Minimalism – December wrap up

Like usual, I overestimated how much I could complete with the kids at home for two weeks of winter break. However, due to lots and lots of therapy, I can actually be happy with the tasks that I did accomplish rather than stress about what I was unable to finish.



This section of my closet doesn’t actually look much better than it did at the beginning of December. But I know how many fewer items there are now versus how much was piled there. It used to be a huge pile of papers, papers that have mostly been dealt with. Now there are several large items that I’ll be dealing with at some other point.



That huge box was all library books. I somehow managed to let my borrowing get way out of control. I hauled all of it back to the library and am concentrating on only borrowing what I can read in a week or two (which happens to also fit on my bookshelf instead of getting stacked on the closet floor). It took four bags to haul everything back to the library.



I am most proud of my work on these shelves. I got rid of a lot (including some items that were hard to let go of) and can now easily find anything I’m looking for.



Changing light bulbs should be a really simple task. Surprisingly, it took me three weeks to accomplish. I had to visit three stores before I finally found the size I was looking for. I thought for sure Target would have carried them but I ended up having to buy light bulbs from Home Depot. The nice thing about this shopping trip is that it required a math lesson with my daughter.

In a very shocked voice, “Mama, how many boxes are you buying?”
“Well, how many bulbs do we need? How many come in a box? So how many boxes do we need? Great job with your practical math application!”

And it looks so much better in my bathroom now.



I’m not sure these photos look much different, but I was able to thin out a lot of my clothes. Some didn’t fit me. Some were ratty. And some I didn’t like and never wore. I felt bad getting rid of a couple items, as they were things my husband bought me as gifts, but we both knew I would never wear them. I posted earlier in the month about how we were able to return a couple of items to the store for refund or store credit.

I did a few other things that can’t be documented in photographs.

  • Tried to contact (unsuccessfully) several people to return items I had borrowed
  • Mailed a very overdue package to my mother
  • Released a ton of emotional clutter by releasing physical clutter
  • Wrapped a bunch of Christmas gifts that piled up in our closet throughout the month
  • My project is not complete but I’m happy with the progress I made. That makes the effort worthwhile.

    Items decluttered throughout the month of December – 59

    Minimalism – Day 20

    My decluttering efforts have slowed way, way down. I’m still moving stuff out of the house but at a much slower rate.

    Instead, this week I’ve been focused on finishing preparations for Christmas. I waited until the very last minute to find Chinese books for my eldest and they may not arrive in time for Christmas. I misunderstood a quality rating on Amazon and the two that already arrived are not good enough quality to give as a Christmas gift. So I ordered two more new books from a Chinese website, only to find that one of them is out of stock and they needed me to choose another. As that replacement order was finalized yesterday, the books may or may not arrive on time.

    My closet, the main focus of this month’s challenge, has been the storage unit for all things Christmas. Our Christmas tree, all of the presents, the wrapping paper… all was stored in my closet. When we take down the Christmas tree, I’ll be putting it outside in the storage closet rather than in my personal closet. And the Christmas presents are almost wrapped so I’m starting to see my closet floor again!

    I did give away one item on my BuyNothing group this week and have tentative pick ups for two more items tomorrow. My clothes are almost narrowed down to those that I actually wear plus a couple of pieces that I love and want to wear once I can get back to my goal weight. It’s been enlightening to let go of some of the items that I never wore, realizing that I actually felt guilt for them sitting in my closet unworn. Now that they are gone, I feel freer.

    And it’s now quite obvious what clothing color scheme I prefer! What’s left in my closet is all dark greens, purples, and pinks. I love dark red and think it’s a great color for me but it’s a color I’ve never been brave enough to buy. Hopefully that will change as I find some money in our budget to buy a couple of new clothing pieces.

    Going forward, my goal is to think twice before buying anything. On the Facebook minimalism group, someone suggested adding an item to your Amazon cart and then waiting 30 days. After the 30 days, go back and evaluate. Do I actually love this item? Will I actually use it? If so, and if I can afford the purchase, say yes. If I’m just caught up in the emotions of shopping, resist temptation. My closet and my wallet will thank me.

    Items decluttered (to-date) – 42

    Minimalism – Day 14

    I told my husband today that I’m slightly… odd. I’ve been spending my alone time lately taking a bath while reading a book or playing Pokemon Shuffle. That’s semi-normal, right? But I got derailed from my Christmas movies, which is what I usually watch once I’m in my pajamas and curled up in bed. Instead, I’ve been watching a YouTube blogger share her progress from hoarder to minimalist. And that’s fun for me! It’s motivating in my own challenge and fun to watch someone else make progress in their attempts to create a more peaceful home.

    Today I tackled a drawer in our bathroom. The drawer was a mess! Expired sunscreen, random hair bands, jewelry I never wear, and loose hair. Yuck! I dumped everything out of the drawer, scrubbed it down, and only put back what I want to keep. I moved a few things like lotions and face wash under the sink and tidied what was left. It’s not going to stay organized, since I don’t have any containers to keep it from sliding around every time I open the drawer. But at least there is less to rummage through while I’m looking for something.



