What a difference a month makes. At the beginning of July, an online friend challenged all of us minimalists and minimalist-wannabes to clear out 237 items of clutter. The idea was to be liberated from clutter (a nod to our country turning 237 years old).
I did not like the idea of counting every item that went out the door, or keeping a list. My process in the couple months before this challenge had just been to purge and move on. Also, I thought 237 items sounded like a lot. There was no way I would find that many unused/unloved items in my home in such a short amount of time.
Once again, I eat my words. If there is a theme to this journey it is that I seem to have had (or still have?) my eyes closed to how much clutter is in my house. This month I weeded through the medicine cabinet, the junk drawer, the hobby room, my closet, the kitchen (78 items from the kitchen! who knew?), pet supplies, and the bookcase. D sorted through his own clothing and found 22 items he could live without. Rie tried to eat everything we were tossing. She does what she can.
Counting the items and posting lists online actually motivated me to continue. At the 100 item mark I felt a surge of energy. At 138, less than 100 items to go, I felt amazed. By the time I reached the goal, in the middle of the month, all I could see in my house was clutter. All sorts of things we don’t need or love were hidden in cabinets, lying on countertops, or in piles around the house. How is it possible that I had never noticed the piles around the house before? Rather than feel depressed, I was inspired.
The house feels great. The rooms feel larger since D and I took everything off the walls so we could only hang up what we really love (removing piles of clutter helps too). Thoughtfully placing a few pieces of artwork has shown much better results than trying to cram all things we have that can be displayed into a small space. Once again, I feel a little silly for not realizing this before.
So, do you want to know our number for July? Maybe you won’t believe me, but it is true when I say we only purged the “easy items”—the things that are no longer used or loved. Sentimental items have a free pass for now. We donated or trashed-drum roll please!-560 easy items this month.
You read that correctly.
Last night D eagerly asked what our August goal will be.
“Anything you want it to be,” I replied.
“I want to clean up my dresser,” D said after some thought. That would be the same dresser I have loathed from the day we married. It is so crammed with stuff that you cannot put the clean laundry in it. My heart did a happy little skip at the prospect.
It seems that in a month we have de-cluttered, saved money, spent more time together, and grown closer as a result. Our home certainly does look different in more ways than one.