Life Coach and helping other moms get ‘unstuck’ in feeling restless, overwhelmed and angry. Which then led me to become trained as a Counsellor and continue the role of helping people get UNSTUCK. 

 

Love Shawna, your Nerdy Girlfriend + Counsellor/Coach who took six months to give up her IPSY makeup bag subscription #noregrets#allthemakeup 

Check out the Simple on Purpose PODCAST! to stay in touch and encouraged on your journey!


 

You might also like:

Simplifying Your Home (landing page for all posts about decluttering)

Hygge vs Minimalism

Real Reasons Why You Can’t Finish Decluttering

How to Build the Culture of Your Family

 

8 lessons i learned when i decluttered my home for a year

97 thoughts on “8 Lessons I Learned When I Decluttered My Home For A Year”

      • Wow. I love the article because it was to the point, i can sympathize, I’m not alone in this journey of been the best of me n competing with my old self to be better in every way!

        Reply
        • What a powerful insight of your current self competing with your past self. I can see how that would translate into a lot of confusion about what stays in the home and what goes. Thanks so much for sharing this, it’s making me think!

          Reply
      • I thoroughly enjoyed going through this article, it an eye opener.
        I too need to de clutter my home. Now I am motivated to go all out and begin this Very Important Project.
        Thank you Shawna! 🕯

        Reply
    • Thank you so much for what you wrote, I really needed that info.
      In the process of buying a smaller house, so hard to make decisions.

      Reply
    • I’m a single guy. Stuff constantly accumulates: News paper articles and recipies I promise to read and more.
      I hire a maid to come in once a month to deep clean.
      Two or three days before her appointment, I start throwing things out and organizing so she doesn’t have to fight through my stuff to clean.
      I’m motivated to declutter so she can better clean my home.
      Been doing it many years.
      Once a month for a couple weeks, my home is clean and decluttered.
      Love it!

      Reply
  1. I could not have said it any better myself… But reading it from someone elses words put my thougjts into much needed perspective… Countless dollars spent frivolously on stuff that has no long term meaning or value. Just a nuisance when it comes to storing, only to eventually place a relentless burden on me and my home down the road. Thanks for the great article. I feel ya sista friend.

    Reply
  2. Hi I am from Pakistan I have read this document and this was awesome because I have a mind set
    I can’t say that I do it completely but I have a mindset
    Thanku for ur words

    Reply
  3. Ok – just read this and felt emotional numerous times…I think it resonated with me! So much stuff to sort through but I will get started today with a slightly changed mindset I think. Thank you for the renewed inspiration ❤

    Reply
    • Thanks for your honesty. I admire my daughter and her organizational skills. When her kids were small she refrained from having an overload of toys. She limited electronic time and encouraged outdoor play. She was constantly filtering and donating. When our parents passed, I’ve held on to their things and although I’m honored, it is also a burden. It’s hard for me to let go although I’m making an effort to do so. You are an inspiration!

      Reply
  4. This is was such an emotional yet complete eye opener of an article and made me really think about all the shopping I do just for the sake of filling up an empty space in my home. This made me realize that there is nothing wrong with having an empty space in a house, all you need is planning and organising with what you already have and come up with innovative ideas and styles to make it look homely and welcoming. Thank you for such a hearty, well thought of, personal article that really touched my heart!

    Reply
  5. Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been feeling since we built a big house 20 years ago. All this “stuff” … truckloads of things, but the emotional garbage , too. I started decluttering a year ago. Even after purging several carloads, it has seemed a hopeless venture. Thank you for giving me hope.
    I now know I can do this, and realize that it will be a LIFETIME venture… with the purpose of cleansing… both physical and emotional, and that’s ok.
    Thanks for being such a blessing!

    Reply
  6. With a degree in Environmental Health, one would think you would have learned these lessons sooner but at least you FINALLY did.

    Reply
  7. I am in the process of decluttering years of accumulated items from my relatives and our own family. My parents lived through the Great Depression. The mindset was to save everything because you never knew when you would need it. My collections also got out of control.

