I received this email from a lovely lady last week who is just about to begin her journey on the quest to declutter. The email read…
Hi Colleen, I am new to your blog but spent a bit of time reading through some past posts. Betty Jo suggested I come over and I am so glad I did. I am literally just on day one of my journey to declutter but am actually looking forward to it. The serious work will begin in the morning…I already know where I am starting. Thanks for spurring me on. Patty
I am glad Patty has found her way to my blog and is most welcome here. This is the reason I started my blog in the first place. I figured so long as I am learning my way I may as well try to help others along with me and together we could make our homes and our world a better place.
No matter where you are on the journey whether at the beginning, half way along or approaching the finish line the message is the same. Take your time and work at a pace that is comfortable to you. It is not a race to see who can finish first or a competition to see who can end up with the least amount of stuff. It is about reducing the things that are cluttering your life, not giving up the things that you love. It is about learning to resist the urge to waste money and space on unnecessary purchases that will ultimately become future clutter. It can be about freeing up funds that would otherwise be squandered keeping up with the Joneses. It is sometimes about doing the right thing by the environment.
Whatever it is to you, don’t give up, chip away at it everyday even if only for 10 minutes. Itâ€™s about the journey, not the destination, and everyone at 365 Less Things is here to help each other. All you need to do is ask for advice, encouragement or even a shoulder to cry on when you get frustrated and discouraged. There is as much helpful advice in the comments from my readers as there is in the posts I write so please check them out as well.
So, welcome to any new readers and to those who have been with me for a while I really appreciate your support and input. I felt it was a good day to reinforce this message not only to you all but also to myself and wish you all happiness in your decluttering.
ITEM 278 OF 365 LESS THINGS
The last item from the Day 273 search through the laundry cupboard
5 things I am grateful for today
- Kind words – these can bring sunshine on a rainy day.
- Kind deeds – done with a good heart for no reward.
- Kind intentions – even when misconstrued are still what they are.
- Kind people – the deliverers of the above.
- Ability to forgive – when kindness is absent
Colleen, I love that you are posting the list of things for which you are grateful each day. Makes me think of what I’m grateful for as well. And they are always things that need never be decluttered — which is fantastic in itself!
I have found that when I sit to write that list it helps me forget the things that sometimes happen in my day that I am not happy about and that can only be a good thing. Thanks for commenting that is definitely one of the things I am grateful for.
Betty Jo says
You know I love all your posts Colleen and find each one helpful and inspiring, but this paragraph sums it all up so well: “No matter where you are on the journey whether at the beginning, half way along or approaching the finish line the message is the same. Take your time and work at a pace that is comfortable to you. It is not a race to see who can finish first or a competition to see who can end up with the least amount of stuff. It is about reducing the things that are cluttering your life, not giving up the things that you love . . . ”
So glad Patty came over and I’m sure she will find incredible help here.
Hi Betty Jo,
I was very happy with the wording of that paragraph myself. I want people to see it as a wonderful thing they are doing and not feel under pressure to rush which leads to regretful decisions. There is a lot to learn along the way and if you rush you might miss the lessons. If you focus on what seems like a mammoth task ahead of you it’s likely you will be too afraid to even begin the journey but if you take one step at a time it is much more doable.
I wish Patty great success on this journey. She sounds like a lovely lady who is ready for a series of little changes in her life, one step at a time.
Hi Colleen, thanks from me also for the decluttering inspiration. I am a little way along my journey now but am sure to drop by her regularly for more encouragement.
I wanted to share also that I recently felt able to lose a whole wall of cupboards in my kitchen. It has really opened the room up and I am delighted I finally feel able to do this as I’m not storing a load of ‘stuff’ that I have no use for. It is addictive this decluttering….once you feel the benefits you just want to keep on going.
it is nice to hear from you. How are those lovely green shoes these days? I like the new IKEA shelf you have decorated beautifully yet again, you have quite a knack for it. You are so right about being spurred on by the benefits of decluttering; it sure feels good to me.
Thanks Colleen 🙂
Those green shoes are going strong (well the replacement ones that are nice and comfy). In fact they have been worn so much I have had to source a green shoe polish to care for them. Not an easy task in my little UK town I can tell you! But it’s one item I don’t mind storing (so long as I keep the shoes) as it makes them look good as new!
I should imagine that it would be a challenge to find green shoe polish anywhere.
I am not usually one for caring much about shoes except that they are comfortable. My travel shoes are Keen brand that are fabulously comfortable but not too pleasing to the eye. When I came home from my recent vacation I discovered a new Clark shoe store had opened in my local shopping centre. I have never walked into a shoe shop and seen such a large array of comfortable, gorgeous shoes. I know where I will be going to replace my Keens that are almost worn out and the worn out pair of flats I threw away just recently.
I like your statement about how it’s not a race. Probably too many people put pressure on themselves to go fast. But I think once you learn what that decluttering “high” feels like, there will just be times when you are able to get through a lot of stuff really fast without it being a struggle.
That happened to me this weekend – when I was clearing out my house to be less cluttered to show (to sell), I put a bunch of stuff in my cabin. That stuff in the cabin was eating away at me, I didn’t even remember what was in there. After two months without seeing any of it, I was able to let go of a lot of it. And today I took a carload to Goodwill. Felt great!
you have hit the nail right on the head here. The size of the job at hand is mostly a state of mind. If you can change your mind you can change your outlook on the entire situation and enjoy the process rather than struggle with it.
