I’ve been busying preparing for our summer vacation by reading Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I know, it sounds super fun to spend your summer decluttering the house, right?
I’m surprised to find myself relating to her childhood, as I often was told my bedroom looked like a hotel room. I’d ebb and flow from collecting items to place all around my room, to clearing it all out (either donating it or storing it in a bin in the closet) to make it simple, empty, and tidy. I love a tidy space and I despise clutter.
Our current home has become an untidy place, in my mind, as to all of the things we’ve either brought with us from our old home, accumulated while living here, or have been given over the years. I have a hard time saying no to freebies, most often finding a way to utilize something we’ve been offered. Over time, though, we’ve built up quite the collection of items that might better serve someone else; especially when it comes to children’s toys and clothing.
In the first few chapters, Kondo mentions it takes about six months to completely tidy your home. Whew! I thought I was going to have to go through this process in a day for our entire home. She is strict on following her exact method, but I don’t think that’ll be an issue for me. My mom always says I have no problem getting rid of things, and I have to agree. Over the years, though, I’ve gotten a little more cautious as I’ve donated bread machines and other items only to turn around and re-buy them again a few years down the road.
It won’t be easy tidying up an entire home with two young children, whom at times I save things for the younger of the two in case he wants to play with it or an outfit I don’t love, but he might need. In reality, they have so many toys either given as gifts or given as donations to us, that if I passed on freebies we’d still have more than enough. As with clothing, the baby grows so fast and we’ve received so much over the past four years I don’t see us running out of options any time soon.
One of the greatest ways to tidy and discard items without filling landfills is either to sell the items on Craigslist or donate them. Some infant items I have listed on Craigslist, as they still hold a value, but most items, unless they are in horrible condition, will be donated either to GreenDrop or Goodwill.
GreenDrop is a great way to put all of your items out and have them picked up for donation. They take all types of items and you just have to box it up and put it on the porch. I definitely recommend checking to see if they are in your area. Goodwill is another great option, but you have to pack it up and take it there yourself.
How does this relate to being frugal? For one, donations are a tax write-off, so we’ll get a few pennies at the end of the year.
The other true reason for decluttering and tidying our home is that we’ll make better use of what we do keep, and most likely purchase less in the future once through this process.
There have been times over the years I’ve rebought the same shirt on clearance I had in a storage bin, only to find it in the next season and realize I had double. Thank goodness for my No New Clothes Challenge this year!
Once finished with tidying clothing, I’ll have my entire year’s worth of clothing within reach for any occasion. I did this years ago, prior to my most recent pregnancy, and I bought far less clothing than before. Currently, I’m losing weight to fit back into old favorites, but am happily donating as I move down in sizes. With the guy’s clothing, it’ll be easy to donate the items that don’t bring us joy and their wardrobes are pretty frugal to begin with. Going forward, it’ll make it easier to purchase or request far fewer gift clothing items for our older Monkey, too.
We’ve also had a hard time coming up with children’s gift ideas in the past few years, as we have so much around we just are at a loss as to what they’d even enjoy. I often as for outdoor toys, but they don’t seem to last more than a season. I always feel bad getting rid of or donating toys given as gifts (much like clothing) even though they’ve been full utilized. I look forward to going through this deep clean and having a better idea of what is worth keeping and what isn’t.
In the end, getting back to a bare minimum will be awesome. I’ll know everything that is in our home and I’ll know going forward what we need or don’t need. I have only just started reading the book, but as I go through this process you’re sure to hear how it’s going.