A decluttering story from Debbie from Alberta Canada
I came across your website last year and proceeded to read backwards through the archives. I follow several blogs on minimalism; but yours has really helped me the most with my steps towards minimalism. One thing I thought I’d share is my ‘ah ha’ moment last year when our house we had listed for sale here in Canada took a long time to sell.
It was at an overwhelming time for us as we had purchased a great house in a great location that we were renovating while we were trying to sell the house we were living in. In order to declutter our house to get it ready to sell I was moving lots of stuff from one house to the garage of our other one. It seemed like I was constantly moving things around in the garage and covering things up so they wouldn’t get covered in sawdust etc. Each time I’d move something I’d think of getting rid of it; but felt the guilt etc of reasons I shouldn’t that you have covered many times in your blog – paid too much, my college age kids may need it when they are settled on their own, a relative gave it to me, I could eventually sell it and get $___ for it, I may need it in this house. I got the house we were still in ready to sell and our realtor commented that ours was particularly clean and organized.
Well a month went by, and lots of showings – but nothing. The problem was, we had renovated and moved houses several times over the years, and it had never taken us more than a month to sell a house. My kids would cringe when I would give them the drill that we had to keep everything in it’s place; but if we did the hard work we’d sell fast. Well this time was different, the housing market wasn’t what it was, and it became frustrating. Two months went by, then we took the house off the market for a while. We would concentrate on finishing our other house in hopes of finding a better time to list.
Without the stress of worrying about showings, one day I had my ‘ah ha’ moment. I looked at my house listed for sale and realized how much less stressful it felt living in this ‘staged’ house. Living in this house with less clutter had made it much easier to keep it neat, everything had a place, and I had developed a habit of putting things away right away when I was worried about getting a call from our realtor for a showing with short notice. I also began every morning of another habit of making our bed, something I’m embarrassed to say I rarely did before. I realized living in this neat, clean, decluttered house was the way I wanted to live in our newly renovated house.
I had started the tough first steps of decluttering before; but this was the defining moment when I realized I had to get rid of the clutter. We listed our house again last fall and sold in the first couple of weeks it was listed. Since our two houses were only a few blocks apart we moved everything on our own. It was at one point that my husband said, ” Boy we have a lot of stuff!” That was all I needed to get him on board.
Your postings on how you’ve overcome issues with decluttering have really helped. One example – I had received an old trunk from my grandmother several years ago. She has since passed and it wasn’t going to find a spot in this new house. Sure I could have found a spot for it; but not in a decluttered ‘staged’ house and it didn’t suit our decor for this house. As the oldest of 5, I sent out an email to my parents and siblings that it was up for grabs (and to be kept in the family according to my dad) and I ended up doing a draw as 3 people wanted it.
We moved into our renovated house, and although we have some painting and trim that didn’t get done in time, we are concentrating on getting all the rooms decorated first ( I know, sounds backwards ) and have steadily been selling and donating items that aren’t going to work in this house. We would have been constantly moving things around if we had tried to finish absolutely everything first. When this stuff is out of the way we’ll have less to cover up and finish the touch ups.
Today’s Mini Mission
Fridge Declutter ~ Since everything is clean on the inside and out why not move the fridge out of it’s position today and clean underneath it. Perhaps if it is an old fridge it might be an idea to give the element on the back a bit of a vacuum.