Monday, December 1, 2014

Eleven Bags and Counting

Are you Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday'ed out yet? There are some truly amazing sales, and some great roundup posts about the sales. However, this post is not one of them.

Much like a Patagonia anti-advertisement, today's post is all about LESS.

The reason is that over the long Thanksgiving weekend, I got a lot of decluttering done. My kids were with their dad for the holiday this year and it was also his weekend with them. My husband was working everyday (including Thanksgiving). 

Rather than feel sorry for myself that I had to be alone for the better part of four days (and on a holiday most known for family togetherness), I decided to make it count for something. It also seemed wrong to go out spending money when my husband was working so hard for us, getting up in the darkness to head off to his job. And then, not only not complaining about having to work, but doubling or tripling his regular sales! :)

via Amazon (definitely the lowest price!)

I was inspired by the new book the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo, a Japanese cleaning consultant. Her ideas are a tad crazy (throw out your user manuals!) but overall it's a book I would recommend. Especially after finishing Gone Girl, which made me feel like my soul needed a shower. Ugh!

Before I began decluttering, I thought about how I was going to get rid of the stuff we don't need or want. In my opinion, this is the toughest part. The part where, if you don't have a plan, everything just ends up stuffed back into a closet. 

Our community recently partnered with Simple Recycling to accept textiles including clothing, sheets, towels, and curtains as well as small appliances, other items for the home, toys, and shoes. Check out their list here. We were provided with two bags to start and a label for a third bag; they will replenish our supply as we need them. The service is free and it's easy with curbside pick-up on the same day as our regular recycling.

via Instagram
I filled five bags with all of the stained, torn clothing, bedding, and towels I could find. I recycled shoes that were so worn out they should never see the light of day again. I took a picture of this pair of cork wedge peep-toes that I will sorely miss. Umbrellas (although I'm not actually sure those are accepted), lone socks, and some housewares that I didn't feel were "good enough" to be donated filled the rest of the bags. 

I filled five more bags with clothes, shoes, bedding, and housewares that ARE good enough for donating, and will take them to Volunteers of America today. I chose this charity because their office is a few blocks from my house, on my route to work. 

Although following directions is not my best quality, my decluttering basically followed the KonMari format, which begins with clothing before moving on to books, paper, komono (miscellany), and ending with mementos. 

For me, mementos tend to be papers my kids have brought home from school, their drawings, and their toys. Whenever I got to something in this category, I said to myself "this is a memento and this is not the time for mementos." This little mantra helped me stay focused. 

I also discovered that there is a Paper Gator at a local school near our house. The school earns money every time the bin is filled. Knowing it helps the school made it easier for me to fill a bag with things that might otherwise appeal too much to my sentimental side. The Paper Gator accepts office paper (which I interpret to be spelling lists and multiplication tables), junk mail, newspapers, catalogs/magazines, and books including phone books. 

For books that my kids have outgrown or that I no longer want, I have a multi-step process. First, I take them to Schuler's, a local bookstore that buys used books. They give you a better price if you take in-store credit. Since I LOVE books, this is my choice. For the books that Schuler's doesn't buy, I trade on PaperBackSwap. Finally, there are some little free libraries around town where I can leave a book (and take a book I do want!).

Finally, from a Freecycle group that I'm involved in through Facebook (and that has grown to almost 700 local moms!), I knew that our elementary school was in need of socks and a friend was looking for old Disney movies for her young son and daughter. I filled a bag with socks that my son--whose winter boots are adult size nine!!--had outgrown and dropped them off with the school secretary this morning. Then, I filled another bag with DVDs. I was more than willing to hang on to some of the princess movies, but my own little princess made it clear that we don't need them anymore.

Overall, our house feels lighter. I feel both more relaxed and energized. And almost ready for Christmas decorating!


  1. I laughed out loud at your soul needing a shower after reading Gone Girl. Thanks for the recommendation on the book. I'm going to see if Oyster has it, if not, I'll be putting it on my library hold list. :) Sounds like you had a really peaceful Thanksgiving.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love to read what you have to say. ~Carrie


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