    And my girls keep running off with my hair dryer so I bought them each one for Christmas! One blue and one pink. I think they’ll be pleased.

    Items decluttered (to-date) – 40

    Minimalism – Day 11

    I feel like my minimalism attempts have slowed down.

    • The store didn’t have the light bulbs I need.
    • I need someone’s address to return something I borrowed. They haven’t responded to several texts.
    • I’m struggling to make decisions about my clothing.

    And yet I am making a lot of progress.



    • I finally let go of the half-finished quilt.
    • My Christmas package for my mom is almost finished, which moves several items out of my closet.
    • I have given away four shirts I never wear.

    And as I maintain motivation to work on my room, I find motivation to make a few quick decisions in the rest of the house. For example, I finally threw out the ketchup packets in the fridge; we don’t buy that brand (HFCS) and will probably never use it. I’m also noticing a lot of areas that need work. I have a ton of recyclable water filters under my kitchen sink. They need returned to the manufacturer (postage paid!).

    In the meantime, I’ve watched a few YouTubers who are documenting their journey to minimalism. Very inspiring!

    Items decluttered (to-date) – 27

    Minimalism – Day 7

    Today my husband and I returned a couple items to Nordstrom. I love their customer service! I was able to return a shirt that I had bought 2.5 years ago, never wore, and still had the tags on it. Due to the length of time since purchase, they were not able to give me a refund but they did give me a gift certificate.

    I have a new personal policy – return all unwanted online orders within a week of receipt. One of the items returned was too big for me; they had since transferred that line to Nordstrom Rack and could not exchange it for me, instead offering me a refund. One of the items was too small. That one was “limited stock” but the cashier was able to find it at another Nordstrom store and ordered it to be shipped to our home. If I had been more on top of exchanges, I could have gotten the correct sizes for all returns instead of refunds.

    And it took awhile, but I finally figured out why I’m having such a hard time decluttering my clothes. If I follow all three of my guidelines…

    1 – Does it fit properly at my current weight?
    2 – Does it look good on me, a good color, a good fit, etc?
    3 – Do I like it?

    … then there won’t be much left in my closet. My very last sweater is worn and is now too small for me but I wear it because it’s my last one. I have a couple long sleeved shirts that I love. Several of my t-shirts are pretty worn and should probably be replaced soon. But my wardrobe funds are limited so I am slow in replacing things. I know I could shop somewhere other than Nordstrom’s clearance racks but I love their clothes. I grew up wearing secondhand clothes and would rather have a limited wardrobe that I love than have a bunch of clothes I just tolerate. It’s a trade-off. I’m slowly moving toward a wardrobe I love but have to replace things slowly due to funds.

    In the meantime, I can probably cull a few things I never wear but everything else has to stay. I may not love it. It may be worn out. But it’s all I have.

    Items decluttered (to-date) – 14

    Minimalism – Day 4

    I’m still working on my minimalism project. Woohoo!

    But I’m having a really hard time letting go of a few things and cannot pinpoint exactly why. My husband said it’s emotional attachment, which is why I cannot find an actual reason.

    For example…

    I started collecting jeans for this quilt years ago, I think even before I met my husband. I saw a denim quilt on HGTV and instantly fell in love.

    However, when I started working on the quilt, I made a mistake in choosing to include pockets. At first I thought it would be a really cute addition. But when I started the actual quilting, I found that it was almost impossible to quilt around the pockets or through them. Quilting through them ruined the ability to use the pockets but quilting around them looked really bad on the cat side of the quilt.

    Now, at 35 years of age, this is not really my style of quilt. But I think the sentimentality makes it impossible to get rid of it. I’ve been working on the quilt, either collecting the jeans, sewing together the jean patches, or working on the quilting itself, for over a decade. Obviously I don’t love the project. So why can’t I let it go?

    Items decluttered (to-date) – 7

    December Challenge – Day One

    Today I didn’t make any huge changes to my bedroom / bathroom / closet but I was able to get the ball rolling. First I completed some basic housecleaning chores; I washed the sheets, tidied the bedroom, and swept the floor.

    Then I dug through my supply of light bulbs, thinking I would get one of the easiest tasks out of the way. I found three different sizes of light bulbs. None of those three fit the outlets above the bathroom sink. Oops. So we’re still missing half the light bulbs in our bathroom and I now need to buy more.

    I also did a quick scan of my house, picking up any stray papers that were lying about. I only found a couple, as I’ve mostly been staying on top of what the FlyLady calls “hotspots,” places where things just pile up because they have no home. I also dug through the closet and pulled out all of the papers scattered around. Those I tucked into the big blue bin in my closet. I haven’t touched the sorting, scanning, organizing process for all of that paperwork, but at least everything is in the same place.

    Progress! I’m not sure I’m going to get anything else done today. I have to leave shortly to pick up my youngest daughter from school, run a couple of errands, pick up my oldest daughter from school, run a couple more errands, make dinner, and then we have youth group tonight at church. Whew!

    Items decluttered – 3