    Your experiences and insight have been both helpful and inspirational! Tomorrow, I will conquer more of what we own! Thank you!👍😊

    Reply
  8. Wow! I needed to read this. I have some soul searching to do… why all the stuff? I couldn’t find what I have and or need if I needed to and probably run out and grab it again to save time. I’m not sure where to start. But, I’ll keep reading so I can learn and hopefully declutter in a year as well.

    Reply
  9. Thank you. I’m lying here in bed dreading facing my house clutter. So your inspiration has made me consider getting up and try making a path to the kitchen for breakfast. Pray for me.

    Reply
  10. After retiring 5 yrs. ago I knew the clothes would be the first place to begin, jeans and t-shirt are my go-to now! Knickknacks were a definite second! That was hard because some were from my childhood or gifts from friends who’ve passed away. I still enjoy decorating through the seasons so I have an excuse to keep some.
    The yr. of quarantine due to Covid really helped. I didn’t collect clutter and my bank account reflected that! I try to live by the motto of buying “consumable only” now.

    Reply
  11. Thank you for sharing your journey. I can relate to almost all of the thoughts and feelings you mentioned! I found this very inspirational…. thank you 🙂

    Reply
  12. Greatly said. My husband is a maintenance supervisor for a 300+ apartment complex. He often brings home things even new things people leave behind that I’m sure they had to have. I sell many things and donate many more. It’s very sad the money spent on things that are not thought important and later left behind. What a waste. Thankfully I make a thousand or so a year so I can use to purchase clothes for our 4 children. We have consignment sale here 2x a year. Selling things in there is a great way to declutter & buy good used items your children need & not pay new price for them.

    Reply
  13. I loved this article Shawna. I really loved the part about buying stuff to fit a mold. I think that’s what so many young people do. I know we did and that stuff is the stuff we had to get rid of. The things that truly represent us and our needs and interests are the things my husband and I still have today.
    I have also become more aware of how much our consumerism affects the environment and it makes me nauseous. I’m trying not to feel too guilty but rather to look to the future with a more careful intentional approach to consuming.

    Reply
  14. I am decluttering as well. I am going through 40 years of family items. It is a struggle to part with some things…sentimental items. They have no value or purpose.

    Reply
  15. Some of the exact thoughts and emotions that I’ve been going through lately. Last last year, I decluttered the house and boxed things up to get ready to sell our house and moved it all to a storage unit, and I went through these emotions. Then life took a different turn and we were not able to move right then, and I had to bring it all back home. My house was full of boxes and stuff and I really hadn’t missed most of what was in them. Now I’m trying to unpack everything and it’s all just not fitting back in the house the way it was… I’ve really been struggling. BUT… I am letting a lot of stuff go. My goal? One box at a time or otherwise it gets too overwhelming for me. Thank you for putting your thoughts in writing!

    Reply
  16. Thanks for the inspiring article. So many things I have acquired over a lifetime, many like you stated to feel “accepted” or wanted. I am in a small apartment that is overflowing with things that are hard to part with, plus a storage unit of “things I may need sometime”. Really sad to think of all the wasted money. This has inspired me to look at it differently and do it! It won’t be easy but needs to be done! Trying not to live with too many regrets.

    Reply
  17. I enjoy moving things out of the house and having more space; however, my husband tends to be the opposite. This makes it impossible for me to declutter certain areas of our home. I just make sure the clutter doesn’t find its way into our main living spaces.

    Reply
  18. After reading all of the comments, I am hoping to share the thoughts of an 82 year old lady living in an assisted living cottage. I thoroughly understand the need for stuff! There is great pleasure in one’s life collections, don’t be in a hurry to decide what is important. My favorite Christmas ornament was made by my son, age 7. There are life treasures, don’t make the mistake of letting one get away. Celebrate these hectic years, cherish every day.

