Over the last few months I have been getting rid of so many things, mostly books and clothes. I decided to declutter my life for a few reasons:
- I counted the number of books I owned that I had not read yet and did the math against the average number of books I read a year. It would have taken me 3-4 years at my current reading pace (which is a lot) just to finish the books on my shelf, not even including my library books or books on my Kindle (which is also a lot).
- I had this conversation with my mom about a Tiny Homes episode she watched where everyone in the family received a crate and that was all they could take to the new house.
- I found out that my older cousin and her husband decided to sell their house, buy and Airstream and a truck, sell their stuff and travel the country while working remotely.
So I started thinking, what if I only had a crate or what if we were moving into a camper, what would I take? It sure wasn’t hundreds of books and t-shirts. I mean I am a major book nerd, but my Kindle can hold thousands of books easily.
My first step was clothes. I went through t-shirts, delicates, shorts, the whole gambit. I automatically threw out or gave away anything with holes and almost anything that was more than 5 years old. I also got rid of a ton of race t-shirts. I mean I love running and races but half the time the shirts fit awkward or don’t look that cool.
Then I separated everything into four piles: I love this, I care about this but I don’t wear it (concert tees or volleyball shirts), I like this, and I didn’t even know I owned this. The I love this pile went right back into the dresser, it was actually a fairly small pile comparatively. The I didn’t even know I owned this pile went right to Goodwill. I took a hard look at the I like this pile and decided to keep half of it (probably ended up closer to keeping three quarters of it).
My second step was books. I have SO MANY books. For me, finding bookstores and buying books is like an addiction. I just love searching through stores and the feel of books in my hand. But as one of my good friends commented “it confuses me that you collect things that collect dust.” Now, obviously I don’t quite feel the same way on that but it was an interesting theory. I organized my books similarly. Anything that had been on my shelf for more than two years went directly into the box to sell. And the process went on.
I ended up being able to get rid of two full book cases of books (I still have four).
The weird thing is, I am now going through that same process again. Because those books or clothes that were in the I like pile have probably now been demoted. And some of the items in the I love this pile are now just in the I like this pile.
Dan and I have also tackled several closets, the basement, and our garage in a similar fashion. And while I find it very stressful (I like my things and I like them how they are) and the process may have induced several panic attacks, in the end it feels good to have fewer things around the house.
As I was struggling through this I had to realize that it isn’t necessarily the item itself that holds meaning, but the memory. So keeping a book I really enjoyed but would never read again was basically useless. Same with the race or sports shirts. I like them because they remind me of a fun memory, but the memory itself is not ingrained in that shirt. If I give it away, the memory is still there and I have one less thing in my dresser.
Maybe this makes me crazy, but I can definitely say that my stress levels have gone down by getting rid of items. The challenge now, is not to keep acquiring items and fill everything back up!
Do you have a good story on decluttering? or any advice? Comment below!