If you are looking for a comprehensive yet entertaining book about clutter, you must check out the classic book Lose 200 Lbs. This Weekend by Don Aslett, originally published in 2000. Equally enlightening are his books Clutter Free: Finally and Forever and Clutter’s Last Stand. I suppose you could say they are rather “old school” and “low tech” but each of these has been a best-seller with tremendous reader response. You will find yourself laughing out loud at the hilarious and perceptive approach he offers, as well as the success he guarantees. He doesn’t leave much room for the typical excuses we usually offer. Instead, he makes a deliberate attack on the ailments of “too much” and “too busy” and clearly shows how decluttering will bring physical and emotional benefits to your life. In fact, after reading his book, he guarantees that “you will hate stuff more than ever!”
Fast forward to a more recent publication The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life by Lorie Marrero, Certified Professional Organizer and Creator of www.ClutterDiet.com. Her comprehensive book and innovative online program provides a personalized system of action plans and multimedia tutorials to help you learn organizing concepts and methods at your own pace.
BUT THE GOAL OF BOTH IS TO INSPIRE YOU TO LOSE POUNDS OF CLUTTER!
I have done the same with my “Take-Out Ten” system of eliminating clutter. I often encourage audience members and clients to select just 10 items each week to share/donate/or trash. And I use that same strategy myself. It might not seem like that small amount would really make much difference. However, the list below will prove otherwise, as I share with you what has left my house since I started Organized by Olive in January 2015.
1 doily/ 3 sweaters/ 4 tops/ 1 pr. pants/ 1 “teacher” jacket/ 1 set of sheets/ 2 stuffed animals/ 3 sets of lights/1 ceramic tree/ 1 large towel/ 1 small crock pot/ 3 pair of shoes/ 1 coat/ 1 jacket/ 7 tops/ I crate/ 1 plate/1 pair of socks/ 2 old garden hoses/ 10 books/ 3 lamps/ 1 lampshade/ 8 vases/ 2 large serving plates/10 plastic containers/ 50 old magazines/ 100 coin envelopes/ 2 candles/ 1 toilet seat/ 1 large picture frame/1 plunger/ 6 magazines/3 DVDs/2 books/ 32 plastic cups/ 38 paper cups/ 2 staplers/ 6 CDs/ old pictures/old cards/ 1 paper puncher/ 10 books/ 2 binders/ 2 sets of sheets/ 1 large suitcase/ 2 glass serving trays/1 picnic basket/ 1 large wall mirror/ 10 magazines/ 5 sweaters/ 20 table scarves/ 4 pillow cases/ 1 overnight suitcase/ 1 wooden basket/ 11 drawer baskets/ 2 hats/ 8 cassette tapes/1 magnifying glass/ 2 CDs/ 20 greeting cards/1 pair khaki pants/ 1 table top ironing boards/ 4 kitchen utensils/12 candy molds/ 2 cake pans/ 1 cooling rack/ 5 plastic cups/ 3 coffee mugs/ 1 decorative tin/2 ceramic plates/ 1 Avon decanter/ 5 wooden hangers/ 2 Longaberger baskets/ 2 cooling racks/ 32 books/ 12 hangers/ 1 tea cup & saucer/ 9 picture frames/ 1 large floor lamp/ 3 wooden stools/ 12 magazines/ 2 puzzle books/ 2 old maps/ 15 books/ 1 garden hose holder/ 4 plastic lawn chairs/ 6 flower pots/1 wooden table with 2 chairs/ 1 bucket of car wash supplies/ 2 citronella bucket candles/2 VHS tapes/1 large folding table/ 2 lawn chairs/ 2 DVDs/ 4 plastic cups/ 1 game/ too many VHS tapes/ too many cassette tapes/ 1 flag pole/ 1 globe/ 1 folding chair/ 1 set of dishes from 1985/ 2 recliners/ 1 vintage magazine rack/2 large jars/ 2 mugs/ 1 blanket/ 1 crock pot/ 2 cupcake pans/ 1 water bottle/ 1 casserole dish/ 4 old boxes/1 card holder/ 3 pair of jeans/ 2 blouses/ 1 top/ 1 ceramic jug/ 6 large glasses/ 1 holiday mug/ 6 foil pans/ 1 frame/ 5 nightgowns/ 2 aprons/ 2 scarves/ 1 pair of slippers/ 2 T-shirts/ 1 book/ 3 tote bags/ 1 sweatshirt/ 3 relish dishes/ 2 candy