    Reply
    • It is a beautiful thing to admire those special sentimental items. I have fond memories of hearing the stories of each of the sentimental items my grandparents kept on their bookshelf in their living room.

      Reply
  19. Congratulations on your exceptional achievements in your home Shawna. Not only have you overcome a habit many of us have. You are also setting an example for your children and others whose lives you touch.
    I am a 79 year old recently moved to an over 50s village and today realise there’s still more decluttering to do. Onwards and upwards Shawna for us all in these challenging times.

    Reply
  20. Boy… have I got clutter!! When I’m sad I shop!… a lot! I have been trying to declutter for the past year. I have just recently started the process again. Now that I have read your recommendations, I think I can really do it! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! I have a collection of cat figurines, tea pots, cups and saucers, and just plain stuff!! Ha! I can sell some of the stuff because of the value. I may be able to afford to take a trip!

    Reply
    • You CAN do it Mary! I know this sounds too simple to work, but I would encourage you to try decluttering when those harder emotions are coming up. If you start taking a beneficial action when you feel down you may learn to view this as a reward instead of shopping as the reward.

      Reply
  21. Please provide the exact title of the books you mentioned along with the author. I was unable to find “seven”. You have sparked my interest. I will say I only do Kindle/Audible books now as I did get books decluttered.
    Thanks, Jo

    Reply
    • Hi Jo, I updated the links in the post to take you to the books. Joy of Less is by Francine Jay and Seven is by Jen Hatmaker.
      Thanks for the note! All the best, Shawna

      Reply
      • I read a book by Jen Hatmaker when recommended by our church’s women’s ministry leader. Hatmaker was so theological unsound, I dropped out of the church’s women’s group. I did not want to be under the leadership of anyone that Scripturally ignorant so as to recommend to the whole church such a heretical puff piece. The pastor later apologized…he had not read it. The ministry leader left and and later, Hatmaker’s heresy became so blatant, she was removed from evangelical circles.

        Reply
  22. From one Shawna to another, this really hit home for me, I felt as though we were having this conversation together and I needed that kick in the butt! So, thank you! I need to adopt this into my life and am excited to get started!

    Reply
  23. I am so glad that I found this site and read your article. We moved from another country 8 years ago and brought everything ie from a needle to a big sofa. Now I like to get rid off some of the things which I haven’t seen since we moved here. It’s not that easy. After reading your article I got the courage and am going to do it. Memory is good, but it shouldn’t be a burden. Thanks again.

    Reply
  24. I’ve always battled the life of too much stuff as well. One trick I found when my kids were growing was to have a large plastic (leaf) bag on one of those metal leaf bag holders and a box next to the bag in an inconspicuous spot to immediately place items for donation. Clothing/fabrics in the bag and dishes, books, toys, etc., in the box. When full, out the door it goes. I’d occasionally walk through my house asking ‘Do I really love/need that?’ and in the bag/box it would go.

    Reply
  25. Wow, wow, wow…I have just (1 week ago) entered this phase of my, otherwise, maximalist life…I am almost 72!..so I guess it’s never too late to ‘flip’!

    Your article described, PERFECTLY, both my mindset and reliance on all my stuff! Even though my journey has just begun I am feeling so uncluttered of mind already.
    And, yes…my biggest regret has to be the money I’ve wasted on all this false sense of security.

    Thanks for your article and well done you!
    Fifi

    Reply
  26. Loved the article and I’m glad I’m not alone although I feel I’m tardy to the party in getting it figured out. I started out with every piece of clothing that came in, a piece needed to be donated or thrown out/repurposed if it wasn’t worthy of donation. Then I continued on from there. I’m a work in progress but it’s all in the journey and I find I learn from those that are in this journey with me!

    Reply
  27. I really liked your way of expressing our “reasons to buy” things that we really don’t like but to fill a space. I look at all these “collectables” that I spent so much on because it was the thing of decorating at the time and now I wonder why did I do that? I’m old now and none of my children are interested in antiques. Thanks for your input.

