I’ve Been Decluttering All Day Today

I’m so determined to get rid of things that I think I’m bordering on obsessed now.  I just can’t seem to even make a dent.  Usually when I get the get rid of stuff out, you can see a difference.  This time however, it doesn’t look any different.  After taking out 2 big garbage bags full, filling a donation box, and delivering a bag of food to my mom, it still doesn’t look any better in my living room.

Apparently things were piling up higher than I was realizing.  I guess that happens when clutter is invisible to you. It appears when I look at it through a camera.  I don’t know why.  I’ve been taking pictures all day hoping to see improvement but it hasn’t happened yet.  Things must be getting better though.  How couldn’t they with everything that’s gone out the door?

Day 13 Ten Year Old Clutter

18 small things to get rid of

Ten Year Old Clutter

I’m working on getting rid of 18 things for 113 days before the end of the year.  Things have been slow but I’m determined to make the goal before the end of the year.  I’m starting with 18 things for day 13.  I grabbed a bucket in the basement to go through and before I knew it, I had a huge pile.  Everything in the bucket was dated 2007.  This time, instead of just grabbing a pile of receipts and small papers and counting it as one day, I actually wanted to count every little piece.

Counting each piece this time was important to me because these things, even as small as they are, have been taking up space in my basement for 10 years!! What’s even worse is that this stuff was all the junk that was in one of my cars when I cleaned it out.  Half of it was garbage.

My favorite thing in this group is the card with 5 earrings.  They’re all different!  What happened to the other ones?

Day 6 and I’m in the Kitchen

Did I happen to mention how much I like the randomness of my challenge for July?  I just need to declutter 18 things a day from anywhere in the house.  I went into the kitchen to make dinner, opened up the refrigerator door and saw 18 things waiting for the decluttering to begin!  Unfortunately, I’m not posting a pic because the things that came out of the refrigerator weren’t, shall we say, very photogenic?  So, no pics today!  I’m not going to list them out either because I tossed them as they came out.

Minimal Fuzzies in the Fridge!

I am also happy to report that nothing was more than 2 months past it’s expiration date. There weren’t really any fuzzies either.

I’m up to 108 things for July!

Before and After Pics of the Bedroom

Ok, here’s before and after pics of my bedroom. Well, one side of it anyways.  It’s a long skinny room and it was feeling very claustrophobic in there with things caving in on both sides.  The clothes were piling up higher and higher.  It’s easy to see why it was so hard to relax in there and why it was stressful waking up and seeing that first thing in the morning.

before pic of bedroom

The Before Pic of my Bedroom

And here it is now… The After Pic

after pic of bedroom

The After Pic of My Bedroom

It’s a  lot less stressful in there now but see what I mean about doing it again?  There’s still a lot in the room that I could get rid of.  Each room is going to get a second (and probably third) round of decluttering so I will get to it again sometime later this year.

Do you see that little bucket on the floor?  Guess what’s in there……

UNMATCHED SOCKS!!!  There’s no end to them!! They’re everywhere!!

I didn’t feel like going through them so I just piled them in the little bucket.  I probably could have added a good number to my count if I had gone through them.

January has spoken. It’s The Great Rebalancing Act.

Fortunately, January has been fairly mellow so far this year.  Last year, it started with heavy debt and it continued month after month after month.  It’s probably going to take me all this year to recover financially from last year.

There’s still ten days left of this month but so far, it mostly seems like this year will be a rebalancing act.  I’m starting to remember some of the things that I used to love doing.  They are all getting clearer with each bag that leaves the house.  LifeasIinterpret’s posts about cooking reminded me of how much I love cooking for my family.  As the house gets cleaner, the easier it is to do that.

Priorities need to be reset.  The budget needs to get fixed.  The yard needs to get cleaned up.  More time needs to be spent with the horse.  Decluttering needs to get finished and books need to get read.  Tons of things around the house need to be repaired or replaced.

Will the rest of the year follow suit with January?

Usually by this time of the month, I have a pretty good idea of how the year will go.  I hope that not much changes in the next few weeks because so far, I’m liking the way things are looking.

Bedroom Decluttering has Begun!

I’m looking forward to some good decluttering challenges in the new year but this week is all about my bedroom.  Yesterday was a little slow but sometimes that’s all I can do.  Unfortunately, it’s not starting out very easily like I thought it would.

Nevertheless, I have a few things to add to the count for day 2…

  • 3 empty water jugs
  • bag of garbage
  • 8 pages of sheet music
  • pillowcase
  • shirt
  • blanket
  • belt
  • 2 shoulder pads

18 things!

