Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Time in the Secret Closet

I've gotten comments here before that suggest that it is impressive that I still have things to declutter. I call it less impressive and more embarrassing. See, the thing about clutter is that it is a constant fight against entropy to keep the clutter away. To prove this, I offer up the example of my secret closet, which is what I call the closet in which I keep gift wrapping supplies, gifts I plan to give to people, and assorted other crap.

I have decluttered that stupid closet more times than I can count.

Okay, that's a lie. I can count. It's three. Here you go:

1. Closet Clutter, Day One

2. How I Celebrated National Decluttering Day and The Spoils of the Closet

3. The Secret Closet Reprise

And now I'm about to offer up decluttering number four: The Secret Closet Re-reprise.

I got rid of all the things I usually do. I got rid of old receipts for gifts that I gave away a long time ago, I tossed old bits of crumpled wrapping paper and short lengths of ribbons that will never be useful for wrapping a gift. I took a bunch of old bags and art supplies and threw them into the far back of the closet. That is a project for another day.

But this is not a cleaning blog. (God forbid.) This is a decluttering blog. So let me tell you what I decluttered.

I found this magazine rack in there. It is full of old puzzle books that I bought in bulk at one point long ago. For many of these books I have done all the fun puzzles and left the rest for later. Guess what? Later's not coming.

Nineteen books recycled.

Probably the biggest change that I made in the closet was cleaning out the boxes I have in there. I used to keep a lot of boxes there in case I needed one to mail something. In some of the past declutterings of these closets, I've recycled some of these boxes. This go-round, I recycled* all of them, with the exception of three or four shoeboxes in case we need to make a diorama.

I didn't count the big boxes I got rid of, but there is substantially more space there now.

In the past, when I've been getting rid of boxes, I refused to even think of getting rid of the selection of small boxes and bags that I kept for little gifts. I haven't used any of those boxes and bags in probably four years.

 TWENTY-SEVEN small boxes recycled;
9 small bags (and another tote bag) donated.

What else did I find in there that I had been keeping for stupid reasons? Well, this box of half-used Valentines probably qualifies.

Because my kids are likely to remember they exist and then want to use them.

The secret closet is also a repository for leftovers from party favors and whatnot. I tend to buy party favors from Oriental Trading**, which is great because they are cheap and awesome, but I always end up with more than I need.

Some things I can use for other gifts or for add-ons to other gifts, but nearly everything in the closet currently has reached the end of its usefulness for the Stimey household.

Whistles and medals I'll keep; wristbands and tiny bags, I'll donate.

I was also going to give this little stack of notebooks to somebody who was at my house just a couple of days ago, but I forgot. Dammit.

I've been putting these toys in stockings, party goody bags, and whatever else I can think of for years. I'm tired of it.


It was actually completely astounding to me how many leftover party supplies I had in there.

I also found a few other assorted items to donate and organized my stash of things that I have on hand to give as gifts in cases of emergency. It was actually really good to go through all that stuff. I found some things that I didn't even remember that I had, including at least one that I hadn't given but that was still wrapped and I didn't know what was in it.

I also discovered that I will likely not need to purchase any gift tags in my lifetime.

All told, I eliminated 156 items from that closet, and that doesn't include large boxes and some insignificant-ish items I decided not to count.

I'll be sure to let you know the next time I declutter the closet.

* I should probably make clear that I didn't actually recycle the boxes, but I made Alex do it. He's such a good sport.

It's also not really my fault that every time I post a photo of Alex,
he's making a weird face in it. It's like I pull out my camera
and his face does that automatically.

** If you've never read my post about the Oriental Trading piƱata I got for Jack's birthday a couple of years ago, you should. It's one of my favorites.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Organization Begets Cleanliness

This is not so much a post about decluttering as a post about organization and me patting myself on the back for something I'm really proud of.

Namely, I created the perfect home for all our board games. We have a pretty good number of games and they've ended up strewn all over my kids' rooms. Because they didn't have a good home, sometimes boxes would get squooshed or pieces would fall out and get lost.