    Reply
    • A friend and I discussed how our children are not one bit interested in inheriting our china sets, crystal, even silver flatware, nor do they like our furniture. I remember that when I got married, a bride filling up her “hope chest” was the thing to do. Truly, I have only used my china, crystal, and silver a few times in my 47 years of married life!

      Reply
  28. What an awesome article!Telling it like it is.We accumulate things we dont need,we spend to make us feel better etc.Thanks for the eye opener.Have to change my mindset..I have donated a few boxes,but still have a way to go.I have to create my space intentionally!Thanks for the inspiration…one box at a time…

    Reply
  29. We have recently moved across country into a home half the size of our last one. And I have really enjoyed the decluttering we had to do to make the move. It felt really good to see the excess (and there was a lot of it) go to new homes thru several community service organizations in our former town. And it feels better now to be living in an easy care, much less cluttered, and peaceful space. Your article so clearly expressed what I am feeling each time I go thru the house and see only things I really care about. Thank you for a great article.

    Reply
  30. Thanks for the great article! We are in our 6th year of decluttering, so we are taking it much slower than you. We are trying to sell our ‘stuff’ a little at a time. I call it ‘peeling the onion’. It’s funny – some stuff I’m not ready to let go of, and then a year later, I say ‘why am I holding on to this!’

    You have an honest, insightful writing style! Enjoyed the other articles in your blog and look forward to more!

    Reply
  31. Hello Shawna, I have had the “privilege? of having to go thru not only my in laws possessions and home, but my own parents also after they passed. 65 yrs of stuff…. Amazing how that can give a person clarity of what is truly precious as far as keepsakes. My mom kept EVERYTHING! lol.
    My husband and I downsized and pretty much gave away and PURGED! It felt so good and cleansing!
    When we moved to our new little place and my husband built shelves for the entry, we literally had to buy decor items for them. Lol
    Love my clean organized home…. And my children will appreciate us not leaving them a mess to get rid of!

    Reply
  32. Oh my dear, you have such wisdom at your beautiful young age. What a blessing for you! And you’re a very gifted writer. Beautifully written.

    I just finished this journey at age (now) 64. How I wish I had your insight at your age. Like others, we moved across country 2 years ago, and ended up in a home half the size intended. I had already “downsized” for the move. So I thought.

    I was grateful we were just able to shut the door when the moving van left. And my journey began. So many thousands of dollars wasted over the years. So much stuff. I learned to sell at used online shops. And there I saw duplicates of all the things I spent so much $$$ on, for mere pennies on the dollar.

    In addition to decluttering, my eyes were opened to buying pre-used. Rarely will I buy new again.

    As you know, this was all an unexpected life changer. Such freedom and peace.

    I look forward to your articles and podcasts. Blessings to you. And thank you.

