Happy 2nd Birthday 🍰

So it is two years since I started decluttering my house and @rachelwithless on Instagram to document it!

While votes were being counted in Ireland this week, I was doing some counting of my own as I hadn’t done an updated count since this time last year. When I started decluttering two years ago, I never would have guessed that I would come to declutter over 14 thousand items! Fourteen thousand, two hundred and fifty three items to be exact. I’m such a nerd I know. 😊 But this is mind boggling stuff.

This week I’m looking at the top categories that I have decluttered in a bit more detail.

Photographs

Top of the list are photographs. The total number of photos decluttered include both printed photos and digital photos from my iPhone/Cloud. For me, photographs are still a total mess. At the moment I have thousands of photos in different locations. My older photos are printed, some in albums and some photos in shoeboxes, with their negatives in a box, I have digital photos on my computer and some are backed up on CD and USB and I have photos on my IPhone, backed up to the Cloud. That’s the way it goes I guess when you are of a certain age and you have had to deal with changing mediums of photography. It’s hard to know where to start really. Head wrecking stuff. Honestly I think I can probably declutter another couple of hundred if not thousand of photos. Added to this problem is that photos are still accumulating as life goes on. Tackling this category is a priority for me this year.

Paper

The majority of the paper I decluttered consisted of kids colouring pages and art work. Again another category which is a work in progress. There is still a large enough volume of it coming into the house each year although I’ve found it has slowed down somewhat as my kids have gotten older. This is another category that I want to tackle this year. My goal would be to scan and discard most of it and organise it into photo books that will take up less space.

Bric-a-brac/Miscellaneous

All sorts of everything! From furniture and baby equipment to cups, cutlery and random bits and bobs and everything in between. I still have one box full of random junk that I need to sort out and then I should be pretty much finished this category.

Toys

I’ve done such a massive clear out of toys but another bit of a cull is required in the coming weeks. In general, I ‘disappeared’ the toys that the youngest kids were not playing with. The only thing that has been missed is the enormous blow up dinosaur. Thank you Zoe for that one! When it came to my eldest, I only got rid of the toys that she was happy to declutter for the most part……I may have decluttered a few of those squishy toys and any slime that came into the house without her knowing because I simply don’t like them but again, none of these have been missed.

Clothes and Shoes

This includes my clothes and the kids clothes. I did a massive cull of my wardrobe and I am now happy with the amount I have. Same goes for the kids. I still have one box of sentimental baby clothes. I have culled them already but I’ve kept some with some vague notions of turning them into teddies or a memory blanket or something like that. I’m not rushing into that decision as they are not in anyone’s way at the moment so this one can wait. I’ve bigger fish to fry as they say.

Books

This includes both my books, some of my husbands books and the kids books. I am happy with the progress I have made in this category. The kids still have plenty of books and we go to the library most weeks to add a bit more variety.

I still have more books than I’ll ever get through so I will continue to cull them but I’ve done a great cull already and books are not taking up as much space in our home as they used to.

Newspapers/Magazines

I have a problem with throwing a newspaper in the recycling before I have read it. If they didn’t come into the house in the first place then I probably wouldn’t miss them! So this is why I’ve ‘decluttered’ newspapers and magazines as they pile up in my kitchen waiting for me to get around to reading them. The pile has gotten a lot smaller and are all relatively current but this is a continuous challenge for me.

Donations / Freecycle

In terms to getting rid of things, I’ve tried my best to declutter responsibly.

Anything that was in good condition and would be sold easily, went to local charity shops or parish fetes. So this was mainly good clothes, bags, bric-a-brac, books, CDs and DVDs. I sold a couple of things on Adverts but I found it took up a lot of time so I would only do that in future if items were of high enough value to be worth my while.

Things like second hand kids clothes, furniture, toys, sheets and blankets, hangers, tapes and LPs, I have generally been able to rehome via the Zero Waste Freecycle Ireland Facebook group. This is a wonderful community of people who are using second hand items to reduce their environmental impact and reduce waste.

Clothes that were in bad condition and only good for the rag trade, I brought to my local textile recycling centre.

