May 500 – a stuff cull

I have one of those brains that doesn’t seem to have an off switch – there is always something whirling around in there, including at 3am….. and 4am…….. and 5am.  Sometimes it’s writing that essay I’m currently working on over and over again, sometimes I’m contemplating the best place to plant my newly purchased garlic and lately it’s been about dealing with all the stuff in our lives.  I’ve read this blog lately (which I think I’ve mentioned earlier) and have also stumbled upon another of the zero waste or plastic free sites and it all got me thinking about the clutter in our lives.  It also probably has something to do with a recent fifth birthday, an up-coming third birthday (birthday’s inevitably mean finding room for more things) and seeing mum dealing with all the stuff from my grandparents’ lives.  Ah, and I’m a hopeless housekeeper, so the less stuff the better for me.

As I said to Mr Good the other day, all four of us ‘just dump and run’, leaving piles of stuff here, there and everywhere.  It’s been driving me crazy.  So over the last week I’ve systematically gone through all the piles of stuff, tossed out rubbish and put the rest away.  I now have a totally clear kitchen benches, dining table, bookshelf top and I’ve sorted those junk draws so they no longer house junk, but only usable things that belong there.  That in itself has made a huge difference to my mental state and I’m going to work really hard to keep it that way.

But this is just the start, you see I have a goal!  I want to rid the house of 500 things this May.  Why five hundred I hear you say.  Well that’s where that first blog comes into it.  You see the Fearse Family played the minimalist game in April, that is they got rid of the same number of things as the day of the month – ie on the first they got rid of 1 thing, one the 2nd, 2 and so on.  If you do that for a month consisting of 31 days (like May) it totals 496 things…. but I like round numbers so I’m doing 500.  And as I can’t deal with it everyday, I’m just going to do a few major clean outs over the month until I get to 500.

In my sights already are the dog bed with the stuffing coming out which the dog pulls at every night and spreads all over the lounge room, two broken kids umbrellas, some outside toys no longer played with, some evening dresses and the last of my maternity clothes, some books and CDs, toys and lots and lots of kids clothes.  Actually I could probably get 500 just from these so I won’t count them until the end (it would be cheating otherwise I think).  I am also going to go through the medicine cupboard, the second draw down in the kitchen and linen cupboard, the odd sock collection and the cords, wires etc we have by the meter.

However, I want to do this in a way where the things I am getting rid of are either passed on to be used again or recycled – and as a very last resort binned (like the broken umbrellas and the dog bed).  I’ve started researching the best places to donate and looking for people who might want what I have to offer (let me know if that’s you and I’ll see if I can get any of the items to you – keep an eye on the facebook page).  My biggest problem so far seems to be soft toys – who the heck takes used soft toys.  Some are in near new condition but my attempts to find new homes for them is not going well – one place would only take brand new soft toys, others only want completely washable and freshly laundered ones which most of mine aren’t, another only took ones less than 30cm (and freshly laundered in near new or new condition).  Some fit these categories but many do not, and we seem to have thousands.  Any suggestions?  If nothing else, this has cemented in me that I will never give a soft toy to anyone as a present.  These toys have all been given out of love and the best intentions and my girls do play with some of them, but we could literally fill three big toy boxes just with these.

I’m sure there will be other challenges along the way, but if I do manage to do this I reckon I’m going to feel so good and my house will hopefully be much easier to keep clean.

Oh and if you’re drowning in toys, have kids that fight over this or that, or that flit from one thing to the next until every toy is on the floor but almost no actual, meaningful play has happened you might want to have a read of this article – its extreme but very interesting.

Finally, if you feel in need of a declutter at your place, why not make May your month too and share your achievements here or on the facebook page – I need all the inspiration I can get.  Let me know what’s in your sights, where you’re trouble spots are, are you dump and runners like us or highly organised like I dream of being?

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10 Responses to May 500 – a stuff cull

  1. Lorna says:

    Really good post – I too have been clearing our home of unwanted stuff – It drives me crackers having tons of stuff in the house – I read the article you linked about the mom who took away all her childrens toys, it was inspiring, I have been getting rid of lots of my Little Man’s toys while he is at school and he has never even noticed. Good Luck with the May 500 I think I may have to join in with this challenge.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Great to hear you’re going on this journey with me, even if just a little bit. Kids really do have to many toys to appreciated them all don’t they.

  2. I’m really looking forward to hearing how you go with this, Barbara. If you come up with any new places to look for clutter, please let me know! I’m hoping to continue getting rid of stuff on a daily basis. I like the way it changed our house and made it calmer. (NB: The links for your FB page took me to an error page on this blog…I found the page by hovering over the link, but wanted to give you a heads up to check out the URL. 🙂 )

    • Barbara Good says:

      Thanks, I’ve made a start – modest as it was – but am hoping to really hit my stores of stuff this week. I’ll let you know if I come up with any hotspots – I’m thinking under the beds might be one! Thanks for letting me know about the links too, I’ll have a look at what’s going on there.

  3. Freecycle! Any time you want to get rid of things that still have life left then try freecycle. 🙂 you never know who wants what you have for offer and I’ve had some great finds on there myself. 🙂

    • Barbara Good says:

      I haven’t actually had much luck on freecycle here Jessie. In Melbourne everything would go within hours of being listed, here I’ve had people want the stuff and not collect or just no interest at all…. quite frustrating.

  4. Pingback: Harvest Monday – May 12, 2014 | The New Good Life

  5. Pingback: A belated update on my May 500 stuff cull | The New Good Life

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