Decluttering: More than a Resolution

I’m not a packrat.  Really, I’m not. But even though you couldn’t tell it with a quick glance in our front rooms, somehow our closets are full, our drawers are difficult to open, and our “only good for storage” basement is filled with stuff.


I’m not a big fan of stuff, and I don’t know how we have so much that we don’t need.

2010 will be the end of the unneeded stuff in my home.  If we don’t use it regularly, love it, or know we want to keep it for some valid reason, it’s outta here!

One of my goals for the new year is to get rid of 730 items in my home. Why 730?  That averages out to be 2 items per day for the 365 day year.  That’s a whole lotta stuff! I’m not talking about regular trash or food items, either.  Each thing that I part with will either be

  • sold on ebay, Craigslist, or at a garage sale (my sister’s having one this spring)
  • donated to Goodwill (after the garage sale)
  • taken to the thrift “boutique” in a nearby town
  • given as a gift (Yes, I do have some brand new baby things that we never used.  Tags still on!)
  • tossed (think broken toys or other items that won’t sell)

Any bold challenge such as this needs a few parameters.  Here are mine.

  • food doesn’t count (even food donations or gifts)
  • regular trash doesn’t count
  • 2 items per day average – I may get rid of 200 things one month and very little the next.

There’s no need to go to all the trouble of setting big goals without a payoff in the end.  My payoff?

  • Less stuff to manage, clean, organize, and work around.  I have better things to do with my time!
  • Gratitude for our abundance. We have so much more than we need, and this will be a good reminder.
  • Opportunities to give.  I don’t need all this stuff, but someone else might.
  • Peace that comes with clean, uncluttered space.
  • Opportunities to reiterate to my children that the Finer Things in Life aren’t things!

Honestly, I don’t even know if I have 730 unused items in my home.  This goal may be a stretch. You know what, though?  Goals should be a stretch, and I’m going to give it a go!  Want to join me or follow my progress?  I’ll leave updates on my Facebook Fan Page and report back here monthly.

Want to be inspired to “get it together” this year?  Join Mandi as she posts 31 days of organizing for a better 2010!

31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: Declutter

What are your audacious goals for 2010?

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  1. That’s an awesome goal! I moved back in July and I’m still not all organized/unpacked. I think I’m going to make a goal of doing one very specific project each month. Organizing my clothes one month, books the next, deep cleaning, etc.

    Good luck with the decluttering! I know that needs to be on my list (but on a much smaller scale!).

  2. I love this idea!!

  3. Good luck with your decluttering mission. Happy New Year.

  4. My husband & I were just talking about how much “stuff” we have accumulated too! It’s CRAZY!! I’m going to challenge myself too. Thanks for posting!

  5. That is a very ambitious goal! I don’t know if I could find 730 things either, but it’d definitely push me to get rid of some clutter. I like Rachel’s idea above of specific projects for each month.

    Decluttering is one of my resolutions this year, too, but it fits into the larger category of getting more organized when it comes to managing my household. I’m a (relatively) new wife and mother, so I’m still learning a lot.

  6. This sounds like a fabulous goal! I don’t know if I’ll get rid of that many “things”, but de-cluttering is definitely a “finer thing”!!!

  7. Such a good post, Amy! I wish I had something better to say than I wanna be like you! 🙂

  8. I LOVE this idea! It’s small chunks that make it doable! I will join you in this endeavor! I know I have way too much stuff, I’ve done lots of decluttering, but still have more to go. I talked about setting goals too, here’s my post:

  9. I am right there with you. My family needs to do some major decluttering and analyzing what we really want to keep in our home. If we don’t love it, use it, or need it, it’s gone. Our garage sale will hopefully be very full this year!

  10. I am copying your goal. Flat out. I read it off of organizing your way and thought to myself THAT IS PERFECT! I too do not know if I have the many items but It seems like such a fine challenge. Thanks for the idea and inspiration!

