Saturday, October 31, 2020

30 days to less - Day 31

I know I've been calling this series of posts "30 days to less", but since October has 31 days and I had a most appropriate picture of stuff to get rid of here at the end, I thought I'd finish off the month with it.

When emptying out the storage/furnace room this summer, I came across a box of tax records that Hubs had stored and had completely forgotten about - evidently for most of the last decade.  A couple of weeks ago I uncovered it again and I decided it would be the grand finale of decluttering this month.

Tax records from 1972 (the year he first filed taxes at the age of 18) to 2011.   He had obviously culled through these files since they all fit in this one box, but he was surprised to find he hadn't destroyed them already, as he doesn't keep this kind of stuff any longer than he needs to anymore.

That was a great find, but he very unceremoniously shredded it all.  Freeing the house of another box of truly unnecessary stuff.

So treating this box as one item gone from the house, here is my final total:

Day 31:  497 things gone


And now, another idea!

Having completed this month's challenge and wanting to continue with house clearing in some fashion, I've come across an idea (iow, it's not original) for doing this in a less intense, but still effective way.  And I'm inviting anyone who'd be interested in joining me to do so.

I have decided to set a goal of creating one weekly post accounting for items leaving the house that week.  Personally, I'm going to aim toward the goal of 10 items each week, but I'm not going to stress at all over the actual number.  I'm simply hoping the goal of a weekly post and a reasonable number of items leaving will keep me going with clearing my home of unwanted and unnecessary stuff.  I am sure there will be weeks when I remove more than 10 items, but there will probably be weeks when I don't come up with that many items, and maybe some weeks, I won't post at all - because...  well, life.

In fact, it was the intensity (especially toward the end) of the 30-day challenge that made me realize I was forgoing concentrated cleaning and decluttering for the sake of the challenge.  I'm glad for the challenge as it jump starts something, but what I hope to accomplish now is decluttering in a more purposeful way.  A way that may make messes, or take longer than a day.  If I decide to sift through craft items, or photographs, or my closet...  anything...  I can take my time to do that as thoroughly as I want.  My goal isn't just to get rid of things, but to make the space we live in as nice as it can be.  To live in, to invite others into, to create in.  I've learned over and over that too much stuff stifles my desire to create.  I believe we all need space in our minds and in our physical surroundings to go about the often times messy business of creating, making things.  Even just making our spaces better usually involves a bit of mess before "better" happens.

If you'd like to join me, just for the sake of camaraderie and mutual inspiration, that would be wonderful. There is no commitment to a time frame, or even a regular post.  There's just the opportunity to post however regularly you want to post about decluttering.  The beauty of this, I'm thinking, is that there is no pressure to post, there's no "getting behind" or feeling like you need to catch up - ever.  There will just be a weekly (that's my personal goal) opportunity to share the camaraderie of however many of us are working to make more space in our homes.  

I only have one personal rule for this - for me, decluttering a thing has to be an intentional decision to let something go, and then taking action.  Things I throw away or recycle as a matter of course, I won't be counting.  That doesn't mean there won't be things that will go straight into the trash or recycling bin.  Here's an example of what this might look like:   If I open a jar of spaghetti sauce for supper and I wash and recycle the jar as I'm cleaning up the kitchen, I wouldn't count the jar as something I decluttered.  But if I've been hanging onto jars thinking I'll do something with them someday and I finally decided to just recycle them and clear some space - that I would definitely count.  You make your own rules.

I have some ideas of things I'd like to share in posts...  photos, for sure, since they make this personal and relatable; podcasts and videos I come across throughout the process that I find motivating; books I may read or listen to that inspire and motivate me; and links to blogs - perhaps yours and others that share inspiring tidbits, or prove as good examples of diminishing the amount of stuff in our homes.  And, of course, stories - if I have any.  It's stories that we all share of why we've been saving things and how or why we set them free that can help break the hold some items may have on us.  Don't get me wrong.  You should keep what is important to you to keep.  It's just that sometimes we hang onto things we don't even really want, and all it takes is an instant shift in perspective from someone else's experience to set us free. 

I'm planning on making my post mid-week -- Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, which ever day works for that week.  If I don't post, I just didn't have the time or possibly inclination.  Hopefully others will post and keep the inspiration going.

What to call it?  I know it doesn't sound very original, but I'm calling it Making Space.  That phrase encompasses not only making space in our homes, but making space in our lives and minds and hearts for things that truly matter to us.  If you join along, feel free to use that title if you want - and I've come up with a graphic (below) that anyone joining can feel free to grab from my blog to use if they like.  

