The beginning of each season is a good time to simplify your closet. On the first day of fall I found my favorite pair of summer capri pants. While I was delighted to find my pants, I’m sad that they didn’t get worn.
I have too many clothes.
I read about people who have 100 personal items and it sounds appealing to me. They have a few favorites and use something called a washing machine to keep things clean. Sounds simple.
My closet has much more than a few favorites. I have plenty of backups or ‘just in case’ clothes. I wear my favorites and hold on to other clothes for a number of silly reasons.
So I say, wear it or donate it. Why not keep things simple and move things along to people in need?
Not sure what you wear? Try this tip: Put your hangers backwards. When you wear something, switch the hanger around. After a few months, look and see which hangers are still backwards. These hangers are your donate candidates.
Another idea – any time you add one thing to your closet, remove two things.
Do you have too many clothes? How much is too much?
I realize that having less stuff is a good thing. I’ve shut off the intake valve; I’m conscious about my purchases and make very few. However, to create the space that I want for myself and my family, I need to remove stuff.
Enter the garage sale.
I set a date and invited people to participate. With the date looming, my family assembled a large pile of things. The garage sale wasn’t wildly profitable, but it was rich in many other ways. I let go of things that I’ve been holding on to for various reasons. Here are a few of my silly reasons:
- I got a great deal on it
- It was a gift
- It’s my backup
- It’s in great shape
- I may need it someday
- It was expensive
- I might wear it when I paint (I never paint)
- It has sentimental value (the sentiment doesn’t leave with the item – photograph it or journal about it)
For me, I’m going with Use It or Lose It.
Now that I’ve removed a big round of stuff, I’m motivated to continue. When I open a cabinet or drawer I look for things that aren’t used. What can I get rid of? When I look at a room I look for things that are not beautiful or useful and remove them.
I love this quote from the Becoming Minimalist blog:
for me, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things that i most value. it is about deciding what is most important in my life and removing the things that distract me from it. it is about removing the urgent for the sake of the important.
And so I’ll keep removing things that distract me from what is most important in my life. I’ll continue to make space to create.
How about you? Do you find it easy to let go of stuff?
Is this pile of stuffed animals:
b) Too much
c) Cute and too much
d) A waste of fluff
For me the answer is C; cute and too much.
Stuffed animals are cute, but when you have so many is it possible to appreciate each one? Does my daughter play with each one? Why have so many?
Time for a conversation.
I asked my daughter if she played with all of these animals. Honestly. I asked her if there were some animals that she could pass on to another child.
After some consideration, my daughter decided to let go of some stuffed animals. They were all special and wonderful once, but the reality is that she doesn’t play with all of them now.
Paring down her collection simplifies things, and gives her a chance to play with and appreciate each stuffed animal.
Why hold on to things you don’t use?
If you have kids, here’s an excellent article on keeping things simple: 21 Tips on Keeping a Simple Home with Kids at Zen Habits
I’ve had the same cheese slicer since college, which is about 20 years now. The wooden handle broke six months ago.
I haven’t replaced the slicer because it still works and I haven’t been in a store that sells such things.
And oddly enough, using this silly slicer makes me smile.
The slicer still does the job; it’s just a little awkward to hold.
I don’t think so. The cheese slicer works, makes me smile, and reminds me of my choice to live a frugal lifestyle.
Examples of a frugal lifestyle:
- Finding a second use for an item
- Buying used things
- Borrowing or swapping instead of buying
- Making something last longer
- Using less
- Finding value – finding a less costly, long lasting alternative
What do you think? What does frugal mean to you?
Decluttering your home can be overwhelming if you look at the BIG picture. So don’t. Instead take on a sliver of the big picture; a kitchen cabinet. Cabinet by cabinet, drawer by drawer, you can declutter your whole home.
1. Target a cabinet
Pick a cabinet any cabinet. This kitchen cabinet suffers from randomness and too much stuff.
2. Take everything out
Empty cabinet before cleaning
3. Clean the cabinet
This is a very rewarding step. Dust and dirt that you didn’t see before suddenly leap out at you. Wipe it away and start fresh.
- Remove things that should be elsewhere
- Make a pile of useful things you don’t use: the giveaway pile
My giveaway pile includes a few one-off glasses, a duplicate steamer, and a plastic measuring thing that I’ve never used. Be honest. Get rid of things you don’t use regardless of how you acquired it or how much you paid for it.
5. Group alike items
Next organize things into groups. Once grouped you can see what you have and purge a bit more. Do you really need two sets of measuring cups? Or maybe you have five mixing bowls, but you really only use three.
6. Put things in the cabinet
What do you need in your cabinet? Before you put things back, think about how often you use things. Put the things you use most on the lowest shelf, and the things you use less often on the highest shelf.
My shelf breakout
- Mixing and serving bowls
- Pyrex food storage containers and colander
- Wine glasses and a large serving plate
Ah, peace and order now reign where there was previously chaos. The whole process took maybe 15 minutes (plus the blogging time). Do one 15 minute project a day and your home will be decluttered in no time.
“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris
I scoured the fridge for dead food and found a pyrex container with leftover chicken and corn. Pyrex? Wiki says Pyrex is a glassware brand introduced by Corning in 1915. Brand name? I use glass and pyrex interchangeably. Oh and I didn’t capitalize Pyrex earlier. Oops! Funny how a brand can lose it’s oomph, like klennex, xerox, or ibm (OK, joking about IBM).
Food waste this week?
Chicken- Too much: I think these are remnants from a complete bird.
Corn– Too much: I cooked corn on the cob and sheared it from the cob. Sacrilege I know, but my front teeth are less capable these days. Remember The Tooth book by Dr Seuss? “Teeth–they come in handy when you chew or smile”!
While this cucumber is slimy, it’s not mushy. So out of the food waste pile it goes. A quick peeling, seeding, and it’s back in the eating game.
So that just leaves chicken and corn, which makes me think of the song Jimmy Crack Corn. Just what is cracking corn? “Cracking corn” is opening a bottle of corn liquor. Jimmy Crack Corn is a story of a slave’s master who died from the sting of a blue-tail fly, despite the slave’s vigilant fly-brushing efforts. Fascinating.
The Internet is simply amazing.
If you don’t see a food waste post from me next week, the slimy cucumber may be the culprit. Or maybe the cracked corn.
Do you eat things on the edge of spoilage or play it safe?
The thing that I waste most often is produce; I get something in my CSA box that I’m never in the mood for, like say cabbage.
The item that I waste most often is lettuce. The fridge life of lettuce is relatively short and the purpose is rather singular: salad. Spinach seems to fair better at my house. I can chop up spinach and add it to omelets or stir frys. That said, my food waste pile includes spinach this week. Oops.
Cabbage - Very limited demand: CSA box item. Cabbage recipes anyone?
Spinach – Too much: Too many greens.
Why track food waste? Tracking food waste helps you change your buying habits. If something is repeatedly in the food waste pile, you can consider:
a. Not buying that item
b. Developing a better strategy for using it
How about you? What food item do you waste the most? Please leave a Comment.