I decided that because Sam uses drawers in which to store his clothes, we would make the closet in his room our game closet. But first, we had to deal with how to arrange the room. His room is very small and has two doors, a giant shelf that covers one entire wall, a closet, and window. It is a challenge to find a place to put Sam's full bed without blocking a door, yet still leaving enough room for Sam to be able to sit or play on his floor.

The best option is to put the bed where it blocks part of the closet door, but then the closet was going to be unusable. Until, that is, Canape came over to my house and suggested that we take the door off and put a curtain there instead.

She blew my mind.


Then I made Alex build shelves. Inside that door, the closet stretches probably another foot to the left. There is so much space in there now. I love it.

Super voila!

My kids love it too. They have played more games in the past two days than in the past month. AND, after they play a game, they PUT IT AWAY. With ALL its pieces.


The moral of this story is that if there is an easy, clearly marked home for things, it is far more likely that they are going to be put away and taken care of.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Now I Have to Declutter Stuff I Didn't Want in the First Place

I do a lot of shopping with Amazon and they do a great job. Occasionally, however, they fuck up. For instance, one day last week I came home to find a giant box from them. Thinking I knew what was inside it (a gift for a family member), I opened the box and pulled out...a tire?

Seeing as how I don't own an adult-size bike, it seems highly unlikely that I would have ordered an adult-size bike tire. After a little investigating (read: "actually looking at the packing slip"), I noticed that a packing slip for an item (that came in a different box) was taped to the packing slip for some woman named Virginia, who lives in Kentucky.

After a big sigh, because I knew that I had to contact Amazon because I wanted Virginia to get her bike tire, I emailed them to tell them. They almost immediately sent back an email telling me thanks, that I wasn't charged for the tire, and that if I mailed the tire back to them, they would reimburse me for my shipping costs.

Doesn't that sound like all kinds of fun?

Of course, I wrote back:

Here's the thing. I'm not super excited about dragging that giant box to the post office in the middle of December and spending the money to return and then waiting for reimbursement. Especially because it's a bigger-than-standard box. Is there a way for you to arrange a pick up from my porch?
Much as I expected, they wrote back again almost immediately to tell me that I don't actually have to return the tire (mental note: ALWAYS be the squeaky wheel), and that I can dispose of it at my leisure.

So, here's the thing: Does anyone local need a bike tire? You would need to pick it up because I think I mentioned that I don't plan on taking it to the post office. Here is a photo of the tag in case you need more specifics:

If no one wants it, I'll Freecycle it.

Total items: One.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spare Key

I know you have them. I have them too. Everybody has a plethora of orphan keys stashed in various places around their houses. These are one of the hardest things to get rid of.

See, if you don't know what lock a key belongs to, chances are you don't need the key. But IF there comes a time when you realize that you need that key? You really need that key. Or you need a hundred bucks to give to a locksmith.

It takes guts to throw away spare keys. Even (especially?) if they're weird little ones.

This key has lived in a bowl on my desk for years. I'm nutting up and throwing it away.

Yay, me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Old Snacks

Over the past couple of weeks, I cleaned and organized my TV room. I made a lot of improvements to the space in that room without necessarily getting rid of a lot of stuff. When I cleaned out my snack cabinet the other day, I did exactly the opposite: I threw out a lot of stuff, but didn't make a big change in the way the cabinet looked.

My snack cabinet (sort of self-explanatory, really) is where my kids know to look when they want a quick snack. I keep goldfish crackers, pretzels, and the like there. I actually need to revisit whether that is a good use for the cabinet, as the things I keep there could probably be consolidated with other foods and live elsewhere, thus freeing up a whole cabinet worth of space.

Regardless, this is the cabinet when I started:

It's not bad, but it was time for me to look at how long some of that food had been in there. This is something I recommend you do regularly for all of your cabinets.

In my case, I found a few things that were distressing.

The happy goldfish wasn't distressing, but the pretzels that I can't remember putting in there are. I kept the goldfish and threw away the pretzels. We don't use the goldfish very often but they are so darn cute. I'm just not ready to discard them.

I also found a bunch of cookies.

 I'm a little embarrassed to tell you that I bought those cookies at Ikea two Christmases ago. Here's the thing. I thought they were butter cookies with jam on top. Turns out they were vanilla sandwich cookies with jam on top. They were substantially less delicious than I'd hoped. I gave some away with Christmas gifts that year and ate a few, but I just couldn't get past my disappointment.