Congrats to the others who completed the 30-Day Minimalism Challenge in October with me!  Together we made more space in our homes, and from the looks of things, sent many things out into the world to bless others in the process.

Let me know in the comment section below (or at any time in the future) if you'd like to join me in continuing to declutter in a less intense, but somewhat regular way. 

Of course you can make your own graphic, or feel free to grab (copy to your own computer) a graphic below if you want to use it for your Making Space posts (whether you call yours Making Space or not).  

Check at the end of  this post for more color options 
and a few different graphics if you're interested.

Friday, October 30, 2020

30 days to less - day 30

Today is another hodgepodge collection.

You can't see what's under everything, but it's a side table with two drawers.   It was replaced with something we brought home from MIL's, so removing it doesn't make any more space, but it feels good to move it out.

Also pictured is 1 purse, 5 eye glass holders, 3 clip-on sunglasses, a Christmas sweater (I think that my MIL passed down to me), a scarf, a Christmas hand towel, a blanket, 2 headsets we don't use anymore, a little notebook, pen and scissors set that came in the mail, 2 books, a little plastic jack o' lantern, a plastic box, a book carrier bag, a dried out bottle of Mod Podge, 2 coffee scoops, a top, a small wooden carved sword,  and two more packages of napkins I found in the china cabinet. 

If you're counting with me above, you'll say "hold on now, that's only 29 items in that list."  And you would be right.  I was initially disappointed in myself that I hadn't realized my mistake when I took the picture.  Later when I was separating the eyeglass cases for donation, I realized the fourth sunglasses clip-on was in one of them.  I HAD originally counted correctly - 30 things gone on day 30!

Day 30:  496 things gone

Thursday, October 29, 2020

30 days to less - day 29

Most of today's haul is going to a young crafty friend.  I think she'll enjoy all the miscellaneous crafty goodies.

Starting from the top left hand:  a small quilted drawstring bag, 3 latch hooks, a floss or wool sorter, a package of ruffled lacy goodness and another length of ruffled lace wound 'round a piece of cardboard, a large bag of cotton fabric scraps, a bow maker, a pocket mending kit, 2 small bags of mini-pom poms, 2 bags of wooden beads, 2 bags of googly eyes, 7 bags of large beads, 4 wooded hearts, 1 lonely little Christmas ornament, a small plastic t-square and 2 protractors. 

I'm already giving thought about how to continue this "decluttering".  Not with a daily posting, but something that will still be meaningful and that maybe others would like to join, too.  

Or not - and, of course, that's okay, too.  😉

Maybe that will be Saturday's post. 

Day 29:  466 things gone

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

30 days to less - day 28

Today, I revisited a coat closet by our front door and made a nice dent in removing stuff we don't need to keep.

Two coats - one heavy winter coat and a trench coat that I think youngest son bought at the thrift store as a costume piece.  I've kept it because it's a nice coat, but trying it on today I have to admit it's not likely to fit me any time soon and if it ever does, I'm not sure it's a style I'd wear anyway.  If son doesn't want it, it will be a nice donation back to the thrift store.

Add to that a pair of boots that don't fit anyone who lives in this house anymore, 6 pairs of gloves, 5 single loose gloves, 5 hats, 6 scarves, and raiding my sock drawer I found 4 unused pairs of no-show socks that I, personally, find uncomfortable to wear.  

And what do we have?  

Day 28:  437 things gone

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

30 days to less - day 27

Continuing with yesterday's "party eats" theme, I opened up a couple of drawers where I store fun napkins and some miscellaneous party things.  I decided that I've looked at these decorated napkins for long enough while using too few of them.  I'm not going to get rid of them immediately, but I'm putting them in the napkin holder where they will be used in fairly short order, though I may put a few of the ones with cute designs with my paper crafts for some future decoupage project - or will that just be creating another thing to clear out later when I sort through those items?  

Regardless, the next time I serve up some decorated cupcakes with fresh candy sprinkles, I may just have to buy some fun fresh napkins to go along with them.   

Or not.

The questions I ask myself regarding getting rid of this kind of thing are not easily answered in light of recently learning my favorite napkin buying source - Tuesday Morning in southern Indy - has closed its doors. See... this is where the problem begins - buying things when one sees them at a good price instead of simply buying what one needs when one needs it, and paying retail if that's the way the cookie crumbles...   I'm often prompted to buy a thing based on some perceived future need for the item without asking if it's a thing that is actually needed at all.  

I hope all this thinking while I'm purging stuff will serve me well in the future.  I hate the thought that I might return to my old ways.  I know, too well, how prone I am to doing so.

