Things are just easier now.

Having been sick since April 13th, I haven’t done much/any housekeeping.  Sure the dishes were put in the dishwasher; laundry was done when we ran out of undies; and the sheets were washed multiple times because when you have a fever, you sweat like crazy.

Know what else??  The house is still tidy!  Sure, the carpet needs vacuuming and furniture could use dusting.  BUT the house generally looks fine.  The “old” house would have had stuff piling up everywhere.  This is the first time I’ve been sick since we removed 14,680 items from the house (since we began counting).  With less clutter, even being out of commission for 4 weeks, everything looks fine.

Other household chores like going through the mail is easier.  We have gone electronic for most things.  We now get very little physical mail and it is very easy to go through standing at the recycle box.  We also stopped all magazine subscriptions and newspaper delivery.  Today the only mail was a Mother’s Day card from kiddo #1.

Paying bills has been simplified – I have a list in the bill/paper box so I know what needs to be paid and the due dates.  I’m still hesitant to do automatic payment.  We have streamlined so much of this that it takes about an hour to get everything done.  It used to take all day – literally – to get every check written, address envelopes, put all the info into the budget book.  The other thing that weirdly helps is getting paid just once a month.  I get paid the last work day of the month, John gets paid the first work day of the month.  Bills get paid and we know exactly how much we have left for the month.

I’m so thankful we started thinking about simplifying our lives a few years ago and that decluttering and minimalism are aspects that are working for us.

 

March Update

March saw us very busy on the weekends – so much so that we only decluttered 16 items this month.

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Long weekend #1
On a positive – we took a 4 day trip to the opposite coast to visit our kiddo.  One thing we realized is that we are getting too old to take the red-eye flights!  Work all day, drive to the airport, fly across the country to have breakfast with the kiddo wore us down!  Thursday was a great day though.  We visited Arlington National Cemetery – I know, of all the things to do in DC, we visit the cemetery.  It is one of our favorite things!  The Cherry Blossom Festival was non-existent due to the weather destroying the blossoms.

Friday we attended our daughter’s medical school “Match Day” ceremony.  She will be coming back to California for residency!!!  You can imagine how excited we are – she “left” us in 2007 to go to college on the east coast and basically hasn’t been back to live.  We are so proud of her!

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Her Shirt!!

The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating!!  We flew home Sunday to go to work Monday morning.

Long Weekend #2
Our second “excursion” this month was the the National Science Teacher Association conference in Los Angeles.  This was a Thursday through Sunday event as well.  2 long weekends away from home in one month.  We both got a few great ideas we can implement in our classrooms.  Always worth it!  We are both so tired and ready for a weekend at home, maybe decluttering the garage!

 

 

February Super Lean Month and Decluttering Update

February is our SUPER LEAN SPENDING MONTH.  We are changing the name from the more common Spend Nothing Month.  We know we will spend money on something!

So today is our first day since Barb got paid (on the last work day of the month) and John gets his check tomorrow (the first work day of the month).   We both get paid once a month.  It is actually easier once you get used to it – it could also be that we’ve been once a month for about 25 years.  You pay all the bills up front – no saving a certain amount for the mortgage, etc.  Then you know exactly how much you have to spend for the next 30ish days.  We are doing this for February since it only has 28 days this year – yes, we like to play mind games with ourselves!

Today (Jan 31, 2017) we spent $70.53  I know it doesn’t look like we are off to a great start in minimal spending.  This purchase included dryer sheets, dishwasher detergent, and ziploc bags for the freezer.  I know, plastic bags are bad.  We just find it so much easier to divide the stuff we need to freeze into the bags for later use.  We also purchased eggs, applesause (I make our own during time off, while we are working it gets bought!), yogurt, almond milk, beets, and a pork loin.  This should cover at least 2 dinners and several breakfasts.  We’ll see!  We are also planning to use up as much as possible from the pantry and freezer.  Food will still need to be purchased – we don’t have much extra stored anymore.

Decluttering update:  625 items left our house and garage in January!!  We have over 1/4 of our 2017 gone already!   It’s hard to not be excited!  Kiddo #2 removed 71 stuffed animals and the rest was from our disaster in the garage.  Hard to believe we have so many items that can still leave the house.

