Sunday, July 20, 2008


So I just completed the first step of the decluttering process:

-Trash bags filled: 9

-Bags filled for distribution to Salvation Army: 1.5

-Simplicity attained: priceless

I wanted to share a couple of thoughts:

*Getting rid of books has been, by far, the hardest part of this process. I had a box and a half of books when I started. I was able to give away a good chunk and had to recycle a bunch more. I now have less than a full box which I will be taking to my folks for storage. The books I chose to keep are just way too important to me. They have sustained me during hard times. They have fed my curiosity. They have spoken of love, intellect, history, and art. They have made me who I am today. I just CAN’T get rid of more.

*Going through my place in such a methodical way made me realize that, besides all the furniture left to dispose of, I actually don’t/didn’t have a ton of stuff to begin with. Given the size of this place, I’m actually surprised I didn’t have to throw out a lot more things.

*At this point, I think I can pack and leave my place with all my “essential stuff” within an hour. How awesome is that?! :)

*And for the Excel nuts out there, here is the initial draft of the spreadsheet I put together:

Ok, now I will move to the second step of the decluttering process: sell, sell, sell! I just love Craigslist!!


Elizabeth Halt said...

impressive! congrats on completing the first step.

both books in your photo = excellent. Books are one thing that I do not mind accumulating, because they are very important to me; however, I am better now about only keeping books that I love.

I was looking at your spreadsheet. Art is the other thing I would have a hard time giving up. Each piece means a great deal to me; it was either purchased on a vacation, or was done by someone I know, or is something of mine. I don't know if I could do it. Good thing it is not part of my plan currently. :-)

Sharon J said...

Blimey. I got rid of more stuff just from the kitchen. You must've been pretty organised to start with.


Anonymous said...

Good for you! Books are difficult. I just remind myself, "There's always the library. There's always the library..."

Squeeky Buddha said...

Congrats!! Simplifying always seems like it will be harder than it turns out to be once you get started. Once we started we found that we wanted to keep going and get rid of more and more.

Feels great doesn't it?


Jack said...

Elizabeth, Amy,

Ditto! Books are/(were, before the law thing) one of my passions. The thing I struggled with was the need to feel very mobile and keeping things that had special meaning to me. Storage was the compromise. Somehow, they will still belong to me, even if they are scattered to the four winds somewhere out in the universe.

As for art, I do agree with you, but what I will probably do is give this stuff away to friends. So i will always know where it is.


Yeah, kinda surprised me. Maybe I haven't been as offensive in the 'material' department as I imagines myself to be. Aside from the furniture, maybe the heavyness I've been feeling about my 'stuff' has been more mental than physical.


Definitely feels great. I feel lighter somehow. Imagine how I will feel when I get to getting rid of the furniture. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow great spreadsheet!

-I need to do one of these with slightly different headings as I'm taking some furniture abroad with me, other stuff will be sold or she goes to her excel programme :)

Nicola said...

good for you! i will have to come back to check out your spreadsheet.
and ditto here for books. guilty, but i blame my librarian mom. and i think books may need to be exempt, but maybe that is because i have boxes and boxes of them. and...if some of that trash isn't really trash but is not fit for selling, try giving it away on and sparing a bit of landfill space. :)

Me said...

Yay!! It feels good to get rid of all that stuff.... I think we are about matched on this little journey here :-) I'll have to update my basement pictures soon...

As everyone before, I have the same problem with books too... Even books that I read and didn't like! I need to make a donation trip to the library i think...

Jack said...

move to portugal,

How expensive will it be to take stuff with you? I've been thinking about just storing most of the furniture until I figure out where I will end up...


Absolutely. Tried to give away as much as I could and recycled the rest. I already put stuff on freecycle and will likely put up more stuff as I get to the furniture and other things.


Yeah, some of those early basement pics almost gave me a heart attack! It must really make you feel great to get all of that organized.


Anonymous said...

hi jack
When we move we plan to ship only our solid wood furniture and pictures.
-The shipping cost should be less than new furniture and I prefer to keep it anyway
-We will need new beds and sofas, ours are on their last legs now but I'm making do until the big move :)

Anonymous said...

I agree - books are the hardest part. I've tried very, very hard to get rid of my books, but I just can't - they are now packed down in our barn somewhere. We even end up carrying a ton of books with us on our bikes!! We read a good book, a nd then carry it with us for a while before we find the courage to ditch it. But you'll get there - you're doing great!


docroh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack said...

Thanks Nancy!

BTW, I love reading your blog. I'm a big biker myself, but I just can't handle the big hills like you guys can.

Take care


Anonymous said...

Good luck with your endeavor! We run a family farm that was thrust upon us on the spur of the moment. We lived way too high on the hog before we took over the farm and now money is TIGHT! We have decided to pare down to the bare necessities and I find your blog and others like it very inspiring! Take care!

Kristina in Nebraska

Anonymous said...

Hey! I found your blog when reading "Et tu?" comments. I'll definitely be checking in to see how you're doing with your goals. Personally, I constantly struggle with my love of material things and my desire to simplify. Have you ever read "The Freedom of Simplicity" by Richard J. Foster. He's a wonderful Quaker writer.

Anonymous said...

I'm slowly doing cluttering. I'm kind of doing things the opposite way to you though...I have NO money at all, I'm on the breadline and the frustration is that I seem to need so much of the bad stuff (money) in order to attain my goal..of living a much more simple life ..hopefully on the road, with my kids. Good luck ;)

Anonymous said...

books is my downfall too, I'm down to about 40 now...from 400. I dont want to think about it LOL. Its amazing though that once you get your mind realise just how little you do actually need. For me the fact that I owned so much stuff I now realise was a large factor on my stress levels. Crazy!

Jack said...


Interesting. How was the farm thrust upon you guys?


No, had not heard of him, but will check him out. It's amazing how many books I now have on my reading list since I started this process. I think there is so much wisdom out there; only a matter of having the time to actually take advantage of it.


I know the feeling on the books thing. I'm having enough trouble simplifying from a position of privilege. I can only imagine how hard it is to be 'free' enough not to care enough about money when you aren't even in the position to be free in the first place. Stay in touch. I want to see where your journey takes you.

Anonymous said...

Have you hear of This might be your solution.