Did you hear that? 31 of 31. As in.
The Grand Finale!!!!
I actually made it. I de-hoarded my house for a whole month and it actually didn't kill me.
And today I am putting the finishing touches on my bedroom.
I Mastered the Master.
Get it?? Mastery? Ha ha ha.
So, now I get to tell you that I have mastered this whole de-hoarding thing and I am the world's leading expert on de-hoarding.
How about I tell you a few of the things I have learned during this process instead?
Yeah, much better idea.
It's a ton of work.
Thanks for reading!
7 things I learned during my 31 Days of De-Hoarding
Seriously though. It is a ton of work. And next time around I don't think I will try to cram my entire house into one month. So, maybe it should actually be an ongoing process???
1. It's an ongoing process. If I continue to work on it a little at a time, things won't build up to be so out of control.
I will continue to go back through those areas I already de-hoarded and reevaluate. Something that stayed today may go tomorrow. For me it has to be a process. Sometimes I need to let things go gradually. I am not a rip off the band aid kind of a person. Slowly I will get there. In my time and in my way.
2. It's easier than I thought it would be. Really. Surprisingly. The key is to take on small areas. I kept worrying that I was making the projects too small for the blog. Like, if I am only doing one dresser, is that really enough of a project for anyone to care about? But, I knew if I took on too much I would never get it done AND find the time to write about it. Turns out it is much easier to work on a small project than it would be to, say, de-hoard an entire room. Because knowing myself, I would just sit in the corner in a stupor staring at the room and not knowing where to begin.
Which brings us to the very important.
3. Have a plan. Even a simple plan. Pick a room, then pick a spot in that room. You can even divide up that spot. Pick a piece of furniture, pick a section of that piece of furniture. Maybe you will do one shelf of that bookshelf today. It's better than doing nothing right?
4. All those little projects add up. Really. Sometimes it felt like I wasn't making all that much progress. I mean a bag here, a bag there. But was I really making much of a dent?
Then the donation pick up day came. I put out all those bags of stuff. Stuff that had previously been crammed into all the nooks and crannies. Unneeded stuff taking up space.
Remember, this does not include all the bags of trash, bags of recycling or even bags of clothes since those went to other places.
5. Make your own rules! You have to do what works for you. Often I hear de-cluttering tips that make me want to dig in my heels in protest. "You don't need all that sentimental stuff" they say. "It's my stuff and I will keep it if I want!" I say. Yes, I know it's childish. But what is the point of being an adult if I can't choose what to keep in my own house? Even if I have so much of it that it makes my life miserable? Point is, I had to find my own rules. I keep stuff because it's sentimental. Having that stuff to physically look at and touch does bring back memories in a very physical way for me. More so than just remembering things or taking a picture etc. I just have to sort through things and decide which memories are worth holding that tightly to. Because there are more to be made. And sometimes I need to work on living in the present more than the past.
And my rules may not work for you. If you haven't changed clothing sizes you won't be able to eliminate half your wardrobe simply by pulling out the clothes that don't fit. So maybe you decide to get rid of worn out clothes. Or clothes that you don't wear that often. Or clothes you don't love as much. Or maybe you don't even have that many clothes and need to focus on a different project.
One of my favorite rules, I believe it was from Peter Walsh. It was something along the lines of, "Picture your home in ten years, the way you want it to look. Is that object there?"
I try to keep that in mind when I am struggling with the "should I keep this" question. Is this an object I want to have in my home if my home were the "perfect space." Or is this filling some temporary need. If it is temporary, is it actually a need? Or do I just have it as an item to fill space. Why am I filling space I don't have.
In simplest terms. Do I love it? Do I need it? Is it improving my life in any way? If the answer to these questions is no. It should go. Easier said than done. I know.
6. Share. This one might really fall under rules that work for me but I really had a bit of a revelation as I was going through this process.
See, I am constantly struck with the frustration with how much need there is in the world and how little I can do about it. "God, if you would only send me tons of money I could help all these people in need!" Anyone else ever find themselves saying this prayer? Right. God totally wants to send ME all the money so I can give some of it to other people. Oh. Is that a bit selfish of me? Right. But it can't be selfish if I want to help other people right??? The point is, I only have so much money and time I can devote. What else can I do??
Then I look over at the top of my dresser.
You noticed I never showed you a picture of my entire dresser, didn't you?
I had actually planned this project as my grand finale for today but I realized it is more than a one day project. So, I am just going to tell you and you are just going to have to trust me. This is my next project.
All these baby clothes. And there are more. That is really just the most recent pile.
Because I kept most of them. And when I say "baby clothes" I really mean baby clothes through big kid clothes. Because until this recent de-hoarding session, all the outgrown kids clothes would just go into that pile. For the next kid. Because I always planned on having a large family. More kids to pass those clothes down to.
But my youngest is six. SIX! Six years of holding onto those clothes for the next child. Six years of them sitting in a pile not being used. And my oldest is eight.
I have heard the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) many times and I guess it never really resounded with me. Burying money. I will never have to worry about that. I don't have any extra money to bury! Right?
But look right there at that pile. Most of those clothes were gifted to us. God provided through the generosity of others. Many of them were hand me downs. And I have always loved receiving them. Yet, I buried them in that pile instead of passing them on.
Don't get me wrong. Things might be different if Matthew had lived. If we had another baby to use those clothes, it would make sense to keep them. And we still might have more children. But I can't keep holding on to these clothes for all these years. Especially since I know that if we have more children, they will be provided for. My babies will never be naked!
And here is my chance to do something for others. To pass on those blessings others have so generously shared with me.
7. Life happens. A friend of mine came over yesterday and was surprised to see my house wasn't super clean. "I thought from reading your blog, your house would be really clean!" Nope! She must have forgotten what I said on day one! Remember, I was de-hoarding not cleaning . And guess what happens when I spend a week in my bedroom clearing out closets and dressers? My kids spend a week trashing the rest of the house!
And the dishes pile up on those cleared off counters. Etc.
Now you know what I'll be doing for the next week!
The important thing is that, cleaning will be a bit easier now. And as I said at the beginning. It is a continual process. Never ending. There will always be new stuff coming in. And so the old stuff needs to go out.
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