dishes/ 1 magazine/ 3 table decorations/ 1 basket/ 1 Precious Moments figurine/ 2 frames/ 1 coffee mill/ 1 set of steak knives/ 2 glass bowls/ 1 game/ 4 flower pots/ 1 ceramic pot/ 3 yard lights/ 4 tops/ 1 pair of shorts/ old fabric/ 1 unused eye shadow/ 1 cookie jar/ 4 vases/ 1 pitcher/ 10 note cards/ 1 pair of pajamas/ 4 books/1 shirt/ 1 wall plaque/ 2 punch bowls/ 6 glass plates/ 5 glass bowls/ 10 candle holders/ 12 plastic bowls/12 aluminum foil pans/ 1 terrarium/ 2 sets of curtains/ 1 sweatshirt/ 3 T-shirts/ 2 trophies/ 8 award plaques/ 6 stuffed animals/ 4 posters/ 1 music box/ 1 music song bong/ 1 ceramic turtle/ 2 scrapbook albums/ lots of rocks/ 1 Girl Scout vest & hat/ 8 sports hats/ 1 power strip/ 5 stuffed animals/ 1 electric throw blanket/ 3 sets of holiday lights/ 1 tote bag/ 1 glass bowl/ 1 bowl & plate set/ 5 CD-Rs/ 2 pair of old eye glasses/4 frames/6 winter hats/ 1 fan/ 1 tablecloth/ 1 sweatshirt/ 4 sweaters/ 1 pair of curtains/ 12 CDs/ 2 hats/ 3 wallets/4 purses/ 2 T-shirts/ 2 journals/ 1 pair of boots/ 1 pajama pants/ 1 bra/ 1 pair of dress pants/ 2 skirts/ 3 tops/ 4 bottles of perfume/ 3 flashlights/ 3 CDs/ 2 audio cassette books/ 2 scarves/ 3 T-shirts/ 1 jacket/ 1 sweater/ 10 magazines/ 1 pair of jeans/ 7 cassette tapes/ 1 clock radio/ 2 books/ 6 table scarves/ 3 linen calendars/ 1 tin/ 1 pair of sunglasses & case/ 1 coin saver booklet/ 10 greeting cards/ 4 picture frames/ 1 bra/ 20 punch cups/ 2 tote bags/ 4 pair of jeans/ 3 hand lotions/ 2 journals/ 2 books/ 10 stuffed animals/ 5 baby sleepers/ 20 baby dresses/ 3 baby dress & blanket sets/ 2 pair of shoes/ 5 pair of baby booties/ 5 large towels/ 1 pair of jeans/ 1 pair of pajamas/ 2 blouses/ 1 large broom/ 1 snow shovel/ 2 cake pans/ 1 pair of ice skates/ 1 chess set/ 5 stuffed animals/ 3 games/ 4 plastic storage bins/ 4 puzzles/ 20 cookie cutters/ 4 bath towels/ 4 hand towels/ 4 wash clothes/ 12 punch cups/ 2 small heaters/ 7 panels of curtains/ 7 blouses/7 tops/5 glasses/1 water bottle/2 coffee mugs/ 12 more punch cups/ 1 blouse/ 1 sweater/ 2 skirts/ 2 games/ too much fabric/ random craft supplies/ holiday sewing panels/ 10 board books/ 9 books/ 5 magazines/1 large cooler/ 1 skillet/ 4 wooden shelves/ 1 area rug/ 1 door mat/ 2 table lamps/ 1 small table fan/ 1 sewing machine/ 1 library cabinet/4 unfinished smocked baby dresses that were about 30 years old!!
At one time, I used every one of these items. They served a specific and useful purpose. Now I am in a different season of life and simply do not need these items. Someone else needs them more than I do!
As you can see, there are very few big or expensive items, but everything takes up space and uses up energy. The items left my home a little at a time, but the cumulative effect is amazing! I love having extra space, empty shelves, and roomy drawers. And no unfinished craft projects!
The friendly folks at my local Restore actually came right to my house to pick up the huge library card catalog cabinet. That was really a sentimental favorite, but it simply was too big for me to use in any part of my home. I liked knowing that it was the same one I had used in my school years, but it was completely impractical for use in my home. I’m glad it benefited a worthy charity!
As for those unfinished smocked dresses which I had carefully packed and preserved through at least 13 moves…well, I decided it was time to face the facts! I didn’t finish them for either of my daughters or for my granddaughter, so it was highly unlikely I would ever touch them again. Hopefully someone else will consider them a delightful vintage treasure!
What items are making up your extra pounds of clutter? What items are easy for you to give up? What items are hard for you to give up? Please leave your comments below!