    Reply
  33. WOW! I used to (and evidently still) have a bad case of “toss – it resistance” ~ I still have a burgundy leather briefcase that I used in grade school ~ 56 (yes!) ~ years ago. (Oh! Did I mention that I am ridiculously sentimental?) Our 2 sons are 40-ish so I highly doubt they’ll want it or my craft stash, piles of fabric, my collections of ‘stuff’, and so much else (even rocks) that I’m emotionally attached to. The thing is, it’ll be up to them to get rid of the briefcase and all the rest. But if I decide to weed out things by myself, I’ll have to be ruthless. When they come to visit, we ask if they wanted anything ~ from power tools to teacups&saucers ~ neither of them is interested. Then, there’s our good china and silverware, ditto my parents’, plus crystal vases, pickle dishes, stemware, and I can’t forget the silver tea service, chafing dishes, trays etc. that have all been boxed up, sitting on a shelf in the basement and in a terribly tarnished state. Add in all of my collections such as lighthouses, teddy bears, albums, cassettes and CDs of some of the best, most amazing music, the type that is so beautiful you can’t help but cry… I lost my Dad 4 years ago in May; alot of the music belonged to him and he’d tell me many stories that corresponded with some of the tunes… I haven’t listened to any music since then… it hurts so, so, so much …
    Back to the topic of tossing ~ my cousins, a niece and my girlfriends have their own stuff to get rid of — they don’t want mine!!
    I’ve also had to forgive myself for occasionally purging a little too deeply and thought later that I should’ve kept this or that but, at the time, I didn’t need/want/have room for something; in retrospect I wish I still owned what was tossed. Too late now!
    I’m really embarrassed and very sorry for the length of this post/novel/quasi autobiography… I often get so involved in the subject at hand that I sometimes feel compelled to add my thoughts or opinions on said topic — obviously, I’m quite passionate about ‘stuff’ and what to with it all when the time is right. I think ‘donate’ will be the solution to just about all of my issues…
    Please feel free to edit or toss (!) whatever doesn’t sit right. The people who know me are familiar with my style of writing ~ what’s on my mind is written onto paper, typed onto a screen always with passion, sensitivity and with the hope of helping someone through my words and a big virtual hug to boot! Thanks so much for YOUR words Shawna ~ very insightful, impressive and true to your cause no matter the subject. I’ve tried to keep on top of your posts and comments and look forward to discovering more! I am truly grateful!

    Linda
    Ottawa, Ontario,
    Canada
    16-2-2023

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing Linda, and I want to tell you that you aren’t alone. I have these conversations with people all the time. And I feel for this generation of people like yourself who are holding all the heirlooms. Because that is the culture we had for so long, to collect and pass down. And it seems this culture is shifting – so what is left to do with all the china and figurines and CDs/tapes/books that we have been charged with.
      I find most people become a glorified storage unit of items they constantly feel guilty over not using and keeping boxed up, collecting dust .

      I think a helpful question can be to ask yourself, “if I have these items as a way to honour my loved one, how can I best do that?”

      You might get creative with donating china to a local seniors home or coffee shop to be used by many.
      You may donate items to a care home for people in the home who don’t have personal items to adorn their space.
      You might wish to let go of most things and display and make use of a few things that you love the most.
      The guilt and wondering is part of the process, and making peace with the sense of loss you will feel because you have tied that person to that object and so it is inevitable that you will feel that.

      While objects can be sentimental and we can get a lot of value from displaying sentimental things and using them, we only have so much space and we can make choices over what is the most meaningful thing to keep from them. You can still honour them and their memory separate from their stuff.

      Hope this helps

      Reply
  34. This is so real. I love your stories.
    It’s so true. We try and fill our home with things that are voiding in our lives.
    I did a complete renovation in our home and I can’t tell you the things I got rid of.
    Today I still look for things, but the only difference is when I’m looking I say to myself. Will that end up in a garage sale next year if I say yes I do not purchase it.
    I fell this had helped me so much.
    Love your stories.

    Reply
  35. Thank you for writing this. I’m getting rid of my “stuff” and the shame and guilt is almost crippling.
    I haven’t read your entire article; it hit too close to home.
    I will read pieces as I watch all the “stuff” I wasted money and time on goes out my door.
    Thank you again.

    Reply
  36. Shawna, thank you so much for your frank and thoughtful article! It just so happens that before I found your article that I have been in the process of getting rid of so much stuff. Just putting it together is so relieving and convicting. I have been very bad about thinking I’ll use it again someday. Unfortunately, my son has in the past when I started to try to do this, because he holds onto things worse than I do, would advise me to keep all of it. Not this time. I am giving and throwing it away. Thank you again for so much insight!

    Reply
  37. Interesting piece, contrasted sharply by all of the ads selling STUFF interspersed with your thoughts. More than a bit ironic.

    Reply
  38. This was very insightful and inspiring. Iv called myself a hoarder for years moving things from one space to another and in the process having an enormous keep pile, smaller charity shop pile and a tiny garbage pile! You have made me realise why I struggle to clear some clutter and also understand that it’s normal to struggle as it’s not just a simple “I don’t need this anymore” process. Thank you so much for writing this and I’ll be sure to check out more of your articles

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for sharing Karen! You are right, it is not a straightforward process to just ‘get rid’ of things. There are so many layers and attachments and fears. Start with low hanging fruit!

