In case you’re new around here, let me explain something. I truly believe the #1 thing I have to give to my kindred slob spirits is permission to keep going.
Photo-proof that “after” photos turn back into before photos, and it’s okay to tackle that same space again instead of throwing my hands up in the air and declaring there’s no point in even trying.
And honestly, I have grown to love the wonders of Re-Decluttering as an actual decluttering strategy. As a thing. A real thing that works for my Slob Brain.
Once upon a time, I believed that once-and-for-all could actually happen. That there was a totally-not-mythical time in the future where my house was going to be decluttered.
Completely. Forever. And always.
But perhaps you’ve read other posts where I decluttered my daughter’s room and celebrated the after pics and marveled at the happiness she experienced, playing on her clear floor.
And yet those boxes in the picture above are full of things we pulled out of her room last week.
Those boxes are full of things she once believed she couldn’t live without. The brown woven (bottom right) purse was a prized possession purchased with her own quarter at a garage sale. The pink-fuzzy dog carrier was totally and completely and justifiably useful the last time we considered donating it.
Most of the books that made it onto the “Like-It” shelf last time were purged with zero angst this time around. The pinwheels that were full of possibilities and way-too-cute-to-not-keep a year ago had shown themselves to be awkward, hard-to-find-a-place-for topplers. Nobody likes a toppler.
These examples demonstrate what I’ve personally found to be true over and over (and over) again through my own deslobification process. When I stress and agonize and fret over something and therefore decide I can’t possibly declutter it, the next time I come across it in a decluttering project, my decision is generally angst-free.
One of two things happens. Either I decided to keep it and I put it to use! Now, it’s OBVIOUSLY not clutter.
Or I never thought about it again, never used it, and now it obviously IS clutter. When that happens, my stomach doesn’t hurt at all and I don’t even groan a little bit. In fact, I generally get this delicious heartless feeling as I pitch it into the Donate Box. I might even laugh scornfully at Me From A Year Ago Who Was Sure My Life Would Be Ruined if I Didn’t Keep It.
(Yes. I have issues.)
Now, we’re enjoying my daughter’s clean, spacious, play-in-able, invite-a-friendable room. And since I know (from way too much experience) that each time we purge her room, it stays clean a little longer than the time before, I look forward to enjoying it for quite a while.
What is your experience with re-decluttering? Isn’t it so much easier the second time you tackle a space?
More decluttering posts:
My Two (ONLY Two!) Decluttering Questions
How to Declutter Without Making a Bigger Mess
Podcast (aslobcomesclean-comfeeddailyaudioblog): Play in new window | Download
It makes sense though. Just because we got rid of 10 things doesn’t mean 10 things didn’t come home. Even if you’re doing 1-in-1-out most of the time, stuff gets through, needs change, and well, kids grow out of phases (okay, adults grow out of phases too). Just making decluttering a routine will help keep it all manageable. Ha. JUST. YEAH RIGHT. LOL
I don’t personally operate this way as often when I keep something once, I keep it again 6 months later. But I don’t have much trouble decluttering.
Our 2nd daughter is totally different from me. She hangs onto things for emotional reasons. I LOVE reading your blog because it helps me have insight into the way she looks at the world. Her way is just as good as my way, just very different.
You just cleared up my mind on that subject! lol
Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore says
Re-decluttering is totally a thing, you are right. I sometimes find that the things I had a hard time deciding about last time are the first to go the next time I declutter a space. Great post!
Oh man! I was thinking about this yesterday afternoon when I was unpacking boxes. We just moved into an apartment that is 100 sq ft smaller and has half the cupboard space so I’ve been decluttering like a mad woman before and after the move.
Two weeks ago I found a box of stuff that I never found a place fof in the old apartment, but couldn’t bear to part with when we moved in. It was SO easy to go through it, pick out the single item I still can’t part with and turn the whole thing into donate box. Yesterday I was working on the last (!!!!!) moving box and realized it was the last because it’s basically the same box: stuff I considered pitching when I packed it, but want ready to part with.
Your post gives me hope I can look at it with fresh eyes and heart today.
Yes, I’ve read in another blog where it says that cluttering is not a weekend project is lifestyle. I changed my perspective, I just know that I have to declutter ALL THE TIME 🙂
Linda W says
When I declutter, sometimes I run across something that is a ‘maybe’ get rid of item. When I go back to the same room later, a lot of those maybe items leave the house.
It always takes three times- to really free yourself from the clutter.
the first time you keep it because you don’t want to seem crazy, just tossing out everything willy nilly.
the second time you keep it because you still like it and make some sort of justification
the third time you are truly tired of seeing, handling, storing, or cleaning the dang thing- and out it goes!
Yep! It’s totally a thing. The next time I go through a room, closet, or whatever, I always find stuff that makes me wonder why I kept it the first time (or second or third times!) 🙂
I lost my momentum and the clutter is starting to get to me. It’s definitely time to re-declutter, accept I’m a the the re-do-the-dishes stage. I want to ignore the dishes and go and declutter something, which I might just do to get the energy moving or else I just might end up doing neither. I find that some things it takes a 3rd or 4th or 5th or maybe more decluttering sessions before you’re ready to pitch it. Yeah, I’ve got issues too.
One room keeps changing purpose and re cluttering. Or maybe it’s an empty space that clutter falls into which I keep taking the top crust off.