One resource that is really good for information on what items to donate where is the Living Lightly in Ireland page. This is a blog about all things to do with living more sustainably in Ireland. It is a great resource. You can find it at https://livinglightlyinireland.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/what-to-recycle-donate-where/

In summary, I am so happy with the progress I have made but I still have some work to do. Here’s to another year of simplifying and slowing down. Less is more.

#rachelwithless #lessismore #minimise #simplifyyourlife #simplify #minsgame #minimalism #declutteringchallenge #decluttering #declutteringtime #declutteringmylife #declutteringcontinues #declutter #sparkjoy #letitgo #clutterfree #livingsimply #minimalism #minimalist #minimalisthome #minimalistlifestyle #clutterfreeliving #simplifylife #organise #thegentleartofswedishdeathcleaning #sustainableliving #sustainable #reuse #reduce #recycle #reducereuserecycle #2020in2020declutterchallenge #2020in2020declutteringchallenge

The Minimalists Documentary

I watched ‘Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things’ on Netflix on 16 February 2018. Nearly two years ago! That same night I set up @rachelwithless on Instagram and I decluttered my first two items the next day. This started my year long decluttering challenge where I challenged myself to declutter at least one item a day and to post it on my Instagram account. Shortly afterwards I set up this blog to write about it. I didn’t get around to blogging as much as I would have liked. But I did stick to my challenge and decluttered something each day for a year and posted it each day on my Instagram account with the exception of (I think 🤔) maybe one day.

It was such an interesting documentary. I had never really heard about Minimalism and it gave such great insight into different types of people in different situations all applying their own minimalist principals to fit their life. Because there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to Minimalism.

The documentary is centred around two young guys, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, aka ‘The Minimalists’, as they crossed America doing talks and meeting people promoting their first book on Minimalism. But the documentary also looked at other Minimalists such as Leo Babauta, Joshua Becker and Courtney Carver amongst others. Everyone they interviewed were adopting minimalism but in extremely different ways. But the resounding theme was that minimalism is not about how many things you own or the size of house you live in. It is about not placing importance on all the things/stuff/items in our lives but rather placing importance on the people in our lives instead. It’s about focusing our attention away from things and on what really matters. As the Minimalists say:

‘Love People. Use Things. Because opposite never works.’

The two year anniversary of @rachelwithless is coming up. I can hardly believe it really. I am experiencing all the benefits to a clutter free home. I still have some decluttering to do but my mountain of clutter is now a molehill of clutter! Updates to follow in the next few weeks on how much stuff I have actually gotten rid of in the past two years. The mind boggles!

I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Instagram decluttering/minimalism community. Thank you to everyone for supporting me over the past two years. All the encouragement, both on and off Instagram, has really helped keep me going.

#rachelwithless #lessismore #minimise #simplifyyourlife #simplify #minsgame #minimalism #declutteringchallenge #decluttering #declutteringtime #declutteringmylife #declutteringcontinues #declutter #sparkjoy #letitgo #clutterfree #livingsimply #minimalism #minimalist #minimalisthome #minimalistlifestyle #clutterfreeliving #simplifylife #organise #thegentleartofswedishdeathcleaning #sustainableliving #sustainable #reuse #reduce #recycle #reducereuserecycle #2020in2020declutterchallenge #2020in2020declutteringchallenge

Finishing what you start

On 16th February 2018, I watched The Minimalist’s documentary on Netflix ‘Minimalism – A Documentary About The Important Things‘. That evening, I resolved to declutter once and for all. I set up an account on Instagram @rachelwithless where I would post a picture of what I decluttered every day for a year. A bit each day for a year, that should do it I figured.

So each day for a year I posted a photo on Instagram of what I was decluttering. I thought that if I got rid of at least one thing each day then that would be enough. I soon got momentum and it was usually multiple things per day. I was accountable to my followers. That feeling of obligation kept me going along with all the fantastic support and encouragement from others on Instagram decluttering like me. At one point I thought that I wouldn’t have enough stuff to declutter each day for an entire year, but I did. I had more than enough. I had too much. And nearly two years later, I still haven’t gotten through everything. So why haven’t I finished what I started?

