Yes, decluttering is the talk of the town, with that Marie Kondo book (or “konmari method,” if you will) going around, having people fold their underwear in a vertical manner and thank each item before discarding it.
I live with a man who likes to keep useful things and two small children that show suspicious signs of his tendencies. And yeah, I am not exactly a minimalist (but I see nothing wrong with holding on to some tiny German plastic toy that my girlfriend sent me in college, right?).
Plus, decluttering is hard. I can get so hung up on all the different possible categories: trash, recycle, donate, sell, donate to the kid’s thrift store at the library, consign.
Exhausted just reading that, right? Whatever happened to “trash or donate”?
Somehow, I got over it. C took the kids sledding last weekend and I took the opportunity (it was a short one, due to a minor sledding crash that upset one participant) to lug out of the basement all the many half-sorted boxes of crap I’ve kind of gone through over the past few months.
My living floor covered, I quickly repacked the stuff into boxes, labeled them, and set them aside. Half were for general donation, half were for the kids’ thrift store.
I really like the kids’ thrift store (a store selling the second-hand kid and maternity stuff, games and gear and clothes, and it benefits a branch library and helps keep it open) but it is hard to donate there. The store has limited hours, and parking is tough, and if you have to donate more than two boxes of stuff, it’s a challenge.
I rethought my plan. Let it go, let it go. I get cards from different organizations that pick up donations, and I chose the Epilepsy Foundation (disclosure: I don’t know why I chose them except I could see on their site they have an actual thrift store I’ve heard of). Also, hey, it’s a good cause.
AND, they’re coming here to pick this stuff up. I don’t have to load it into my trunk and drive around with it for eight months until a parking spot at the library or Goodwill opens up. I don’t have to haul it anywhere except outside my door.
I’ve culled the kitchen drawers, my closet (already pretty lean because of a recent clothing donation), the kids’ closet (ditto), and the basement several more times. I didn’t come up with much after the first go-round, maybe one more box of stuff. I went through bookshelves and everything. Our living space is pretty culled; it was the basement that needed a clean-out.
What’s left down there is stuff to throw out –boxes of papers and preschool art and that sort of thing — and “storage” stuff like holiday decorations and family heirlooms (the kind best packed away right now, since our apartment is small) and such.
I can’t wait to go through that stuff and trash/recycle as much as I can.
Oh, and bonus, I found a few things I’ve decided to sell instead of donate, and I realized that I could get credit for the books at our local Book Rack instead of donating them, so that’s another win (because the kids love that place).
Getting rid of stuff feels great. Of course, our living space still seems full of toys and Sunday paper and toothbrushes in the bathroom and all the snacks on the pantry counter and ALL THE SCHOOL PAPERS (WHAT THE HELL, SCHOOL, HOW MANY UNDONE WORD SEARCHES AND COLORING PAGES MUST YOU SEND HOME WITH MY KINDERGARTNER).