Well, the clothing purging has been more time consuming than I originally thought. Part of the problem is that we have clothes in multiple locations (our closet, laundry room, storage boxes, guest room closet, kicked under the furniture, etc.), so just when I thought I had made a dent in it I came upon another stash. Add to that my children’s clothes and it started to feel overwhelming which is the point I usually give up and quit. But because I started this blog and made a commitment to finally get rid of all the extraneous stuff in our lives, I have stuck with it. My other problem is that I greatly overestimated my free time, or at least the time I would be willing to devote to purging. While I do want to eliminate the unnecessary clutter from my life, I do not want this pursuit to rule my life. I have been using my last week of maternity leave to connect with family and friends and spend time cuddling my kids. Once I return to work I won’t have as many free days to see family and friends and my cuddling time will be drastically reduced. So these things took precedent this week.
We did make some progress in another area of clutter – our garage. We have a one car garage that has literally NEVER had one of cars parked in there, well, unless you count my daughters purple princess car. Today I helped my husband begin the process of sorting through it all. I organized all our extra paper towels and toilet paper courtesy of Costco, as well as, a bag of things from a previous job I left 2.5 years ago. I also came across a bag of items that belonged to my deceased mom. Dealing with items from a deceased loved one is a post in and of itself so I will save discussion of that until later. Our goal with the garage is to get it cleared out to the point where we can easily move around and then next Spring begin a major purge. I did find some baby items I never used with my first child that I am going to post on Craigslist or eBay so there may be a financial payoff to cleaning it out. Hopefully next week the clothing cleanout will be complete and then we can focus solely on getting the garage in better condition before cold weather arrives.
I have decided that the first area targeted for the assault will be our clothing. We have a walk in closet in our bedroom that ironically enough, we cannot walk in. I never thought of myself as someone who likes to shop or has tons of clothes. I always roll my eyes at those people on one of my favorite shows, House Hunters, that consider walking away from a otherwise great home because they don’t believe there is enough space for all their clothes. Clearly I am disillusioned about my clothing situation because the current state of our closet shows that we don’t have enough room for all our clothes. I am ashamed of this both because it is so chaotic and messy but also because it is so wasteful. How much money and time have I spent shopping for clothes I never wear?
I am in the process of sorting through all our clothes, as well as our children’s, to get rid of all those items that no longer fit and/or we no longer wear. This is all easier said than done. So far I have I dropped off clothing to a couple consignment shops, one specializing in women’s clothing and the other in children’s clothing and maternity. For anyone who hasn’t used a consignment shop, most only accept clothing from better labels and they have to be in excellent condition. Then you usually earn 30%-50% of whatever they sell for. There are also consignment stores that pay you upfront for your items. Will likely try to sell some my daughter’s nicer, dresses (for Christmas and weddings) on eBay because I think I will make more money for them there. I looked into selling my maternity clothing on eBay but after checking out what maternity clothes were selling for I realized it wasn’t work my time to photograph them all and create the listings. It was much quicker to drop them off for consignment. I have used the children’s consignment shop in the past and have made between $15 and $40 each time. Not a large amount of money but it’s something we can put toward reducing our debt and it’s always great to get unnecessary items out of my house. This is my first time using the women’s consignment shop so I don’t have any sense as to how much I will make. I plan on keeping a tab on who much money we raise by selling our unused items. I think that will serve as motivation for those times when I’d rather not deal with decluttering. The remaining items that can’t go to consignment I am placing in bags to drop off at Goodwill. I hope to be done with the entire process by the end of the week. My maternity leave is ending in a week so it will be nice to actually enter our closet when trying to get ready for work. With a newborn and a preschooler, my mornings will be chaotic enough.
So my journey to having less has begun. It feels good.
I am a 30 something, married, working, mother of two, living in suburbia. Sound familiar? I believe I probably fit that soccer mom demographic that was popular back in the Clinton years. Everyone in my position knows that juggling caring for 2 small children, managing a household, working 40 hours a week and maintaining a happy marriage is at times exhausting. Distractions in the form of clutter only complicate the process. I tell you all of this because I am proclaiming an assault on all the extra stuff in my life and I want you to understand my starting point in this journey of elimination. Through this blog I will chronicle my experiences at paring down the extra clutter, extra pounds, and debt in order to have more space, time and money so that my family can focus on spending time together pursuing the things we value.
My inspiration for this journey came from other bloggers. For the past couple years I have been following various blogs on minimalism, personal finance and fitness. I believe it is time for me to take the plunge and start putting into practice all I have learned. I am sharing it with you because I noticed that many of the minimalist bloggers I followed (although certainly not all) are younger and do not have children. I think the longer you wait to hop on the minimalist bandwagon the more luggage you bring. So with that in mind, if I can make a meaningful change in my life through adopting various minimalism tactics, then you will see that you can too. It is my way of paying it forward. I was inspired by others and so I hope my successes, and likely failures too, will inspire whoever stumbles across this blog to take the next step to moving toward a more minimalist approach to living. And truth be told, it’s a way to keep me moving forward by making me more accountable for following through on this assault on my accumulated stuff.