I am glad you had some success with your own decluttering process this weekend. Out of sight out of mind is a great method of decluttering.
Great post, Colleen, gets the spirit of the thing very nicely. I’ve been doing the uncluttering thing for a while, and while I know what to do and what to expect from experience, it’s still a bit like starting fresh every time I do something more–taking the time, not making it a race. Onwards and upwards!
yes, onwards and upwards. Like Rebecca pointed out there probably isn’t a finish line so best to stay alert to what is coming in at all times.
I love this post, but what I wanna know is, where is this mythical “finish line” anyhow? I’ve been at this for over 10 years, and I fear it’s an ongoing process for me.
It just seems like even when you’re emphatically trying not to acquire things, they just end up multiplying!
I also have a hard time striking a balance between not having clutter, and not throwing out things that still can be used. I mean, just the other day I saved myself a few hundred bucks by cobbling together something that I would have otherwise had to buy. If I had been a better minimalist, I wouldn’t have had the stuff to use to “make do.”
Anybody got any words of wisdom on this front?
I was wondering who would be the one to question that mythical “finish line” I speak of. You are probably right it may not actually exist but that’s OK. So long as we are in control and happy with the level of stuff we own that is fine.
I understand your dilemma about getting rid of stuff that may come in useful one day. I have had numerous experiences with cobbling together as you so eloquently put it and do struggles to let go of some things at times for this very reason. It is just a case of being realistic about how long you are willing to hoard stuff until it becomes useful. I console myself with the idea that if I donate something to charity the person who buys it will probably be finding an immediate use for it. If I find I need the same thing later I can always check the thrift shop or Freecycle before stooping to buy a new one.
Well put – bravo! This approach is why I find your blog so helpful! Everything I read before this advised that the process be done all at once – and that didn’t fit with my personality, my time available, or my energy level, and it actually made me feel paralyzed into complete inaction for a long time.
Here I found hope, because I learned that other people were succeeding with the gradual approach, and now I am too. Maybe this seems like something I should have been able to figure out on my own, but it wasn’t, so I’m really happy to have found Colleen’s blog.
thank you for your kind words (more than once today) I am glad to have been of help and that this approach is working for you. It is the lovely people like you that keep me going with my decluttering task and my blog.
Welcome, Patty! I know that you will find a ‘family’ of people here who are all on the same journey. Some of us are farther along and some of us are just taking our first steps as you are. The goal is peace and contentment and having what we ‘need’. And Colleen is right: it’s not a race!
Colleen, great post here!
thank you for the kind words and for your warm welcome to Patty. I am sure you will have plenty of words of wisdom to share with Patty as well.
Colleen, I, too, adore the listing of ‘5 things I’m grateful for today’!!! THANK YOU!!! You help me be more appreciative!
Patty, Welcome aboard the ‘declutterer wagon’!!! (wasn’t sure whatelse to call it!!!). So glad you are joining in. I think Colleen’s blog is one of the best, it speaks from her heart to her readers hearts with honesty; and follow her advice, take your time on this journey, it is yours!!!
thank you for your kind words and thank you also for welcoming Patty aboard the â€œdecluttering wagonâ€. Thereâ€™s always room for another traveler.
I do speak from the heart even if itâ€™s not always completely literate by the time it hits the World Wide Web. I do try my best.
Thanks again for having the right message at just the right time. Over the weekend I had one of those “Really????” moments where I realized that despite all the decluttering I’ve done, there seems to be an endless supply of stuff to get rid of. Your post was a good reminder that decluttering is an ongoing process and not a finish line to be crossed. Much of what I now look at as clutter, didn’t appear that way to me just a few months ago, which is exactly why this is a process!
that is the beauty of taking your time to declutter. It takes the task from being a nasty chore to get over and done with quickly where you have learned nothing and are most likely to find yourself back a square one in no time, to a learning process that teaches you important lessons long the way like how to avoid accumulating more clutter and what is important in your life.
With a small child you will always have things that she has grown out of and wears out so you will have no finish line for some time but you will have learned to stay on top of the process so that the things that need natural progression decluttering will be taken care of quickly. The best part about that is you can teach your child as she grows how to take care of her own things and how to be a responsible consumer.
I really like having a the different mindset–just looking at something and thinking I”m probably going to get rid of that–and sooner or later out it goes. It also keeps you from buying something or bringing home something “free” unless it is something you need. The one thing I haven’t been able to do much with is photos. I know our 4 children know only a few of the people in photos from our younger days. (Maybe we should just put a note in and say “guiltfree tossing requested”). After our mother died, my younger sister divided her pictures among the 6 of us by dealing one picture after another into one of 6 piles. I’m not sure who all the people are, but could kind of guess and was glad to get the ones I did. My husband made a lot of color slides at one time, and several years ago, I took time to discard the worst of duplicate types. I’m not sure why photos are so hard to deal with. We made it through childhood in wartime after being born during the depression and each have just a few pictures of those years. But where our children are concerned, it’s totally different–and let’s not even talk about the grandchilren LOL.