Living in Calgary, we truly experience winter: cold, snowy, short days where we miss out on seeing the grass for several months of the year. After a long winter, I appreciate the arrival of spring, with the bright green new growth, singing birds and sunny skies, that much more.
And there is something about the arrival of spring that also puts me in a ‘spring cleaning’ mood (perhaps the increased sunlight makes the dusty shelves and smudged windows that much more visible? 😉). This spring, I have a few other factors motivating me to step up my spring cleaning a few notches, and initiate some major decluttering. We’ve been in our home for five years, and in that time have accumulated a fair amount of ‘stuff’ that we just don’t need. I’ve been reading a few blog posts on minimalism lately, but it was this one concept from Joshua Becker that really stuck in my head:
“…the things we own quickly move from “time-saving” to “time-consuming.” Just think about all the time we waste caring for our possessions: shopping, researching, organizing, picking up, cleaning, repairing, replacing – even earning the money to buy them in the first place.” (Read his entire blog post from his Becoming Minimalist website here)
Wow. That has been a powerful realization for myself, and something that I have used to help during my decluttering process, and also before I purchase a new item that I may not need.
So with that in mind, I came up with a six-week decluttering plan. (Yes, our pledges typically go month to month, but this is a major decluttering initiative, so I’ve actually begun in March and the pledge will be overlapping into May!) I made a list of the main categories I wanted to tackle. And then I ranked them on a simple one to three scale – the one ranking for the categories that I thought would be quick and easy to tackle, and the three category for the most challenging items. Then I tried to evenly distribute the ‘effort’ required during each week. So, for example, in one week I am pretty sure I can tackle my shoes, bags and purses and the kids’ toys (because I downsized my shoes and bags about a year ago and the kids’ toys I’ve been trying to keep on top of as well). But, I’ve set aside one entire week for papers and photos because I have a few stacks around the house that I have not paid much attention to for a very long time, and I’ll likely require time to skim each item to confirm whether it is needed or not.
Then, prior to each week beginning, I take a moment to come up with my game plan for that week:
- Do I need boxes, bags, labels?
- What categories do I need to sort the items into?
- Once the items are sorted, where will they go?
- I’ve been checking our municipal website to see what is recyclable. I found out that they have fabric recycling at our landfill, so we’ve been setting aside clothes that are too worn to be donated that will instead be recycled.
- There are a few local charities that I am happy to support with donations of items that are in good shape that we no longer need.
- I’ll also be consigning some of my clothes for the first time.
I’m hoping this pre-planning will prevent me from getting stuck midway through a decluttering session.
I pledge to follow my six-week declutter plan.
Measures of Success:
- I want to be able to have empty hangers in my closet, empty drawers in our house (or at least be able to close all of the drawers in our house without having to tuck the items in first… 😜) and shelves and countertops that are clean and with only the essentials on top.
- I also want to experience some of the other benefits of a decluttered life – more time doing the things I love with the people I love, and less stress managing a house full of things.
- Sarah has recommended that I read New Order by Faye Wolf, so I will be checking it out as an e-book through our local library
- I’ve also read Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. I am not following her method precisely, but I did find it to be a unique how-to guide for both downsizing and organizing.
- I mentioned Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist website above. I highly recommend browsing through his website for more inspiration.