Purging and Decluttering Journey

f you watch me on Instagram stories, it may seem as though I’m always purging or donating items. This is partly true. I hope one day I can purge enough where I can take a break from donating but with so items coming in, PR packages, along with items I actually want to buy and keep, it seems like this will be a regular occurrence just like doing laundry – hopefully less often.

It seems to be every three weeks as of lately, just in time with my cleaning lady comes and she can haul it all away saving me a donation trip. She has daughters and grand daughters that can use my things on some level and it’s nice to clean my spaces while she’s also helping me tidy up around the house and then give her all the things I’m through with! She laughs at how much I’ve gotten rid of every time I see her.

In the past year, two books on Amazon have helped changed my perspective on things and also encouraged me to get a trash bag and start tossing. The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store, only $1.99 on Kindle (a recommendation from my friend Carissa) and Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never Ending Battle with Stuff, $9.99 on Kindle. Those books, along with the Kondo method we all know and love, are a triple threat I tell you.

First is the realization that you don’t need stuff, along with realizing you need to let go of clutter, like spillage that has overflowed because it doesn’t fit. By looking at your home as a container that fits a certain amount of items, you should ask yourself if you are holding onto things because they make you feel guilty (me! like, I made this, or I bought this while on a special trip as a souvenir), to does it bring you joy – I mean once all these questions blow through your mind as you look at an item, there it goes into the donate bin!

Ok want to hear about the things I finally let go after all these years, and I’m thinking like I’ve probably had these stupid things for like a decade?

Camera lens boxes. I thought it was like photographer’s law to keep these boxes – like the camera body or the camera lens which I will never sell. And finally, I grabbed a black trash bag and in the trash they went! What was I waiting for? Then I opened a few of the boxes up and saw there were a few container/padded travel lens pouches and I hesitated bringing them into my house in fear that would take room. I did bring them in, but I will say the fact that I thought about the consequence of bringing those items into my home was a revelation!

I wouldn’t say that I’m a hoarder. For a while I laughed and declared myself an organized hoarder and that was partly true. I mean I have compartments but I wasn’t hoarding anything. Benjamin is a minimalist. He’ll throw anything and everything away. I’m convinced he’d even throw away our wedding album if I died. I’m kidding, kind of. I mean, I threw away my yearbooks and newspapers (the newspapers long ago that I used to beam over). High school was so long ago and I moved past it as soon as I graduated and we all know the best years were college years – I mean life got even better but you know what I mean.

Anyway, back to decluttering. I am what I would consider normal, and if I’m honest, much better off in comparison if I look around with how much stuff my girlfriends save. Not saying I’m better or anything but just saying in terms of stuff, some of my friends just keep more. So this had made me think that I’m good. Until I can’t squeeze anymore of my clothes in my closet after I do the laundry or I’m out of hangers.

Things are busting at the seams.

I also keep things that I know have value (not to be mistaken for things that actually hold value), like booties that were sent to me for a blog campaign, that I don’t love but feel like I should. UGH. Shoe closet won’t close anymore. And now, just like that, in the middle of writing this blog post, I’ve gotten out of my office chair to place it in the donate bin.

Then there are phrases I love like Cuyana’s tagline “Fewer, better things,” that makes me pop on the site to look at their gorgeously made items and think if I buy that one thing it’ll replace the 5 I should have thrown out. Only, it rarely does.

I don’t mind fast fashion. I understand the negativity that comes with it which I won’t go into, but I do still very much am fine with it existing and it has saved me in a pinch and some items have stayed longer than others. However, anything whether designer or fashion fashion can be negative if we don’t know our reason for buying. And so, that first book I mentioned, helped. And when I donate, I look at the item and it helps me to understand why is it going in the donate bin? And, it’s OK that it is. I’ve worn it, used it, loved it. It’s when I haven’t really used it up that I need to reevaluate my spending habits.

Because rarely are we donating any of Benjamin’s things. That’s the hard truth.

So the closets I’ve shown you beautifully on the blog, you know, my own home closet, the office/camera closet, linen closet, to the guest closet in the garden room expansion, some still look like that, while others are overflowing and so, I must contain it.

I know there’s a difference between real-life and blog-photo life. When I share on the blog it’s usually after a makeover so it’s super tidy and minimal. Then real-life begins, I begin to clutter it up.

Another tip, realizing that the clothes that are clean, the ones you have put away, those are your favorites. And when you can barely fit it in your closet because there’s not enough room, that means it’s time to get rid of the stuff that you don’t love that actually is taking room. Mind blown. I mean, maybe we all knew this, and maybe I just need to hear this to get my booty moving.

And on that note, I feel another spending freeze coming up after the holidays (results). Stay tuned, hope you can join me.

My closets

Recommended reading

Diana Elizabeth has a few bins around the house for donation collecting. One in her closet, photo studio, and her office. She can’t wait for these bins to disappear, she’s hoping by the end of the first month of the new year. 

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


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