  11. Amy, this is a great idea! I am going to try this, too. I have decluttering on my list of goals, but I had not thought of counting everything. I have a bag of things I am taking to the Goodwill soon. I will go count everything before I take it. Goodluck on this endeavor. Happy New Year!

  12. In the past few months, I’ve become overwhelmed with all our stuff, too. With our home addition coming very soon (fingers crossed)–we’ve also set out to get rid of all of the extra. I think I will join you!

  13. That’s a good plan:-) I hope you are successful in 2010.

  14. I’d love to hear some feedback on this big problem of mine: I have too much stuff for several reasons, but one is my very generous mother. For example, I saw her this summer and she gave me about 50 beautiful articles of clothing. Then at Thanksgiving came two huge bags of Christmas items. For Christmas, there was a huge bag containing mostly sweaters, new pjs, robe, and more. So I know that since I keep acquiring so much, and am not getting rid of stuff, the laws of physics say that the clutter keeps growing….so I resolved to get rid of stuff. For starters, I went to my PJ drawer and tried to get rid of some PJs. But I could not do it. They were all pretty and in good condition. Yes, way too many, but I could not part with any. Someone please help me!

    • Oh, that is so hard. Especially when it’s FREE and a GIFT. But you’re right, the laws of physics are working against you. Does you mom just like to shop, or like to hit sales? What’s her motivation for giving you all of that stuff? Aside from the fact that she loves you dearly, of course. 😉 I don’t know where you live Melanie, but I know some cities have programs set up for abused women (all sorts of shelters) or financially needy women who are trying to get back in the workforce. I’m certain if you could locate a charity like that they would be thrilled to take some of that stuff off of your hands, and perhaps by giving to a worthy cause it will be easier for you to let go? Maybe?

    • Melanie, your example of the PJ’s is perfect – way too many, but pretty and in good condition. Why is it that when we donate something, we think it has to be old, ugly, out of style or in bad condition? Think of how excited a person less fortunate than yourself would be to have a pretty nightgown to sleep in, instead of a ratty old T-shirt, or a holey old second-hand nightgown. Giving away somethings that are simply excess in our life, and not necessarily in falling-apart condition (especially clothing) does so much more for the recipient’s self esteem, enabling them to “fit in”, especially in the case of school children and women attempting to enter or re-enter the workforce. It may be harder for us, but really, if it is excess in our life, why are we hanging on to it?

  15. What a great goal! You’ve inspired me to do something similar in my home. I’d like to clear out space in our closets!

  16. I agree with oh amanda

  17. Great goal, Amy! You can do it, and I know that you will be blessed and bless others! 😀

  18. That’s an awesome goal! We moved last August and got rid of an unbelievable amount of stuff…but I still look around and realize that more needs to go. One of my goals is to get rid of more stuff.

  19. I have one more suggestion for de-clutterizing: I have earned money by bringing old clothing and jewelry to consignment shops. I get 40% of whatever they sell it for. This works best for good labels in good condition. A profitable form of recycling!

    • Consignment! That’s the word I couldn’t think of when writing this post. Our second-hand “boutique” is actually a consignment shop. That’s where I take our clothes and other things that don’t go over well at garage sales. (So much EASIER than garage sale, also!)

  20. I think this is a wonderful goal! It is a lofty goal but I know when you get to the end of 2010 and have accomplished it you will be glad that you challenged yourself because you will have 730 less “things” to look at!

    This is inspiring to me too! I just might set some decluttering goals for this year too!!

  21. Hi,

    Great goal for 2010. I have always been a fan of the “less is more” when it comes to decorating!

    Happy New Year!

  22. Great post! And very similar to my 2010 goal: Physically touch every single thing we own and make a decision about it – primarily trash or donate, with the long-term storage pile hopefully much smaller.

    (of course, this was also my 2009 goal, but whatev, the past is the past. onward!)

    • Oooo, that’s a good one, too. Keep me posted on your progress. I actually think I might do a monthly “report in” on decluttering.

