Over the past month, my husband and I have been preparing to move into a new house, which has meant putting our current home on the market. After eight years of living in our current home and having our four kids here as well, it soon became apparent to me how much junk we have accumulated.
Despite the fact that I’m actually a pretty regular purger and I really do like keeping a tidy home, it’s just inevitable that eventually, stuff just builds up. From birthday and holiday presents to school papers and all the “treasures” my kids sneak in (read: that literally meant a box of rocks for at least two out of my four kids last night!), it sometimes feels like I’m fighting a losing battle against the clutter.
But when it came time to list our house, I got serious about decluttering–I had my husband take the kids out of the house and I took carloads upon carloads of stuff out of the house. I went through closets and drawers and nooks and crannies and had no mercy. Anything old, expired, broken, or unused? Gone. I packed up more than half off my children’s toys and asked my parents if I could store them in their basement. I needed the toys out of the house for showings, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to part with their beloved possessions just yet.
Fast forward almost two months later and something incredible has happened:
Without so much stuff in our house, my life has gotten exponentially better. After the initial purge and deep clean to get our house ready for a showing, I felt like I had taken the world’s biggest exhale. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was drowning in stuff. Suddenly, I wasn’t spending every free minute cleaning and scrubbing every surface. Suddenly, my kids couldn’t actually play with their toys instead of having to sift through 10,000 toys to actually find one they could use.
It dawned on me how much our stuff had been holding us back. And now, even though we are preparing to move, I am making a vow that our excess stuff will not be following us into our new home. Now that I’ve seen the light, I’m going to focus on simplifying my life this fall–and forever. Here are a few tips to get you started on decluttering and living more simply too.
Make like you’re moving
Maybe you’re not moving, but bear with me and pretend for a second that you are. Go through each room with a set of fresh eyes. What would you get rid of if a stranger was looking in your room? What would you want to take with you? One bin for donations, one bin for trash and make like you’re a mover on a mission.
Let go of the guilt
If you’re anything like me, you might struggle with the guilt about getting rid of things–either because someone you loved gifted you or your kids with items you want to part with or because you’re worried about dumping even more garbage in a landfill somewhere. I totally get that. But what’s helped me is to remember that I’m not creating more “stuff”–it already exists and if it’s not serving our family, it might have better use elsewhere.
Get some support
One of my favorite resources for decluttering and simplifying in general is alliecasazza.com, where mom of four Allie Casazza walks moms through all aspects of minimalism. She has everything from printables to courses you can take to an online community of moms who are incredibly supportive. If you want someone to help hold your hand as you simplify, it’s a great place to start.
Subscribe & save
Amazon Prime, you’ve changed my life. Just this past weekend I finally bit the bullet and signed up for Amazon subscriptions for the small household items I feel like I’m constantly running out of. In some cases, I am paying a little bit more for the convenience of home delivery, but I also realized that in the long run, it will save me money because I’m not spending extra every time I run into the store for “just” toilet paper or soap. I signed up for have deliveries of things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and dish soap. Adulting at its finest, folks.
I love, love books–absolutely love them. I’d have a “Beauty and the Beast” library if I could. But books take up a lot of space. I love real, physical books and I keep the ones that I treasure the most so I can re-read them over and over. But in order to curb the clutter of books, I started keeping a box out in my garage for books I have read and don’t want to keep. I’ll pass them onto friends, donate them to the library or occasionally regift them if they are in great shape. It’s a simple way to add more joy through reading in my life without getting bogged down in books.
Do a trial run
If toys and kids’ stuff is a big issue in your house, I highly recommend doing a “trial run” to see how your kids react to less stuff. Find a friend or family member or even use space in your garage and take a load or two of toys out of your house. I guarantee you that your kids won’t even notice that their beloved toys are gone and after a month or so, you might be more ready to part with the toys–just in time for the holidays, of course.
How do you simplify your home?