Quite a few people told me that they were jumping on board with the decluttering challenge I've set for myself, so to keep myself accountable, here is some of the progress I've made.
Over the school holidays I cleaned out:
- the shoe and bag cupboard (also known as the 'shoe pantry' by my younger son, who has a few language and word acquisition issues.) In this under-the-stairs space I found the following: a microphone stand, unused for at least 5 years; two large rolls of fabric that I said 'yes' to about a year ago but haven't used; three unused kids backpacks, a bit old and tatty; several lone shoes (how?); and a bunch of scarves, mittens and coats. Plus a whole lot of dust and dirt. I disposed of the dirt and the tatty bits and pieces, put the scarves away properly and donated the microphone stand and fabric to a fundraising garage sale.
- my own closet. I halved my jewellery collection, getting rid of anything broken, anything I haven't worn in more than a year and the earrings I just plain didn't like. I found a garbage bag of clothes on the top shelf that all fit me at my thinnest point, so I went through them and donated three quarters to the op shop. I took out the shirts that I've been 'meaning to wear' for ages, went through the undies, tights and other miscellaneous bits and pieces and then ditched the several pyjama pants that have been lying in the drawer unworn for four years.
- the kitchen cupboards. Here I got rid of a coffee pot given to me for our engagement. I didn't like it then and it hasn't improved any in 17 years. I also rediscovered the pasta machine, which has been pressed into service three times a week ever since.
and the hat cupboard, in which were several million unworn caps and other assorted bits and pieces. I kept the good ones and recycled the not so good.
I also picked through the bathroom cupboards and a few bookcases and toy shelves and sorted the boys' clothes and the baby's clothes. My 12 year old daughter went through her cupboards too and came out with several things that she said she would never wear or that were too small, and I didn't even say, "Oh really? But that's so nice!"
There is so much more to do. The linen cupboard is groaning with not just linen, but boxes of I don't know what. The top shelf of the pantry is full of random things that no one got rid of when they should have and there are at least two more kitchen cupboard with odd bits and pieces in them. I haven't tackled the book shelves in the foyer yet. They will keep me busy for ages!
One thing that made me feel extremely happy was donating all the small sized cloth nappies to a new mum at church. "Oh, wow!" she said. "I've been researching all of this for ages, and I really want to do cloth nappies." It gave me a glow to think she'll really appreciate them - and they're out of my house!