The Why: Today's task is as much a celebration as it is a chore. In the last 55 days of decluttering we have made a huge stack of empty totes, bins, and organizers in our basement.
Minimalism is turning all those storage solutions that we thought would fix our clutter problems into clutter!
The How: I am keeping a few favourite baskets until we are done decluttering/reorganizing because I may find that a certain basket is useful in a place I haven't dealt with just yet. I'm also keeping some large totes because they make for a great place to brood baby chickens (if you don't know what I'm talking about, that's okay) but for the most part, these things can go. I can't believe that just 2 months ago we had enough stuff to fill all of these baskets and totes and bags and bins!
I'm giving away some of these things to friends on facebook and I'm packing up our thrift store donations in reusable bins, the thrift store can either sell the bins or use them!
We talked about saving the bins until we move, but there isn't a move on our immediate horizon and free cardboard boxes are easy enough to come by.
The Verdict: This just makes me smile. It feels like a reason to celebrate. I no longer stroll through stores looking for clever ways to stash my stuff. Our closets have tons of room because they aren't filled with things that add nothing to our life. I am loving how much easier it is to keep our spaces tidy and organized with less stuff. Hooray!
Plus, I feel a little bit like we're "sticking it to the man", so to speak. We are solving our clutter problem without making a trip to a fancy home store or buying the latest clever storage solution. We're learning that the answer to a more peaceful, cozy, welcoming home is not about having the right stuff, but less stuff.
What about you guys? I know many of you are following along, radically minimizing your own belongings as well. Do you have a pile of totes and storage devices that are evidence of how far you've come? Are you finding your home easier to keep tidy and organized with less stuff around?
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I'm doing the SAME EXACT THING today!! We are donating ours to our neighborhood elementary school. Teachers love bins and totes. I just can't believe I had STUFF in all those bins. I will be keeping two big bins to grow some potatoes next Spring, but the rest is going. Oh happy day!ReplyDelete
I wish this was me! Any advice on dealing with a husband who loves his "stuff" and won't let go?? We're like night and day on the topic of decluttering!ReplyDelete
I was just about to request an article addressing this SAME topic. It's hard when a team is not on the same page.Delete
My husband really started out like this. He was very uneasy when I told him I wanted to follow along and start decluttering. He dug in his heals and didnt play along. So, I just did it on my own stuff, and he slowly followed suit. I tried not to push, just lived by example. Then, magically...He came to me one night and said "Will you help me go through my closet, I want to get rid of everything...like you did!" I don't know if this will work for you, but maybe it will. Best of luck to you both!!!Delete
amanda, thats pretty much how it went in my house. all his belongings were precious and to be left alone so i went ahead and did all the rest. only took a few days and all of a sudden his precious belongings were in his way, who did i think he should give it all to?Delete
just leave it elleen and i'm sure he will soon follow by example. :)
My husband isn't fantastic about getting rid of certain items, particularly when it comes to electronics (he builds computers/tinkers as a hobby). When I started to go through and ditch many of my items in order to get ready for the impending baby, suddenly he was on board! I was so thankful. As he has gotten involved it has made it much easier to get things done. So my advice would be to continue to lead by example! He will follow along :)Delete
My husband has dug in some. Things I use daily (like kitchen flotsam), was up for grabs on the decluttering, but anything he used (like the mostly unused microwave the DVD cases) could not be touched. We are slowly getting there though one project at a time. :)Delete
Brittny, what did you do with the DVD's that the cases were empty?Delete
We went and bought 2 of those binders that have the cd holder slots. We went from using an entire book case plus two baskets for DVDs and TV series to fitting all the TV series and the 2 not full DVD binders onto the book case and it doesn't even take up half the book case. My hubby is still trying to convince me to go completly digital, but I like being able to take my DVDs anywhere and most likely be able to play them. Most places just aren't digital copy friendly yet.Delete
Good one! How does that work with little kids? We have a "built in" DVD/VHS bookshelf thing that I made but I think our movies mate when I leave the house. It's ridiculous. My hubs is trying to do digital too but legally you still have to keep the hard copy (storage bins in the attic I guess!) He's all talking about getting terrabytes and stuff. I just nod rhythmically ;)Delete
I've been decluttering my wardrobe and clothing in general. Over the years I've kept a load of suitcases, holdalls, and bags for me to transport all said clothes in because I move a fair bit. Now, because I'm getting rid of up to half of my clothing, I don't have to keep all those suitcases and bags anymore. Woot! Also managing to empty plastic crates because I don't need to store anything in them! Happy days.ReplyDelete
Well done on coming so far so quickly!