When I can't eat a bunch of cookies, you know they're not very good.

I also found a veritable treasure trove of raisins. My kids don't eat them very often, although they will occasionally go a a raisin jag, causing me to buy a bunch of them, only to watch them turn into tiny little shriveled rocks.

There was also a goldfish container with no top, which I got rid of, and a bag of rock hard gummy bears. Delish!

Here is my finished product:

It's not a whole lot more decluttered, but it is definitely an improvement on the edible foods front. Also, do you see what I mean about the wasted space? I need to do some thinking about eliminating the snack cabinet completely.

Total items: 11

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Great TV Room Declutter: The Video Game Edition

My family and I are gamers. We love video games and over the years have collected many, many, many of them. A long time ago, I moved all of our game discs into a CD folder so we don't have a billion cases hanging around in the TV room. Actually getting rid of those cases is another story in another room, and one I hope to get to before too long, but for now, the discs are contained in a small space.

I do, however, keep all of the instructions to the games.

They were all in a stack next to my TV when I was cleaning out the room. When I was dusting a thick layer of dust off of them, it occurred to me that I hadn't picked any of them up for months. I asked Alex what he would do if he had a question about a video game we had. Would he seek out the manual or just go online to find an answer?

He said he'd go to the internet, and frankly, I would too.

It seemed a little wrong to recycle all of these, but considering we don't resell our video games, we really don't need them. Now, I agree that keeping the instructions for a new game is okay for a while, but once you get the hang of it, they're not all that necessary.

All told, I got rid of 35 instruction booklets.

I was also able to get rid of my Netflix streaming disc for my Wii because you don't need the disc anymore to watch Netflix movies through the Wii. (Disclosure: I am a Nintendo Brand Enthusiast, although I pay for Netflix myself, blah-de-blah-de-blah.)

We also had a PS2 from back in the day. Probably about a year ago it stopped working. Judging by the layer of dust on the controllers there, it didn't get used a lot even when it did work. The PS2 is going to the electronics graveyard at the dump and the controllers are going to the donation bin.

Next, I just have to dig out all of my PS2 discs and get rid of them as well.

Total items: 40

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Great TV Room Declutter: The Neighborhood of the Desk Edition

After I cleaned out the closet in my TV room, I moved on to cleaning off my desk and the containers around the desk. I started with rearranging a bunch of things on my desk to make it easier to keep clean. I didn't get rid of very much on my desk, but I did streamline it a little.

It looks pretty, huh?

The things that did require decluttering, however, were the various containers on the floor near the desk. 

For instance, I had a bag of swag that I hadn't gone through after BlogHer. It was sitting in a bag right next to my desk. The reason that stuff was sitting in a bag next to my desk is because they were things I just didn't know what to do with and I kept putting off going through the bag. Finally I decided that if I didn't go through it, I should just put the whole bag in my donation area.

I went through the bag, found the things I wanted to keep and put them away. Then I gave some of the items to my mother in law, who happened to be visiting, and put the rest in my donation bin. Voila! Easy peasy. Twenty items and the bag they were held in—gone!

I was feeling pretty proud of myself until I saw a magazine file that I had stashed on the floor behind my desk and forgotten about. Hmmm.

The first thing I noticed was a packet of tickets for a babysitting co-op I hadn't belonged to for more than a year. I found a couple of other folders full of archaic things. Like a folder with fliers for things to do in my town. I put that folder together when I moved into this house.

Six years ago.

Clearly that folder has not been a great deal of help to me, seeing as how I forgot that it existed.

I also found my dog's frequent grooming card, which shows that she was last groomed in...2003. So it's not quite up to date then.

We are going to earn that free grooming any day now!

I also found this:

I know. You're confused. Here's what that is. I like to read books, but for the past several years, I have not had as much of a chance to read as I would like. During that time I would read a book review for a book I wanted to read and I would rip it out and put it in this folder so that when the day came when I had time to read all the books I wanted, I wouldn't be stuck without knowing what to read.

