The declutter house tour, part 1

June 19th, 2018

The past couple of years, I’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to decluttering our house. Even so, I always feel like I could do more, and lately, I’ve really felt overwhelmed by the amount of things we still owned. I don’t want to have this much stuff.

So, I stuck a task on my digital to-do list labeled, “declutter house tour“, and made a subtask of every room and closet in our house. I want to do a full sweep and pare down the things we own. It’s going to take some time, so I’ll show my progress as I go!

The Rooms

Master bedroom – main closet
My husband and I have actually gone through this closet before and picked out a bunch of clothing to donate/recycle. We went through it again and found even more to give away – lots of clothing that haven’t been worn in a long time. Plus, I found that I kept a broken hairdryer (why did I do that??) and had unopened toothbrushes from my dentist visits.


Office / treadmill room
The front of our house has a room that I think is meant to be an office. However, our house has a large game room upstairs, so… we never really needed this room. Instead, we put the treadmill in here and also use it as storage. It’s apparently where we’ve been stuffing gifts that we didn’t want or like, old electronics, and a bunch of packaging that we kept for some reason.

Family room
This is the main room downstairs and where we entertain guests! Most of the work here wasn’t really decluttering but rather just a general clean-up, like putting things away and dusting. I didn’t find anything to donate, but there were a lot of boxes and packaging to recycle.

Pantry
I’m pretty ashamed of this one due to the amount of food waste. I found so many things that expired, some of which were barely used. I tried to empty some of them to recycle the packaging, but a lot had to go into the trash.

Entryway
The only thing I had to do here was look at the shoes here and get rid of ones that haven’t been worn in a while. I also looked over the shoes I had in the garage and closets.

Dining Room
Except I use it for my photography backdrops, and we also store kitchen items here. I found a lot of kitchen items that were gifted to us that we never used – most of which were very specific-use specialty items that were very unnecessary. Some were old items that we replaced but never actually got rid of.

Lessons Learned

  • We need to keep pruning the things we own on a regular basis. If we haven’t used or worn anything in a while, it should be donated or recycled instead of sitting around. We should also keep an eye on the expiration dates of food items.
  • We need to deal with packaging earlier. If we’re not returning the item, we should recycle the packaging immediately. If we’re not sure, we should keep the packaging in a visible spot, so we remember to recycle it after the return period.
  • Old electronics should be dealt with earlier. Booting up an old laptop many years later is not fun.
  • A lot of items we donated were originally gifts. I know this is going to sound mean, but we should be better about saying “no thanks” to gifts or donating/returning them sooner. The past few years, I’ve asked our family to stop gifting us certain things, and I should keep adding to that “do not gift us” list. Though it may seem impersonal, money or gift cards are much better if they really wanted to get us something.
  • Specific-use specialty items are often not useful, and yet, my in-laws keep gifting them to us. For example, they’ll see that my husband grills a lot, and then get us a bunch of grilling supplies, even though we only need a few things to grill (which we own already). Why give us something special to grill a whole fish when you can do it without it, and also… we’ve never ever grilled a whole fish.
  • Similarly, magazine subscriptions are not good gifts unless you know the person really wants it. Even though I bake, I had no interest in having a subscription to a cake magazine and then had to deal with receiving it for months.

Where do these go?

I really tried my best to keep a lot of things out of the trash, so I researched what my options were for recycling and donating.

Recycling:

  • Normal cardboard, glass, and plastic items went into our curbside recycling bin.
  • There were many items not accepted by curbside recycling like plastic bags/film, styrofoam, and electronics. We took those to our city’s Recycle & Reuse Center. (I didn’t even know recycling styrofoam was a thing until I looked it up!)
  • We couldn’t donate all clothes and shoes, like underwear or ones that were too worn down. We bagged those up to be picked up by Simple Recycling. Though they are for-profit, they donate, sell, or recycle the clothing to keep them out of landfills. Plus, they partnered with our city, so they come by on the same days as curbside recycling!

Donations:

  • Shoes were donated to Soles4Souls, which distributes them and also helps create jobs. I was able to send them for free using a shipping label from Zappos For Good.
  • Books and blu-ray/DVDs were donated to Recycled Reads, which is run by our city’s public library. All donations benefit the library, and anything they can’t use or sell, they will properly recycle.
  • Unopened toothbrushes were donated to Global Dental Relief, which brings free dental care to children around the world.
  • Everything else went to Goodwill.

