I had been thinking about decluttering for a while and I've always been a huge fan of donating unused items. After watching the documentary "I'm Fine, Thanks", my husband and I were really intrigued by the idea of downsizing. We're by no means living in a McMansion, but even in our 740 sq. ft. apartment, we we starting to feel a little cluttered. It's been nearly a month since I started really doing a deep purge of the objects in our life, and here's a few things that I have learned along the way.
More silverware equals more dishes. Kendan and I despise doing dishes. When we got married a couple of years ago, my relatives insisted that I create a wedding registry for new items. I knew we didn't need any new wooden spoons, spatulas or plates, but Kendan and I couldn't resist using the laser gun at Target to tag items. I sold an extra set of silverware from our registry to someone recently and haven't regretted it.
LESSON: When you run out of spoons, it's time to do the dishes.
There's no reason to have 12 bottles of shower gel. Another shopping habit I used to have was head to the Bath & Body Works Outlet and buy a gazillion bottles of bath accessories. I figured you could never have too many smelly things. The problem is, the hubby likes to buy shower gel, as well. After pulling everything out and decluttering the bathroom, I ended up bagging up many different items and have given it to a relative that I know will use it.
LESSON: No matter how good that bottle of shower gel smells, you really don't need it.
It's OK to let go of some kitchenware that was handed down to you. I'm a sucker for vintage kitchenware and I've acquired a nice bit of it. Letting go of something that was given to you by someone you love does not alter the feelings you have towards that person. I've always believed in donating things I no longer use because I've been in a situation that required me to go out and buy things at a Goodwill store. Seriously, it's just stuff.
LESSON: Your memories are not for sale.
Some clothing items can be sold instead of donated. Even though I have shopped at thrift stores 99% of the time when I purchase clothing, I found that most of the things in my donate pile were gladly accepted at my local teenager clothing store. I walked away with some cash in hand and our closets are a little cleaner. I donated anything they didn't buy from me immediately after.
LESSON: You can make a little money back by selling your quality brand items.
It's absurd to own 30 cups for a two person household. While doing the dishes one day, I mentioned that a few of our platic cups were not in the best of shape. We had received them from Wurstfest, a kind of beer and brat fest that we attended the year before (we weren't vegan just yet). I only was hanging on to them because I thought my husband would care if I tossed them. He didn't. They had been well used and it was time to let them go. I tossed them into the recycling bag and alas, we had more room in our cupboards.
LESSON: If a cup is no longer cuppin', it's time to let it go.
And now, the one picture to define the whole process of removing unnecessary objects from our life... How does this even happen? Before you buy, check to make sure you don't already have eight at home.