Three weeks ago, I set out to complete my final decluttering challenge. After moving back to Victoria in July, I realized I’d been living with the majority of my belongings still in boxes for a month and I couldn’t remember what most of them contained. I decided to spend the last three weeks of August going through those 8 boxes, as well as the rest of my belongings, and decide what to keep and what to get rid of – once and for all. Here’s what I found.
As I mentioned briefly a couple weeks ago, the first 5 boxes mostly contained things I’ll always keep but just hadn’t needed yet, like my slow cooker (used it on Monday), some towels and my high school yearbooks (they still make me laugh and I want my future kids to see them at least once!). It took less than an hour for me to open them all up, see what was inside and decide what to keep – and only a few small items were tossed into a bag to be donated.
The other 3 boxes is where I was able to do a little more damage. But first, I made one big decision: to get rid of my first piece of furniture, in all of this – my bookshelf. I’m still happy with that decision, as I have built-in shelves in my new place, which made the shelves redundant. It’s just weird to think I was once a girl who had shelves filled with 200+ books, and now I’m down to two shelves with maybe 35-40 books. (I haven’t counted recently, there might even be less than that.)
To go along with that, while I know the main takeaway from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is to only keep things that “spark joy”, my greatest takeaway was that we shouldn’t buy storage solutions for our stuff. If we have to store stuff, it means we probably don’t use/need it. So, I also got rid of the 4 storage baskets that once sat on my bookshelves and were home to office supplies, magazines, and other random odds and ends. Now, what’s left is on my built-in shelves as-is.
Surprisingly, most of the things I got rid of in August were not in those 8 boxes – they were in my closet. Clothes, shoes, and accessories are things I will forever declutter, because you see them every day and, therefore, are constantly faced with the questions, “When was the last time I wore that?” and “Do I even feel good in it?” The latter is what helps me make most of my decisions around clothing items, and I think it’s a question that will help me keep a minimal wardrobe for the rest of my life.
All-in-all, I managed to bag up and donate or sell:
- 5 pieces of clothing
- 5 accessories (hat, two scarves and some gloves)
- 1 pair of shoes
- 1 pair of sandals
- 4 storage baskets
- 11 books
- 1 bookshelf (sold for $70)
- 3 kitchen accessories
I also recycled more magazines and threw out some socks/underwear. Altogether, I got rid of 46 items (or 5% of my former belongings). Technically, that means I’ve removed a total of 75% of the belongings I once owned from my home – and I’m happy to say I’m finally done decluttering.
One of the best parts about being in Victoria for this final round was that my family decided to join me in the challenge. I was at the house, when Canadian Diabetes called to say they’d be coming around with a truck and picking up anything people wanted to donate, so we told them to make a stop at ours. Everyone decided to tackle their wardrobes first and, together, we filled three heavy duty black garbage bags with stuff! (After being away at school for a year, Baby Bro seemed to have the easiest time with this, as he could see how much stuff he doesn’t wear anymore. I think he filled one bag himself!)
Oh, and I can’t forget they also sold a set of 3 dressers ($180). Tack on my bookshelf and the Flanders’ are officially 3 bags of stuff + 4 pieces of furniture lighter and $250 richer!
I can’t tell you how liberating this experience has been. I’m long past the stage where I once questioned why I was keeping things, and now have no problem identifying what I truly need and love. It makes sense that I would feel the need to declutter after a move, though. I left Vancouver fairly quickly, so I didn’t get rid of much while I packed, but am glad I took this time to analyze how everything fits into my new space. Now, it’s time to relax and enjoy it… and be grateful that I’m living with just 25% of what I once owned, so I will never have to do this size of a challenge ever again!
How did your decluttering challenge go?
PS – David also finished his KonMari Method experiment last week and wrote a great recap (which included some much nicer pics than I take!). I think you’ll find we’ve shared many similar experiences. :)