I know paper goods don't exactly have an expiry date, but let me assure you... after clearing out MIL's  house I've learned these types of things do reach a point where they aren't fresh anymore. And I'm not talking about the designs.  

Just sayin'.  

Fun, pretty napkins need to be used.  Enjoyed.  Not stored for years.

Besides the napkins, what's pictured here are some greeting cards I gathered together in ziploc bags to take to the thrift store, a foldable gift box, two styrofoam plant thingies I don't recall why I purchased them (though the smaller one had been opened and cut, so I evidently did have a reason.  Also I've got four packages of paper heart doilies, some broken and some cut dowel rods, an unopened package of colorful gift bags (I confess I saved back a second unopened bag of these), and two placemat grippy things that go under cloth placemats.  I actually cut into one of these for making some grippy feet for furniture on our wooden floor.  These can go.

Day 27:  409 things gone

Monday, October 26, 2020

30 days to less - day 26

Today, I made the decision to part with old bakery decorating candies and colorings and some old paper liners I'm least likely to use.  Actually, I decided to only keep the cupcake liners that will fit in a wide mouth mason jar.  The ones below just couldn't be squeezed in. 

Looking through that round yellow box where most of this had been stored, I quickly realized I hadn't a clue how old anything was in there, and considering that I don't even recall the last time I decorated cookies or cupcakes, I made the happy decision to pitch it all.  Next time (if there is a next time) I get a hankering to make decorated cupcakes or cookies, I will buy fresh decorating items, and only what I need - instead of buying this kind of thing when I see it on sale - often after a holiday.  I am convinced I have spent far more money purchasing (all kinds of stuff) this way than if I'd just purchased what I needed, when I needed it.  

Oh, and the box was stained by some leaking food coloring, so I'm recycling it as well.  I've never even particularly liked the box so that's a win, too!

Day 26:  382 things gone

Sunday, October 25, 2020

30 days to less - day 25 and a little cross stitching...

The last Sunday of October and I'm a little closer to finishing this October stitch:

Maybe I'll get it  finished in time to enjoy it next October.


And today's declutter is 25 packages or bits of lace Seam Tape or Hem Facing...   

I'm curious if anyone has any creative ideas for using this product (it's just flat lace).  I have at least this much more saved back in case anyone inspires me with their idea(s).   Or, I'm also happy to rehome the rest if anyone can disabuse me of the idea of trying to get crafty with it.  

FWIW, I have plenty of other ruffly lace in my craft stash so except for some interesting colors, perhaps, I don't know that I'm interested in going to the trouble of ruffling it so that it can be used.  But suggest away!  Otherwise, I might just get seriously free and get rid of it all.

Day 25:  356 things gone


Saturday, October 24, 2020

30 days to less - day 24

Today's clean-out started with a some leftover 60th Wedding Anniversary announcements (for MIL & FIL) that have been stored on a shelf, neatly tucked in a box hiding from view for the last eight years.  I pulled some out to pass along to Hub's siblings and to put in our boys' memorabilia boxes and the last 10 or so will be recycled.  

Then that led me to consider more empty binders, another photo album, some plastic lids we never use, some folders that have seen better days, a bent iron guard (what is that called?), two arm covers for a couch we got rid of this summer, 2 music CDs, and one little paperback book titled, The Upside of Downsizing. 😄 

Day 24:  331 things gone

Friday, October 23, 2020

30 days to less - day 23

Seeing LeftyCrafter (Marsha)'s magazine declutter the other day made me realize I hadn't gone looking there yet.

Normally, I don't keep magazines and catalogs for very long, but hubs had put these in the magazine holder over the last several months and I don't even think I saw them!  I'm giving the magazines a quick once over and they are headed for the free shelf at the library.

MIL liked to give us all magazine subscriptions and while I tried to politely decline them occasionally, she seemed confused by it.  So the easier thing was to just accept them - I'm sure they were just $5.00 subscriptions.  If it made her happy, I could certainly enjoy browsing them before recycling or passing them on.  I think I'm kind of relieved to soon not be getting these ad-heavy publications anymore, though.

Also going to the library free shelf will be some audio books and a couple of art books - I was sure I had put The Square Halo into a donation box last year when I did this challenge, but there it was on a shelf when I scanned it for the challenge this month.  I must have had second thoughts.  😄  It's bound to happen occasionally, I guess.

Day 22:  307 things gone

on my way to see a friend...

Thursday, October 22, 2020

30 days to less - day 22

Today's haul has no stories, and isn't terribly interesting to look at. 
But it's stuff gone nonetheless.

