Your random fact of the day about me: I get a huge high from cleaning out. I LOVE IT.
I haven’t always been like this though. In fact, my obsession with decluttering and organizing only started about five years ago during Jamie’s first deployment when I was living in our tiny home alone unpacking and trying to find a place for all of our combined stuff for the very first time. I was trying to organize our things in a way that I would know where everything was, and after a while I realized that the only way to do that was to cut down on the amount of stuff we had.
Today I’m still a fanatic about making sure everything in our home has a purposeful place so that I can find anything quickly. Knowing what I already have on hand ends up saving me a nice chunk of money because I’m not repurchasing things I already have around the house that I simply can’t locate. Some may call me a bit OCD in this area, but I function so much better when things around my home are organized and simplified.
Since springtime is a popular time for cleaning and simplifying, I’d love to share some of my tips with you for decluttering your own home and how/where to get rid of specific items.
My general rule of thumb is that if it hasn’t been worn, decorated with, or used in a while, out the door it goes.
If it’s damaged in any way or extremely worn, it goes straight into the garbage can. Bringing these items to the thrift store only wastes the workers’ and volunteers’ time because they’ll end up throwing them away anyway.
If the condition is okay but the item is too small, too big, or out of style, I’ll fold these items in a stack, put them in garbage bags, and donate them to the thrift store. I used to hold on to some of my older clothes that were too small with hopes that maybe I’d squeeze back in them one day, but I recently realized that if I ever end up squeezing into the size I wore in high school I’m going on a big ‘ol shopping spree instead of wearing old clothes that are probably out of style anyway!
If the condition of the clothing items that I want to get rid of is only gently used or possibly even new without tags, I will send these items to ThredUp.com or try to sell them at a local second-hand store that pays you out of pocket to buy your unwanted items. These items are usually clothes that I purchased on sale (simply because I liked the inexpensive price) that I never loved to begin with and that I’ll go a couple of years in a row without happily choosing to pull out of my closet. My attitude with clothes these days is that if I don’t absolutely love it and feel good wearing it, I don’t buy it.
Home Decor/Kitchen Items
Similar to my clothing, if an item is damaged beyond repair it goes into the garbage can rather than donated. Otherwise I usually try to sell unwanted home items via Craigslist or a Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade group before donating it to the thrift store. I always like to price these items to sell. Five dollars here, 10 dollars there, and soon I have $100 in cash on my kitchen counter ready to use for my next grocery trip.
A few examples: We received new kitchen dishes for Christmas this year, so I decided to list our old items on a B/S/T site. I originally started with 12 place settings five years ago but had broken several pieces since. I took pictures of what I had and listed it all for $20. I had gobs of people chomping at the bit to come purchase what I had and ending up selling the complete set within two hours. I was a happy camper because I now had immediate room for my new dishes and had $20 in my hand, and the buyer was also extremely happy because she was a college student and just needed something to get her by for the time being.
I recently did a huge purge of our linens. I held on to one queen sized quilt and queen-sized sheet set to go on our air mattress for guests. I also held on to one extra sheet set for our bed and Hadley’s bed. Everything else was donated, regardless of good condition – mattress covers, pillow cases, old pillows, sheet sets, bed skirts, complete bedding sets, and more. These items are very bulky to store and never used. I see no point in holding on to these items even though they’re in good condition.
I also recently decluttered our towel closet. Any towels and wash cloths that were stained or ripped went into my paint storage area or into the garage for Jamie to use when washing and waxing our cars. I put aside our four nicest towels and a set of wash clothes in the our guest bathroom and held on to about six towels for Hadley, Jamie, and me. We don’t wash our bath towels after every shower, so there was no reason to hold on to more towels than that in our towel closet.
Medicine & Sunscreen
This category doesn’t fit with the rest, but it’s worth a mention. Last October I decided to better organize our medicine cabinet in a small three-drawer organizer, but instead I ended up throwing away 90% (literally) of our stash. I couldn’t believe how quickly everything had expired! Medicine is expensive, and the last thing I want to do is purchase something over the counter that I already have at home buried and consequently expiring. Below I have a picture of what our medicine area looked like before I cleaned it out, but I didn’t even bother taking an after picture because we were basically left with about 10 things. Everything else was thrown away!
And since decluttering and organizing go hand-in-hand…
In my opinion, a dollar spent on a storage bin is a dollar never wasted. We have several dozen Rubbermaids in a million shapes, brands, and sizes floating around our house in every closet and storage space which help us tremendously with locating items when we need them. I was in major “nesting mode” when I returned home to Kansas after Christmas, and I purchased nine different storage bins to organize things like baby clothes, Hadley’s coloring/craft materials, “must have” entertaining items, gift bags/tissue paper, and much more. It was a labor of love to get everything organized and put away, but it felt so good to clean out and get things re-situated in a tidy way.
dapperbag giveaway winner!
Sending a BIG congrats to the randomly-selected winner of the sedalia dapperbag, KARISSA MCCOY! Thanks so much to everyone who entered via Instagram. If you didn’t win and are still interested in purchasing a dapperbag for yourself or a loved one, click here to browse around. You can enjoy free shipping until the end of the month!