Linda @ makingthingsbeautifulagain.blogspot.co.uk
It's funny because we moved to a MUCH bigger house 2 years ago and I find that since moving, we have more empty storage boxes than ever! Funny that having more space inspires us to unload! I guess I'm backwards ;)ReplyDelete
Ha! is right! :) We've been emptying bins/boxes as well - not sure what we'll do with them yet. Lately, I see those "organizing" sites where they show "organized" spaces, full of cute bins to hold all their stuff - well, all I can think is "or you could get rid of a bunch of that and you wouldn't need so many cute bins to hold everything!"ReplyDelete
Hangars! I have TONS of hangars! Don't need em anymore! yay!ReplyDelete
In addition to the bins and baskets- I also am finding I now have empty drawers, shelves and cabinets! A year ago I thought I needed a bigger house....guess I didnt, just less crap!ReplyDelete
I am just finding this whole blog so inspiring. It has helped me solidify my decision to be a stay at home mom with my 4 month old baby girl... instead of thinking I need to work outside the home so we can have newer cars, more stuff, and go on vacations. I'm also surprised how liberating it is to think: "I don't need that!" or "I don't want anything for my birthday!" Thank you for the ongoing inspiration.ReplyDelete
My husband and I have a long way to go, with what progress we've made so far, I am finding it easier to clean. I feel almost excited about cleaning because I know I have less to put away and tidy. BUT . . . Being the holiday lover I am I have a bunch of totes and boxes full of decorations that I am dreading and excited to open in the next couple months. I'm sure you have this post planned and i'm on the edge of my seat waiting for it.ReplyDelete
I wish I lived near you. My husband and I got married about a year ago and had pretty much nothing (we're both kind of minimalists so we still don't really have anything), but we actually need some storage stuff to hold a few out-of-season things. I could totally use some of those bins! ha!ReplyDelete
Actually, right after I posted this, a local friend of mine contacted me about some friends of hers who are moving across country and could really use the bins...so the bins are going to a good home!Delete
I'm glad you made this point though - chances are if I just kept them I'd feel the need to find something to fill them with :)ReplyDelete
I dream for the day I have 10 less boxes/totes to store in our basement/guest room!
Our Front Porch View: The Story of a Young Families Pursuit to a Simpler Life
This is such a lesson to me, as I swing by the store every 6 months or so to buy another bin these days... sigh! And I would say "life with kids, right?" but you have proven me wrong on that count. Thankfully, my use for one of the bins is that I am finally starting a toy library (a la "Simplicity Parenting"), so at least that's a good reason to need somewhere to put extras!ReplyDelete
I'm just getting started on simplifying my life, and I relish teh day I have to get rid of storage containers! Thank you so, so much for this blog; it has been instrumental in convincing myself that I can change.ReplyDelete
I have to comment now. It's time.ReplyDelete
I LOVE this blog!!! I anticipate every post you write.
I am an 'organization' freak. I love to minimalize and organize and breathe easy. I've always lived in small homes, and currently live in a 3 bedroom townhouse with my man and 3 children. I doubt it is more than 1000 square feet. That doesn't seem so bad, and it isn't, but the kids are getting older and want more space. (11, 9 & 6)More room for them to play with their favorite toys if insignificant ones are not cluttering all the space, huh.
My kitchen is really small and I cook every meal and we love coffee, so we kinda try to make it appear as a cafe styled kitchen. With all the gadgets, which also need to minimized.
When you wrote your kitchen post, I had goosbumps. Last weekend I tackled my kitchen. I'm not done yet, but I got rid of a lot of stuff already. My basement is used for storage, laundry, exercising, and a playroom. There is no way we can do all of those things. So I have to get rid of the storage. We're not having any more kids, so why store clothes? (except for winter boots and snowsuits of course, since we live in canada). Oh, my pantry is also downstairs because of the small kitchen, and a ton of tools because my man loves his tools. We have no garage. So much work yet to be done, and it seems like I am forever organizing and re-stacking my "stuff" in new containers and what-not, to keep it neat. You hit it on the nose today with just getting rid of it, not looking for better containers to keep it in.
I sooo love this blog.
I LOVE this!! Organizational goodies are one of my biggest pet peeves....I get aggravated just thinking about it. (How is buying MORE stuff helping you with your overwhelming amounts of stuff?)ReplyDelete
I love that you've turned it into a celebration; a sign of how far you've come. Thanks for the inspiration!