Very clearly, this needs to go. It was a little hard to let go of it because each piece of paper there represents a book I want to read—information or words I want to absorb. But seriously, I can't keep all those pieces of paper. I could put all the titles in a document and just keep the document, but c'mon. It pained me, but I recycled all of it.

Honestly, people, it's steps like this that are going to keep me off of season 15 of Hoarders once my kids go off to college.

Of everything in that magazine file, the only thing I kept were assembly instructions for my treadmill, and I put those in my instructions and warranties drawer.

Not bad.

I'm calling this four items, but that little file represents a lot more than four items. It represents the essence of the Junk Pyramid and my decluttering efforts.

Up next: My video game area.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Great TV Room Declutter: Closet Edition

I spent Thanksgiving weekend cleaning, organizing, and decluttering my TV room. My family spends a lot of time in there and my computer desk and videography closet is in there, along with our DVDs and video games, so there is naturally a large amount of clutter present.

I managed to declutter the whole room except for the desk and small table drawers. There are 12 of those. I'll deal with them later. (Sigh.)

I started in the TV room by working on my closet in the corner where I keep my videography equipment and supplies, as well as other assorted things. The interesting thing about the closet is that I didn't actually get rid of very much. In this case, it was a simple matter of reorganization that made a huge difference.

I don't know if you can tell because it's really awkward to photograph that closet, but there's quite a difference in there. That shelf on the left actually has a nearly empty cubby now, which is quite different from what was going on in there before.


Here is everything I discarded from the closet.

5 items.

Those DVD spindles seem like they would be so useful, so I have a hard time getting rid of them, but I really only need one extra and I have one of those in my desk. I also found a remote that is affiliated with a DVD player than no longer exists.

If you're a long-time reader of Stimeyland, you might recognize the photo from my old blog cards (in the plastic bag), which used to be the header over there. The other side of those cards has information for this fabulous blog. Ah, remember a time when I only had two blogs?

The other improvement I made in the closet area was to shift around an old computer that used to be on the floor in the corner. It rarely gets used, so it doesn't have to be accessible, but it does have to live in a way that doesn't prohibit its use, because it does get pulled out occasionally.

My solution was to pull out the little caddy that my printer lives on and shove the computer behind it. The flat monitor lives next to the caddy now. A special bonus feature is that now there is room to open the closet door ALL THE WAY! Imagine that.

There is also a spot for small children to hide.

I am so much happier with my closet/corner area now. It's so much neater, AND it's easier to reach my printer. Win win.

Next up: My desk.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting Rid of My Therapy Bag OR Cleaning Up Handheld Video Game Clutter

I had to put that second title up there, because that thing about the therapy bag is misleading. I had a bag that I used to refer to as my therapy bag, not because it had anything therapeutic in it, but because I would take it with me when we took Jack to speech or occupational therapy. In it, was my stash of handheld video games and accessories.

I have an embarrassing number of handheld video games that I have acquired through my review activities, and let me tell you, they have made life in waiting rooms far more tolerable. I would take the bag with the game systems, the games, and extra batteries so my kids could rummage through and find what they wanted each day.

I haven't used the bag recently because my kids are far more into their Nintendo DSi systems, which are smaller (can go in my own bag), are rechargeable (no batteries to haul around), and have tiny games (see: can go in my own bag).
Then, even more recently, I've stopped carrying around any video games because I think they're getting too reliant on them and I believe that they have to learn to conduct themselves with dignity in a waiting room even if they don't have something to distract them. Plus, they're older and easier to keep in control AND they have homework a lot of the time, which keeps them busy in waiting rooms (which the poor guys deal with at least three times a week).

All of this is to say that it was time for me to take a look at what was inside that therapy bag. I was pretty lax about the bag and didn't worry about extra clutter, but now that I was making the decision to repurpose the bag itself and relocate its contents, what was inside it suddenly made a difference.

What I did was to take the game systems and put them in the box in my kitchen that holds lunchboxes and reusable cups. That way we know where they are, they're not somewhere my kids can sneak away and play them without permission, and they're easy to grab on the way out of the house if we decide to take them somewhere.

The games themselves can be a little tough to deal with because (a) they're small and easy to lose, and (b) should you carry extras with you in case your child changes his mind about what he wants to play?