Total After Day 2 = 63 things out of my bedroom that I will never have to pick up again!

bedroom decluttering

I was hoping to be home for the next 5 days so I could get through the whole room.  Between my allergies and the plans that keep popping up, I’m not sure how far I’m going to get.  The allergy delay was a little unexpected.  I knew that it was dusty in there, which is why I needed to get to that room next, but I didn’t realize it was that bad.  No wonder I’ve been having such a hard time sleeping.

Grand Decluttering Total So Far = 1,477

The Free Table at the End of the Day

decluttering challenge

At the beginning, there were a lot of things lined up in front of the table and none by the end of the day.

freetable7

I can’t believe no one took the rainbow slippers!

After cleaning up the free table tonight, I felt like there was still a lot left.  I filled up two black bags full of stuff and ran them over to the thrift store.  Only two bags out of the many that I put out there.

When I think about all the things that I had out there, I realize there was a lot more than two bags full.  Some of the things that were gone included a leather backpack, about 8 pairs of shoes and boots, an alarm clock, stampers, puzzles, clothes, books, notebooks, binders, crayons, jewelry, snow pants, a snowsuit and lots of stuffed animals – including some of those Beanie Babies!!

Too Much Good Stuff on the Free Table?

I don’t want to think about it too much though!  I gave a lot away and I don’t want to regret getting rid of some of it.  Maybe I should be deleting the pics of the free tables that I set up.  It might be better if I don’t have anything to remind me of what was on them.

For the first time, one of my kids was a little embarrassed about the free table.  His girlfriend was coming over and I think he felt a little funny about it.  I don’t know why though.  It just looks like a rummage sale except that there’s a big FREE STUFF sign in front of it.  I like that I can set the table up and leave.  No sitting there all day long waiting for people to haggle about the price. I love doing the free table.

I hope everyone gets to enjoy the things that they took today!

In case you forgot what it looked like in the morning, here’s the pic again:

free table

Unfortunately, it was a little dark in the shade when I took the pic so it’s hard to see how much is on the tables. Things were really stacked up pretty high.

Final Count for Day 7 of the 21 Day Decluttering Challenge

My goal for Day 7 of the 21 Day Decluttering Challenge, posted by Anne @Minimalist Sometimes, was to get rid of 7 things.  I’ve been working really hard for the last couple days so I was going to take a little break and only do the required amount.  I dumped out three shopping bags and within two minutes, I had 7 things.  I still had a mound on the floor so I couldn’t stop.  Well, actually, I could have stopped but I didn’t want to.

A lot of these things are very small but they’re still things so I’m listing them.

  • Blue stuffed bunny with long arms and legs
  • Another Santa hat
  • Little pack of Kleenex
  • Sunglasses
  • 3-D Glasses
  • Pink glove
  • 2 Black gloves
  • Blue ribbon
  • Old tube of Colgate toothpaste
  • Flashlight keychain
  • Brand new Angry Birds card game
  • Jumping beans
  • Nail polish
  • Necklace
  • Barrett
  • Lip gloss
  • Lip Stick
  • Marker
  • Pen
  • Old jar of mustard
  • Colorful dinosaur eraser
  • Philips screwdriver tip
  • Lid of a snack packer container
  • Plastic Easter egg
  • 2 packets of hot chocolate that expired in 2015
  • Hand mirror
  • Lighter
  • Bag of seeds
  • Plastic fish from a fishing game
  • 2 leather belts
  • Stuffed McDonald’s toy Bear
  • Photo album
  • Gift Bag
  • 3 CD’s
  • Wheel for a Littlest Pet Shop Toy
  • Coupon for the Melting Pot
decluttering challenge

My kitty really wanted to be in the picture but he’s not in the pile to get rid of!

That makes 41 things for today.  I also got rid of a whole pile of papers and receipts but I didn’t count them.

  • Day 3 = 59
  • Day 4 = 61
  • Day 5 = 35
  • Day 6 = 77
  • Day 7 = 41

Total So Far = 273 THINGS!

I’m thinking I should look for 9 more things today but I need to do a little reorganizing.  It’s also getting late in the day so I’m going to be cleaning up the free table outside in a little while.  One more thing that I forgot to mention – yesterday I found $11 and today I found $40 of gift cards.  I’m not sure if there’s really $40 left on them because I haven’t checked yet but hey, maybe it’ll at least be a few bucks!

Before I Continue on with the Decluttering Challenge …

About two weeks ago, I had a thought about decluttering that’s been gnawing at me ever since.  What do I do when the clutter is gone? I’m sure that sounds like a strange question but I have never lived in a clean uncluttered house before and I have no idea what that’s like.  Will I know what to do?  Will I be bored?  Should I continue on with the risk of being bored when I finish?

