I have been “decluttering” for the last, oh, seven years.
I’m not kidding.
I have thrown away, donated, and passed down so many things that it’s crazy. I have gotten rid of most everything that we don’t use — all the clothes that are too small or too old, all the knick knacks that are no longer important. And yet, we still don’t have enough space for our stuff. To be fair, our house is very small. Really, it is.
Wyatt and Dylan share a (small) bedroom, which means all of their clothes are stored in one closet and one chest.
When all their clothes were washed, they wouldn’t fit. Literally, I couldn’t close the drawers in their chest. Sometimes, when I tried to open the drawers, they were packed so tightly that the whole chest would lurch forward when I pulled on them. Scary.
What I said was, this is such a small house. There’s just not enough room. We need more drawers.
It’s true, the house is small. Very small.
Because of that, I routinely go through all the closets and drawers each season to remove clothes that have been outgrown or have become ratty. I’ve been very proud of myself for keeping that routine now for a few years. For the most part, I don’t keep things that aren’t useful.
Even so, we don’t have enough space for what we have, and it is a continuous source of stress.
So one day I happened across a decluttering blog called A Slob Comes Clean, and in the post I found, she had reduced the number of outfits in her closet. She put the excess in storage to see if she missed them, and guess what? She didn’t.
When I read it, Wyatt’s never-able-to-close t-shirt drawer was what immediately came to mind, and it occurred to me: maybe the problem isn’t that I have too little space. Maybe the problem is that we have too much (perfectly good) stuff.
I went straight to his room and took all the shirts out of his drawer. And I counted them.
There were 67 shirts in there. SIXTY-SEVEN.
I should point out that these were not shirts that he wore to school. His school shirts are in the closet. These were his lounge-around play shirts.
Obviously, I have super folding skills, because I bet most people can’t fit 67 shirts in one regular-sized drawer. But honestly, what kid needs 67 play shirts? How could I have possibly been so blind to the excess? No wonder his drawer wouldn’t close!
I got a trash bag, and I went through the drawer and took out his least favorite shirts. I pared them down to 35 — total. (I made sure all his shirts were washed and accounted for when I did the purge so it really was 35). I threw out good shirts. He still has more than he needs, but the drawer will open and close easily so it’s a start.
Then I did the same thing with his pajama drawer. I ended up with a kitchen-sized trash bag full of clothes to get rid of — just from those two drawers.
Now when I open them up, it’s like little butterflies spring out in greeting. Little flowers float up into the air, and then the feeling of victory sets in. That’s how happy it makes me. Every. Single. Time.
Every other drawer in the house, here I come.