This is why I used to carry a therapy bag—so I had everything, just in case.

I solved this problem for the DS games by repurposing this little container I found. I think it originally held M&Ms. Weird, I know.

But, more perfect, it could not be!

I put the rest of the games and the recharging cord in a plastic container and put it with the game systems.

This left me with a fair amount of detritus in the therapy bag. Some was just assorted trash of the kind that ends up in bags that get carted around. I found a little box of crayons, scissors, and glue that I carried around so Sam could do his homework when he was in kindergarten. And I found stuff I could get rid of.

DS video game boxes are useless. They're 900 times larger than the game itself, so you don't want to drag them around, plus, unlike DVD or CD cases, they can't be reused for something else. Gone. I also found a little velvet bag that used to hold a gift card. I kept it because a little velvet bag has to be good for something, right? It turns out that, no, it's not. Gone. Plus, there is a walkie talkie that doesn't have a mate. Gone.

Oh! Also, I gave away our Hannah Montana Didj game to a friend of ours, because she will get a lot more use out of it than my children will.

Total items: 7

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spice Purge

I was listening to the radio the other day and there was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show talking about spices. She said that you should get rid of your spices if they don't have an aroma anymore because that means they are dead and no longer flavorful.

I was excited because I have A LOT of spices, many of which I have had for a long time. I was envisioning getting rid of many little jars and possible consolidating my four spice racks into two. Surely I don't use that many spices, right?

I spent a substantial amount of time one day not too long ago smelling all my spices. One odor-induced splitting headache later, I still had most of my spices in front of me. I did decide that, even if they still smelled, a few of them were too old to keep, so I got rid of those. But most of them I kept.

I did organize them though.

Salts, peppers, and toothpicks.

Near: Herbs. Far: Garlic/onion powders, plus spices in short jars.

 The rest of my spices. And a guest gerbil.

Not quite what I was hoping for in terms of volume, but I'm okay with it for now.

Here's what I ended up getting rid of:

Eleven spices.

The cool thing about this decluttering project is that it let me use Freecycle again, which I find fascinating every single time I do. Remember the time I gave away syringes on Freecycle?

I posted that I had six glass spice jars to give away and within an hour, I had two people offering to come pick them up. They were gone by the time I went to bed. One (wo)man's trash...

Total items: 11

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Collateral Decluttering

The other day when I was cleaning out my wicker tote bag chest, I came across a few other things in the vicinity that I decided to declutter while I was at it. It's kind of like collateral damage, only in a good way.

Quinn has been wearing a gray sweatshirt for what feels like years. I finally got rid of it. A couple of weeks ago, I also got rid of his most beloved NASA fleece sweatshirt that he has been wearing for many years, so I will count that too. That one I gave to a friend.

I was very happy to be able to convince Quinn that a new, larger sweatshirt might be just the thing for him. It's bright blue and he loves it. Although today he wore Jack's camo sweatshirt because he was wearing camo pants and he spent a big chunk of the morning trying to convince us all that he was invisible because of it, which is the exact same thing Sarah's kid did a couple of weeks ago. I am highly amused by the insanity of small children.

I also found these three pairs of shoes that Quinn grew out of.

Total items: 5

Friday, November 12, 2010

When Useful Things Turn Clutter: Tote Bags

Remember a few years ago when everyone started using reusable bags instead of plastic bags? Awesome, right? No more paper or plastic, thank you very much, I have my own! My family has collected a huge number of reusable bags and totes in the past couple of years. We even use reusable produce bags that I bought for Alex after Swistle bought some for her husband.

I do lots of things that other people do first.

Anywho. In those past few years, I have attended many events at which items are handed out. At such events, it is typical that things are handed out in a reusable tote bag with a brand name on the outside, because who wants to be the asshole giving away swag in a plastic grocery sack? No one, that's who.

Consequently, I have dozens of tote bags in a variety of sizes and designs. In the past I have been loathe to get rid of them, because of this axiom: Tote bags are USEFUL. It's true. They are.

But here's the thing. No one will EVER have a use for this many bags:


That photo doesn't include the bags we use for grocery shopping either.

