I’ve been on a de-cluttering frenzy lately because I’m SICK OF STUFF. It’s part of the Zero Waste quest, this burning desire to free up the already-limited space in my home.
I started with the bedroom, where my husband and I each have a small dresser and share a single-width closet. After three years of struggling to fit extra shirts and pants into a couple of drawers, I realized that the solution is not better storage — it’s just less stuff! As soon as that light bulb went off, I happily stuffed at least 30 percent of my clothes into bags that ended up at the Salvation Army. Even though my wardrobe has been considerably reduced, I feel as though I have more clothes because now I can see everything in my drawer, it’s neatly folded, and I kept the stuff I actually like to wear.
Next I tackled the boys’ bedroom. I figured they each only need 3-4 pairs of pants, 3 sweaters, 6 shirts maximum — definitely not the countless outfits that overflow from their messy drawers. Their wardrobe received a tremendous purge, and now, when I help them get dressed each day, it’s no longer a battle because everything’s visible and accessible.
The hardest part for me was letting go of clothes that were really nice, attractive, well-fitting, even expensive — stuff that I had no reason to part with, except that it was simply too much. Usually I hang on to clothes till I don’t like them anymore, or they’ve been replaced by something better, or I outgrow the style, but this was different. This was a conscientious purge for the sake of simplifying, and it felt really good.
The next big challenge was the bathroom, where I had several years’ worth of body care products piled up in baskets. When I detoxed my beauty routine back in 2011, I pitched most of the ‘bad’ stuff, but I was shocked to discover how many bottles of various substances I still had lying around. Hair spray, body spray, perfume, tons of makeup I never use, body scrubs, moisturizers, deodorants, etc. Then there was an army of awful baby-related products, such as baby oil and powder, mainstream baby wash and shampoo, and lotion. (Please keep away from that stuff if you have kids! It’s toxic.)
I counted at least 15 plastic bottles that I emptied, rinsed, and put in the recycling bin. That was a sobering thought, especially realizing that the dregs of my beauty product addiction will simply be down-cycled into lesser forms of plastic, until they end up in landfill. Ick. It was hard, too, thinking of the dollars spent on those products that ended up being a total waste. On the upside, the bathroom is lovely and empty now, devoid of clutter. There is white space, filled only by my lone toothbrush and few baskets of remaining natural beauty products.
Slowly, I want to move through the whole house and get rid of a lot of our things. I’m feeling sentimentality seep away, as I no longer care about keeping things just because they might have good memories. Nor do I want to keep items on behalf of my children, since it’s not really up to me to decide what they should cart through life. Even my beloved book collection I’m ready to severely edit. Just think, a de-cluttered house is a house that’s easier to clean, and can be potentially rented out seasonally, which means more travelling for the whole family. I can’t resist that thought!