When I got rid of the face paints yesterday, for some reason it didn't occur to me to count the bag that had been holding it and anything else in the bag.  So today I count one well-used plastic gift bag, a notebook filled with face painting info and tutorials, 11 old tie clips, 2 binders, 2 skirts, and 5 sheets.  I'm also getting rid of some "unmentionables" (3 to be exact).   While I'm counting them in my total outta here, I'm not mentioning them further.  😉   

I could probably do a whole post on unmentionables.  But if I'm not going to mention them, I'm certainly not going to take a picture of them, and that seems like a pretty boring post.  

Not that I expect anyone is sitting on the edge of their seat watching me clear my house...

Day 22:  284 things gone

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

30 days to less - day 21

Today's collection is another hodgepodge.  
Some items have stories, most don't.

7 books, 1 plastic knife, 2 hand towels, a broken Cryocuff lid, a two-tiered lazy susan, 1 empty storage jar, 2 odd signs (I think came from MIL's), an odd-sized storage box with odd-sized compartments, a face painting book (that makes 8 books), and 4 palettes of face paints.   The story here is that once upon a time I was involved in a clown ministry and one of my favorite things to do was paint faces.  I've hung onto these paints for over 10 years now (after I stopped clowning around I thought I'd pass them on to someone else), but at this point I've decided I need to just throw them away.  They're probably still useful as paints, but there's got to be an expiry date for using stuff like this on people's faces.  I'm declaring it so, if there isn't. 😕

Day 21:  259 things gone

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

30 days to less - day 20

A major culling through some framed photos brought home from MIL's netted 20 frames for Goodwill.

Should I admit, I've kept back, I don't know... maybe 7 or 8 frames for possibly using with some future cross stitch smalls?   

And should I further admit I have a box of frames already saved for that purpose?

Maybe frames will make another appearance in this challenge.  Anything could happen in 10 days!

Day 20:   238 things gone

Monday, October 19, 2020

30 days to less - day 19

Today's post is a result of reorganizing things in the backyard shed.

We've rehomed nine Tiki Torches, four extra fuel containers, a package of wicks, three bottles of oil, 2 styrofoam containers hubs had been storing the bottles of oil in, and one package of wicks.

They served us once upon a time, but they've become something clumsy we have to shift around when we need to change some things in the shed (when the seasons change).  We offered them to friends and knowing them, they'll probably give these well-used torches at least another season of life.

Day 19:  218 things gone

Sunday, October 18, 2020

30 days to less - day 18

Today's haul is the result of looking under the bed.  

I have no idea how long this collection of clear glass Christmas ornaments has been under there waiting for me to do something creative with them.  I remember once upon a time having a plan for them.

Years ago I was into taking old glass Christmas balls, removing the paint inside (with bleach, I believe), and once dry, filling them with various things. Since I haven't been inspired to do anything with these ornaments for so long that I'd forgotten about them, I'm happy to let them go.

Day 18:  199 things gone

Saturday, October 17, 2020

30 days to less - day 17

Today's declutter was a long time coming.  And of course, there's a bit of a story.  At some point this summer, I cleaned out our furnace room and reorganized things, leaving a few items in the family room to decide upon later what to do with them.

Well, this month is bringing a reckoning of things like that.

Once upon a time, in a land not too far away we became fish caretakers.  We have the letter to prove that we adopted five fish from a girl named Andi.  Andi is the (now probably 40+ year old) daughter of one of Hub's coworkers at the time.  We had a nice aquarium and I remember we really enjoyed taking care of those little fishes, though I have some faded memories of the disappointment of losing them too.  

I don't remember when we became fishless, but I do know we didn't become aquarium-less until just a few years ago (like 2 or 3 at the most).    I remember finally agreeing to donate it to a local thrift shop and the owners were so glad to receive it.  I was a little sad to part with it because I knew we'd never invest in another aquarium so I was saying goodbye to the idea of fish pets forever.

For some reason, though, we've hung onto a bunch of fish stuff, and it had been stored in a box in the furnace room for who knows how long, and this week it has finally met its fate.  

This is most of it - minus some pieces parts that were rattling around in the bottom of the box.  I don't know if any of the electric pieces work, but we'll see if some friends would like them and all the food and chemicals will be disposed of.   But before I do, I must count it and record it here.  I'm not going to itemize this stuff, and I got lost counting it several times, but I landed on the number 17 twice, so that's what I'm declaring that I'm pitching.  

