Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Creating An On-Going Rhythm To De-Clutter Your Home

Many times I get overwhelmed with the amount of stuff in our home. I long for things to be simple and functional and to be surrounded by beauty. In that type of environment I find that I am inspired, able to be creative and eager to work hard.


However, does every item in our home fit that description? 

No

So how do I work on getting there? How do I keep our home from collecting more and more stuff?

I've always liked the phrase "one thing in, one thing out" in theory anyway. However, my life & schedule don't always work like that. Nonetheless things collect and I'm realizing that life needs an on-going rhythm in which we continue to de-clutter our home.  


A few weeks ago, a family of six stayed with us for a few days. This family is from Seattle and preparing to move to Thailand in September. I was intrigued, to say the least, by how you prepare a family of six to move across the world. They are planning on setting up their new home with local furniture so most of their belongings will be traveling with them in the designated amount of suitcases that they are allowed by the airline.

And here I thought packing up our van for a week at camp was difficult.

As Becky and I talked about the process that they have gone through something that she said really stood out to me. She mentioned that as they began preparing for their move (knowing that it was still a long time out) they began going through their belongings and dwindling things down until they just couldn't possibly get rid of anything else. At that point they still had too much. So about 6 months later they re-visited things and worked on dwindling down their belongings until they couldn't possibly get rid of ANYTHING ELSE. 

Surprisingly enough they continued to find things that they could live without.

Can you guess what they did 6 months later? 

Now their move is just around the corner and they are ready! They also realized how much stuff didn't really matter as much as they had originally thought.

What stood out to me was that they went through a gradual process and little by little they were able to part with more and more stuff to reach their goal. Now they are able to do something that they have been dreaming about...like moving to Thailand, how cool is that?!? 

We aren't planning a move across the world but in my quest to live simply and create a home that is inspiring rather than filled with frustration, I took this concept and ran with it. 

I took a few minutes (ok more like 20) to evaluate my closet. I store all four seasons worth of clothes in my closet and I knew that there were items that I never wear and probably will never wear. And who wants to open up their closet every morning and be faced with so many choices many of which you know you won't pick? 


I kept telling myself that I didn't have to make a decision about every piece of clothing but simply remove the items that I could easily live without. After all, I could always re-visit my closet in 6 months and might find more items that I could live without. 

With just a quick refresh I removed some items and went on with my day. This is what my closet looked like when I was done.


It may not look a whole lot different but I could definitely tell the difference by seeing the pile on my floor with items to give away.  


I guess if I am learning anything about my home & organizing it is that all of it is an on-going journey and by creating rhythms that work for me (like re-visiting my closet every 6 months) I am working towards my goal of living a simpler life. 

Thanks for the inspiration Becky! You can check out more of this awesome family's journey here

Do you have any rhythms for de-cluttering? Do you find it easy or difficult to remove items from your home? 

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13 comments:

  1. I just did a major decluttering (nesting) of my closet and a few other trouble areas. I try to go through our things at least a few times each year, but it seems like there are some areas that get skipped over until they are simply unbearable.

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    1. Allyson,

      Very true! Glad you had a chance to get a bunch of projects done...what a great feeling.

      ~Sarah

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  2. Starting with the stuff that's easy, and working towards the stuff that's hard (e.g. sentimental things) has really helped me. By the time I got to the harder stuff, I was good at clearing, because I'd learned how to do it on the easy stuff. I got that tip from http://www.becomingminimalist.com/ (credit where credit is due). And the joy of uncluttered spaces that were easy to keep tidy was an added motivation for persevering with the tough stuff. You're absolutely right - it's a process, and one that never ends, because new stuff always ends up in our house anyway, despite my best efforts ;)

    Keep up the good work!
    ~ Evelyn

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  3. Hi There-

    So I know this doesn't have anything to do with decluttering although I love the blog..My rule on thumb is if I haven't worn it in 6 months to a year it goes to goodwill. I do have a question though on the first picture of picutres.. What is that wall and where is it? I have never seen it on your blog and I LOVE it and am curious as to what it is and how it was made :) Thanks! Erica (edaisy1326)

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    1. Erica,

      That is our coffee bar chalkboard wall. All of the details are here...

      http://www.aninvitinghome.com/2013/02/no-barista-needed-coffee-bar.html

      ~Sarah

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  4. 1. I'm so jelly of your clean closet floor--where do you store your shoes?
    2. I have committed to 15 minutes of decluttering one space/drawer/closet per day. I have to do it "on the sly" because the kids and hubby would keep EVERYTHING, even though these are things they have looong forgotten about, don't use, have outgrown, etc. I hope I'm not the only sneaky purger! LOL!

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    1. Kristy,

      I have a shoe hanging organizer off to the left that you can't see in this picture. It holds all of my "fancy" shoes most of which I don't get to wear that often because of running after five kiddos. :-) I totally get the "on the sly" move...I'm the same way. I think your 15 minutes per day is brilliant.

      ~Sarah

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  5. One thing I don't struggle with purging any more is clothes. We have an over-abundance of cheap clothes in this country. I can get beautiful, barely worn clothes for free or nearly free whenever I want (at the town swap shop or church thrift store), so I don't get all worried that I'll regret tossing something. Thanks for sharing. Hello from Thrifty Thursday.

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    1. Melissa,

      So true, good way to view it.

      ~Sarah

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  6. Seasonally changes, school starting, time to decorate for Christmas and out of town company coming are some of our markers for decluttering though we just do most of it regularly to avoid a major event. All 4 of us regularly put clothing that needs to go out for a variety of reason in the pile at the end of the storage area.

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  7. Have you ever read the book called "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up"? The author has some great tips on decluttering, but her motto is simply ask yourself does this item spark joy? If it does keep it otherwise it goes. I recently eliminated 5 garbage bags full of things that dont spark joy... There is more to it than that. It's a great read for anyone :)

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    1. Too funny! In answer to your question, Yes! I got rid of five bags too...ha! :-) http://www.aninvitinghome.com/2016/02/the-marie-kondo-minimalist-living.html

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