Decluttering in 2013: Join Them





Are you seeing a trend in the 2013 goals and resolutions floating around out there?

People want clutter gone. For good.

If you’re one of those people ready to purge your home and calendar of excess in 2013 here are some ways to do it.

Unsure of where to start with decluttering?

You can read about the first few months of my journey, the many hours of decluttering, selling on eBay and Craigslist in September, October, November and December of 2010. It was neither easy nor pretty but you’ll get the gist of how I did it and the work involved.

When I think back to that time I know two things kept me going when it got hard: my sister was purging her storage space at the same time, and I wrote about my de-cluttering goals and progress here on this blog.

Having a friend on the same journey was motivating and helpful. If you’re trying to kick start de-cluttering ask your friends if anyone has simplifying goals for 2013. It’s good to have a shoulder to cry on when you realize you spent $85 on a dress that you never wore, never fit you and is now going to Goodwill.

I also recommend writing down all your tasks and all your accomplishments. Having a record of the work you have already done will give you momentum when the journey gets a bit harder.

It was nice to look back through the pictures and posts here when I felt like I had barely made a dent in our clutter. I could read and see that yes, we had in fact taken two car loads worth of housewares to the Salvation Army. Those notes reminded me that our ‘to sell on Craigslist or eBay’ pile in the dining area would some day, some how, be gone.

Wondering how living with less works when you have a family?

Before Christmas I quietly packed up a box of my son’s toys. I looked for things he had outgrown and that he no longer played with frequently. Santa and family also tipped me off about what he would be receiving at Christmas so I kept that in mind as I decided what would stay and what would go.

He hasn’t asked for those toys in the four weeks since I put them away. Win.

If you have others to consider when purging, a partner or children, I recommend Faith Jane’s book Family Sized Minimalism. It’s filled with moderate yet actionable ways to reduce your possessions while still keeping your relationships on healthy ground. I also like that Faith, a mom of three living in a multi-generational home, gives advice for all lifestyles: large families in small homes and small families in big homes. Her approach to minimalism and how to use it in a family setting is practical and attainable.


Want things out of the house now and forever and ready to commit weekends and evenings until it’s done?

Start. Today. Now.

Put a box in every room and every time you come across something that is broken or you never use or you’re keeping for a just-in-case scenario that has yet to happen in the seven years since you bought the item, put it in the box. If you’re too scared to donate or sell the contents pack it away in the garage for six months and then reevaluate.

If you’re motivated and want a thorough guide to decluttering your home check out Tanja Hoagland’s 30 Day Clutter Bootcamp.

Thirty days and 30 areas to declutter. Intense but if you start today you’ll be done by the time most of the New Year’s crowd has dropped their meal planning/workout out/budgeting/do more more more resolutions.

You should be able to recoup the cost of the book many times over by selling things in your home you haven’t been using and by being more mindful of what you buy.

As Maggie so eloquently wrote in her list of 2013 resolutions:

Own less crap.
College lit anthologies, a bag of noisemakers, three sub-par yoga mats, really good empty boxes should I choose to wrap something cleverly. Ugh, all this stuff. I don’t need all this stuff. Do you want it? Purge! 2013. – Maggie at Go Mighty

Anyone in home purge mode for the new year? What’s your progress so far?

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  • As a English lit major myself, I think I also have a few anthologies laying around. Definitely time for them to go.

  • I am doing a “Master the Mess in a Month” and going through and decluttering our home once again. I don’t want the burden of housework that I felt years ago. It is so easy to go through the rooms that take minutes and not hours. I feel a sense of freedom and it is addicting. We had hardly any Christmas clutter because we gave gift cards and consumables. My kids know I would rather not have more stuff, and we minimized gift giving from past years. It was wonderful just to be together as a family and not have the focus on the gifts.

  • “It’s good to have a shoulder to cry on when you realize you spent $85 on a dress that you never wore, never fit you and is now going to Goodwill.” I won’t lie. It’s happened. Maybe not super tears, but enough to take a few moments out of the un-cluttering process.

    I like your idea of writing down your tasks and accomplishments. I’m finding this de-cluttering business is a work in progress.

  • I did some decluttering over Christmas and New Year, and have tackled, some areas that were really annoying me. Still some more to go, and ‘continue to get rid of junk’ is one of my aims for this year…

  • Oy! Well, I found the kitchen countertops again, but the desk is buried… AGAIN! I just can’t seem to find a system that I can stick to… things like receipts, and instructions and various other kinds of paperwork are my downfall. Do you have any suggestions on that front? How long do you keep that sort of thing?

    • We started a binder for all of our instruction manuals. We bought plastic sleeves and each sleeve hold two manuals/ waranties. Unfortunately even this is out of control and we’ve ballooned up to 2 4″ binders full because they are so bulky. Our next task is to see which manuals we can find in pdf version, save them in a file and get rid of the paper copies.

      The rest of the paperwork? I’m open to suggestions as well.