I love love love what you're doing with this. I check your blog several times every morning, waiting for your "post of the day". I get a great deal of satisfaction when I see empty tubs and boxes. We moved into our new house in January of 2011, and there were several boxes that were still packed. Recently, I unpacked all the boxes that were still in the house (with the exception of the basement). I also told myself beforehand that I knew I hadn't even looked at that stuff in almost two years, and the majority of it went to the Good Samaritan. Thanks for inspiring me to rid myself of things my family doesn't need. First, we're starting with the stress that comes from overspending constantly. Check out my blog if you have a moment!ReplyDelete
I have been clearing things out little by little, and I went through my teaching boxes a couple of weeks ago. When I realized I didn't need to keep fifteen binders full of blackline masters and recycled them all, leaving me with an empty box, it really *was* a fantastic feeling. I can't imagine having several empty boxes! I've been thinking about my old schoolwork box. I've got projects in there from Grade 8...and I finished university 8 years ago. I guess I really don't need my 2nd year essay on the fall of the Soviet Union...I'd love to find me another empty tote!ReplyDelete
I still have so far to go, but I can see major progress. Even though our garage is still a nightmare, I still go out there sometimes just to look at how much better it is getting and I can almost see how it will look soon! I also have a huge pile of bins and totes. I've returned some to the store, given others away and are keeping some since I have so much more work to do. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyDelete
What do you do about a 9 year old that has panic attacks almost when you talk about thinning her stuffed animal collection? My 6 year and 4 yr old dont have a problem getting rid of items but my 9 yr old, WOW. My 18 month old loves throwing things away so I don't think we will have a problem with her hoarding anything. lol Great Job!ReplyDelete
Does she have problems with everything, or just her stuffed animals? If she doesn't mind getting rid of other things, maybe you could start thinning out that stuff first. Then, as she builds her confidence, move on to her stuffed animals later.Delete
Or, you could have her get rid of one stuffed animal per week, month, whatever time frame she can handle. Talk to her about why she loves her stuffed animals. The memories of who gave them to her? What she was doing when she got them? The memories associated with items make a bond that is sometimes too hard for people to think about letting go. Maybe you can help her realize the memories of those experiences won't disappear because she gets rid of the stuffed animal.
You could also get her a little photo album to put in pictures of the stuffed animals she does give away. Maybe write the memories associated with them beside the photo? That way she still has a memento of the item, but it doesn't take up so much space.
Maybe when she is able to handle giving a few away at a time, you could go with her to donate them to a children's charity/shelter/ministry. That way she knows her beloved stuffed animals will get new homes with other loving children.
Once again, I so admire your energy! :) Can't believe how much you get done.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing.
I have been getting it DONE! I feel so blessed to just a month or so ago have stumbled upon this blog and other "Simple Living" blogs. My hubby and I live in a 2-bedroom apartment and have obviously collected too many items. So we're downsizing and I think I have 6 or so totes that are empty, 7 jeep loads full of donations, 14 bags of shreeded documents we no longer need to store and a heart and mind that feel so less weighted. Thank you for your inspiration! Now we feel confident to move on and have kids without the desire to accumulate what we don't need. We're excited to live in a much smaller place than we would have imagined and have only things that are beautiful or functional surrounding us. Our memories have so much more to do with what we do than what we own :)ReplyDelete
You know what? For as long as I can remember, I've thought storage containers stacked to the ceiling are at the most just a place to "neatly" hoard. If you can't see it and aren't using it, why keep it? Maybe 1 or 2 for seasonal stuff but last year, the only decorating I did for Christmas is a small tree that is out ALL year (decorated with bird nest and bird houses) and a very special nativity. Stuff is something I definately am trying to eliminate from Christmas. (That's a future blog post for you, I'm sure!)ReplyDelete
I'm certain you are relieved!! Good for you!
Kelly, I've been hanging out here for awhile, such great stuff, LOVE following your adventure~!oxoxReplyDelete
I just did my craft stuff this week, and have now added several storage bins to the ever growing stack in our office. I think I may use some of them instead of cardboard boxes for the extra kitchen stuff we decided to part with, but are going store for a couple more months incase any of our younger siblings decide to move out at 18/need when they leave for college next year.ReplyDelete
My hubby hurt his ankle a couple weeks ago, so while I have still been going through and "clearing" stuff out, it's all kind of sitting in piles waiting to go to storage/thrift store/large recycle bin as I have no one to help me haul it all down three flights of stairs... It's starting to drive me a little crazy.
Must be ankle season. My hubby hurt his a couple of weeks ago too and is stuck at home for now ;)Delete
I can't wait to get to this point! I am currently trying to figure out which totes to keep, and which to toss. I want to keep several, because I seem to move every 12-18 months, sometimes placing my belongings in storage for a few weeks because of travel logistics. I love my totes for my clothing and beddings, because I know they will stay dry and free from bugs, and I don't mind storing them, but I relish the day I can!ReplyDelete
Love this! I used to love, not so much the "organizing tools", but reading books on clutter and home organizing. It's amazing how the realization that getting rid of the excess eliminates your need for either.ReplyDelete
P.S. Since reducing my possessions over the last 6-8 months (not done yet, but a vast improvement anyway), I've taken most of my clutter books to the used bookstore. Let the organizing gurus help someone else - I've found my solution! LESS STUFF.
My blog is www.minimalistmuslimah.blogspot.com.Delete