At the beginning of February I decided to try a simple decluttering technique: I would cull one item every day for a month. Now that February is over, I thought you might be interested in the results.
Was it a success?
Most days I actually remembered to find something to get rid. Since some days I found two or three items next to each other, keeping up with the daily total wasn’t a problem.
I did not get rid of a huge volume of stuff, (only two smallish boxes), but I did open enough room in my china cabinet to add more water goblets.
My One-Item-A-Day-For-A-Month Project FAQs
- Did I get rid of some items I might have used someday? — Yes.
- Did I get rid of anything I’ve used in the last year? — No.
- Did I get a small jolt of happiness each time I unloaded something? — Yes. De-accumulating is freeing. It is like getting rid of a small weight that I have been carrying around.
- Did I find it traumatic or difficult to say goodbye to the items? — No.
- Did any of the items end up in the trash/recycling? — A few. (Including an old olive oil bottle I once used as a vase. Why do we keep stuff like that?)
- Were any of the items worth enough money to be sold on Ebay? — Most likely, but going through the hassle of selling them would not simplify my life, which was the point of this whole exercise. I am happy to let someone else enjoy those items with my blessing.
The most unusual item
While rooting through drawers, I discovered a number of glass candleholders with just a small glob of melted candle in their bottoms.
[Why am I storing used-up candles? Because I am too lazy to deal with them, I suppose. Time to do something about that!]
So I used a trick a friend of mine taught me. I put them in the freezer for a few hours. When I took them out it only took a few pokes of a table knife to loosen the wax.
By the way, I did not throw out those little globs of wax, because another friend taught me that candle ends are useful to get a campfire going. Off to the camping supplies with those otherwise-useless candles.
What have I learned?
Having a goal helps the process along. After hosting the whole family for Christmas dinner (something that is likely to happen again), I realized it was time to acquire enough decent tableware to host twenty to twenty-five people. Thus my goal to add more water goblets, which in turn created a need for somewhere to put them. Which got me thinking about decluttering my china cabinet (and just FYI, the cabinet was neither untidy nor overcrowded.) I culled a few odd items, did a little reshuffling, and voila: my new goblets are now ready for the next big family dinner.
A simple change of mindset can keep the project going. I am not the sort of person who will carry on the one-item-a–day process long-term. (Read my previous post for my struggles with any task that is supposed to be done daily.) However, it makes sense to develop the habit of actually looking at stuff. What if, instead of just reaching for the item I need, I paused to scan the rest of the drawer, cabinet, or shelf—looking for anything I don’t need or rarely use?
Developing an always-scanning-for-stuff-I-don’t-need habit could help me keep the project going long after I quit putting tick marks on a sticky note to track my daily progress.
Am I going to continue the project?
As I mentioned at the start, I plan to repeat the process in March, only my focus will be bookshelves instead of china cupboards. And my husband offered to join forces and face [gasp] the basement in April. I will let you know how it goes.
What do you think? Is the one-item-a-day decluttering method for you?
Why not give it a try for a month?