House Post: Decluttering

We have a large (almost 3,000sf) house and we are both packrats, which means that staying on top of “stuff” is a constant battle. The longer I work in museums, the more I want to throw everything in my house away and live like a monk. (Except for books.)

Last year, I did a February decluttering challenge that worked very well, and this year I’m going to repeat it. For each day in February, I’ll remove (or flag for removal via a planned yard sale this summer) an item from my house. Sometimes that will mean throwing things away; sometimes, recycling; sometimes, donating; sometimes, finding a new home with a friend.

If I stay on target, that will be 435 items total. What worked well last year was to get ahead a bit – on weekends or days with more time, I would cross off days in advance, so that I don’t arrive at, say, February 26 on a Wednesday in the middle of a busy week and panic because I have a LOT of stuff to get out on that day.

I don’t follow a particular method – I never got into the Marie Kondo stuff, and I’m acutely aware that for me personally, true minimalism doesn’t work. I do still like stuff, and I don’t feel a whole lot of guilt over that. I just need to get better about not keeping ALL of it because I have so much storage space. Last year, we unpacked a few boxes left over from moving and one of them was just full of random smaller empty boxes. Yikes.

I also read this article recently and it’s been bouncing around my brain: The empty promises of minimalism. So, you know, I don’t believe in “minimalism” as some kind of cure-all for modern life, nor am I touting decluttering as what will fix the over-stuffed nature of my own brain. But I do also know that a neater, more organized space helps me feel more productive and settled, so I will do what I can to advance that.

This weekend, my husband has been traveling, which means I’ve started with a bang and already crossed off several days!


One thought on “House Post: Decluttering

  1. I relate to this so much: “I do still like stuff, and I don’t feel a whole lot of guilt over that.”

    I have a lot of stuff, and I feel like I’m constantly trying to weed and thin it out. But I like my stuff, and don’t want to regret getting rid of things that I actually do enjoy.
    I’ve been working this winter on organizing (which does lead to getting rid of things!) one section of stuff at a time. I did sweaters already, and am working on shoes right now. Next up is the junk pile that’s accumulated in the living room…


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