  23. Love it! Now, do you have a way of getting hubby on board? My husband can’t stand to get rid of stuff…he will throw some things out but he loves to keep old newspapers, t-shirts, dusty, dirty old books that are outdated, etc. I REALLY want to declutter but this is a source of tension at times. I have plenty of my own to get rid of but he keeps taking more stuff from his family and it sits in boxes in our basement. Any advice? Thanks!

    • Well, my hubby happens to be my biggest challenge also. He’s a bit of a packrat… and is not terribly excited about my challenge. (But he doesn’t like clutter; go figure!) He’s afraid I’m going to take “his” stuff, I think. I’ll probably tiptoe around the issue while I’m purging things he doesn’t care about and then hopefully he’ll see how awesome it is as our rooms clear out.

  24. Great goal Amy! I think I might unofficially join you and do the same!

  25. Brilliant!! We actually do a purge of our house every other month or so. We just get the itch to clean something out! Mostly it consists of our closets, kitchen cupboards and basement. I think I’m going to take a look at our laundry room though…I know there are a bunch of leftover cleaners from the people before us and our own that are just piling up! Time to clean out!!! 🙂

    • We still have stuff from the previous owners, too, and we moved here 3 1/2 years ago! Crazy STUFF. I hope to get on top of it and then do what you do with the every other month thing.

  26. You will be so glad you did this. We just SERIOUSLY cleaned out our house in order to put it on the market and downsize. Like, we sold rooms full of furniture. We sold eight bookcases and most of the stuff that was on them!!! I’m talking A LOT of stuff. Made over $2000 and took two van loads to charity to help the flood victims in the ATL.
    The coolest thing – we really don’t miss any of it. Really. I was worried when Christmas came around as I about halved what was in my kitchen as far as baking pans and utensils. I survived. I had to wash a couple more times than I did in the past, but didn’t really miss anything.
    You will LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It’s an awesome goal.

  27. Way to go!!! I like that you have set a specific goal and then broken it down into manageable steps. I hope to do the same for my weight loss this year.

    The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

  28. I love the way you have made decluttering more than just an endless project. You have given yourself a specific goal to work towards.

    One of my goals this year is to go through every nook and cranny of our home and clear out the clutter. It seems like a huge and daunting task, but thinking about it in terms of one or two items per day, makes it totally doable.


  29. I love this idea, especially after spending most of my day purging the kids’ bedroom to make room for their new (freecycled) beds. I can definitely get on-board with the decluttering. 721 is realistic… I know I have a box of about 30 things from the boys room to get rid of not to mention of 3 garbage ins full of broken and worn out toys that met the trash can… I also have a bundle of clothing (about 20 pieces) I purged from my own closet yesterday…. 50 items down… hmm, wonder what area I will hit next… (the homeschool room)

  30. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this goal!! Two thumbs up, Amy! I am working on decluttering this month myself and that is some fantastic inspiration!!

  31. Great idea. I have a garage full of ? that I need to go through. One or two things a day makes it sound attainable!

  32. Wonderful idea and goal! I’m not a packrat but because of 2009 being so busy, I failed to clean out drawers and other items on a regular basis (I usually clean out once a month). Last week my husband and I spent 2 days cleaning out stuff! I can not BELIEVE the STUFF we found to get rid of. We still have the garage and our bonus room to go thru but I feel so much better!!! Good luck!

  33. I’m feeling very inspired by this goal of yours. I’ve emailed your post to my husband so that he and I can come up with a similar goals for ourselves! Less stuff = less to clean which = happy parents!

  34. What a great idea! We also have way more than we need and I’ve been going through the last couple of months and slowly decluttering. It feels good to let go of some of those things and to be looking at simplifying things in our lives.

  35. Amy, I love this. I had already been making it a goal for myself to de-clutter more, but I love this very tangible goal. I think I am in. 🙂


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  9. […] a number of things you will throw out (or give away) – it’s that simple. The author of Amy’s Finer Things decided to get rid of 730 items in one year. For your spring cleaning, you can decide on a much […]

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