A belated update on my May 500 stuff cull

You may or may not remember I made some pretty rash statements at the beginning of May, when the stuff in my house felt like it was crowding us all out.  I declared I would rid the house of 500 things in the month…. the number being inspired by the Minimalist Game, in short getting rid of the same number of things as per the day of the month (so one thing on the 1st, two on the 2nd etc).  If you do this for May it comes to a total of four hundred and ninety something, but I’m better with round numbers so went for 500.  I’m also better doing things in big chunks so my aim was to do 500 things over a couple of big decluttering sessions rather than a bit every day.

Two months later I thought I should share a bit about how I went.  Firstly, it turns out that May was a really stupid month to pick.  Mr Good was working HEAPS, there were kinder runs every day and kinder duty and other kinder events… and my BIG uni assignment was nearing its due date.  Plus my Grandfather became concerningly unwell and died towards the end of the month (not that I knew that was going to happen at the time) and then we had another family health crisis which pretty much wiped out June as well.  In short decluttering time was limited!

If you follow my Facebook page, I did regular updates about my progress.  Technically I did hit the 500 mark, but the vast majority of those were baby clothing items which probably shouldn’t count as one for one, in which case I don’t think I could claim a win.  Going through all those baby clotheswais a strange experience.  I was keeping them carefully stored away thinking they might get used for one more Good offspring, but I came to the realisation some time ago that I didn’t want to go back down that road.  It feels quite final when you give away those tiny little jumpsuits and cute-as-a-button outfits, but also nice knowing they will get used once again with another family.  I had a couple of friends expecting babies in June and July so most of the items were split between them.  My mum took a big basket full that I could get through the wash here, being winter our own clothes took up all the room on my clothes horses.  I’ll offer these to friends too and then offload the rest to the opshop.  I have kept a few items I’ll pass onto family if more babies (fingers crossed) come along and I’ve kept one small bag  to give to my girls when they are ready to start their own families (if they choose to do that).

The best thing about getting rid of the baby clothes was the storage space it freed up.  And with all that extra space I boxed up two thirds of the girls toys into two big boxes that we rotate each month.  My plan with the toy rotation is to see which toys they consistently play with and get rid of the rest.  This means the toys in the family room are much reduced,and  a bookshelf was freed up for, you know…. books, so the girls now have all their books in their room.  And I had room to finally bring my piano down from my parents place.

The rest of the May 500 items included things from mine and Mr Goods cupboards (though neither of us have an extensive wardrobe and we culled heavily before we moved last year), the linen cupboard, the kitchen draws and cupboards (again I’m not a hoarder of kitchen bits and pieces, despite my love of cooking and we didn’t bring anything that wasn’t being used when we moved), the toy boxes and some odds and ends like an old dog bed, some rubber mats and some DVDs, books, CDs and computer games.  A lot of these thing went on freecycle, the mats went to an animal shelter and the rest still needs to go to the op shop.

There were things on my list that didn’t get done though.  The bathroom cupboards are chock full of stuff I never use.  My skin care routine consists of cleansing with plain old water and occasionally applying moisturiser (or sunscreen in Summer).  Despite this I have all sorts of bottles and jars in there that I feel like I SHOULD use, but never do.  I’m sure if I cleaned these out properly I could fit all the towels, bath mats, face washers and hand towels in one spot…. instead of three.  The laundry cupboards which hold an odd conglomeration of things were ignored and who knows the cull capacity in there.  My bedside table was neglected – except the top draw which is now junk free – and the draws are bursting at the seams.  And the cupboards under the mirror in my room are also in need of some attention.

Despite my attempt at toy organisation I still feel like the family room is cluttered with the paraphernalia that comes with children, especially those who love craft.  I have a plan that I’m hoping will ease that situation, but it involves acquiring a particular Ikea bookshelf, one that can be laid on its side with baskets for storage and cushions on the top…. like this:

From here.   Although only one.  I figure the craft supplies could be kept in these rather than the one big tub that gets spread out every where (every day!) that is our current craft storage solution.  I’ve been trawling Ebay and Gumtree hoping to come across one such bookshelf with no luck so far.  Also in my sights are a set of bunk beds for the girls room which will allow the toy boxes, dolls house and dolls prams and cradles to go into their rooms.  Wow, I’ve been side tracked a bit here, sorry about that but my dream of containing toys to children’s rooms is quite overwhelming.

In short I still have work to do.  My longing for a clutter free but comfortable (ie not TOO minimalist home) continues and perhaps doing it bit by bit over the long term is more realistic.  Battling the ingrained dump and run attitudes of Mr Good and myself is constant and not something I want the girls to inherit.  But my triumph so far is my lounge room.  It was declared toy free from the start and has stayed that way.  The draws in the cabinets and coffee table are close to empty instead of being a place to hide more junk and the few decorations that adorn the top of the crystal cabinet and mantel piece are not hiding behind piles of abandoned items.  My wool is stored nicely in two discrete decorative baskets and a few wine bottles are displayed in a wine rack.  It is ordered, cosy and definitely my favourite room of the house, especially now with a fancy gas log fire!

Now I would love to hear how you keep order at your place and reign in the stuff.  Are you a hoarder (I’m not, but Mr Good can be)?  Or do you ruthlessly stop the influx of more junk?  Do you have bad habits, like me, of letting piles of stuff accumulate around the house or in draws and hidey-holes.  Or are you super organised and have a place for everything?  If so, please tell me how I can be like you.


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3 Responses to A belated update on my May 500 stuff cull

  1. renlikesred says:

    Oh we’re always drowning in clutter despite my constant attempts to stay on top of it. Craig is definitely a hoarder of just crap. I struggle to part with sentimental stuff but am getting better at it these days. Sorry to hear about your grandfather. Hope the other health issues have been resolved and you’re having a better run. xxx

  2. fergie51 says:

    Sorry to hear you’ve been facing some sad times, does take it’s toll on everyone. I go from one extreme to another with clutter, military style precision in the wardrobe and pantry then all over the shop in other places. I found a box the other day and in it were a few of the ‘special’ clothes my kids had when they were little, just one for each of them and I almost sobbed. Took me straight back to all those days of stress, tears, sleeplessness and delight mingled together, my baby is now 26! Don’t get hung up on the clutter, I’d kill to trip over some lego (but I’d probably break a hip now) or a bit of train set now and again. It’s a home not a display, ‘stuff’ shows you actually live in it.

  3. Pingback: A Mini Make-over | The New Good Life

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