7 Weeks of Less - STUFF
I'm in the middle of a 7 week experiment inspired by the book 7 - An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. I'm calling my journey 7 Weeks of Less. I'm two weeks in. Read on to see how it's going - and join me if you'd like!
We have 10 rooms in our house, plus a garage - all full of stuff. A week is not even close to enough time to prune out everything we could, so I'm going to focus on getting rid of at least 7 things (hopefully WAY more) in these 7 spaces:
- Kids Rooms
- My Office
- Closets (particularly the front hall closet & Paxton's closet, which is used for storage)
In addition to getting rid of all this stuff, I will NOT let anything new (for me) to come INTO the house.
So, I have to make a couple of confessions about this week:
- I allowed two things to come into the house: a shower curtain given to me by my sister in law (and I immediately gave away our old shower curtain to compensate) and a booster car seat (also given to me by my sister-in-law), so that we'd have an extra for carting Ayla's friends around in our car. Since I didn't pay for either, and the carseat isn't even for me....I believe it's okay. No rules broken, right?
- I love to get rid of things, so I almost feel like this week wasn't fair fasting. It was too much fun.
This week I was encouraged by the fact that most of the things we got rid of were things that were given to us or purchased for very cheap at thrift stores or yard sales, or were items that had been used and abused, but that we had simply outgrown. I guess that makes us cheap. Or thrifty. Or just resourceful. But certainly not flippant and casual with spending our money on THINGS (food & travel might be a different story).
Or maybe it just means that the things we spent real money on are things I wouldn't give away. In which case, I guess I've missed the point of this whole experiment for the week...*sigh* I guess only God can judge that...
At the end of this week, I'm exhausted from the process, but my house is in better order and I feel good about clearing out some of the excess. And I do believe that by giving all that stuff away, that many people will be blessed by things we had no reason to hold onto "just in case" or "to have an extra".
Day 1 - Sunday, May 27, 2012
I started yesterday. I was too excited about this week to wait until Sunday.
Well, really, I started a few weeks ago (after reading 7) by completely overhauling my office. I made some local scrapbooking friends very happy that week and managed to reduce the "stuff" by so much that I was able to take my entire bookshelf out of my office and give Paxton a toy shelf in his bedroom.
And because in my previous Scrapjazz.com life, I was given TONS of scrapbooking supplies, tools and perks for free or for review, I felt great about paying it forward and giving away even the few bigger ticket items that I DID lay down some money for (like my XXL Crop In Style, QuicKutz Die Cutter, and 75-300mm Canon zoom lens). I know they're in happy new hands and will have a great new life.
Then yesterday, Ayla, Paxton and I went through all the toys and books in their bedrooms and together made giveaway piles and keep piles. I was so proud of their generosity. I had to hold them back several times (especially Paxton, who might not completely "get" that these things were going away for good) from giving away some favorite special toys.
This practice of getting rid of stuff comes naturally to me. Especially when it's the kids' stuff. Out with the old--not necessarily to make room for the new, but the old tends to grow at an exponential rate. So it always feels good to me to let some of it go pretty regularly. I donate regularly to the Salvation Army.
Since I had a good start yesterday, I decided today it was pretty important that I get rid of some of MY things (not just the kids' things). Today I went through purses, bags, jewelry, toiletries, gift wrap, and the kitchen cabinets. Strange categories, but it was working for me! I pretty much just opened any drawer or box in the room I was in and started going through it and pruning. I collected enough stuff to cover an entire 6ft table covered (top & underneath) in the garage.
We're so having a garage sale this weekend--and I'll donate the proceeds - somewhere.
Day 2 - Monday, May 28, 2012
I spent an entire hour cleaning the main bathroom and going through the cabinets and closet, getting rid of a ton of things that have been taking up space for about 5 years. Then I cleaned the rest of the house, getting rid of coats, hats & gloves in the hall closet and a few things in the master closet, including towels, sheets and shoes.
Day 3 - Tuesday, May 29, 2012
I managed to find a few minutes today to get rid of at least 7 items in the garage. Since I didn't have time for a full-out organize and clean-out session, I decided that was okay.
And that garage sale idea I had? Not such a great idea really. When I weighed the benefits of giving away a measly amount of garage sale money vs. giving away the actual items...well, the actual items won out. So I'm going to find places to donate all of it, hopefully to where they can be given to people for free (not sold to them). I feel good about that.
Day 4 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Today we tackled the playroom. I'm so proud of Ayla and Paxton for helping give away several puzzles, half of their play-food toys, and several balls. I also picked out a few more things from my decor and craft shelves in the garage to move to the giveaway pile (which is taking over half the garage).
It feels GOOD to have a little bit of breathing room inside drawers and cabinets. But truthfully, from the outside, nothing looks much different--which is kind of unbelievable.
Overall, as I move things over to the giveaway pile, I've noticed that I don't really spend that much money on stuff. I DO accumulate a lot of things though - as gifts, hand-me-downs, thrift store purchases, etc.
I'm kind of dreading the influx of clutter that we don't need that's about to appear when Ayla has her birthday party in a couple of weeks. :( Last year we requested "something to do" instead of "something to have" from family and friends who were buying her gifts. That was the best idea EVER. Everyone was happy with that!
Day 5 - Thursday, May 31, 2012
Today I pruned through picture frames and on-deck decor. Yes. I have lots of on-deck decor in buckets in the garage. Some of those candle holders, picture frames, and fake flowers have been moving around with us since 2000. Some probably came from my mom's house before that. So lots of it HAD. TO. GO.
Plus, I decided my office was a little to craft-tastic, so I took down all of my wall art and will be replacing it sometime with something a little classier and less crafty. I dunno what yet. Maybe just photography. Not important. For now, the walls are bare, and I'm enjoying the negative space. (see the before pics here)
Speaking of negative space...I can now stand in front of the shelves in the garage where most of that stuff lived. And there's extra room on the shelves too. Major victory.
Day 6 - Friday, June 1, 2012
Today, I cleaned out Paxton's closet, which houses all our "keepsake" stuff. I was able to get rid of some old baby clothes and blankets, a paper trimmer, and an entire bucket full of notes from my junior high friends. We all discussed it...those aren't worth saving.
And that, my friends, was the last spot on my list of things to go through. That doesn't mean it's all I could do, but it's all I could do this week!
I called this morning to schedule a King's Home pickup for Monday. King's Home will use what they can for the immediate needs of the at-risk teens in their care, and then use the rest to stock their thrift stores, where the proceeds are almost completely directed back to their program. So I feel good about that. Better than trying to sell them in my own driveway.
Day 7 - Saturday, June 2, 2012
Today while I was taking "breaks" from our all-day gardening project, I bagged up all of the giveaway items and got them ready to be able to put by the garage door for pickup on Monday. The bags and boxes and stacks of stuff cover the top, bottom and extend beyond a six-foot table. That's a lot of "excess" that we were able to get rid of in just one week that hopefully will be able to bless someone else. Especially since, overall, we aren't hoarders or compulsive shoppers and we get rid of stuff and donate it VERY regularly.
Next week....I'm fasting clothing. I'm only allowed to wear 7 specific items. All week. No makeup & no jewelry. I feel like I should get fancy tonight...