My tote bags were living in a wicker chest in my dining room and their bulk was making it so I couldn't use the chest for anything else. The other day I went through and took out the weird shaped bags, the ones I don't and will probably never use, and the brands I hate (Staples, I'm talking to you).

I kept a good number of bags, because, hello? Tote bags are USEFUL. But I got rid of 16 of them.

It's hard to look at all the wasted USEFULNESS.

I probably kept too many, but I wasn't ready to get rid of bags I like yet. Regardless, I was able to consolidate them into half of the chest, with sports equipment on the other side, with room for our outside garbage bags as well!

Looks pretty good, huh?

While I still do have too many, I do believe that there is value in having different sizes of tote bags made out of different materials, because there are a variety of things in this world to carry and one bag does not fit all.

Total items: 16

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

That Time of Year Again & A Pledge

Twice a year I switch out my kids' clothes so they don't head off to school in shorts in November. I finally got around to taking those shorts out of their drawers yesterday, and just in time too, because it's really cold today. Of course, Sam dug some shorts out of the dirty clothes hamper. I can't forget to grab those clothes too.

I am always surprised by how many clothes my kids have—and by how much they grow in just a few months. There were many 4T pieces of clothing in the winter box that my kids will never be able to squeeze into again.

It was just hard to get rid of some of them. There was a lot of beloved clothing in this batch.

There were also these:

Those are the bottom half of pants that can be changed into shorts. Once those leg bits were zipped off the first time, I don't think they were ever put back on. Hard as I looked, I couldn't find the pants they went with. I finally threw them away.

It's always interesting to me to see which one of my kids ends up with the most clothes in his drawer after I readjust ownership for size and who will agree to wear what. Jack wins this season, with more shirts and pants than anyone else.

I have exactly 50 pieces of clothing that I am donating. Fifty. That's a lot of clothes. It's a little shocking actually.

I don't want to be able to donate this many clothes next time. I am here to pledge, right now, that I will not purchase any more clothes for my kids this winter. They have plenty. All of them have plenty.

I am also here to say, right now, that, Mom, you are not allowed to buy clothes for my kids for Christmas either. They have so much. I'm sorry.

Total items: 50 articles of clothing + 1 set of leg holes.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Throwing Away Brand New Things

We just bought a new telephone set because ours was doing some funky stuff. You know, like not letting us make or receive calls.

We have incredibly bad luck with telephones and have to replace them every couple of years. The new one is cool, but I haven't had enough time to figure out how to make it do anything. We put the phone together and then tossed all the extraneous bits on the counter.

Yesterday I was cleaning off and organizing the giant pile of crap on the counter and came across these:

That's the wall mount for the phone base and the little belt-clip thingies for each headset.

I stopped and looked at them. I know, because I have owned phones before, that I will never use these pieces. But still. They just came out of the box. They're brand new pieces of plastic that took resources to create and will take up space in a landfill once they're gone. They were useless to me, but I didn't want to throw them away.

Then I thought about it. Aren't they kind of creating the same trash problem if they are unused in my house as if they were unused in a landfill?

I don't know. I still feel guilt for throwing them away, but the only other option was to stash them in a cupboard somewhere in my house where they won't get used and will just take up space.

What do you do with stuff like this?

Total items discarded: 4

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Clothes Purge: What I Couldn't Part With

I am a Levi's 501 gal. I LOVE them. They will always be my preferred pants. I love the shape, I love the fit, I love the button fly, I love the way they look with my preferred shoe (which is a boot), and I love the way I feel bad ass in them.

Unfortunately, I don't fit into any of the 501s that I currently own.

During my clothing purge the other day, I set aside my last 10 pairs and decided to sell them.

But I can't. I just can't. I love them. I have carefully collected Levi's from thrift stores since grad school. I gave away the really small 501s a long time ago. They were the ones I wore during the time I was referred to as "the skinny one." (Long story. There was a break up. I only ate M&Ms for an extended period of time. I dropped a LOT of weight pretty rapidly.)

The ones I have left are of a reasonable size that I can re-wear them someday, and hopefully not too far in the future. Maybe I'll even surpass my expectations and have to start checking the thrift stores again.

I've decided, however, to keep these pants as my current inspiration/aspiration. I'll get there.

