If you follow me on Instagram (@FiscallyChic), you'll know that I went on a little cleaning frenzy a while back (clearly this post has been sitting in draft form for a while). This happens every so often, usually when we have company coming over. Last year, the mega cleaning bug also bit after going to an estate sale and while still pregnant and getting the house ready for Monica.
I keep a bag of items to be donated in our closet and take it to Goodwill once the bag gets full. When the bag was more than full, I knew it was time to clean house. I was feeling inspired by Jess Lively's most recent "Throw out 100 things challenge" and had also read about the minimalist challenge on Design*Sponge where you get rid of one item for each day of the month: one item on Day 1, two items of Day 2, all the way up to getting rid of 30 items on Day 30. They also linked to The Minimalists and I fell down the rabbit hole reading about minimizing. More recently, I discovered the Minimalist Baker after hearing Dana's interview on The Lively Show. Which, by the way, is a must-listen-to podcast!
So back to the post at hand...I also felt the urge to purge because Monica is crawling (!), pulling herself up on things, standing (!!), and now taking a few baby steps at a time (!!!). She loves to put everything in her mouth, so I'm trying to minimize the choking hazards and other household perils. Plus, we now have her stuff to contend with and reign in.
Instead of just donating the items in that shopping bag, I started to take a closer look at other items cluttering my life.
I donated clothes that didn't fit well, clothes that I haven't worn in years, and clothes that don't fit my current lifestyle. I also donated kitchen items we haven't used in years and threw out clothes beyond repair, old makeup samples (I tend to stick to a few tried and true products), and beat-up shoes. I also recycled old papers and magazines.
During the cleaning process, I came to realize that I'm a sucker for freebies (I'm looking at you unused and discarded Clinique Bonus Time gifts) and hold onto too many "just in case" and "someday" items. I sometimes place a little too much emotional weight on things, particularly gifts, which makes it harder to part with them thinking I might offend someone down the line. I also feel the need to hold onto something to remember an event. For example, a brochure from Galina, IL has been sitting on my dresser for quite some time now. We visited Galina in October 2010! What the heck was I still saving it for? To scrapbook it? That's not really my thing.
After donating fives bags and a box of stuff, in addition to throwing out or recycling a few more bags of things; it didn't feel like I made a dent. A lot of things were out of sight and out of mind, tucked away in storage bins and behind closet doors. It's a lot like The Minimalists' post "Organizing is often well-planned hoarding." Though I'm happy to report that some of my clothes drawers are easier to close and there's a little more breathing room in my closet.
I still have a ways to go, especially with some unopened boxes in our basement, but I feel like I'm making progress. I'm trying to be better about buying new things and what I bring into the house. For example, I'm resisting buying all sorts of new baby things unless Monica really needs it or it would make our life that much easier.
For example, we haven't bought special baby plates or bowls yet. We received baby spoons from a shower and fed her purees out of our mugs or put food directly on her highchair tray. I'm used our current ice cube trays to freeze food cubes instead of buying "special" baby food ones.
More recently, we traded in our Ikea "media center" for a "new" Midcentry Modern buffet by MegMade. It's totally baby proof, has concealed storage, and fits the style of our house much better than the yellow Ikea shelving. There are other updates to the back room and rest of the house, but I have to save a little material for future posts ;)
It's great to be back!