Christine had been leaving lots of great comments so I asked her if she would like to write a post for me while I am on vacation. So here is her story. Enjoy!
I am delighted to be here today to talk a little about my decluttering journey so far and the benefits that my family and I are enjoying as a result.
My husband and I moved to the US from the UK 27 years ago with just a few basic possessions, and over the years we acquired more stuff until our house was gradually getting filled up with books, collections, clothing, toys, school supplies, kitchenware, china, the endless household paraphernalia – and I was preparing to install more shelving, buy more cabinets, create more storage, buy more organizing solutions, when I quite literally came to a crashing halt in a road accident. My injuries left me without the full use of my hands for several weeks and it was during that time of enforced inactivity that I came across Colleenâ€™s blog, and to say that I was inspired is an understatement. I realized that I was spending an inordinate amount of time, not to mention money, trying to organize excess possessions, when the answer was simply to eliminate all those unnecessary things. I also realized that our ability to do certain things can be abruptly stopped or changed and suddenly we canâ€™t do all those things that we take for granted and do without thinking – the washing-up, the laundry, all those essential household tasks. Further, I learned that my possessions gave me little comfort and assistance in a difficult time, rather it was my friends who brought meals or drove my sons home from school who were the true treasures in my life.
During those weeks I read through the entire 365 Less Things blog and mentally prepared for my forthcoming declutter which began as soon as I regained the full use of my hands. I am very pleased that in the two years since then we have donated 1659 items to charity, and on top of that some things have been sold and many recycled. Perhaps surprisingly, I have not missed or regretted a single one of those things, in fact on the contrary I feel great relief and a sense of lightness every time I leave the donation center and re-energized to find more things to donate.
As for the benefits of decluttering, they are many. First, the housework has been greatly simplified now that I have fewer things around needing to be dusted. I have saved a noticeable amount of money by stopping indiscriminate purchases of extra, duplicate or unneeded stuff; these days before buying anything I ask myself how long it will be before that thing becomes one of my donation items. I enjoy having friends to visit and it is nice that the house is usually â€œcompany readyâ€ and it doesnâ€™t take forever to straighten up after they leave. My husband has a demanding job and works long days so I like having a peaceful home for him to return to, a place to relax rather than somewhere that is calling out for action or attention everywhere we look. I especially like knowing that â€œstuffâ€ has lost its grip on me; I have lost the desire to keep acquiring, and with the help of this blog I have realized that inanimate objects do not need to have an emotional or sentimental hold over me, which has been very liberating. Thus I have been able to pass along gifts which I didnâ€™t really like, and even things such as my wedding dress and certain items which belonged to my late mother.
There is still a long way to go! It is likely that we will try to downsize from this house in the next few years so I want to continue to thin out our possessions to pave the way for a simplified eventual move. There are some areas of the house which I have yet to start on and which will be quite challenging (10 years worth of Lego to start with) but with the support and encouragement of Colleen and the 365 community I know it can be done!
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when Iâ€™m slow