Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The 500 Clutters Challenge

DD loves this authentic samovar from Bukhara, Uzbekistan
As you know if you were reading this blog over the summer, and if you have been following me for a couple of years, I am always decluttering. I declutter great mounds of stuff, I take photos of piles of books and filled bags ready to go, and I reorganise all the cupboards and drawers (so that I never know where anything lives anymore). 

I declutter and declutter and I still don't reach anywhere near that state of minimalism which is supposed to free up your life for wonderful things like free time, creativity, money, and travel. 

The last big declutter was in August during the summer holidays. I managed to get rid of a whole chest of drawers, an old armchair and an oversized footstool. (The footstool has mysteriously ended up in my daughter's bedroom but as far as I'm concerned, I no longer own it.)

I posted photos of all the books on my local To Sell group. About 30 academic books on language learning, bilingualism, and literacy. Only 20 years old but in perfect condition - I only needed to read them once after all. No one wanted them of course. If you are an academic you can't use them for up to date research, and if you're not an academic you don't need them. So they all got shifted around and though the bookcase is still emptier, they are in a drawer. Out of sight etc...

Soooooo. Over the Sukkot holiday, last week, DD and I set ourselves a task to get rid of 500 items (500 clutters). And I mean actually get rid of them - out of the house - not just away but "away away" as Meryl Streep famously said in Mama Mia.


My old holdall from 1981.
I don't pack into anything without wheels these days.
We managed 250. Well not actually out of the house for all of them but also not still in piles and bags around the house. Everything has a planned route out, even if some plans are necessarily delayed. For example, I have a cupboard over a wardrobe that is full of items for the Yedidya Bazaar next March. I have a few (realistic) items to list for sale and some books to take to the book swap in the Railway Track Park.

We counted the 60  children's books I donated to my school's English library and we counted the chest of drawers and armchair that has already gone. We didn't count real rubbish like broken bits of things, empty containers, or old papers. But we did count old things that were thrown out like a wooden mug tree with a warped base.

This time we really went to the back of the corner cupboards and the cupboards over the wardrobes. I found a holdall that I brought to Israel on my gap year 36 years ago. A suitcase that belonged to my parents when they got married in 1958. (I'm keeping that one even though it's useless to me.) An authentic samovar and teapot set given to me by a lady who went to Bukhara and brought it home unnecessarily. (DD thinks it's the most beautiful thing she's ever seen so we have to keep it for a while.) We found the fridge magnet words. DD agreed to swap them for the plastic ABCs. My fridge is now besentenced with inanities.


We found the fridge magnet words.
DD was great about keeping score. She kept all the numbers up to date in her notebook. She was less great about letting some things go. She 'rescued' a few items but some of them came back later when she realized that actually she doesn't need them. My compromise was to start my own tally in which I consider DD's bedroom to be another realm and whatever disappears into it is gone (until such time that I can make it really gone, in secret when she's not home).

So we're done except for the final frontier, my wardrobe. In fact I only wear about 10 items like the most minimal of minimalists. However, I can't get rid of clothes that I love but don't yet fit into. I just can't. Yet. But when I do, and free up whole shelves that will allow other stuff in other places to be moved in (not sure what from where yet), that'll be a whole other (I so wanted to write 'a whole nother') piece of furniture, somewhere, for moving out. It will easily be the missing 250 clutters.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I am minimalistic yet. Minimalistish maybe.



10 comments:

  1. "Besentenced" is such a fabulous word! Thank you for that :-) And well done for doing away with clutters.

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    1. Thank you. I also rather like that sentence. :)

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  2. Great challenge, definitely going to give it a go!

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    1. You should, it's surprisingly easy once you get into it.

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  3. I'd say that 250 items was great work! I'm the same, I've been decluttering for ages (and I'm honestly not a big shopper) - it just amazes me how it continues to accumulate. But - most of my friends think that my place is super organized and, aside from books don't really see what I'm fussing about. It really is just all those little odds and ends that are left so I'm going back to keeping a bag/basket by the front door and every time I come across something that can go I'll pop it in there. I often find that these mini sessions work really well - as something catches my eye, in it goes and it's surprising how quickly things can add up. My biggest bugbear is paperwork - still have a ton of shredding to get through!
    PS - Tell DD that I kind of really like that Samovar as well.

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  4. Margie, thank you, I'm going back to edit samova to samovar. I thought it didn't look right.

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    1. I honestly didn't notice that it didn't have the "r" - we really see what we expect to see. :-)

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    2. True but as soon as I saw your comment I knew you were right.

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  5. I think 250 s pretty good going, that is loads and kids can find it really hard to let go. I wont let you see a picture of my wardrobe, I guarantee you'd feel better about yours though! Mich x

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    1. Not only do i suspect that our wardrobes are very similar, I completely understand and identify.

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