Let’s get back to simplifying our homes today. Let’s talk about the items in your home that spark joy in your heart. These are the the things you should keep in your home if you want to de-clutter and live with less.
If you’re ready to live a simplified life without the clutter that wreaks havoc on our emotional state of mind, then it’s time to let go. Another group of bloggers recently put together a series titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. A Journey to Sparking Joy. I was so drawn to this phrase “sparking joy” because this is what de-cluttering and simplifying our lives is all about. It’s about only holding on to those items in our life that make us feel happy. It also relates to the people in your life, but that’s for another post.
While it’s nice to have creative, concealed storage, the real joy comes from letting go of things that have no meaning to us and keeping the ones that spark joy.
Let’s take this in steps…
Take a look at your closet and your kids’s closets. How many pieces of clothing in there have you not worn in over a year? Over two years or more? How do those pieces of clothing make you feel when you put them on? My guess is not so good if you haven’t worn them in a few years.
So how do you actually go about pairing down the amount of clothes in there?
Well, I originally wrote this post to say what you’d expect I’d say… to donate any clothing you haven’t worn in over a year. Then just as I was about done writing, I took a break to actually go clean out my own closet. Three hours later, here’s the reality of it….
I keep a few extra large bins of off-season clothes in plastic bins in my attic. Twice a year I do the change-over from Winter to Summer clothes. During that change-over I really do try to donate as many pieces that I haven’t worn in at least two years.
Most people will say that if you haven’t worn something in over a year, then donate it. Well, those people must love to shop and have the extra income to do it often. I don’t happen to like to shop and I don’t spend alot on clothing so I tend to keep my clothes longer.
While I brought down from the attic three bins of Winter clothes, I’m happy to say that I only brought two bins of Summer clothes back up and one of those bins was strictly dressier clothes that I only need to pick through for special occasions.
In the end, my closet turned out very organized.
After three hours of cleaning my closet, I put together a decent trash pile.
Mismatched glassware drives me crazy! It makes me happy when I open my cabinet and I see a set of glasses, dishes, bowls, or mugs that all match and are neatly lined up. We don’t need twenty-two mugs. We may need eight and that’s if we host company. We don’t need ten water bottles, we need two or three that can be rotated as they’re being washed.
Choose the glassware and dishes you use most, that aren’t chipped, and that you actually enjoy eating off. Donate the rest.
Donating unused toys is easy to do as your kids grow. It’s clear to see which ones they play with and which ones they don’t. Throw away or recycle any toys that are broken. Donate toys that your kids no longer use. Period.
This is where the purging gets a little more difficult for me. Blankets, sheets, and towels last so long! I’ve had the same blankets and towels for the past 18 years and they’re still in perfectly good condition believe it or not. I’m not a wasteful person so I have a really hard time discarding these items if they are not stained or torn.
What I do is make a pile of the best towels and a secondary pile of those that are still usable but may be mismatched. I find a space for the best ones and only keep those from the secondary pile that comfortably fit in their storage space – whether that be a linen closet or a bathroom cabinet. The rest may go into a rag bucket that I can recycle and use to dust or paint.
This is where the “sparking joy” concept truly comes into play because decor items are luxuries. While I’d love for you to implement this “sparking joy” concept with your clothes, glassware, and linens, those items are necessities and may not spark any sort of true feelings. With decor, only hold on to those items that spark joy. No exceptions!
Walk around your home. Do you still love that framed picture hanging over your fireplace? How about that lamp in your living room? Or, that vase on the buffet? Start picking up those things that don’t spark a special feeling of joy when you look at them and put them in a pile. Live without them for a few days to see if you miss them. You may miss having something fill that space, but is it that particular style vase? Would you rather see a succulent plant there or a statue of a horse because you love horseback riding?
If it doesn’t spark joy when you see it, let it go. Or, change it up. Does that brass lamp from the 80’s still work and have a great shape? Then spray paint it silver, or turquoise, or white with blue stripes. Whatever fits into your current lifestyle.
Now it’s getting really difficult. We all have special keepsakes from our past. Wether they be on a shelf, in a plastic bin in the attic, or scattered momentos throughout the house. Physically touching these items brings us back to that time in our life.
When my kids were babies, I held onto a lot of their baby clothes as keepsakes. For many years, I kept enough to fill two or three large plastic bins. As they grew and created new memories though, I was able to pair those bins down to less than one. I kept just two or three outfits from each child.
Try this… Designate just one particular cabinet, box, bin, or suitcase for these special items. I happen to have a large plastic bin for each person in our family. If we think something is worth saving, it goes into this box.
In my box you’ll find my school yearbooks, my bridal veil, cards from my kids, and photos. Every once in a while I go through the box and pair down the items that are still special to me. The cards and pictures my daughter made in kindergarten were really special when she made them, but the framed Mother’s Day photo of the two of us is much more special to me now. I may keep one of those Kindergarten drawings and the rest I’m ready to let go.
It’s probably time to clean out that keepsake box.
The next time you consider making a purchase of a non-perishable item, ask yourself a few questions in this order…
Do I need it? Is it exactly what I’ve been looking for? Do I have a place for it? Finally, does it spark joy?
We all know that if the item is not a necessity, then we can live without it until we find something that does make us feel happy.
Don’t be afraid to let go of things from your past. Embrace the person you are now.
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Thank you & Enjoy!