If It Is Not Useful It Is Out


I used to wonder how someone could get rid of 50, 60 or 70% of their possessions. Now I know. I didn’t calculate the exact number of items we’ve removed over the past six months, but I would bet it’s a minimum of 40 or 50% of our stuff.

Removing clutter can feel quite overwhelming. I often found myself feeling stuck as I cleaned out our basement in preparation for remodeling and decluttered our dining room to make it more kid-friendly. Should I keep this? Should I donate it? Should I move it or buy a new bin to store it?

After months of cleaning out the crap I’ve landed on a solution that worked unbelievably well for me.

I passed through each room multiple times rather than trying to finish the job all at once. I found the first round of decluttering was easy. I am never going to use the 1970s fish platter I inherited from my mom and the unbelievably heavy vase that can’t hold more than four or five flowers no longer needs to take up space on the shelf.

After taking care of the easy stuff I moved on to a different room and repeated the procedure. That dress I never wear, that shirt that’s stretched out, that gown I wore to a wedding over ten years ago…piece of cake.

I dragged everything off to donation and started again a few weeks later. With the easy stuff out of the way I made a second crack at each room. For some reason it was a whole lot easier to get rid of those items I originally questioned. With more free space opening around me I realized I craved clean counters and near-empty dresser drawers more than ever.

Was I really going to wear that shirt I hadn’t worn for six months? Was I really going to eat off that china we haven’t used in ten years?

I didn’t get rid of everything. A few things went into the attic for further consideration. That china is boxed away along with some of the platters, pretty bowls and a cake plate.

One day we might host Christmas dinner for our children. Maybe? If not, it is at least boxed up and moved out of the space we intend to occupy day after day.

As I emptied the contents of drawers and shelves I came to a realization: It is better and easier or me to get rid of something than continually reorganize it.

With that thought in mind I decided to get rid of the majority of items I moved at least once in the past year but never actually used. This includes objects that need to be dusted, but aren’t cherished. No more dusting pretty plates and candle holders. They will be used or they will be donated.

I will no longer hold on to beauty for beauty’s sake. I will not keep a china cabinet full of pretty vases that are never filled with flowers. I will not hold on to 16 wine glasses when I never invite more than five wine drinkers over at the same time.

I love how much more space we have in the rooms we live in. I intend to revisit each room one more time and to do my best not to accumulate any more unnecessary crap.

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