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.

 

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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?

Lights

We are finally getting around to putting out the Christmas stuff.  We have so much excess!  It is kind of weird looking at it with our new outlook of living with less stuff.

Why do we have so many UNOPENED boxes of lights?  I’m sure we had a grand plan years ago!  The box is full of used lights for the outside.  How long would it take to untangle them?

Less lights on the house:

  1. less lights to store the other 50 weeks of the year – deluttering win
  2. less electricity used during these 2 weeks – environmental win
  3. less time prepping/decorating for the holiday – less stress win

These all sound like a win-win-win situation for us. Off to the donation center!

 

3 + 5 = 8

Here’s today’s 3 items plus the 5 from the house I missed a couple of days ago.  I know I decluttered something from my work desk, but it seems like “cheating”.

Isn’t it weird how our brains work on something like this???  We have completely changed up the rules for this decluttering challenge initiated by Anne at MinimalistSometimes and yet I feel I should have the items leave the house.  I suppose they could have even come from the car.

Who’s up for a declutter the car event??  That’s what I’m doing tomorrow!!

So the 8 items for today are an external USB DVD player, 2 software cds, a user’s manual, 2 sound cords for the computer speakers, an ethernet cable, and a printer cable.  These were in a box under John’s desk.  I have no idea why we kept them after the flood but I know we haven’t used or needed them in the last year.  Out they go!!

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May 2016 Update

We have had 1099 random items leave our home this year, 103 during the month of May.  It amazes us that we are able to find more things to declutter!

We will be traveling for the next 7 weeks.  While we are gone, we will be decluttering the RV and adding it to our annual count.  We figure if the garage can be decluttered, our home away from home can be too!  It will be interesting to see what kind of stuff we have hidden away in the RV and don’t use/need.

Happy Summer everyone!!

 

Update on Finances April 2016

From our original financial simplification post:

Of course, there are certain “purchases” we strongly feel were necessary and must pay for:  home/mortgage ($128,152.60), cars and RV ($16,653.62), college education for our children ($93,628.93).

Grand total: $238,435.15 as of April 1, 2015.  Our goal is to be debt free in 5 years.  Each of these 3 categories were “necessary” in our mind to give our children a stable environment and educational/professional opportunities.  We wouldn’t do anything different in these areas.

A year has passed since we started this blog and we have some financial updates!  We are close to living on one income to speed this along!

  • Cars and RV $9571.89 (decreased balance by $7,081.73)
  • Mortgage $116,445.85 (decreased balance by $11,706.77)
  • Student loans $70,275.14 (decreased balance by $23,353.79)

    Total Debt Reduction = $42,142.29

    Our goal was $47,687.03  John is happy with our current total since we also paid for a wedding last summer for kiddo#1.  Barb is happy with any reduction knowing we had a wedding last summer!!

  • We’ve also been trying to put some into savings each month – right now we have $15,881.84
  •  Last year we had $1,827.58  
  • Total savings in one year = $14,054.26!!  It’s hard to believe we were spending that much extra on “nothing”!!