Let us know if you decide to try a Super Lean Month as well!  We know Life As I Interpret It will be joining us.  She also did a “sample” month for January.

 

Stuffed Animals

I know we love them but they take up so much room!  Each one has a special memory.  These are just as hard as other “important treasures”.

Kiddo #2 was home for the last 9 days.  While here, she went through 3 boxes of stuffed animals.  She sorted and debated for a couple of hours.  The pile was narrowed down and she is keeping 1 box – mostly Beanie Babies!  She just couldn’t bring herself to get rid of them!

Total number of stuffed animals going to a new home = 71

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Garage Rafters – oh my!

Today, having nothing better to do on our last few days of vacation, we decided to put away all the Christmas decorations.  They go into the garage rafters.  While we had the ladder out, we pulled down every other box up there.  We decluttered 3 of the 7 boxes and a few other things!  Productive day in the garage!

Box 1:  Memorabilia – this was a hard one to do.  It took the afternoon to completely go through and do the shredding of stuff with our name/address.

Barb’s report cards K-12, 7 deflated balloons, 45 greeting cards, 3 postcards,  1 scrapbook, 3 books for places we visited, and a lot of comics and receipts for places we went while dating!


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Box 2: Empty Boxes!

Kiddo #2 got this RC car while in elementary school.  She is about to graduate medical school in a few months!  The car is gone – now its box is too!

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Box 3: Old Camping Stuff

1 BBQ grate, 4 plates, 4 mugs, 1 thermos, 1 first aid box, plastic and stainless silverware, 4 bottles, 1 box of dog flea collars, and 1 package of toilet seat covers (some of us have issues sitting on public toilets without them!)

 

Other Stuff:

1 reptile cage (the chameleon died about 15 years ago), 2 fishbowls, 1 Therm-a-jug, 1 under-carriage piece for the car, and 1 candle-lit school house.

 

More Stuff Decluttered and we’re counting it too!

So far this year:

  • 10 more magazines!!
  • 1 magazine holders
  • 3 DVD’s  – duplicates, go figure!
  • 2 packages of beef jerky seasoning (sorry, no picture)
  • 1 weight watchers booklet from 1991
  • 1 cracked plastic ruler
  • 39 rubber stamps
  • 9 packages of modeling clay
  • 1 rotten candy apple found in the work bag (no picture – no one needs to see this!)

 

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10 more magazines!!
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another magazine holder

 

 

 

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The thermals and magazine holder are included in this picture for donation purposes. They were actually decluttered in 2016.  Try not to judge on our choice of movies hahaha

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When was the last time anyone in our house stamped??  YEARS AGO!!
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Kiddo #2 knows she used this in 7th grade 15 years ago!!  It’s still pliable!

 

 

 

 

It’s not about the “Number”

It’s really not about the final number, but about how we feel after reaching a particular number or looking around our home.

The average home (2014) has about 300,000 items (LA Times article link here).  Since our house is 1300 sq ft, we probably average about 230 items per square foot.  How scary is that?!?!  This is just for a “typical” house.  What about those of us who really need to declutter??

Decluttering isn’t about the number of items leaving the house.  But counting allows us to have a concrete goal.  Vague goals prevent follow through.  Decluttering is something we need to ensure we stay on top of.  Counting the items leaving our home has definitely kept us on track.  When we first started decluttering, we didn’t count and it was hard to see the progress.  Knowing a certain number of items left was encouraging when the progress was less obvious.  Even today, counting reminds us that stuff (really us) has a habit of becoming clutter.

Since we began seriously decluttering in the fall of 2014, we have removed 14,013 items from our home.  How does it make us feel??

  • We have more time for other activities now that we aren’t moving the stuff all around to get to other stuff.
  • We have a sense of accomplishment when we reach our number goal.
  • We are more relaxed in our own home.
  • Household chores take less time!  We joked the other day that the house is decluttered enough to get a housekeeper (but we aren’t – we can manage it now ourselves!)
  • We don’t worry about someone dropping by on the “wrong” day.
  • We feel more welcoming!
  • We have a sense of contentment.

How about you?  What have you noticed?