My 15-Minute Decluttering Challenge: The Report

I know you all have been unable to eat or sleep or focus during the past 24 hours as you eagerly anticipate the report from my little decluttering experiment yesterday. Well, the waiting is over. Here it comes: I was correct. There were a lot of things I could throw away to which I had absolutely no emotional attachment.

My decluttering focus yesterday was a couple of bags of “stuff” that I grab to take with me when I know I’ll have some down time in the car. These bags include books, CDs, crochet projects, etc. I realized that I had gradually filled two bags with “stuff” so, obviously, there needed to be a little decluttering because one bag would suffice. Now, I did have moments of emotional engagement with some of the “stuff” (like when I found Amelia’s and Stephen’s original Target wedding registry catalog from when we went to Kansas City almost a year ago — awwww), but it was not difficult at all to throw those things away.

I got some immediate gratification for my efforts, too. For example, in the above-mentioned Target catalog, there was a $20 gift certificate to Shutterfly. Sweet. I also found a Tazo tea bag (still sealed, thankyouverymuch) that I steeped for my morning tea. AND I found some gum (also still sealed, you people) that I enjoyed yesterday.

So, I was encouraged that I CAN declutter without having to get emotionally involved with my stuff. I can make progress without shedding any tears. I can throw stuff away without angst.

Now, my next personal decluttering myth to debunk is that decluttering requires a huge amount of time to actually make any headway. I know that this myth is based on my recent decluttering experiences. I spent two days last summer decluttering my linen closet, three days decluttering the playroom, a week decluttering the clothes. I had the time and helpers to accomplish these decluttering feats. I loved being able to have ALL of the toys spread out so that I could locate every single game piece before I decided if any one game needed to be tossed for lack of components. Same with the linen closet and the clothes. I like, very much, to be able to see everything and then make a decision on what to keep and what to give away. It actually makes it much easier for me to make the decisions when I know I have the panoramic view.

And, I should stop here and give myself a little credit for the decluttering I actually have completed since I’ve been following Flylady. I mean, ALL of my maternity clothes are gone. ALL of the little boy clothes (except infant) that are smaller than Peter’s size are gone. ALL of our games are now complete and used on a regular basis. Plus, once an area is decluttered, it stays that way. There’s not an area of my home that has received a thorough decluttering that has been re-cluttered. Hmm…when I think of it this way, maybe I’m a little too hard on myself about decluttering.

Well, anyway, back to today’s mission. The way to prove to myself that decluttering doesn’t HAVE to be done in huge waves is to, yep, give it 15 minutes a day like Flylady says. So, I’m off to spend some quality moments with my timer, again.

P.S. One big decluttering challenge for us moms of large families is dealing with other people’s clutter. Here’s an example from yesterday: I noticed that there was a children’s booklet from the power company about electrical safety, the kind of publication that tends to float around the house because no one really claims it but no one throws it away because it seems to have some educational value and it was free. So, I tossed it. You’ve guessed what happened next. Mid-morning, I get a concerned look from Charlotte and the inquiry, “Where is my electricity book?” Thankfully, I had put the paper trash in a separate bag so it was not covered in potato peels. Whew.

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7 Responses to “My 15-Minute Decluttering Challenge: The Report”

  1. sheila chandra Says:

    For some people, little and often is the best way. Especially if you can make it something you do every day.

  2. Trish @ Another Piece of the Puzzle Says:

    I actually was wondering how it was going, LOL!

    I found you just a couple of days ago because I was looking up decluttering. I am a sort of FlyBaby and I am blogging about a challenge to declutter one thing every day this year. It sounds like you are doing an awesome job – I agree the hardest thing is the emotional attachment to things.

    Glad your daughter was able to recover her book in time. 🙂

  3. eveh Says:

    You are doing great. I managed to get rid of a few things in my 15 minute de-clutter today. I went through all those bottles of fancy vinegars like Balsamic, rice, wine vinegar, and sesame oil, chili oil etc. I got rid of quite a few of them that I really don’t use and some of them the oil was downright rancid. I even found a few bottles of the type of oils you put on bread, like dried tomato and basil that should have been refrigerated after opening. “Good Grief”…..I don’t think we used them the second time, at least I hope not.

    I need to check the bottles on these things before I store them away. At least now I have a cabinet where I can tell exactly what is in there. : ) and maybe won’t kill us. LOL. Before flylady, it would not have occured to me to even sort through these.

  4. Running Mom 5 Says:

    You are an inspiration!

    I really need to learn from moms of many kids how to keep my house under control. I have a 4 month old, a 20 month old, 4.5,7 and almost 9. Five kids, and only one girl in the lot. She is the 20 month old toddler. OMG she is a toddler! Anyway, we are in the midst of moving, in just a few weeks. I don’t have a lot of time to get rid of things while I pack although obvious junk is thrown out, and stuff I know I won’t use is getting recycled or given to charity. I will not have the ChAOS in my new lovely house. I will not have a whole house of hott spots. I can deal with toys on the floor but I want my stuff to be gone.

    I want to have that attitude of I can be ok about getting rid of things without the emotional attachment. I can still have the memories without the clutter. If it doesn’t make me smile do I really need it in my life?

    Thanks for posting your blog because I really need help

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