If I can think of eating something “bad” when I’m on a diet as not doomsday then the same applies here.
Work in progress!!
You share SO MUCH of my life, that I just don’t have the guts to reveal! Bless you! I’m not the only one!!
One more reason to love your blog is your language 🙂 As a word lover I find it delicious 😀
“Nobody likes a toppler.” Made me smile just to read it. 😊😊😊
In my experience so far, yes, slowly it does get easier- like peeling the layers of an onion. My husband has hoarding disorder and we are painstakingly peeling away those layers. It will undoubtedly take years, but each bit we discard, the sense of hope grows. Yeah we get angry and frustrated but we will get there.
Susan Livingston says
I’m so angry with myself. Yesterday I had the opportunity to clean my closet and donate slightly used items for Harvey relief. Did I do it no I made a cash donation of lesser value than cleaning. Regardless at this point I hope one person can take action reading this. I’m hoping when I do get to the task it comes around to other needy people.
Unless these disaster areas actually ask for specific things, they are often overwhelmed with donations. The lovingly sent donations are more often than not, unable to be used.
When donations are sent, there also have to be many, many people at the receiving end to sort to even make sense of them and then made available.
Such as a huge warehouse to protect them from weather and rodents as well as tables, etc set up for those in need to walk through to collect what they could use.
This scenario rarely happens.
So yes, a monetary donation (however insignificant it may seem) has true value that a box of random does not.
You can search your favorite browser to the question…Is my disaster donation of clothing being used?
Lisa Ham says
Thank you for this! It’s easy to beat myself up when things get recluttered.
It helps me a lot to know that I am not ‘bad’ for having to return to an area which has previously been decluttered. I too have suffered from the mistaken notion that it was a once-and-done project. It doesn’t make sense, obviously, as new things keep entering our home. Wny wouldn’t I have to continuously revisit, re-declutter? Thank you for exposing my mythical thinking to the light of reality!
Tricia Blazy says
We are totally kindred spirits!!!
Paula Houwen says
Dana, I was sure I’d never declutter my books, let alone re-declutter them. But it’s happening. Once I had decided which books I could live without, and then lived without them, I found there were others that could go. When a call went out from a favorite group for “White Elephant” items, more left the house. When a friend expressed an interest in something I had had an interest in, she got those books. Every so often, I just get a bug to have more room in my crowded bookcases, and I find things that can go. Before I let one go, I check if it’s available as an ebook. If so, I put the title on my Wish List (with a notation so I know it’s something I used to have) and donate the book. My Wish List is 18 pages long, having not replaced the books in any way, so I know I’ve done the right thing, time after time. I never ever thought I could part with my precious books, but I did, and I continue to do so.
Kudos to you! That’s amazing and inspiring! Thank you for sharing Paula.
Mary Poggemann says
I love your stuff! You’re funny and inspiring and you keep me going when things get tough. I’ve decluttered now more than in a few weeks than I have in the last 40 years. Thank you so much for making me laugh at my stuff and laugh at myself and teaching me that it’s okay to let go.
Esther in NM says
We have de-cluttered my kids’ rooms enough times that they are learning to do it themselves! Recycles to the bin, trash in the trash, giveaways set on my bed… (because we have a couple ways we donate). I feel it’s more important they know how to Declutter than to clean. But they are learning cleaning is pretty easy once the declutter is done. They inspire me!
Thank you for showing me failure is only failure if I give up.
Sheri Teesdale says
I too usually can jettison whatever I couldn’t part with last year. What I need to work on is making those decisions better the first time! (That, and getting into decluttering mode and later realizing that I shouldn’t have tossed that irreplaceable thing….)
I’m thinking about the money I have wasted through by buying things that just became expensive clutter. Now, I don’t buy anything just because it’s cute. It is either consumable or I know exactly what I will do with it and where to put it. If somebody gifts me something useless, I smile and later get rid of it.
Kim Domingue says
As my daughter, cousin and I stood in what appeared to be the never ending line to nowhere in Hobby Lobby today having a 90% off, after Christmas sale girl’s day out, we were discussing this very thing. I know, I know…discussing decluttering as we pushed our loaded baskets inch by tedious inch to the holy grail of the checkout counter…the irony is pretty obvious. Yet, discuss it we did. I’m getting rid of all my worn out, shabby and no longer loved Christmas items as is my daughter. My cousin was shopping for gifts for the following Christmas and getting fabulous deals instead of paying full price later in the year. As to our decluttering conversation, it was illuminating how differently we go about things and yet we all manage to keep our respective homes neat-ish and clean the majority of the time. My cousin tends to declutter things that other people need or have expressed an interest in. She wants her things to go to a “good home”. My daughter tends to “rage clean/declutter” when she reaches a point of visual overload. As for me, I may have to go through the same area up to four or five times as I seem to need to emotionally distance myself from things. Yes, I have issues! On the flip side, I’m very organized and can put my hands on anything you ask for in less than three or four minutes. Organization is my super power. Cleaning is my daughter’s super power. My cousin’s is keeping a running list of dozens and dozens of peoples preferences. I’ve been decluttering for years and finally came to accept that as long as I’m drawing breath, I will continue to have to declutter. And I’m okay with that. Love this site….Dana, you’re a treasure!