What started me thinking about all this was one of those motivational posters.  It’s the one that says, “If you can imagine it (or dream it), you can achieve it.”  At first I applied this to money.  I realized that I didn’t have a clue what it was like not living paycheck to paycheck.  Imagining a savings account with more than $100 in it was a stretch.  It’s not easy imagining something that you’ve never experienced before.

Fully aware that I need to change my mindset about money, I’m realizing that I need to do the same regarding the hoard in my house so I can continue.  I need to find a way to imagine the things that I will be able to accomplish when I don’t have to spend all my time taking care of the things that are holding me hostage.

I have a really weird fear of being bored.  It’s very hard for me to sit around doing things like reading.  I didn’t watch TV for years because I couldn’t stand sitting there not doing anything.  Even now, I hate watching TV shows on things like Netflix and Hulu because I need the commercial time to get up and do things.  But if there’s no decluttering that needs to be done, what will I do when I get up?  Will I get extremely lazy?  Will I resort back to hoarding?

About 9 or 10 years ago, we were trying to sell our house.  The realtor told us to get everything out so we filled a huge storage unit.  The summer that the house was cleared out was one of the best that I’ve ever had in my entire life.  I was only working part time so I got to spend a lot of time with my kids.  We did awesome fun things the whole summer.  We checked out every park we could find.  We went to the library.  We grilled out more than we cooked inside.  We went to a bunch of fairs like GermanFest and IrishFest.  We went to soccer games and played hours and hours of video games together.  It was so great until we had to bring the stuff back home.

It will be different this time.

The kids are older now and some are married and moved out.  The ones at home don’t like going to the parks like I always have.  They do like traveling though and finding new places so maybe that’s what I can focus on – taking weekend trips.  It will be at least a year before I can really ramp up these plans but I’m glad I wrote this out.  I think I have found my motivation.  I just needed something to look forward to besides sitting around with that awful feeling of boredom.

Now I can get started on Day 6 of the 21 Day Decluttering Challenge!  I don’t feel quite as stressed about being bored once I finish as I did before.  I feel like life might still be exciting even when the house isn’t overrun with stuff!

The Way January Goes, the Whole Year Goes

At the beginning of the year, I posted about my hopes and goals for the new year.  It seems that for me, no matter how January goes, that’s how the rest of the year ends up going.  And this year I was predicting it would be a year full of debt.

It started right away in January with the vet bills piling in from December.  My horse, Flash, had gotten sick and required a trip to the equine hospital.  If you know anything about horses, you know that’s not cheap!  It also required a couple follow up vet visits once he was back home.  I just finished paying off those bills last month.

I was hoping I was wrong and it would stop there but it didn’t.

  • All four cats needed check ups.
  • The roof needed repair.
  • We had to get the siding fixed.
  • The Midwest Horse Fair was in April
  • I had a bridal shower for my daughter
  • My daughter’s wedding in May
  • Increase in the cost of boarding.
  • Pony started foundering so that took some vet visits.
  • Outside trim needed painting
  • Then came the car repairs….

Lots and lots of car repairs!  The transmission went on the truck I used to pull the horse trailer so I had to buy a new used one.  It ended up having a lot of problems that needed to be fixed.  Our other vehicle ended up needing a bunch of repairs also.  One of them was constantly needing repairs.

Next week is my son’s wedding a few hours away. Can you believe that the transmission went on the new used truck this week?  It did but this time, I had to give in and agree to a loan.  I’m mad about the loan on one hand but happy to be getting a reliable vehicle on the other hand.

It’s just that there’s a ton more expensive things coming up in the next couple of weeks and months and now we will have even less money to work with.

  • My son’s wisdom teeth are impacted and need to get extracted.
  • My other son’s wedding that they want money for.
  • The expenses associated with the wedding.
  • The other car still needs more work done to it.
  • A big medical bill that I’m making payments on.
  • School registration fees and school supplies.
  • We have a mold problem needing remediation.

I think there’s a few other things that I’m forgetting about right now but those are a few of the biggies.  I certainly don’t feel like I’m ever going to get ahead.

This was my middle of the year update.  I don’t see any relief in the near future.  My budget is constantly evolving whether I want it to or not.  I do it in 3 month increments and change it as necessary.  I’ve had to change it a lot this year for all of these unforeseen expenses.  Last year actually ended with an emergency fund but it’s long gone.  I don’t have any extra money to replenish it for now but I can’t worry about that for now.  I’ll definitely be praying for better luck next year!