Clearing Clutter Part 2: Clean Living

In last week’s post I discussed how clutter was slowly starting to take over my house. I hit a breaking point and decided to start cleaning up by getting rid of the things I don’t need or want anymore. Bonus: this makes the things I love and DO want to use easier to access!

Getting started is the hardest part of de-cluttering because there are about a million other things I would rather do than clean. We also just bought COCO –  I think I wanted to see that more than the kids did. Rather than start there and clean if I had time I decided to make movie time my reward for finishing – worth it!

The top shelf of my closet requires a stepladder for me to even access it, so I decided that this should be reserved for things I really don’t use often. I found a bunch of beach towels, a shoe shine kit, a heating pad, pillow, and a big mason jar filled with random buttons. These things might come in handy, so they got to stay. The shoe shine kit will help between visits to the cobbler because I’m not shopping this year, and winter in Boston really does some damage to your footwear. Even the mason jars full of random buttons will help, and let’s face it – I’m part Italian, and I think it is an unspoken rule that you must keep this in your home.

Cleaning Out = Saving Money

The other items I found on this shelf-for-giants was a pack of swim diapers, a few green lampshades, a baby bottle full of safety pins, kid’s swim suits, and a lot of sunscreen. The lampshades didn’t make much sense to keep since they would only fit the lights in the bathroom and the color doesn’t match the room. My kids have outgrown swim diapers and the swimsuits that went over them so they will be better off in a new home because they are perfectly good, but no good to us. The sunscreen expired in 2014, so I should probably just start tossing that every season. Finally, while I think the baby bottle of safety pins was a cute gift from my baby shower nearly 6 years ago I really don’t need 200 of them – so I decided to keep a couple and get rid of the rest.

The second shelf is prime real estate because I can reach it, but my kids can’t. Thank God, because this is where expired medication goes to die. Of the 10 medicine bottles I found, only one was still good to use in 2018. I also found 3 full tubes of toothpaste, 6 boxes of band-aids, and 2 full packs of razor blades. I always feel like I am “out” of these supplies, but it just goes to show how wasteful clutter can be. If you are constantly buying things you have in your closet or pantry when you need them before you look to see if they are already there – you’re wasting money! Now this shelf has some small towels, my husband’s shaving kit and room for medicine that will work next time I have a headache.

Speaking of headaches..

The third shelf took me several hours over the span of 2 days to work my way through. This is my shelf that contains more “product” than a JC Penney-sized Sephora. I am a product junkie and here is my #truth:

1. 14 perfume samples
2. 4 gift with purchase makeup bags (empty)
3. 6 bath bombs
4. 2 dry shampoo bottles
5. A travel toothpaste/kit from my Dentist
6. 26 bottles of perfume
7. A wig cap (who am I?)
8. 2 tubs of jewelry cleaner
9. This Korean peel-off mask that I’m too terrified to try
10. Sonicare toothbrush
11. 12 Sport headbands
12. My contact lenses
13. Fake eyelashes
14. 200 Bobby Pins
15. A plastic knife
16. A bin of toiletries
17. My bin of makeup (retail price = a down payment on a nice car)

I don’t even know where to start with how useless this cluttered shelf has become. Nearly all of it, except for my contact lenses and the back-up electric toothbrush – is trash. Side note – one of the things I do spend money on is good skincare, and that has really reduced all the other products I need and the fake eyelashes (hello lash boost fans!!). It was at this point that I stopped to make dinner and call it a night because I felt so much anxiety looking at this pile of expensive crap that I could not continue to the real nightmare that is my make-up bin.

The Final Few Shelves

Going through all my makeup and hair products was a wake-up call for me. I used to travel for work frequently, and clearly had too much alone time that was occupied by shopping. I bought a lot of makeup because I was bored and it fit in my carry-on. These items aren’t as easy to donate as clothing since most shelters or consignment stores have no interest in them. My solution was simple – email my friends at work about my stockpile, and tell them to bring a big purse to work because they can take as much of it as they want. Watching my makeup, perfume, and hair products go to new homes felt MUCH better than throwing it away.

After that, it was smooth sailing with the last two rows. There were some useful items stuffed into this section – like spare sheets for my son and our bed. I realized we don’t have a spare set for my daughter – and since she’s three, this is probably something we should have a few of! I also have a bunch of tote bags from various races and conferences, so going forward I’m just not going to take them or if I do, I’ll only bring home the items I really want.

Breathing a Sigh of Relief…

Going through this mini-project has helped me realize a lot about my spending, and how much nicer a clutter-free area feels. My home was built in the 1930’s and the closets were built for 1930’s sized wardrobes. I think I can learn a lesson from the past and hold on to the things I use and let go of the items I don’t. Getting ready this morning was much easier because I didn’t have to dig through all the clutter to get what I needed. I might even have more time in the morning now (who doesn’t need that)!

Do you love spring cleaning or does the thought of getting started give you anxiety? Comment below with some of your favorite ways to de-clutter!

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