Decluttering 101

Much has been written about how to declutter. There are books, TV shows, and podcasts galore if this topic interests you. My two cents on this topic are: 1) communicate with your partner; and 2) consider a multi-pass approach.

Working with a partner means that you don’t have to answer the question, “where are those extra pair of earphones I had in this drawer?” That’s what happened to me when I took it upon myself to empty one of Beth’s nightstand drawers and erroneously threw away her extra earphones.

Sometimes, we get too excited about decluttering and make a unilateral decision to trash an item. So, if you want to avoid the “where is my ____?” moment, ask first! 

My last word on the partner approach is this: involve your children. Both of our daughters are home and we’re giving them an opportunity to look through their things and our things, too.

Side note: last night, Beth tried on her wedding gown and Helen and Steph tried it on, too! Watching the three of them laugh and pose was joyous. I would never have predicted that either of them would do this willingly, but do it they did!

The Multi-Pass Approach

The multi-pass approach is something I discovered while thinning out my wardrobe for the RV trip.

For years, I’ve been observing what I don’t wear and donating these items to Goodwill. Unfortunately, I’ve been replacing those items and keeping my closet full. I’d empty a bucket and fill it up. This is not decluttering.

Since we made the decision to travel, I’ve taken a different approach. First, I went through my closets and drawers and donated a lot – just as in the past. Next, I took a second pass (a month or two later) and asked myself, “do I really need this?” Surprisingly, I ended up with another bag of clothes to donate. And yesterday I repeated the process. Once again, I was surprised to see a stack of clothes that were duplicates of other items. Do I really need two sweatshirts? Nope. Do I need twenty pairs of gym shorts? Nope. And do I ever wear these pajama bottoms? Uh uh.

Now that I know about this multi-pass technique, I’m excited to go back in and keep trying to pair down my wants from my needs. It’s not hard work, but it’s emotional.

Final Thoughts

First, I’m proud of the fact that I have three (out of six) empty drawers. I feel freer and I think it’s because I am beginning to understand that my possessions were weighing me down.

Secondly, I feel like I’m giving my children a gift. When we die, they won’t have to go through the arduous and emotional process of emptying a house full of mostly unneeded stuff. I’ve seen many a friend and relatives go through this painful, time-intensive process. Why would we do that to our children?


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