After my last post where I talked about donating at least half of my stuff in preparation for our move, I got so many questions and emails about how I did it. I guess that January is a good time to talk about decluttering since everyone is in the organizing mood.
To be honest though, I definitely didn’t organize my stuff. It was already organized- everything was in nice bins and labeled, but I had so many things that I just didn’t need or use anymore. What I needed was to downsize my stuff and moving was the perfect excuse to do it!
See, we only could keep what would fit in the back of our car to bring to Florida. The rest of the stuff needed to be stored. And to store something for 5 months meant that I had to love it. I couldn’t hold on to stuff that didn’t suit me for my life right now. So decluttering was all about having a mind shift from “do I have room for this?” to “do I love this and need this?”
my motto for decluttering
I mentioned how I have been reading Soulful Simplicity (all quotes in this post are from that book. I 100% recommend Courtney’s book). It was truly the perfect book to read while downsizing my stuff. This quote became my motto while going through my things:
I wanted less loose ends! Isn’t that something we could all use?! So here’s what I did:
I went through every item I owned
First off, I would dump everything in a pile on the floor. For me, it was less overwhelming to look at one item at a time. Then item by item I would categorize- take on our trip, store, donate, sell, or throw away.
a bin of baking things we kept
I let go of things I had for a person I am not
It was mentally taxing to go through everything. Letting go of things meant I was letting go of hopes and dreams for myself. For example, I had a bunch of text books from college. Getting rid of those meant that I was no longer going to be the girl I thought I would be back then. But that’s ok because I am really happy with who I am.
Getting rid of things for a person who isn’t me was truly a lift off my shoulder. I didn’t have to hold on to someone I am not.
I let go of projects I’m not going to do
Letting go of things meant that I got rid of a bunch of half finished projects. That was nice because it wiped my to do list down. I love that feeling when you’re in a hotel and you just have reading your book and having fun on your to do list because you are in a clean environment. You know?
I wanted that feeling so all projects I knew I wouldn’t finish got donated. For example, I had drapes that I accidentally bought in too long of a size. I needed to hem them to make them work (I missed the return window by a long shot). By donating those pretty drapes, I no longer had to see them and think “oh yeah, I need to do that” every time I opened my closet.
I let go of sentimental items
Sentimental items are a hard category for me. I still kept things like journals and year books and really special letters, but I let go a lot of sentimental things too. I had kept every single card we had received when we were married. Most of them just had a person’s name on it. I went through each card and only kept a few from close friends with nice letters in them. One card still had cash in it! So letting go finally paid off- literally, haha!
I let go of “just in case” things
Sadly, I owned so many things “just in case” I needed them. My craft closet was full of them! What if I needed every color of craft paper in the rainbow for a DIY project?! What if I finally found a reason to use my dated rubber stamp collection?! I haven’t scrapbooked in probably 10 years, but what if I decided to pick up that time consuming and expensive hobby again?!
For me, knowing that I was holding on to things “just in case” was helpful. In Soulful Simplicity, Courtney Carver says that 90% of the time you will never need those things again. And if you do, you can usually buy them for less than $20 in less than 2o minutes. Is it worth cluttering up you house for something you will likely never touch again?
I let go of expired food
This one may sound silly, but cleaning out my kitchen was hard for me. There was some food and spices that looked good, but I hadn’t touched in way too long. So by finding the expiration date and seeing that I should have long since used them, it was easier to throw them away.
The rest of the food that was still good that we didn’t eat and didn’t want to pack got donated to the food pantry.
I sent my stuff to places that felt good to me
By donating my stuff, I felt like I was sending it to someone who could use it. I seriously donated at least 5 full car loads of things! Sending my extra food to the food pantry obviously felt good- I liked knowing that I was helping someone in my community eat.
A pile of things I sent to our local thrift store
I also sold some items- we had two bar stools that were in perfect condition. Since we don’t have a bar in our house, we had held onto these for 9 years without needing them! Getting $55 for selling something that was just taking up space was awesome!
I returned everything I possibly could
Last, I returned items that I could. The craziest example of this is that last April we redid our kitchen. We definitely bit off more than we could chew with doing that project in 6 weeks! When it was done, we were too exhausted to actually finish it. So for 8 months we had a bunch of items that were new in a box that we should have returned.
Then, I realized that Ikea lets you return items for a year! We packed up the items in boxes and got $200 for things that were filling up our garage!
I stored the items I loved
While going through everything I made two main piles- what to pack for Florida and what I loved and wanted to store. I decided to store things like my wedding dress, Christmas decorations, winter clothes, my car, etc. While our home is being rented, I needed a place for these items. I’ve worked with ExtraSpace Storage a lot last year so it only made sense to store with them.
Their website was super helpful in figuring out what size of storage unit I needed. Since I was storing my car, I needed a lot of space and went with a 10×20 foot unit. I made an appointment with the ExtraSpace location closest to me (there are locations all across the country) and went in the next day.
I was seriously impressed with Extra Space’s awesome customer service I received! And doing the paperwork was nice and quick. I was able to buy a really good lock in the office. Then we loaded everything up in my unit. Pretty much it was quick and seamless.
So there you have it. I feel like I’m 100 pounds lighter with all of the things I have gotten rid of. I honestly feel free and can’t wait for our Florida chapter! Here’s my challenge for you- don’t wait until you’re moving to let go of your extra things. Live your best life now. I swear simplifying helps!
Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing pictures and plans for our Florida beach house soon!
Thanks Extra Space for teaming up with me on this post! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.