Decluttering Projects

My dad spent summer afternoons working in my basement.  I’d bring him a snack with a glass of water, and he would shake his head and say, “Where’d you get all this sh*t?”  Still, he methodically broke down boxes, put the kids’ outgrown clothes in bins, and made things neat again.

When he died eight years ago, my world fell apart.  Yes, there was the deep sorrow of losing my beloved father…but now what?  Who would keep my junk in order?

My husband’s early attempts at throwing stuff out always played out like a scene from that show “Hoarders.”  I would start fidgeting then eventually screaming, “Don’t touch my stuff!”

I’ve found some useful sites that have kept me afloat.  By following the simple routines and missions of the Flylady, I was able to invite company to the house again.   I dabbled in Feng Shui, but it seemed too hokey and I never really knew if I charted the areas of my house right.

Last summer, the family did a “10 x 5 project,”  courtesy of the Happy Family Movement blog.  We gathered 10 things (per person) for 5 days and then donated or tossed the stuff we collected.   A painless project with great results.

I am currently trying this “40 Bags in 40 Days” project for Lent.   In theory, I work in one specific area each day and get rid of one bag of stuff per day for 40 days.  I started off strong–making a list of the 40 areas that I would cover, tying up stacks of saved Travel & Leisure and O magazines, throwing out old travel pamphlets from scrapbooks never started, and bagging outgrown clothes and shoes.  To be honest, I haven’t been working every day, but I’m trying.

I think my dad would be proud of the progress I’m making.

So tell me, how do you manage the clutter in your house?  What blogs or sites do you follow?  Help motivate me with your ideas.


6 thoughts on “Decluttering Projects”

  1. I close my eyes and just toss stuff. It helps me since I hate to organize. Why organize when you can throw out? But that’s just me. Oh and I miss my dad, too.

    1. Hi Andrea, The 7-week fast that you experimented with sounded incredibly challenging. I’m going to put this book on my list to read. I imagine this type of experiment could really force me to make some progress around here. I’m curious, how your progress has been in keeping “excess” out of your life. Thanks for the link 🙂

      1. Maria – Some days better than others! I did another round recently of MAJOR dumping, including several more sentimental keepsake items that were simply taking up space in our closets. That was much harder than getting rid of junk. About every 3-6 months, I start feeling claustrophobic again and do another round of clean-out. How on EARTH we collect so much stuff in such a short period of time is beyond me. More of my life’s clutter is in our calendars and keeping stuff put away all the time, where we can find it. I wrote about how we organize our week & stuff here:

        1. We use the google calendar here too — everyone has their own calendar so I can see the conflicts and double-bookings. It’s so helpful to find all the different blogs and posts dedicated to this topic — makes me feel hopeful that it can be done. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks!

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