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.