If you haven’t read part one, check it out here: Part One: STUFF and THINGS

So today I want to talk about HOW I made such a dramatic shift in my relationship with stuff and things. I highly highly HIGHLY recommend starting here:

First of all, I read this book by Dana White: Decluttering at the Speed of Life:

She also has another book, How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind:

These fundamentally helped change my relationship with my stuff and how my stuff effects my home. If she could pull this borderline hoarder out of the depths of despair, she can help you too.

Second of all, we started budgeting. I get my “fun” money, Craig gets his. When there’s only so much of it to go around, $150 / month to be exact, you start to think about how to spend it and get intentional. One Target run could wipe that entire fund out for a month.

Third of all, it took TIME. A long time. I read Dana’s book in 2018 and just this year I feel like I finally have a good handle on my house (with the help of our amazing housekeeper as well).

Fourth is that I started saying no and not feeling bad about it. How many times do friends and family try to give you something for free and you really don’t want it but you don’t want to make them feel bad? Even when they don’t take no for an answer, I can get pretty creative. If I can’t dodge it completely, I’ll take it home, thank the item for serving its purpose, and without regret, place it in the donation box. Dana covers this in her book, it’s a little bit of what Marie Kondo talks about in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up which I’ve also read and can recommend. You can find it here:

Numero cinco: I have an easily accessible and large donation box. It makes it easier when you have a designated area for donation items instead of thinking: “Oh, I’ll just take that with next time I head into town.” You won’t remember it. I promise.

Next up: The items that need to be stored in the container, must fit in the container. For example: I have a tee shirt drawer in our dresser. If I have too many tee shirts and the drawer is overflowing, I can only keep what fits in the tee shirt drawer. It’s pretty simple but took some unwiring to make it happen.

Honestly, these are all concepts that Dana and Marie cover in their books. I didn’t do all of them at once but over time I’m proud to say I’ve healed my relationship with stuff and I’m truly happier with the less things that I have!

If you have any other tips for mental decluttering and actual decluttering, please leave them in the comments!

I’ll leave you with this – have you ever totally cleaned your house, everything would be in the right spot, for about 30 minutes all of the laundry is folded and put away, all vacuumed and dusted, you sit on your couch, light a candle and just take a deep breath? It feels AMAZING. I used to think that was just a once a year feeling after Spring cleaning but believe it or not, it can feel that good all the time.

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  1. Elle
    January 15, 2022 / 4:16 pm

    I’m 34y older than you are. We decluttered by nearly 50% 25 years ago when we recarpeted the entire house in 2 weeks. We emptied half into the garage, they did the work, then we reconsidered every single item coming back in or going into the trunks for thrift store. Then we repeated the other half of the house.

    Since then I’ve kept a small box in the corner of my sewing room. When I see something unused for more than a year, in the box it goes. I’ll still take a box or 2 each year to the thrift store.

    A newer opportunity is joining the local FB Buy-Nothing group. When someone asks for something I have, I consider how much use it gets in our home and could I gift them mine and make do with something else. It gives me great joy to fill another’s need. The other COOL thing about the group is those who need to borrow. I can often fill that need.

    I share this for other readers just beginning this journey.

    Congratulations on YOUR successes so young. I am super excited for you!

  2. Susan the Farm Quilter
    January 17, 2022 / 4:46 pm

    Well done!! Hard to change your mindset, but you/we can do it!!!

  3. Kim from TN
    January 17, 2022 / 6:02 pm

    We made a major move to another state about 25 years ago, believe me you do get rid of stuff if you have to pay to move it. Then we did it again 8 years ago and we also downsized from 2200 ft to 1300 ft of space. I now have a rule that if something is in my kitchen for 3 years and does not get used, then it’s out the door. Our closets are fairly large, but I refuse to bring in something new unless I take something out of the closet, I really dislike things crammed in.
    You are doing a great job of getting your “things” under control and it’s a constant learning curve. I have only regretted letting one item go, not too bad after 60 plus years. I really enjoy how you tell us what a struggle this has been for you and also how it brought more joy into your life, keeping it real.

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