      Reply
  39. Wow! You had too much stuff. I declutter each spring that way I am not overwhelm. But I realise that so many time I give stuff anway and than I need it and have to buy it again. frustrating. So, when I want to get rid of stuff I put in basement in a bin and wait a few more years,eventually I give it to the poor. It seems to work for me. Out of my way. Since Covid the world is falling apart and everything is so much more expensive. Think twice before buying, even food, how can you get cheep stuff. Homestead, save money. Good luck with this crazy world.

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  40. This article was great! I retired 2 years ago and my retirement goal was to declutter my home, well life got in the way. I just started the decluttering process. I’m gonna do one room at a time, including my attic. I already have my half of the garage full of “stuff” and a section of the attic with more “stuff”. I still have more work/rooms to do. I know it’ll be extra work but I plan on having a very large tag sale in the spring to sell what I no longer need/want. It feels great to get some money for what I no longer need. What I don’t sell I donate or bring to the dump. I also stay away from the malls and stores, unless I have a list & stick to that list, so I don’t feel the need to buy.😀

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  41. Great read and kudos to you for doing what you did. I just read a very short article in the newspaper that is the “new” way to declutter. Basically you pick something up and ask yourself “if this item spontaneously combusted, would I replace it?” If the answer is no, get rid of it! I told my husband about the article but assured him that if HE spontaneously combusted, I would not replace him because he is irreplaceable. 😁❤️ His reply was more or less 👌but looking back at the conversation now, I realize he never said what his actions would be if the tables were turned…hmmm….

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  42. Great comments. Thank you for the enthusiasm and encouragement.
    I have stuff that belonged to my late Mother, my late Mother-in-law, stuff that belongs to my brother (wherever he is). Too much. It is daunting to think that Mum has been gone almost 14 years and still we have stuff in boxes, photos that came off the wall in her home in boxes.
    I am a procrastinator and think that I will get onto the cleanout tomorrow, but tomorrow never arrives as there is always something else to be done.
    During the three years of Covid and various Covid lockdowns in New Zealand, I shifted an RSA office home and worked from my kitchen table (I am a volunteer at a Returned Services Assn as well as working 50 hrs + per week). Still doing so. Hard to make the move back to where the stuff should be. Would like my table back (I can see the legs just not the top).
    I will attempt to take up the various suggestions and get on top of stuff. Small baby steps first, but not a marathon.
    Thanks, Marian

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  43. This is the 21st house I’ve lived in just since I got married. You’d think that I wouldn’t have much clutter having had so many chances to clean out the closets and drawers. Wrong! It seems that I take my roots with me. Since the last two cross-country moves were to smaller houses (and since we procrastinated) we tried not to bring all our stuff, but what we did bring was the wrong stuff! We brought the 17 year old follow up care papers from our son’s trip to the emergency room (in a box with some very old tax returns) and forgot all about the stuff in the attic, the Christmas decorations, etc.! The second move was worse! Would’ve, could’ve , should’ve, the most useless words in the English language.
    Thank God for second chances!! I can do some decluttering as I unpack and put stuff we don’t use straight into a donate box instead of crammed into a cupboard (only to be moved again) and put the junk that can’t be donated (if I wouldn’t buy it why would anyone else?) straight into the trash.
    Baby steps. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

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  44. Your article couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’m in a 5 year time horizon til retirement. As I’ve started my journey to declutter I’ve often asked myself why can’t I keep all this stuff off my dining room table, out of my closets, etc. and you hit the nail on the head, it’s complacency! When I read that, it was as though a big light went off in my head.

    I’ve become much better at decluttering but have a long way to go and will no longer be stuck in life but have committed to make every moment count! Thanks for a great article about moving forward in all areas of life!

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