Friday, May 24

Decluttering My House, Decluttering my Mind by @JanaRichards_

I’m currently planning a garage sale. I wouldn’t have bothered for my own junk, but my daughter and her fiancé are putting their households together and they’re finding themselves with doubles of everything. Three years ago Rachel decided to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner, and to help her save money, we invited her to move back home. We not only got our daughter, we got all her stuff. An apartment full of stuff that has been stuffed in our basement. Now she’s living with her fiancé but her stuff is still with us.

The closet in my office. Don't judge me!
Time for a declutter.

I knew Rachel’s stuff had to go, but I didn’t think I had that much to get rid of. Then I started looking. And found more than I imagined.

The exercise of looking through our things and deciding what can stay and what can go is difficult but necessary. Earlier in our marriage, we moved several times which necessitated a purging of unneeded items each time. But we’ve been in this house now for over twenty years with no real need for a deep declutter. Things have piled up, seemingly without my noticing.

Some of the stuff for the garage sale. But wait, there's more!
The stuff has migrated into the garage and met some friends.
I also found other clutter that needed sorting out. I have a problem with paper – I can’t make myself throw it out. I’m always afraid I’m going to need some important document, but I usually don’t. When I was working on taxes this year, I discovered I’d saved years of old income tax forms, some going back to the 80s. Yikes! I’m still shredding those. Next on the list: the paper cramming my filing cabinets.
That box was filled to overflowing. I've been shredding for weeks!
I’ve been thinking lately about what we leave behind. I don’t want to leave a bunch of junk for my daughters to deal with after I’m gone. So I want to declutter and organize, and safeguard the things that are important to me, like my writing business. I have work to do.

I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to get rid of things that have been clogging up my life. It's hard to work when you're distracted by piles of stuff on your desk. Maybe if I get rid of unneeded/unwanted things in this garage sale and keep shredding old documents, I’ll declutter my mind as well. I’m starting to feel lighter already!

I need your best organizing hacks. How do you deal with an overflow of paper? Planned any garage sales lately? How do you decide what to keep and what to pitch?


  1. Good luck. I tend to talk about it more than I do it. :-(

    1. Talking is the first step, Liz! It's definitely not easy, but maybe if I do a little at a time, I can manage to eat away at the clutter.

  2. Jana, I loved your post because I am in the exact same position. However, I HATE anyone telling me how and when to go about it, and I especially hate the Kondo-like condescension so prevalent these days. Good luck - I hope your process goes smoothly (and keep your fingers crossed for me)!

    1. I so know what you mean, Meg! I need to do this in my own time and in my own way. Luckily, my husband doesn't even notice clutter (or dirty dishes or laundry, but that's another story). He is quite happy to let me putter along. I keep thinking that, like Nan, someday we're going to have to move and cleaning house is going to be a huge job. I don't want to be rushed into it, and I don't want my daughters to get stuck with the job. Thanks for commenting, Meg!