Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Decluttering Benefits ~ Dos and Don'ts

A few years back, I went through and did what I referred to as 
"cleaned to the corners"
at which time, I did get rid of quite a bit of 'stuff.'
It felt good to know things were clean and in order.
But there was always more.
Since then, we have inherited items from passing grandparents,
been gifted items for holidays, and brought other items 
into our home just by breathing in and out it seems.
Generally speaking, our house hasn't appeared really cluttered
with knick-knacks and dustables, 
but to us it began to feel that way.
A few months ago, a phrase came to me.
I don't know if it's something I once read or if God just put it there,
Make room in your life for the things you desire.
it has stuck with me like PB on the roof of my mouth I might add.
Please note, I am not a minimalist (nor a hoarder)
and have no desire to be either.
I don't want to live in a tiny house or only own 100 items.
My canning and food preserving items would make short news of that number.
But like I said, something clicked or resonated.
I began to "look" at items - really seeing them.
I have items from my youth (they aren't either antiques!)
They serve me no purpose, and I just keep them packed.
Why?  Because that's what I've always done.
I had middle school year books from before we moved out of state.
I don't even know those people, but I've packed those books around
for however many years.
They simply went in the garbage.
My high school year books, I didn't want to just throw away.
Within a week of getting them out, I ran into a classmate
I hadn't seen in a long time.
He was a transfer-in about our junior year so I asked if he would like them.
He was thrilled.  He said his ex-wife had taken his.
That's just one example of many.
I now have space between my clothes, several empty shelves
in the kitchen cupboards, as well as more floor space, and only enough 
books to fit in the bookcase.

A couple of scenes of the
"during" stage.
You'll be glad to know,
it no longer looks like this.

So what is so remarkable about all this?

Think for a moment if you will about how many organizing and cleaning
solutions you routinely encounter in the way of products, books, magazines, containers, paid professionals, etc.
When you have only the things you love and use,there really is no organizing to do other than keeping like with like.
(Clothes in the closet, food in pantry and so forth.)
Things just seem to fall into place.
Clothes make it onto hangers or into drawers,
dishes get done and put away, surfaces are clean,
and within, there is a peace that is difficult to explain.
The never-ending and foreboding to-do list gets such a haircut,
it's the whole "weight off your shoulders" cliche.
Picture a counter top piled with stuff.  If your mission is to wipe off the counter,
all of that stuff must first be dealt with.
Now picture a cleared counter top and think how easy it is to wipe it off
with the damp towel as you go to throw it in the hamper.
That's the difference physically, mentally, and emotionally.
If you're having troubles getting rid of certain things 
you know you don't need, try asking yourself,
"If I had a friend who lost everything and I knew he/she wanted it,
would I give it to him/her?"
If yes, then deep down, you are really okay with letting it go - for free even.
If you sell it for even a fraction of it's worth, you are doubly ahead.
One other thing that is often promoted in books about decluttering
is that if you are undecided about something,
put it in a box and if after 6 months you haven't opened the box
then get rid of it.
Do not try this!
It will just become a box of clutter and it won't bring you peace because, 
you will dread the day you have to decide weather or not to get rid of it.
If there is truly an item you are undecided about, set it on the kitchen table.
It will be there with you at every meal so you will really have to 
recognize your ownership of it.
If you love it, you will keep it.
If you don't, it will go and you will be okay with it because
you made that decision.
You will be at peace, because you have made the decision
and don't have to dread making it 6 months from now.
 If you are feeling like you are up against road blocks, look around.

Are you making room in your life for the things you desire?

Mr. LB and I have goals and things we enjoy both together
and as individuals.  Removing the barriers allows us to focus
more thought, energy, resources, and time on those things we deem important.
We had a huge yard sale this weekend (it poured all day.)
I have a car full of things to go to the bargain counter.
There are some larger items still out in the shop.
Mr. LB asked if I wanted a couple of the things back in the house.
It was hard not to yell "NO!"
It's all going one way or another.
Some decisions have been more difficult than others,
and I still have a few more things to go through,
but it's manageable and doesn't seem so overwhelming.
Now our house can breath, and 
we too can breath.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches 


  1. an interesting article to ponder on. I have decluttered but still seem to have lots of stuff!! Mind you managed to break 3 cereal bowls and a mug the other day so that helped! I used to collect Royal Doulton figures have over 40 in a glass cabinet and seriously thinking they can go, good they are behind glass so do not need dusting but what do I need them for. I cannot think of anything I actually desire wondering is that sad or not. Happy parting with the things you no longer want or need.

    1. I'm not sure breaking things is what I had in mind:) Funny, I was just reading about collections. The source said when you begin collecting, there is an underlying reason. If you are 'done' collecting, let the collection move on and help someone else - you've rectified/resolved whatever it was that the collection was helping you through. I had never heard that, but it kinda makes sense.

  2. I was recently thinking about year books. Mine didn't cost much to begin with but the years I held on to them they took up space both in the home and when we moved. I never looked at them and those people I was friends with I stayed in contact with. I got rid of my year books many years ago but can't get past what a waste year books are in the first place.

  3. I have moved 2 times in the last 4 months. And let me tell you I was more than happy to get rid of a lot of things I really didn't need and could live without. It is so freeing like you said!!! And a lot easier to move if you sell or give it away!!!! But on the other hand there are things I know I could really never part with. May the Good Lord Bless you


  4. A nice balance. So many resources on clutter are either/or, and when you fall in the middle, you feel like you failed somehow.

    But it's that balance, as you say -- you want to enjoy the beautiful things you have (some of my childhood treasures, like yours, are now considered "antiques"!), but not be stuck into having things you don't want, just because they go back so far.

    Good advice, and an enjoyable article.

  5. I just did a sweep of all the disaster areas in my house, got rid of a lot of stuff and feel so much better! It's amazing the things that just stay with you for no reason.