A Summer to Declutter


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As I frantically shoved things in closets (and the garage, and the basement…) in anticipation for a photoshoot with our hometown paper (the Philadelphia Inquirer, whaaaat?!) I came to a realization.  Y’all.  My house is filled to the brim with STUFF.  And stuff in my house means stuff in my brain, because I can not concentrate with clutter everywhere.  And what do we have right now?  CLUTTER.  EVERYWHERE.

And toys.

And clothes.

And books.

And… it doesn’t even matter.  There’s just stuff.  EVERYWHERE.

{the previously mentioned shoving-stuff-into-the-closet-thing:}

Summer to Declutter

I came to the conclusion that we could easily and very happily live with 1/3 less.  We have lots because we are fortunate to receive lots from friends and family, and I also have a tad little shopping addiction.  If I like something, I tend to buy two of them so I always have it on hand.  I love a good bargain.  And also I love shoes.  In addition I’m sentimental, so I’ve held onto things that should have been recycled years ago.  Case in point?  These shoeboxes.

Summer to Declutter

They are so teeny tiny and cute.  I’ll never have a child wear a size 5 shoe again, or have a shoe box that tiny again.  Surely I can find a use for them!  All of them!  {see where my brain goes?}

I need to simplify.  Weeding out the extras means I’ll save what we WANT or what we NEED or what we LOVE.  Sounds like a plan, right?

In anticipation of an epic yard sale later this summer (and donating the rest) I’m determined to get rid of 1/3 of our stuff.  This is going to be my mantra:

Rules for Decluttering

I want to dig through every closet, every drawer, and each corner of my garage.  I want to purge it all, weed it out, and be left with air to breathe.  It might take all summer, and I don’t want it to take over our summer plans, so I’m going to do it gradually with a goal of being done by labor day.

Does anyone else feel suffocated with things?  Loaded down by stuff?  Home bursting at the seams?

I’m ready.  Let’s do this thing.

So as not to bog down the blog or bore everyone with how many bags of stuff I clean out from my daughter’s closet (SIX BAGS, FRIENDS!  Six. Bags.)  I’m going to keep the conversation going with a weekly check-in on Facebook.  Be sure to ‘like’ the Making Lemonade Facebook page to join in the fun and share your goal for the week (and/or your most recent decluttering accomplishments).

Since I’m also addicted to Instagram, let’s continue the fun over there.  Snap pics of your befores, your afters, your decluttering accomplishments, your worst clutter nightmares, WHATEVER and hashtag them #SummerToDeclutter and @MakingLemonade.  I’ll keep up with them and choose one at random this fall to get a special prize, handpicked by me.  I promise the prize won’t be any of my old clutter.  If you’re not on Instagram, hopefully that will be the push you need to do it– it’s so much fun over there!

I want to bare my soul– and my clutter– for the world to see.

Perhaps that’ll be what I need to finally do something about it.

Who’s with me?

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  1. I was drowning! Suddenly my husband to retire and right away. We had to retire in Florida near my mother and right away. We bought the nearest house to my mother two years ago in June and we had four garage sales and moved only 1/3 of our possessions to our tiny retirement home. Yes, I still occasionally mourn an item here and there but it was so freeing! I love my house with ONLY my favorite possessions. I’m happy, very happy! Go for it!

    1. Jeannie Marie, that’s so great to hear about your freedom from stuff! It’s hard to decide what to do with heirlooms, I have TUBS of them in my attic from my mother-in-law. I agree that keeping only what you love is a great way to surround yourself with happiness. Thanks for cheering me on!!!

  2. Oooooo….I’ve totally been overwhelmed lately with the need to toss, throw, trash!!! I’m excited to hear all of your tips and updates!!! I’m onboard!

    BTW, how did the photo shoot go? Do we get to see pictures?? Links to them???


    1. It’s going to get published either this Sunday or next, I’ll let you know for sure!!

  3. I love to purge stuff. It weighs on me when I’m wasting my personal space to have useless stuff, and to have stuff that’s not being useful to anyone because it’s too busy wasting my space! Yard sale, here we come!

