Let’s face it, it’s already February and sometimes it feels like the year is going to go by really fast. Yet, at the same time, I personally felt like January lasted FOREVER!!
Decluttering has been on my mind for quite a some time, and now that I am more conscious about it, I pay more attention to the amount of “stuff” that comes into my house everyday, as well as the amount of waste we create. There’s “stuff” in the mail (advertisements, coupons), “stuff” from the supermarket when I buy groceries (bags, whether they are paper or plastic), and the packaging of the products I buy once I am done using them, “stuff” from my children’s school (finished projects, things they have worked on at school), etc. And it’s just so overwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong, I love getting my children’s school projects and being able to put them on my refrigerator or somewhere I can see them everyday, but it seems like I spend quite a bit of time everyday just trying to keep my house tidy. I try not to accumulate too much waste, but in addition to things like school projects, there are also Christmas gifts and birthday presents, party favors … and that is a whole other story.
In my journey to declutter, I have discovered three main tricks to maintaining a neat and tidy house.
This seems pretty obvious if you grew up doing it in your household and/or are fortunate enough to have a recycling service that comes and picks up your recycling every week. However, the recycling culture is relatively new to me. I think it’s such a great idea because I feel less guilty about some of the waste I am creating, knowing that it can be recycled.
The first thing we started recycling in our home was cardboard (all the boxes from the online deliveries). I had had the idea to have a blue bin inside the house for a few months, but it took some friends coming to our house and repeatedly asking for a recycling bin to actually go and buy one. So, about six months ago, we bought a recycling bin to have inside our house, and since then we have been placing plastic, glass, paper, aluminum, etc. in it each day.
2. Keep Gifts to a Minimum
This is another big one for me! Last Christmas was the first year we decided to keep giving and receiving gifts to a minimum (that included extended family, our children and friends). By not gifting too many things, I was able to save money and spared myself from the stress of buying things and worrying whether the other person was going to like it or not.
Also, by keeping things simple with my children (each one only got a small present from us), we were able to not add many things to our already-full house. Instead of buying them multiple gifts, we gifted them with different experiences.
3. Donate or Sell What You No Longer Need
Every once in a while, maybe once or twice a year, it’s important to set time aside to go through things that you have at your house and evaluate whether you use/need each item anymore. I have some friends who buy one pair of pants and donate another pair, so they don’t accumulate clothes, and do the same thing with toys. For me, that’s admirable but personally, I still have trouble doing so. Maybe some day…
My ultimate goal is to create a life with as little waste as possible (for example, instead of recycling a plastic water bottle, my ultimate goal is not to buy a plastic water bottle at all and just use reusable ones).
With gifts, I am not quite ready yet to have a “no gifts” party for my children, as I know that part of the excitement they get from a birthday party is to know what they will receive gifts. I am also still working on donating/selling stuff that doesn’t work or that we don’t need anymore.
But as I am more conscious of the amount of things we have and the amount of waste we produce, I am determined to do everything in my power to keep it as low as I can, and to ensure I teach my children to do the same.