Part of this reason is that I took my foot off the pedal once the year was up. I didn’t need to declutter each day. I wasn’t accountable to my followers any more as I had completed my year long daily decluttering challenge. I didn’t have to post anymore. A few more mins games kept me going alright but there was no urgency to finish. Things were fine. The house was in much better shape, we had less stuff, things were organised, the house was easier to keep clean and I wasn’t feeling as overwhelmed.

But I haven’t got through the sentimental category of stuff. I haven’t finished. Old toys, clothes, books, photos, papers and diaries from when I was younger. The hardest category to face and the most time consuming in my mind. It is stuffed in boxes in a few cupboards, out of sight but not out of mind.

So yes Will Scarlett, I am going to finish what I started. As Magnus Magnusson would have said:

‘I’ve started, so I’ll finish.’

To help me do this, I’m going to start another decluttering challenge of decluttering 2020 items in 2020. I’ve seen a few others I saw on Instagram who have already started it including @NourishingMinimalism @Vickie_Declutters @Minimalistmouse_pipamini and @Debtissopasse

So I’m going to join in with them. I think it’s a realistic and achievable target and we can encourage each other along the way. It will help to keep me focused, keep me accountable and help me finish what I started.

#rachelwithless #lessismore #minimise #simplifyyourlife #simplify #minsgame #minimalism #declutteringchallenge #decluttering #declutteringtime #declutteringmylife #declutteringcontinues #declutter #sparkjoy #letitgo #clutterfree #livingsimply #minimalism #minimalist #minimalisthome #minimalistlifestyle #clutterfreeliving #simplifylife #organise #thegentleartofswedishdeathcleaning #sustainableliving #sustainable #reuse #reduce #recycle #reducereuserecycle #goanddo #juststart #makeastart #2020in2020declutterchallenge #2020in2020declutteringchallenge #finishwhatyoustart

Rest and Catch Your Breath

The past week I’ve been listening to the ‘Your Top Songs 2019’ that Spotify kindly made me. Thank you Spotify. One of these is the song ‘Have It All’ by Jason Mraz. A lovely song where one of the lines is:

‘May you get to rest, may you catch your breath’

So far January has been about that for me, catching my breath. New Year Resolutions? I haven’t made any. The Christmas period was a lovely time for us but it was busy. With three kids off for two weeks and a build up to Christmas which started in early December, there was a lot going on. By New Years Eve, I was asleep by 10pm. I was shattered. The kids were not back to school until 6th January. This week it was about taking my time getting the house back into some form of reasonable shape and focus on getting the kids back into a good routine.

The kids went back to school on Monday and I started to put the house back together. Trips to the recycling centre, loads of washing done, bags sorted and decluttered and Christmas decorations put away. What I didn’t get done? I didn’t get around to sorting through my Christmas Cards or writing up my 2020 diary or I the million other things that I would have liked to get done to make the house and my life perfect. But that’s ok. There’s always next week. Or the week after. I’ve learned not to put unrealistic demands on myself (or others) and remember to slow down. Rest and catch your breath.

In the past, I would have always made numerous resolutions on New Years Eve, only to give up come the third week of January and beat myself up about it for a while after. But I resolved to start @rachelwithless and do a major clear out of my stuff on 16th February 2018. There was nothing special about that date whatsoever except it was the day that I was really ready to make a start and follow through. So resolutions can be made whenever you are ready to make them. It doesn’t have to be the first day of the year, or month, or week. So my 2020 New Years Resolutions can wait for the moment while I rest and catch my breath. In the mean time, I’m going to continue with my post Christmas tidy up at my own pace and in my own time, whilst listening to Spotify. 😃

Happy New Year everyone.

#christmasclearup #postchristmastidyup #postchristmasdecluttering #rachelwithless #lessismore #minimise #simplifyyourlife #simplify #minsgame #minimalism #declutteringchallenge #decluttering #declutteringtime #declutteringmylife #declutteringcontinues #declutter #sparkjoy #letitgo #clutterfree #livingsimply #minimalism #minimalist #minimalisthome #minimalistlifestyle #clutterfreeliving #simplifylife #organise #thegentleartofswedishdeathcleaning #sustainableliving #sustainable #reuse #reduce #recycle #reducereuserecycle