I always thought de-cluttering would be easy to do before a big move. When faced with lugging things across the country — or even across the city! — it’s easy to decide what matters and what doesn’t.
Oops. Oops times two.
When I graduated and took my first job after college, I did some de-cluttering of the biggest things. (My dear friend Erin will remember the Great Desk Discard of 2009. There was no way it would fit into her SUV, so it was a necessary goodbye.) But the little things, like paperwork and mementos and books and random barrettes and headbands . . . they all, for better or for worse, came with me. Between the end of one lease and the start of another, I simply did not make the time to sort through it.
I faced a similar obstacle when I moved about a year ago. I was planning a wedding, so I just threw everything into a cube and sent it to its destination. Some boxes I just never unpacked. Regrets, regrets. I still have things that should never have come with me.
So when I saw Jenna’s decluttering experiment, as well as Jess’s, I was inspired. Jess got rid of 100 things, and Jenna is getting rid of 112 (for 01/2012, love that). I saw their posts last week, but thought I should save the stuff-purging for the weekend. I thought I’d need plenty of time, because 100 things seemed like a lot of things.
How wrong I was. The whole process, including photographing, only took one hour. That’s how easy it was to find things I no longer need!
What did I do with all of it? Some things went to Goodwill. Some went to the recycling center. Much of it went straight to the trash. All told, I was able to unpack several boxes I didn’t even remember packing. One box I’d packed before college graduation and had not touched since.
Greater still, I could have continued far past 112. I plan to do this again, once each month. Stuff adds up, friends. Stuff just adds up. And I crave a life focused on people, not things.
1. Tree topper
2. Sweatpants that no longer fit
3. Re-usable grocery bag with a broken handle
4 & 5. Bent-out-of-shape dry cleaner hangers
6 & 7. Empty oatmeal canisters . . . thought I would use them for a craft?
8. Cracked plastic storage bin
10, 11, 12 & 13. Stretched hair ties
14. Suction cup hook
15. 2011 calendar
16. Gift card holder (kept the gift card, obviously)
17. Letter opener
18. Falling apart shoes
19, 20 & 21. Old prescription medicines for illnesses I don’t remember having
22, 23, 24 & 25. Belts and scarves I no longer wear
26. Presentation folder
27. Gift wrapping ribbon
28 – 49. Old cards, notecards, mementos (ones without a message inside . . . I keep the ones with messages)
50 – 108. Folders, papers, notebooks from school classes, old mail, rent receipts from three apartments ago, copies of client paperwork, etc. etc. etc.
109, 110, 111 & 112. Magazines from 2010
Jenna and Jess, thanks for the motivation!