Slowly but surely, I’m feeling better about our house as I keep decluttering. Even some rooms I’ve already been through, I feel like I could take another pass at. However, my priority is to go through each room at least once, so I still have some work to do!

9 Responses to “The declutter house tour, part 1”

  • Jane says:

    Ah! Decluttering brings up really weird things. I found a broken hair straightener I’d kept for 5+ years—because, in the back of my mind, I was like, “Well, it might start working again!” I don’t know. My thought process is one people don’t really question anymore.

    Yes!! I’ve told my family to get me money/gift cards instead, because they’re more useful and I can do more with them. On my mom’s side, it’s a “problem” because if my siblings are around, giving them money’s no option for some reason. I don’t know. But I’ve also been, like, taken to the store and told to “pick out whatever”, and that is also nice because it allows me to pick out things I actually need/use. I also like when it’s much more direct because…have you ever been told to pick out something you think someone else will like, only to get it later? It’s like…what even is the point when we’re not at all alike?! I feel like people should actually listen about this, though, because if they keep on gifting like this, they’re just wasting their money (which I feel bad about, but if they don’t listen…).

    Thanks for detailing where everything went! I never even thought about looking for places to donate shoes, and donating books to Half Price Books is…like, they buy them for cheap which is good if you need the money, but then they throw away in the trash dumpster (which they allow people who call ahead and ask to dumpster dive in on those days, and it leads to good books after Black Friday that are popular for the year, if you’re curious!) instead of recycling them.

  • Rezina says:

    Wow! I always feel a little better after I declutter and I feel kind of refreshed just looking at your pictures, haha. I think it’s a good idea to go through your things once in a while, to see what you don’t really need–something I struggle with is deciding if I need something or if I just want it >.>

    I also had that same problem with packaging! Especially technology-related packaging. For some reason I always feel hesitant throwing away packaging for really expensive items but then end up not needing it, so it just takes up unwanted room.

    It’s also very cool that you donated whatever items you could! I’m also surprised by the fact that someone gifted you a magazine subscription lol. I didn’t even know people did that??

  • Nancy says:

    Love that you’re beind mindful about the type of things you’re tossing out and donating! It’s always good to donate unneeded clothes to those in need :). Oh man, I know I’d keep unopened toothbrushes from the dentist too. They seem to give the cheap ones out so I rather not use them. Oh man, you guys kept some door locks right there! It’s great that you had so much to donate! It’s important to clear things out on a regular basis or else a big overhaul happens @___@. OMG! Magazine subscriptions can be bad if the person doesn’t read the magazine (also can be a waste of paper).

    Glad you’re finding some LL’s from this experience! Thanks for sharing the decluttering experience! OK, you make me look forward to being a homeowner XD XD

  • Amy says:

    Congrats on getting rid of so much stuff! That must have felt really great, especially being able to donate so much. I’m sure it’ll help a lot of people!

    I need to declutter more often. Stuff piles up so quickly, and we only have a small house, so decluttering really makes a difference. I often avoid it though because it takes up so much time.

    My kitchen cupboards are always full of stuff too. I declutter them a couple of times of year and always end up throwing so much stuff away because it’s expired. I really hate doing it, but it just happens. I definitely need to get better at only buying what I need.

    I think gifts are difficult. This year we got bought some really niche kitchen products for our engagement, but I’d feel too bad giving them away. I doubt we’ll use them though.

    Congrats again on managing to declutter so many rooms!

  • Pim Popra says:

    Your video game site
    http://graphics.twilight-realm.com/graphics/layouts/
    the download links are broken isn’t there any way I can download the pink layout
    I didn’t know where else to contact you and your direction email doesn’t work

  • Kassy says:

    It’s awesome that you were able to do so much! Going through each room and creating the piles would certainly help to not make it seem like a major job. I also think it’s amazing the rarities you find in the back of the pantry! I really like the fact you made a big effort to recycle and donate items!

    Good luck with finishing it all! :D

  • Pauline says:

    This post has inspired me to have a look at my stuff again and get rid of anything I don’t need – although with that said, I just moved and have only brought the essentials, I think its important to have a declutter of everything I own regardless of where I am. (Home or new home!)

    I love how you either recycle or donate instead of just binning them! :-)

  • Mija says:

    Gah, we have been in our house for 4 years. We thought about downgrading to a smaller house to prevent keeping soo many items. I need to declutter like crazy. My craft area is a mess. We have 1 master bedroom, 1 guest room, our baby’s room and a junk room ><; That junk room needs to be demolished and start anew!

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