The Foliage and I were both raised by pack rats. Which is nicer, pack rat or hoarder? Hoarder sounds less derogatory, but now it's a frigging show that exploits people's pain and psychological issues, so THAT doesn't seem very polite.
In any case, we have grown up with...stuff. Oh so much stuff. And while we have both made huge strides in being able to identify and remove the unnecessary, it's still really hard. And we end up with stuff. Still. We live in a 2 bedroom single family home WITH a basement, and that basement is nearly full. How? HOW??? Well, it's partially my deal, because I was going to start a business of vintage rental items once* and the remnants of inventory are down there. And also a largish portion is my crafty and sewing supplies. Which is basically a section of one thousand percent potential!! You can eliminate papers in your home, but which is less wasteful: recycling them, or transforming them into paper mache? Every single person on the planet wants a picture frame lacquered with their bank statements, probably.
Some of the things down there are The Foliage's, I swear. Well. They at least fall under the "both of us" heading. If nothing else.
So I started doing this decluttering project last year before we moved, and it was great. I eliminated tons of duplicates and things we never used...from the kitchen. Then I mostly stalled. But I'm gonna do it again! All the way this time! Here's my day-by-day plan, for the next 40 days(** items are my notes to the original author's list):
1. Kitchen drawers- Cutlery and cooking utensils.
2. Kitchen cupboards- All cupboards with eating dishes (plates, glasses, china, wine glasses,
etc.) and storage containers (like Tupperware or Pyrex containers).
3. Kitchen cupboards- All cupboards with cooking items (pots, pans, casserole dishes, baking
trays or pans) as well as small appliances (blenders, food processors, toaster ovens, etc.).
4. Kitchen drawers- Any junk or miscellaneous drawers.
5. Kitchen linens- Dish towels, cloths, rags, oven mitts, napkins, tablecloths, placemats.
6. Kitchen "other"- Water bottles, reusable bags, lunch boxes and containers, cleaning
supplies, anything else you store in the kitchen that isn't covered somewhere else
on the list.
7. Kitchen cookbooks and recipes. **This will be Library Day 1
8. Videos, DVDs and CDs. **This will be Library Day 2
9. Your desk or work area. **If necessary, Library Day 3
10. Childrens books- Day 1 **Replace with potting/gardening center planning/creation
11. Childrens books- Day 2. **Clean out purse? Or continue with gardening ish.
12. Adult books- Day 1 **Clean out the refrigerator
13. Adults book- Day 2. **Go through food cupboards
14. Medicine or vitamin/home remedies cabinet or cupboard. You could also tackle your
First Aid kit on this day.
15. Children's art work, certificates, special notes or cards, etc. **We have none of this. AL has done zero cool things so far. Maybe order some photo prints.
16. Magazines and newspapers. **Photos seems like a good idea. Work on albums for family FINALLY.
17. Decorative items in living areas.
18. Furniture. Walk through the house and, room by room, assess whether there are
unnecessary furniture items that can be removed. Either move them into your "stuff"
storage area today OR make a list of the items that need to be dealt with as you prepare
for your garage sale, donations, etc. at the end of the 40 days. **We did this before the baby was born. Anything we don't want is already in the basement, several items were sold on CraigsList.
19. Clothing- Kids dresser(s)- Day 1.
20. Clothing- Kids dresser(s)- Day 2. **Kid's clothes will MAYBE take up one day. I'll start on whittling and sorting my wardrobe.
21. Clothing- Kids closet(s)- Day 1. **Day 2 of my wardrobe.
22. Clothing- Kids closet(s)- Day 2. **Bar cart/wine rack
23. Clothing- Master bedroom closet. **All our clothes are in Ikea wardrobes, so the master closest is really AL's stuff, plus miscellaneous baby gear, plus a few boxes we never unpacked from our last place.
24. Clothing- Master bedroom dresser(s). **Nightstands I guess.
25. Bathroom #1. Towels, cupboards, drawers, toiletries, empty bottles- anything you can
think of. **There's no storage in our bathroom. So. Straighten up I guess.
26. Bathroom #2. Same as yesterday, but different bathroom. **Linen closet
27. Entry, hall or mudroom closet (where you keep jackets, winter gear, backpacks, etc.).
28. Shoes. **I think I'll have done this during my wardrobe cleansing
29. Garage- Day 1. **Ugh. THE BASEMENT. Do shelves on either side of the freezer.
30. Garage- Day 2. **Basement Day 2: Outdoorsy stuff.
31. Craft or sewing supplies. **Basement Day 3: FINE I'll get rid of some of my stash geez
32. Laundry room. **Basement Day 4: Laundry and surrounding area
33. Linen closet. **Closet in guest room
34. Backyard shed. **Return to basement: Home maintenance/workbench
35. Homeschool supplies OR kid's school supplies and backpacks. **Ummm...car?
36. Holiday supplies and decorations (includes Christmas ornaments and decor, as well as
other holidays, and you could also include things like gift wrap). **Sort the dreaded china into their sets. Note names of sets and what they include.
37. Kids toys- Day 1. **We have one tiny shelf of toys. And some stuffed animals. I'm good with it. Maybe I'll hang art in the nursery. Or list china on CraigsList.
38. Kids toys- Day 2. **More art hanging
39. Closets. **Closets are done. Photograph and list sellable items on CraigsList. Hang art.
40. Any area of your home that hasn't been addressed yet. OR use this as a catch-up day for a
task that took longer than you thought it would. OR, if you're done decluttering, use this
day to begin to organize your garage sale and donation items.
There are a LOT of things on here that can be combined or skipped, I think. It might only take 2 or 3 weeks, if I get crazy and do more than one item at a time. After this is done, major to-do items are: creating a filing system for our important papers, and dealing with photos (printing, photobooks, etc). And getting life insurance. And working on my NEXT business idea.
In a twist of awful timing, our street is having a community yard sale on Saturday. As in...2 days from now. Sure would be nice if this were to happen AFTER doing our big declutter. Maybe if I get time tomorrow I can get some china together to sell. I may or may not have about 8 complete sets of china in my life. Super fancy stuff. Let's not talk about it.
Bring on the cleaning! Bring on the zen!
*I still think this is a great idea, and totally lucrative, but the execution always fell on The Foliage's shoulders, and it isn't fair for my creativefunbusiness to ruin his non-work time. I'd need to hire people and I couldn't afford to, and I'm totally anti-debt. Of any kind. Except for I guess mortgage.
I have written this post as part of The Discerning Dilettante's Congruence Contract.