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A Few Things I Learned While Nesting, Purging and Streamlining

boxes

With my obsessive nesting nearly complete I stepped back last night to reflect on my decluttering, purging, streamlining process. I actually learned quite a bit about myself from this experience.

  1. Over the years we’ve bought a lot of stuff we just don’t need. The amount of wasted money made me sick to stomach. How many items did I find that were rarely if ever used? Way too many! I’ve gotten much better about not buying unnecessary stuff over the years, but this big dig was a great reminder that I don’t want ever want to revert to buying things that we won’t really use. I will be much more careful about future purchases!
  2. Unwanted gifts will no longer be kept in our house. I love all my friends and family, but I will not hold onto something just because someone else bought it for me. That sounds rather heartless but I don’t want to keep unwanted items just to spare a family member’s feelings.
  3. When I got married I registered incorrectly for a life I don’t have and don’t particularly want to live. Fine china, silver serving platters and glass vases are all taking up space in my very fancy china cabinet. China that has only been used two times in ten years!
  4. Having kids changed my priorities. These days the focus is on things that can’t be broken or destroyed when dropped or colored on. I don’t want to buy anything that doesn’t meet this criteria.
  5. What goes on sale today will probably go on sale again a day, week or month from now. Stocking up on clothes and toys is often unnecessary and an utter pain to store, organize and keep track of.
  6. Moving stuff to the basement is rarely a good idea. Odds are if I don’t need it right now I won’t need it at any point in the future. The majority of books, knickknacks and other items that made their way into the basement never returned to see the light of day. It was a waste of energy to move them from point A to point B only to remove them entirely from my home a few months or years later. Next time they head straight out the door.
  7. Books are a huge waste of money if I never find the time to read them. I am not allowed to bring any new books into the house until I read the ones I already own. After I read them I will pass them on to someone else. I almost never read the same book more than one time so why on earth am I putting them on a bookshelf for later.
  8. I shouldn’t be afraid to purge things I’m not using. Looking over the large bins of clothing in our basement I now wonder if our next child will wear any of the items I stored. Most people probably have better luck conceiving than I did, but given that our two children will be born in opposite seasons I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to pass down.
  9. Stocking up on pantry staples can be a good idea, but not if we don’t eat the items I purchase. One spare bottle of ketchup, salad dressing, mustard, etc. is plenty to keep on hand. If food in the pantry gets more than two layers deep I tend to lose track of what’s inside of it.
  10. I want to limit the amount of paperwork we retain. Other than handwritten notes everything else will be scanned and shredded. Goodbye, huge filing cabinet and good riddance!

I don’t need to purge everything from our house, but I do want to make sure the items we retain from this point forward are actually useful. I don’t want to waste any more time reorganizing!

Photo Credit

How I Convinced Myself to Stop Buying Stuff – Moment Integrate

Wednesday 9th of June 2021

[…] I was pregnant with my boys, I nested like crazy. I spent countless weeks moving and sorting things from one location to another. This shouldn’t […]

Cari

Friday 2nd of January 2015

How do you prefer to subtly get rid of Christmas gifts you don't want? This is something I'm having a hard time with right now....

One Frugal Girl

Tuesday 6th of January 2015

Thanks for the comment, it's an interesting question. Do you mean opened gifts that aren't in original boxes and cannot be returned? Sometimes I put the items in my house for a short amount of time. If family members live close by and visit often they'll see it for awhile, but don't tend to notice when it goes missing a few months later. Depending on what they purchased I can always say it isn't kid safe or I was afraid my son would break it, etc. Of course, I've never been asked.

For other items that can be returned to the store I just return them. I still feel guilty about it, but I'd rather not keep the clutter and I don't want to work around things I don't want in my home. It's a pretty cut throat approach, but it makes me feel better about everyday living.

I've also specifically asked for 'fewer nick-knacks' and have an open policy with my parents to let them know when I don't like things they purchased. My mom actually prefers this approach. She says it helps her shop for the next occasion.

Revanche

Thursday 1st of January 2015

All good thoughts! I already practice most of these because we have so little space and long ago I developed an aversion to storing things, but it's been a process to get me and PiC on the same page.

We purged so much stuff crammed in the closet it's incredible. Not even necessarily things we bought that we didn't need but just old things that accumulate over time.

We're really focusing our decisions on whether we'll have an immediate or near-term (1-6 months) need for a thing. If not, it can't go back in that closet lest it live there for another 4 years and force us to do a deep clean again. I'm also our chief scanner and shredder: unless I'm just too tired to tackle the scanning, I try to scan everything within a day or two of receipt.

One Frugal Girl

Tuesday 6th of January 2015

I love the idea of thinking in terms of long-term needs. That's a great way to approach the clutter. This was one of those things I struggled about with kids. After we had the first I knew we would wait a bit to have the second. I couldn't decide if we should hold onto things that might sit in boxes for two to three years. Now that the second child is set to arrive I can definitely say some things were worth saving, other things I'm not so sure about.

Our issue was also accumulation. We shred the new documents that come in the mail each week, but we have legacy tax papers dating back to 1998! The older you get the more you acquire. We didn't even own a scanner back then :) The key from this point forward is staying on top of the papers, but there was a whole lot of stuff in there from a very different time!