Some nights my dear husband and I end up discussing world problems and how to fix them if we had a magic wand and last night was one of those occasions. Somehow we ended up on the topic of decluttering and how we as a society accumulate ‘stuff’.
Each year at Christmas time I have four weeks off work as we shut the office down and it is a great break. Every second year we head up north to the coast and family however this year is one of the ‘off’ years where we will be staying home. Each Christmas I try to undertake a ‘declutter’ of the house as we have both the girls birthdays and Christmas all within a month and our house seems to explode overnight with new toys, wrapping paper and food.
The first year I went on an all out war on my house we filled 10 garbage bags full of ‘stuff’ to take to the Salvation Army. I was ashamed! How had we possibly accumulated so much stuff we didn’t use, had outgrown and the waste! Waste of resources, waste of money and waste of space! Crazy, crazy, crazy!
So the following year I set about setting some boundaries on the gift department as this was certainly one area that could use some improvement! Given their birthdays were so close to Christmas I had always set about purchasing smaller gifts for Christmas (probably more about quantity) and making a bigger deal out of their birthday so purchasing the bigger more expensive item for this (Bike, mini tramp etc). I regularly make some items for Christmas as handmade gifts from me as well. The grandparents however were presents on steroids!
My girls effectively have three sets of grandparents as my parents are separated and living with new partners (not so new but you get my meaning…..). So grandparents presents x 3 was amounting to a rather large influx of items at Christmas time. Now speaking to grandparents about presents is a delicate thing. Not wanting to offend anyone I set about asking if they could limit the quantity of items – No need to tell anyone what they can or cannot spend or what items I specifically want them to buy, just if they could slow down on the number of gifts. Consolidate for want of a better word.
Well last Christmas was our best one by far in this department! I undertook the decluttering process ‘pre’ Christmas as I my holidays started a little early with the timing of Christmas. I had managed to get through all of our bedrooms before we had Christmas day and we went on our holiday to the north coast. The grandparents had all complied (I even swindled some new towels from one set rather than toys!) and we (I) had reduced the quantities at home. It was wonderful not to struggle to find new homes for all these toys.
We still managed to take a large number of garbage bags to the Salvation Army but there was only one toy bag and the rest were clothes that no longer fit or were unsuitable so that was a far better outcome than the 10 garbage bags we began with. I also went through our linen cupboard and downsized in that department as well.
It is so refreshing to have a thorough clean out of stuff!
So in our discussions last night, my husband can be quite pedantic about efficiency and downsizing the number of ‘jobs’ you have to do and I can only agree that decluttering reducing the number of jobs. When there are less things to put away or find homes for it is so much easier to keep on top of things. Unfortunately over the twelve month period stuff accumulates again on you! I am starting to get the itch again already to cleanse the house so it may come early this year.
I incorporate the ‘spring clean’ into my declutter process so it can be time consuming as I wash walls, wash windows, dust every possible place and vacuum every floor surface within a room. Pull everything out of each cupboard and re order them, move all the furniture around to get all the lingering dust and really give the place a workout.
Maybe I should stop writing about it and start……