  4. Dilemma: Grandpa’s kitchen scales–cool, but not accurate…keep or throw away?
    : Sample of barbed wire fencing invented by great-grandfather and the plans for them…keep? throw away?
    : Dress I made for daughter which is, really, not all that attractive…but there are not very many things I made for people (sewing clothes is not financially wise)…keep? throw away?
    :photos from children’s childhoods (most of them now grown)…do they want? if they say no, will they want in 10, 20, 30 years? keep? throw away?

    See what I mean?
    I, too, am drowning–mostly in books and children and books and plants and books and family things (see above) and books…

    I have learned a few things, though…When my 30-year-old was 7, I counted 53–53!!!–shirts in his drawers. ALL were given to us, and I don’t mean for birthday or Christmas. People had compassion on the poor church mice, and we were–and are–blessed. But he sure didn’t need 53 shirts. Lesson #1–you are not ungrateful if you don’t keep something that was given to you, even (sshhh!) if it was a gift–that means wrapped in gift wrap and therefore “special”.

    Btw, the shoe boxes are awesome…I’m just itching to put things in them (not shoes). Those are perfect for gazillion things–but ditch the shoes first

    1. Oof, you’ve got some hard ones! When it comes to heirlooms, I only like to keep the ones I can display as a way to honor that person. It doesn’t do any good tucked away in bins and boxes. So I’d say keep Grandpa’s scales if you can find a great place to display them. When it comes to clothes, if you don’t have room to save it you could repurpose into a pillow or frame it as a memento. You could also take a photo of it, that takes up much less room and you’ll still have the memory. As for your children’s photos, I’d let them make the choice. I recently went through a bunch from my childhood and kept about half, but it’s funny the ones I wanted– a photo of my favorite fish, one of my Cabbage Patch Kid– so they may have opinions about which ones mean the most and it might be surprising!

      Love your advice about not being ungrateful if you don’t keep a gift. I TOTALLY agree! The person who gave it to you wanted to convey a message of compassion/love/friendship, and if you received that message, then you’re golden. Thanks for your thoughtful comments today!

  5. Do it! I just got the bug to declutter last week and it made me so happy. I started at the top of the house and worked my way down. There are a lot of green things you can do to declutter your beauty routine and kitchen, too. Good luck to you in your purge.

    1. Jeannette, I really need a beauty routine overhaul. Do you have any posts about that? I feel as if I’m lathering myself in parabens– help!

      1. I’m just getting into the beauty routine overhaul. It was going to be my goal for 2014, but I started early because I got a jug of coconut oil. There are a lot of DIY options if you want to use coconut oil to make your own products. If not, you can look for organic beauty products in a shop like abesmarket.com. The Alba beauty line, available at Target and Whole Foods is a good first step in the right direction and an easy change to make. Good luck with everything 🙂

  6. I’ve been blogging less over the last few weeks because we’ve been doing just this. The office has been the primary focus. Scanning receipts to limit paper clutter, putting things in the attic and doing pickuplease.org. Looking forward to doing it along with you!

    1. That’s awesome Becky, I need to scan my receipts too. They’re out of control!

  7. I LOVE this! I have been needing the motivation to get myself cleaning and decluttering and I just found it! This!! Your blog is s HUGE blessing to me!!!

    1. You are so sweet! I hope you’ll declutter alongside me and keep me on track, haha!

  8. I’m on it. My house has four floors and each floor essentially has one long room. 4 weeks of my summer we are traveling, so the other 4 weeks I will do one floor per week. Easy peasy, right? (And I will count it as a win if I make it through two!!)

  9. Sounds like a plan! I actually did this last year in preparation for a yard sale. I found it easy to de-clutter all of the same items together. For example, go through all of your movies one day and then CDs and then shoes, and then dishes. That way you’ve tackled all of that item that exists in your house. Hope that helps if you get overwhelmed!

  10. Oh how I needed your mantra today! We just got back from vacation and living on just a suitcase of things. We did just fine. The decluttering starts tomorrow:)

  11. Pingback: Tips for a WILDLY Successful Yard Sale | Making Lemonade

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