It's done! I've officially Konmari'd the ____ out of our house. This is a very, very good day and a long time coming -- I'm so happy to be done!
It took NINE MONTHS. I did finish a kitchen renovation in that time, but still, nine months. I started reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up last August:
I talked about how it started to change my mindset here -- this book has totally changed my life. I thought I was good at letting go of things, but after reading this I realized I really wasn't good at all.
I still had this inexplicable thing holding me back from truly getting rid of all the crap. My mindset before was...I bought it to redo it, I bought it on sale, I spent a lot of money on it, someone gave it to me, someday when I finish ____ this item will be good there, it needs to be fixed and then we can use it, someday this might be back in style, I made this myself, if I can find the cord that charges it I'll be able to use it, it may fit again someday, I haven't read it yet (but had it for years)…on and on and on.
When you approach decluttering this way you'll hit the surface and that's it. It will still make you feel good, don't get me wrong. But the stuff will come back.
This book freed me. I don't say that lightly. Now the only things I ask myself are but do we LOVE it and do we USE it. That's it. Nothing else. And I don't ask myself what I need to get rid of, but instead, what do I want to keep? That is HUGE for me and one of the parts that really stuck out to me. I've let go of the guilt of getting rid of something I spent money on -- because how I am honoring that money by having it sit on a shelf forever? Passing it on to someone who will love it actually makes me so happy now. I've let go of that guilt completely.
I still understand the value of things of course -- probably more than before. I buy a lot less than I used to. I don't buy something unless I am head over heels in love with it and know exactly what I will do with it or where it will go. I used to buy things and they would sometimes sit for a very long time in my trunk or in a pile or on a shelf and I've realized if I really, really loved those things I would have made a place for them immediately.
The SUV was filled so many times I lost track:
Some items were donated, some went to consignment (I've already made $50 in less than a week), some went to my sister, some went to a local shelter, some went to their homes (Nerf guns), some were returned (hundreds of dollars back). Some I sold on Facebook to friends, some I threw away (not much).
Bottom line -- it is all OUT OF MY HOUSE. Every trip with a carload full lightened our home tremendously. I couldn't get things out of our house fast enough.
My recommendation if you want to read this book is to start when you know you'll have time. It will make you want to tear through your home. And if you're like me you'll laugh when she says it will take six months -- "Haha! I'm no rookie! Two weeks max!" And nine months later you'll be like, dang man, that took forever.
Funny thing is I'm still not done with the book! The end focuses more on how to organize what you have left and I'll show you how I'm organizing things later. My focus has been on purging. I feel like I'm pretty good at the organizing thing already but I'm interested to hear what she has to say.
The biggest tip I've taken away from Marie Kondo's book is to gather all like items in one spot. Sometimes this is a major pain and labor intensive, and I didn't always do that. But most of the time I did and it works. The reason? Because you see the sheer number of similar items you have and you realize how ridiculous it is that you have 329 markers:
This is the part I find quite relaxing and cathartic. I sorted through them, got rid of half and only kept those that worked perfectly.
I did the same with pens and pencils:
We had a stupid amount of pens and pencils. If a pencil was missing an eraser it was gone. Before I would have kept it because I'd think -- I can go buy an eraser to put on the end and then use it! But that little thing was never high on the priority list so the unusable pencil would continue to sit there. And then I'd finally buy a package of erasers and then I'm bringing more stuff into my house when I already have 50 perfectly good pencils to use! That's how my mind used to work.
And who needs this many candles?:
You know what's funny? I only burn maybe two candles in our house. I don't burn them often because I worry about our cats knocking into them. So why did I have so many?? I kept the ones I LOVED, which was maybe a third of them. I don't need to buy another candle for about ten years.
You know how when you're not organized you go out and buy more of something that you already have?:
I wonder how much we spent on extension cords over the years? Gah. This is the stuff that makes me kick myself. I kept the cords for the Christmas trees, two surge protectors, one long extension cord and one short one. That's it.
After all was said and done we had empty shelves:
And soooo many empty drawers:
And I'm not filling them. Having empty shelves and drawers is like letting the house breathe -- it feels good. NOW maybe I can finally paint that nightstand. ;)
Here's the thing. I don't ever plan on doing this again. Ever ever ever. I don't want to ever take weeks or months to purge the house again. As much as I love the feeling, I'm done. Obviously I'll have to keep up with things but it will be constant and not nearly the amount of work this was. So far so good -- I've been so deliberate with what I've brought into the house over the last nine months I don't think this will be difficult. I'll let you know how it goes!
One thing I know for sure…our house has never been easier to keep clean. In 12 years it's never been like this. It's been a slow change over this process but every week I noticed it more and more. Our kitchen island used to be covered with stuff every single day. Or the kitchen table. Or the nightstands. And I would clear them off and do it all over again. It still happens occasionally but it's rare -- like this week for example. It was the last week of school so the number of items coming home in the backpack were insane. The kitchen table was covered for a couple days but because of how I approach STUFF now it doesn't stress me out as much and it was much easier to clean up.
I think that is the very best part. I've NEVER enjoyed our house more than I have lately. Having only things we love and use makes life simpler and sweeter. Have you read this book and what did you think of the process?
Also, check out how I've cut down on the mail and paper coming into our home! This has helped tremendously:
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