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Decluttering Challenge, Round 7: 132-146, and a Decluttering Tip

Here is another batch of things I’ve decided to declutter.  I selected and photographed these items several days ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting them.  For the last few days, I’ve been out of town visiting my boyfriend.  I think when I return home after three or four days of being gone I’ll have fresh eyes for spotting clutter.

As of this post, I am 40% of the way through Mrs. Money’s Declutter Challenge 2011.  I can’t even begin to predict how the rest of the challenge will go for me!  Up until this point, the challenge hasn’t be all that much of a challenge. Sure, it double-dog-dared me to actually get going, but I haven’t had much trouble finding things that I’m ready to part with.  There were two false starts (I thought I was ready to part with the brown herringbone flats and one black skirt pictured below, then I changed my mind post-photo), but I haven’t had as much as a second thought about anything I’ve parted with, other than a “goodbye and good riddance.”  I’m curious to see how long it will be before I feel a bit more resistance as I try to find things to declutter.  The fact that I’m feeling this way makes me particularly glad I’m participating in the challenge; if I am not bothered by parting with these things, why in the world have I lived with them for so long?

In addition to the thoughts on the benefits of the Declutter Challenge that I posted here, I’ve found that I have another benefit to add, which I first articulated this week in a conversation with my boyfriend.  My boyfriend is about to move onto a small organic farm to spend a year as an apprentice.  He’ll be living in a little building on the farm property, and he won’t have much room–or need–for a lot of stuff.  He is trying to limit the amount of stuff that he’ll store at his parents’ home during his year-long stint on the farm, so he has been working on decluttering.  I gave him this piece of advice:

Give yourself a goal of a number of items to declutter, even if it is very small, say, five items.  The benefit to having this goal is that the wheels of your mind automatically start turning to find the five things you’re the least interested in keeping. The mind quickly looks for the path of least resistance; this is infinitely faster than picking up items, piece by piece, and evaluating their individual merits.

Many organizers suggest that you should start with a drawer or a closet, for instance, and examine each item as “keep, toss, repair, relocate, etc.” Sure, that can be productive, but if you’re looking to make a big change quickly, eliminating all the extra mental strain of an elaborate decision-making process can help you build momentum. Perhaps once you’ve cleared away a good bit of the clutter using a goal, like “declutter X number of items,”  which could serve as a major revision to your living space, you ccould use the sorting method (keep/toss/relocate/repair/donate) to edit and fine-tune your remaining things.

As far as my computer objectives go, I made a little headway this week by purchasing an external hard drive.  I ended up going with this one.  I’ll post more on my computer organizing objectives and my progress soon!

Here’s what’s on the chopping block this week:

132-134.  Magazines. First, I’ll see if any friends want these; if they don’t, I’ll check with the local YMCA and see if they could use them.

135. A black skirt. Yes, there are two pictured; one is a pencil skirt I’ve had for ages that has never fit me that well. I have another black pencil skirt that I’m keeping.  I’ll consign this one. The other skirt is one that is slightly A-line; I like it, it’s a little small, but I’m going to give it a little while longer before I pass on it.  My sister gave it to me when she lost weight, so if I decide it’s not for me, I’ll give it back to her, and she can consign it (or whatever).

136.  Repaired stuffed dog. Little Sister’s pup (my niecepup!) loves this stuffed dog.  Unfortunately, she loved it to pieces, and there is no longer a nose.  I stitched up the gaping wound, and sent this stuffed one back to be subjected to more love from Baby Bells.

137.  Polka dot tote bag. I was given this six years ago; it’s in good enough shape for someone else to enjoy, but I think it has a little too much wear to try to sell it.  I’ll donate it.

138.  Necklace. This is a donate; I’m pretty sure the gold isn’t real, but I suppose I should double check first.  If it’s gold, I’ll probably sell it.

139.  Eraser. Mom’s going to take this one for her classroom; or, I suspect, her sudokus.  She has a tendency to fill over-eagerly, requiring an eraser; on crosswords, though, she’s definitely an ink-pen pro!

140.  Button to consigned pants.

141.-143.  Buttons to items I’ve given Littlest Sister. I’ve passed these on to her in case she needs them.

144.  Spool. This wasn’t really mine, but it has been hanging out in my sewing box for years; I returned it to its rightful owner, my mom.

145.  Capless seam-ripper. This got tossed.  :/  I have one that’s in good shape, my family has seam rippers, and I didn’t think it was safe to donate it with a sharp point and no cap.

146.  Small jewelry bag. Donated.

146 down, 219 to go!

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