The Great Declutter: My Kryptonite

With all the clothes tossing and paper shredding I was feeling pretty good. I have a lot of momentum for this life project right now and I have the ‘new eyes’ of a minimalist convert and hopeful. So it felt pretty bad to realize I have some things that I can’t emotionally part with right now.



Entertaining items are my kryptonite.

Yes, that is my thrice used china. And the wine glasses I only let certain friends use. And my cheese dome. I love cheese. I love having people over. I love those little pottery barn appetizer plates.

Maybe in a year I won’t love them. Maybe in a year I’ll be okay with using our standard side plates and the cheap Ikea wine glasses if friends come over for a bottle of wine and bruschetta. I’m open to the possibility.

For now they stay. Some of the crystal is family stuff and I need to check with siblings to see who wants it. Love that decanter but we just aren’t a Scotch drinking family. I did shed a bankers box worth of stuff including a few never used platters that didn’t fit in this cabinet. A half dozen vases and a serving/presentation tcotchke thing. If we don’t drink the Limoncello I packed back from Sorrento within the year I will be passing it on to a friend along with the other alcohol. We drink mostly wine, Chris has the occasional vodka cocktail (vodka kept in freezer) and for fun occasions we bust out a bottle of Baileys and espresso. The Sambuca and Alize are party cast-offs we should have given to someone else.

Anyone want the booze?

The Great Declutter: Go Paperless!

Please note the fragile cardboard inbox/shelf deal in this stack ‘o’ paper pile up.

This was supposed to be our savior. Spots for him and her, shred it and file it, husband’s business stuff. We were going to meet every Tuesday night and clear it out. That lasted two weeks before we just got too busy dealing with the rest of the stuff.

Goodbye cardboard inbox thingy. You’re going to a better place.

Truth time: while I am posting some pretty sweet before and after photos, this job is not done. There is a small box of items Chris needs to look through and I have at least a half day of shredding to do.

But below you will see my future. One file folder and a USB key. I’ve scanned my high school diploma, unofficial university transcripts, a few receipts, some statements about our mortgage I don’t have access to online and a few other odds and ends. The rest will be shredded or recycled.

Many moons ago I temped at a health clinic. They were in the process of going paperless. The process meant that everything was scanned and also kept. Nightmare. Luckily I made the executive decision to skip transition and just dive right in.

I need to do some research to see how much I can thin out in that little folder. Are scanned copies okay for:

  • life insurance
  • tax returns
  • mortgage/sale/home purchase documents

I’ll look into what I legally need to keep and hopefully get rid of even more.

And here it is…


The Great Declutter: Pants Before Shoes

Pants before shoes was oft quoted by my sister when she was working on the 2010 Olympic Games. Pretty sure it was from her boss, so thanks T.G. for a great quote.

It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to happen one cupboard at a time. Like this:

How did I have six boxes of tea when all I drink is coffee?

Confession: these are cheater shelves. There is a dark recess to the left of them that you can tuck loads of stuff to forget about. I’ve done a bit of that here but we are really truly low on kitchen cupboards here.

Our condo was built in the early 90’s, I guess before people kept dry goods? There are very few cupboards in our pokey galley kitchen and they are very shallow. Luckily we don’t keep much in the way of boxed/packaged snacks and such. I like to tell people it is because we eat healthy fresh unprocessed foods. Which is true. But I also have no willpower around a box of cookies or crackers. To that end I can’t keep Oreos in the house or Stoned Wheat Thins because I will eat them all in a matter of days. I can’t even keep a bag of chocolate chips for baking in our shallow little cupboards or I’ll be mixing it in with raisins and almonds and eating homemade trail mix for every meal. Sigh. Yes, still working on my food obsessions along with our clutter.

One cupboard, corner or counter top at a time and I should be through the declutter phase by Christmas. Fingers crossed.

Fail To Plan. Plan to Fail.

Okay, that title may be a bit harsh.

But I did fail to research consignment and understand that I have already missed the window for fall/winter clothing. Which means, in addition to items I have posted on Craigslist and a box of books waiting to be taken to the used bookstore, I have this to stare at:

Before I started this large project I had dreams of grandeur. Grandeur meaning this would all take me only a week. Bahahaha!

Despite wanting a cleaned out storage room, I’ve decided to hold onto the consignment worthy clothing for another year. Gulp. Yes, a whole year with at least two rubbermaid boxes of items to consign next summer. It shouldn’t be too much of a burden if I get the rest of our storage closet/laundry area cleaned out this fall. And there should be a nice monetary return to look forward too.

So at the moment the great declutter has slowed down. Slowly selling some things on Craigslist, mostly baby items. Finding small corners to work through instead of whole rooms. Slowly learning to put my wallet away-or not even bring it at all, skip going into that store and stick to the essentials.

A Tisket, A Tasket Go Burn Your Baskets

Until recently I thought my solution for a clutter free home was storage. If I just had the right basket for keys and receipts and rubber bands and Salt Lake City Olympic Games pins my home would be clutter free. Storage solutions were an oft talked of thing for me and I was constantly perusing the IKEA website for the next great piece of Swedish designed particle board furniture that would make all my stuff disappear. If I just had more closet space I could fit my wedding dress, three bridesmaid dresses from my sister’s wedding, two yoga mats and the set of queen sheets, pillows plus duvet we keep for guests when they stay over on the bed we sold eight months ago, into the closet nicely.

Little did I realize my issues could not be fixed by cute green baskets and a trip to Ikea.

This space on top of the wine crates has been a great collector of stuff. Collector/ Bermuda triangle as I have often lost things in it, bought a replacement and then found the original when I was cleaning out the green basket.

Here is the original:

And here it is today:

Yes, I could get rid of the second pen. I am thinking about it.

No more baskets or receptacles of clutter. Sure, I will need to deal with mail immediately but that is already starting to happen. With less clutter around I am finding the motivation. And it feels pretty good.

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