If stuff=time, then getting rid of stuff=more time. And more peace!

I’m scared to go into my garage.

Sure, it’s partly because once when I was putting the garbage out something furry ran right past my foot and I screamed and I ran in so fast that the garbage spilled all over the garage floor and nobody went to clean it up until my husband got back from being on call all weekend.

But it’s mostly because the garage is just filled with clutter! Everything that is eventually going to the dump or that the girls may take with them when they move out is stuffed in there, and I find it emotionally exhausting to even look inside it. It’s too hard to find anything and all the clutter is overwhelming.

And we have several clutter-filled rooms that make me emotionally exhausted, too.

When my oldest daughter moved out we started putting all the photo albums and things that didn’t have a space in there, and now when guests come I’m afraid to invite them to sleep over.

Then there is my workout room, where for some reason everybody in the family sticks the clothes that no longer fit. I haven’t quite figured out why we’ve decided to get rid of clothes in the workout room, but there you go.

And so lately I’ve felt like I need to go on a clutter-cleaning binge, because I know that getting rid of stuff feels great!

I don’t want to be scared to step into my guest room, or my garage, or my workout room anymore.

I have a friend who has come through quite the journey over the last few years, and she’s been blogging about some of her baby-steps to a more manageable life. Her post today was so practical–and so life-changing–that I just had to share it.

She writes:

Recently I purged my Littles’ clothes. I have a couple of large bags of clothes ready to be given away. The Littles now each have seven outfits plus three pairs of pyjamas. That’s it. All of their clothes fit into one load of laundry. This has simplified my life so much! One load – if every piece of clothes they own is dirty! I’m contemplating reducing even further, down to four outfits each since they tend to pick the same clothes over and over anyway.

I purged my dishes as well. I now have 4 dinner plates, 7 lunch plates and 7 bowls plus glasses and utensils. I got rid of my ancient, Teflon-flaking pots and bought a set of pots. They all fit together nicely in the cupboard. I purged my appliances and only kept what I use.  As a result we can actually get a pot or appliance out of the cupboard without risking a bruise or broken toe.

Two small actions. One huge result. Because all of the laundry can fit into one load I am staying on top of laundry. Because I’m staying on top of laundry I have more time. Because the dishes *have* to be done after every meal if we want plates to eat off of for the next meal then my dishes are done most of the time. No more overwhelming pile of crusted on dishes greet me in the morning. Because I’m staying on top of the dishes I have more time. More time to battle the clutter that life brings in, more time to spend with my kids and my friends, more time to read, more time to spend building a future, more time getting healthier.  This time is such a gift to me.

I echo her ideas about purging clutter in the kitchen. How many of you have kitchen drawers that look like this, so you can’t find anything?

Disorganized drawer of assorted kitchen utensils

And then the thought of cooking is exhausting. But if you declutter and purge all your doubles and triples, and keep only what you need, cooking is easier.

Just start with getting rid of stuff in a small area of your house

Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your SpaceYou don’t have to tackle the whole garage. Maybe you just do one kitchen drawer, or one kitchen cupboard, or even one room.

That’s my assignment to myself now, motivated by my friend Andra. I’m going to tackle one area of clutter a day and purge it–just get rid of stuff from one small area. And then I won’t be so scared to go in. I’m going to decide how many of each things I need–pairs of underwear, pairs of socks, tupperware containers, whatever–and then I’ll get rid of the excess.

And I’ll save myself time, because I can more easily find things. I’m not having to tidy everything up constantly. And it all feels freer!

Tell me: what stuff to you need to get rid of? What area most needs decluttering? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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