How to get rid of 800 things

Counting Clutter

Counting my clutter started in the garden. If I want to reduce my belongings by 25%, how can I make sure I am on track? By building pile upon pile of 10 gardening items all over the lawn, that’s how..

When we moved, our house stuff took up about two-thirds of the removals truck, and the rest was all my gardening stuff. My husband is not too worried about the garden – he’d be happy if it was neat and the grass mowed. I, however, am inconsistent in my enthusiasm and so not very successful. I’ll spend a whole day out there repainting pots, planting seeds, trying to propagate stuff, then not do very much for a few weeks. As a result we have the odd pot of dead plants in amongst the live ones, and vegetables that have really been planted too late in the season to give us much of a harvest. And we have STUFF, loads of tools, and random gardening bits and pieces that I have crammed into my potting shed.

For about 2 months after we moved in, this was all in the garage in boxes, getting in the way. And so one Sunday afternoon I tackled it. By building piles of 10 things. For every 3 piles of things I was going to keep, I built a pile I was going to throw, to be extra sure I really was clearing out at least 25% of my stuff.

And so it has continued. When I clear out a drawer I count how much I am keeping and how much I am throwing/ebaying/gumtreeing/taking to the charity shop.

  • Before we moved, I think we got rid of roughly 200 things, and several huge boxes of articles / magazines I’d kept for about 10 years..
  • Since we moved and I started taking notes, we have sold a load of items on eBay and gumtree, and made about £120.
  • Of the boxes, drawers, cupboards I’ve gone through so far, I have got rid of 632 things, and kept 2004 – which is a get rid rate of 30%!!!

I feel I ought to make sure I say that I know minimalism isn’t about counting your things, but I’m trying to quantify my progress. If you’d have told me a few months that I could get rid of over 800 items from my home without really noticing any impact, I would have thought you were barmy.

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