Sometimes there are items that you just can't purge. Evidently 501s are mine. What are yours?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Super Purge: Clothing Edition

Oh, you guys! I'd almost forgotten all about this one. Last week I went through all my clothes and did a super purge.

Usually at this time of year, I change out my summer clothes for my winter clothes, and while I'm at it, I put some clothes in a bag to donate. I've not been very good at it though. I tend to keep too much.

 This is what I keep:

Clothes that don't fit. I convince myself that I will lose weight and wear these clothes again. Truth: When I lose the weight, I will almost for sure go shopping for new clothes. Unless I LOVE the item of clothing, there is no need to keep it around.

T-shirts that I won't wear in public but that I keep because it's a perfectly good t-shirt and I can't get rid of a perfectly good t-shirt. I can wear it to bed! I can wear it to exercise! Truth: I will wear the same six t-shirts over and over to bed and to exercise. The rest will stay forgotten in the bottom of the drawer.

Exercise clothing that doesn't fit right or has holes. Exercise clothes to me are like t-shirts. It takes a lot before exercise clothes have to be thrown out. Like this one set of running pants that has a hole right in the crotch region where the seam fell apart, but I like the pants, so I keep them. Truth: But I don't wear them because, hello! There is a hole in the crotch. I finally got rid of it.

T-shirts with emotional ties. I still haven't managed to get rid of many of these. Truth: I'm considering gathering them all up and having them made into a t-shirt quilt.


I made the decision that when I went through my clothes this time, I was going to get rid of everything that I would not be wearing or that wouldn't fit in my clothes area.

To do this, I went to my extra closet area where I keep the clothing that often doesn't make it back into the dresser during the summer/winter rotation. Here it is:

And so neatly folded too!

I did a good job. I was ruthless! I got rid of 70 articles of clothing. See?

I'm a little ashamed of how many clothes I have had.

Now, remember, I didn't get rid of all this the first time I went through my clothes. I've gotten rid of a little bit at a time for several seasons now. It took me some time to work my way up to the Super Purge.

Even with all of that purging, I still have a good amount of clothing. I don't have a ridiculous number of shirts (if you subtract t-shirts), but evidently I have a lot of pants. Here are the long pants I am keeping:

These are my size and one size down.

I do plan to lose weight because I have a new exercise and diet plan in place now that my kids are in school and I have more time. There's no need for me to have to buy new pants when I lose 10 pounds or 20 pounds. I'll save the shopping trip for when I lose 30 or 40.

Don't laugh. It WILL happen. And I'm not going to keep the clothes I get too small for.

Anywho. Now I have a dresser full of clothes for winter and a dresser full of clothes for summer. And that's it.

Pretty good, huh?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bath Toys: The Final Declutter

My bathtub used to be the home of many, many toys. Seriously. We had A LOT of them. I'm not sure why we thought we needed so many of them, when three cups and a plastic fish would have done nicely, but we did.

I've gotten rid of a lot of these toys in the past few years, and some of them have turned into summer wading pool toys. But I was looking at the bathtub the other day and it occurred to me that we still had too many.

 Our bathroom is SUPER YELLOW. Hence the yellow tint to the photo.

It's not a whole lot, but considering my kids are 5, 7, and almost 9, their use of the bath and bathtub toys is limited. Showers loom large in our present and future, and you don't need toys for the shower. (Except for the wet washcloths that they've already learned to use as weapons on each other.)

I was harsh in my decluttering here, but it was also incredibly easy. This is what I left:

 I left the shark and the alligator because they are aquatic animals, see?

And this is what the bathtub looks like now, after everything is removed, it has been scrubbed, and I used a flash on my camera:

Huh. I need to look into tub stain removers.

Here are the discards:

It looks like I've been out trawling.

I was a little sad to get rid of those little foam animals because they are only a few months old and barely played with. But, considering they are barely played with, I'm going to assume that means my kids will probably not play with them MORE as they get older. Plus, no one wants used bath toys, so they're trash.

I am happy to get rid of the net bag. I have had that thing forever. I couldn't justify getting rid of it when we had enough toys to put in it, but now that we have TWO, I think we'll be okay without it.

Total items discarded: 27