Day 17:  181 things gone

The letter was in the box, too.  I'm keeping it a little longer - because it's just too sweet.  Hoping that Andi never comes across my blog and finds out the hard way that her beloved Finnie, Bob, Blackie and Stripes have joined the Dearly Departed.


Friday, October 16, 2020

30 days to less - day 16

Going through MIL & FIL's pictures, Hubs emptied numerous photo albums.  Not sure how many people get prints made of photos these days and if there's even a market for this kind of thing at thrift shops, but someplace is going to be getting these 16 photo albums - tomorrow, hopefully.

Day 16:  164 things gone

Thursday, October 15, 2020

30 days to less - day 15

 Day 15 - the halfway mark.  Pretty exciting!

Not that my haul today is all that exiting, but still....  making progress!

A quick search through Hub's and my closets and I pretty quickly found 15 shirts/tops that either need to go, or I don't mind letting go of.  

Not much else to say.  Clothes is clothes. We all got 'em.

Day 15:  148 items gone

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

30 days to less - day 14

Getting rid of random stuff has a way of not feeling like I'm accomplishing much, but I have to believe it makes a difference.  The things below are a combination of additional items that got pulled out of the gift wrapping box yesterday and things that were gathered this afternoon on another stroll through the house, as I quickly recognized things that don't get used, that I don't like, or that have aged or become worn past their prime.

1) A picture frame that fell off a shelf and got damaged (I think years ago) and for some reason was just stuck in a drawer. I removed the picture and the frame is getting tossed.  

2) A little wire basket that's been replaced by something better. 

3) An old Rubbermaid container.  I don't know why everything seems to look better in a photograph than it does in real life. 

4) A bag of shredded paper stuffing that I don't find attractive. 

5) An old and aged (cracked) Nook Color cover. 

6-8) Three gift bags that are past their prime. 

9) A Tupperware ice cream box that got a lot of use once upon a time until ice cream stopped being sold in boxes and it was relegated to being a holder of random things. 

10) Extra salad tongs (like the 4th extra pair in the drawer - really, we don't need that many).  

11) A outdoor thermometer that I'm not interested in screwing to my house or a post.  

12) A candle that's has too strong a scent.  

13) Four little things I have no idea what they are - please check the picture below and weigh in if you know.  

And the best of all...  

14) The handle to a rocker that had a broken leg rest so we took this off and put it in a drawer (so no one could lift the leg rest) while we continued to use the rocker as simply a rocker - probably for a couple of years.  We took the broken rocker to the dump months ago, but I still had the leg lift handle in the drawer.

Now...  can anyone tell me what the things below are?

Okay...  I just looked up "stretchy whole finger thimble", thinking these were for fingers, because, if I'm remembering correctly, I found them among my MIL's sewing things.  I found this link:

So now I know they're called finger guards.  When would a person actually use something like this?

The link says:  "Leather guard protects your finger while carving or polishing and allows for more versatility and dexterity than a full glove."  

So...  I guess this sort of answers my question, but I'm curious if anyone reading this has experience with these.   

Day 14: 134 things gone

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

30 days to less - day 13

Today was a day I just didn't have much time for even thinking about decluttering, so just a few minutes ago I tried to think of a space I might be able to quickly sort through and without any emotional effort remove some things.

I immediately thought of the "wrapping paper" boxes!  We have two.  Actually 2 1/2 so I'm going to spend a little more time going through that box that is half filled and use one of the containers to dictate how much I hold on to in the end.  

But today I quickly came up with 12 gift bags and 1 roll of unopened gift wrap I've always passed by for something else:

There's nothing wrong with any of the above, but I realized they've never been quite right, either.  I've always reached for some other bag or gift wrap instead of these.  And would sort of mumble to myself, "Why do I have bags in here I never use?"  And just like that, they were outa there!

Day 13: 120 things gone

Monday, October 12, 2020

30 days to less - day 12

Today is a hodgepodge of different things.

It started with going through some files and shredding lots of pages.  I originally thought this might be a post devoted to file culling, but I don't have it in me to go through too many files today.  I'm counting three files gone through and emptied, though there was probably more than that.

So I moved to a small storage area off our family room where I quickly found some books that I'm more than happy to rehome.  Then I remembered that I had set aside some curtain rings and curtain rod brackets, so those got tossed in (and counted as one thing).  And I have no idea what that round wooden black thing is (it came home from MIL's and appears to be a base to something we couldn't figure out what), so that's a good reason to let it go, in my opinion.

While there are more than 12 individual items above, I'm calling it 12 and letting it all go.

Day 12:  107 things gone