Nearly 7 months, I discovered The William Morris Project, hosted (nearly) every week by Jules at Pancakes & French Fries. At that time, we were starting to realize that we really needed to start getting rid of some of the clutter around the farm because we were going to start some new renovations — and about 2 months after that, decided to sell the farm and move to Berlin. Yeah, it was a wild ride for us too!

But finding the WM Project couldn’t have come at a better time; because to be honest, I’m kind of a pack rat. Perhaps it stems from the fact that I have moved around a bit over the course of my life and the things in the boxes were things I was clinging to from my childhood. But maybe I just wasn’t really ready to part with anything easier. And with us moving to a an apartment (which actually has more space than our farmhouse minus all the side buildings), it was necessary to take only what we needed and loved so we would have less and didn’t have to pay to move things we were going to get rid of anyway.

The good news is, once you start to declutter, it gets easier. You start finding yourself wanting to have less and less around you, because you feel more free and happier without all the “stuff.” But you also have to remember to not get too carried away, because it’s easy to find yourself in a situation where you know someone else could benefit more from something, or you’re only partially in love with something. And you turn around twice and your closet is empty and your cabinets bare. That is NOT the point of decluttering at all — nor is it a good way to be spending your hard earned money since you’ll have to replace many things you just trashed because you weren’t in love with them. But you have to find the midway point where you see the things which are truly useless to you and haven’t been touched in 6 months or more — and those things that you forgot you had and actually could be wearing or the things which you mostly like, are functional but that you aren’t totally in love with. Because really — those shoes that you always walk the dog in don’t have to be brand new. And sometimes, it’s just a matter of seeing items differently so they can serve a new purpose — like taking a dresser that you don’t like from your bedroom and turning into a place to store office supplies or stuff for your kids.

Now that we are mostly settled into our apartment, we’ve become a lot more intentional about our living space, the things we want to bring home (especially since we have to bring it up 3 flights of stairs) and keeping the clutter at bay. But we still have a ways to go before we are fully finished with our process (and perhaps even then, it will continue in certain ways).

Things we are still getting rid of (or recently got rid of)

  • A storage box for our IKEA closets that we never really had space for (or a purpose for) since all the other things we filled the closet with took more space than expected. It used to be under the bed with virtually nothing in it, but now it doesn’t fit under our current bed (or anywhere else). So it’s outta here!
  • Box of old magazines (like the German version of National Geographic) which we had no idea we still had
  • A couple of cable / satellite boxes since our TV has the needed equipment built into it — and since the boxes didn’t help us anyway when we tried to set it all up
  • A box of old dolls that was totally discolored and damaged beyond repair — which I’d basically been hauling around for the last 15 years
  • Box of books which are being sold online

What’s still on my decluttering list

  • A few puzzles and games that have been boxed up for the last 6 years (since we moved into the farmhouse) and before that were unpacked but still never played with.
  • The remaining boxes in the apartment. There’s probably around 20 boxes that still have to be unpacked, many with things for decorating like our photos, and some with food stuff in them that we’re still eating our way through. But some of them just have totally random and I have to work hard to find a place for the things — or just end up putting it on Freecycle or in the trash. On September 4th, I set a goal of unpacking one box per day and I stuck to it pretty well at first. But as I get to the tougher boxes which I don’t know what to do with, I’m definitely slowing down to a box every 2-3 days.
  • Our basement! I actually want to start this project tomorrow because we FINALLY have a pickup date for our moving boxes and I want as many of the boxes we rented to be gone as possible. I have no clue if they will count them or anything, but if they will come and take them downstairs, then I will be a very happy camper. Plus it’s starting to get cold now and I don’t want to be organizing that thing when it’s freezing out!

As I see all this typed out, it seems like a wildly short list — but I know that some of these projects are going to be a bit more involved than others — like attacking the basement. On the other hand, with two people working on it (and a helper playing on the side) it’s definitely the kind of thing we can get done in an afternoon rather than a week. And as with everything in life, there will certainly be some other project after the decluttering, like hanging up our photos in the apartment, figuring out what new ones to hang and frames to get and so forth. But that’s way more fun than digging through boxes! 😉

What is on your to do list these days?