      • I’ve noticed that most instruction manuals (in the U.S., at least) seem to be printed in English, Spanish, and French. Since I speak only one of those languages, I ditch the pages I can’t read and clip or staple the remaining pages together. Sounds silly, but it’s an easy way to cut the paper pile by 1/3 to 1/2.

  • To EcoCatLady – I’m super organised about receipts etc. I keep my credit card receipts till I get the statement, then they go in the bin. If the receipt is for something electrical and I need to keep it then I put it in a box file that I use for instruction manuals, important receipts etc. They’re all in there and I can locate instructions for anything very quickly that way. I go through the file every few months to get rid of any instructions we don’t need any more e.g. for old toys.

  • EcoCatLady

    Scan everything and organize in Evernote or even just in folders on your computer. Digitizing is one of the best ways to declutter. Remember that most manuals, especially for electronics, can be found online. Also using smart naming conventions for the file. I like using date first (year, month, day) that way it’s easy to keep it sorted by oldest to newest.

    Give it a shot.

  • Becoming more selective – what I purchase, what I “want”, what I bring into the house. To declutter – like brushing one’s teeth – even if you have already done it, you will need to do it again. So I made it a habit. I took pictures – before and after. That really helps. Plus having more space, taking less time to clean, and everything is in it’s place. If I need to find it – I know exactly where it is.

    Sure I still have photos to sort through / organize, things I’d like to sell – take it a day at a time. It helps once you start to see progress – tell yourself you aren’t bringing any more in.

    I have one decorative wooden box with a hinged lid – my equivalent of a “paper junk drawer”. Receipts, coupons, bills, warranties, invitations, letters, travel packing lists – all get placed into the box. The box is on a shelf, looking “pretty” and no one else may know what it hides. I sort through it once a week. I just have to force myself.

  • Slogging away! I’m starting with the top (attic) this month and working my way down through the house this year. Deciding to get rid of something is only half the battle, so I find myself getting bogged down in disposing of the purged stuff

  • How much could I pay someone to come do this for me? Especially with all of the kids’ stuff?

    I’ll pay you in secondhand kids’ clothes and puzzles that are all missing at least one piece. (hahaha…).

  • I am purging. I have listed my favorite scrapbook/ mixed media magazines/ books in my etsy shop. I finally went through my closet and got a big trash bag filled with clothes to give away to a friend this Sunday. The big box of books that I borrowed from a homeschooling MOm is going back to her. Yes, yes, I need to purge and get rid of stuff!!

  • Must be that time of year! I’m on a mission. January 2014 will not see me start the year with a blog post titled Drowning In Stuff.
    I empathise totally with crabbykate. The conversation was had pre-Christmas this year about next Christmas. I decided to strike whilst iron was hot – when everyone was highly stressed with gift purchasing. The suggestion was made 1 consumable gift next year exchanged. I’ve also broached the subject about no more gifts being given in an adhoc manner. It’s kind of killing with kindness – okay a little dramatic – but it’s certainly hampering progress on getting to the desired clutter free state!
    I’m so tired of dealing with STUFF!

  • I can’t get rid of most of the books (I am a bookworm) and I usually buy 100 books a year. Solution? Nook.
    It’s really helping and, surprisingly I am reading more than ever!!!! It’s so comfortable. (nook or kindle w/ e-ink, not the tablet-like kind that would distract too much).

    • I LOVE physical books, and have bookshelves in two rooms. I’ve purged almost enough to have orderly bookcases, and rarely buy books now. However, as an avid reader, I’d be lost without my tablet! I’d like to get to the point where I have a set of leather bound works by Jane Austen and C.S. Lewis. If I truly love a book, I may purchase a good quality used hardcover from Amazon. What I really want is an embosser with changeable plates for my books and address.

  • 2012 was the year of de-cluttering for my husband and me, and it was a great feeling. We made a bunch of extra cash via eBay and a yard sale, and donated the rest of our junk to a thrift store that benefits local animal rescue groups. Tackling clutter is hard work–mentally and physically–but it’s so worth the effort!

  • Clicked on the MightyGirl link at the bottom and was flipping around. Very unique web layout. Then I saw her sister sites, MightyHaus, etc. The tag lines? “Hooray for stuff!” Irony?

    • Yep, she has a lot of stuff about, well, stuff.
      Interesting you brought this up because a friend emailed me about her site as well with similar concerns.
      What I enjoy about Mighty Girl is her life list projects and that she encourages and inspires women entrepreneurs and artists. She runs a conference/camp once a year for women to focus on their personal and business goals. So I skip the rest of it and just read the pieces about life lists and such.

  • OH YES. I’m on a mission and I appear to have found the right place to aid me in my mission. I made a joke (??) the other day that I want to own maybe 3 small boxes of things by the time I am 80. The house isn’t so bad but, I have a garage of “oh we might need this someday” stuff….it’s going. It’s all going.

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