Flights of Fancy Mom

I'm a mom with dreams.  I want to live my life with no boundaries.  One day at a time.

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Clearing The Clutter

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I am in the process of moving.  They say the average person moves seven times in their lives.  I’ve counted mine and I’m at nine with this upcoming move.  With each home, you collect items that fit your life at that time. With each move, you pack, move on, buy more things.  In 11 years, I moved from a house to an apartment. I then moved from one apartment to another apartment. I finally bought a home on my own and moved from an apartment to a house. I’m now moving to another apartment to resume custody arrangements of my daughter. It is time to get busy and start clearing the clutter!

After three moves since my divorce, I’m tired of packing stuff.  I have SO MUCH STUFF….  I have cried so many times because of everything I have.  So, what did I do?  Put my big girl panties on, and got my hands dirty.  Since I decided to move, I am purging.  OMG, the purge!  Since this past September, I’ve gotten rid of over 100 bags of things.  Either to trash, goodwill, thrift stores or just giving away to family and friends. This was the room I kept the items I was reselling as well as my crafts and paperwork. I won’t torture you with the before pictures!

I never considered myself a hoarder.  Boxes weren’t lined up against the wall, up to the ceiling in my main rooms. (Although, the picture above contradicts me! But, read on!)  I didn’t have paths going from one room to another. But, I had so many things!  It was beyond ridiculous. I downgraded my dishes from a 10 person setting to four. I’ve gotten rid of old towels and bedding.  I actually found boxes that I hadn’t even unpacked from my move to the house in 2009.

Some of the boxes, I didn’t even bother to open.  I just trashed them. I was afraid I’d be tempted to keep the stuff. One week alone I got rid of over 40 bags. Granted, some of the bags were only half full due to weight or fragility if donating, or, only had a few things in them because of how big the thing was.

What’s the difference this time?  I’m moving into a smaller place.  I am moving from a house with a family room, laundry room, kitchen/eating area, living room, bathroom and two bedrooms to a place with a living room, a kitchen/eating area, a bathroom, a very small bonus room and two bedrooms.  Yes, I will have access to attic space, but, that is for seasonal items.  Christmas, Easter, etc.

So, how did I do it you ask?

How long since I’ve used it? I looked at the item and if I hadn’t used it in more than three months, it was gone. Exceptions were some knickknacks that I had from my mom when she died. I may be clearing the clutter, but some things have to stay for sentimental reasons.

Do I NEED it? Good Question. Do I? Going into a smaller home, I need things that are dual functioning. Or, only things that I will need. There is no room for clutter. With limited space, I really don’t want to fall back into old habits and keep things just to keep them.

But I WANT it! Am I a Toddler?  Yes, this is the standard toddler tantrum. It’s pretty, I’ll use it at some point.  I just want stuff to make my life complete. And the best one?  I DESERVE IT AFTER EVERYTHING I’VE BEEN THROUGH!  Sure, I’ve been through a lot. But, you know what I deserve more?  Peace of mind. Stuff is not going to give me peace of mind. It’s going to clutter the mind like it clutters the home. Clearing the clutter will give that peace of mind.

clearing the clutter

Keep, don’t keep. Will I really use it? I only made two piles to start out with. If it was something I needed. Something I used daily. Something sentimental from my mom or history of my family. It went into the keep pile. Clothing I haven’t fit in in more than two years? Makeup I haven’t worn in ages. Tax papers from more than seven years ago. Yes, I had tax papers from 1997!  (NOTE: Do not just throw your tax papers away. Please make sure to shred them.) I gave myself 2 seconds to decide. If I couldn’t decide in that time frame, then it went right into the don’t keep pile.

Multiple Items. How much is too much? This is where people tend to have the real fun!  We live in a McMansion world. The more or bigger, the better.  For a house of just my daughter and I, I had 5 pans to cook with. I had 5 baking sheets, I had 6 baking dishes, sizes varying from 8×8 to 9×13.  Um, what???  Why did I need that many of those???  Sure, I loved to cook in the past and yes, I hope to get started again, but, do I really need that many of each item???  NO!!!

Going through this purge, I found it very therapeutic. It was very freeing, seeing the rooms become more and more empty. And, when I move to my new home? I’ll still be clearing the clutter. If there is no place for it, where will it go?  Yep!  Right into the trash or donated. What’s the saying?  “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Going forward, my money will be better spent on memories and experiences than stuff. I’m getting to an age where I can’t believe I let my life fly by and while I’ve done things, I want to do more! I want to experience more. This summer?  I’m signing up for an hour session on learning how to fly a plane. Even if I never fly one?  I’ve learned the basics because I could.

Have you gone through with clearing the clutter in your home?  How did that go?  What did you do to prepare yourself for it? If you’re new here, make sure to stop over and share your comments on my Facebook page!


  1. Tina Butler

    This is always a hard question to ask ones self. I am not a hoarder, but I do have a problem with keeping everything. I’m getting better and it is because if I haven’t used it then toss or donate and it is working for me.

  2. Vera Bortolotto

    I am going to be spring cleaning really soon. I need to get a bit more motivated though. These are great tips to get me started.

  3. Lorna Ye

    Great tips. It makes me realized that I need to do spring cleaning soon. I should definitely ask myself these 5 questions when I clean the clutter in our house. I keep many years’ tax papers too, so I need to go through those and decide what need to be shredded.

  4. Rachel

    Great tips on clearing out the clutter!! I HATE clutter! It gives me anxiety! We definitely donate many of the items in our home that we basically forget about and don’t use..Spring cleaning is a perfect time for that!!

  5. Jenn

    Oh my gosh, I need to tackle the clutter in our home. Our basement and garage are a mess, and stuff is just stashed in places. Out of sight, is out of mind and then it piles up for years. These are good tips.

  6. Katie @ A Full Plate

    Oh my goodness I hate de-cluttering! What a process! But so necessary. I’ve become so interested in the minimalist way of living (how do they do it??) Personally, I grow sentimental attachments to certain objects that I know aren’t serving me anymore and are just junk…but it’s so hard to let go. Once you break through the mental-ness of it all it’s so much better.

  7. Mae

    Great tips on how to purge! We tend to buy less stuff, especially now that we live in an apartment. We try to be conscious about living to a bare minimum as much as possible. Saves us money but also helps us horde less of the stuff we don’t need.

    Mae |

  8. Kerri Olkjer

    Yes! Really great questions to ask. We moved from Colorado to Idaho 2 years ago and I purge, purge, purged like crazy. If I didn’t love it or use it often it went.
    Kerri Olkjer recently posted…Mango Peach Protein SmoothieMy Profile

  9. Censie Sawyer

    Great tips. We have been workign really hard this year on cleaning out our closets. We just need to get organized which means we have to get rid of some of the stuff we no longer need!
    Censie Sawyer recently posted…First Park Day of the SeasonMy Profile

  10. Ana Rose | Roads and Pages

    Good luck on all your endeavors! It has been also a struggle on me when it comes to my things. Which needs to be thrown and which needs to be kept. Actually this summer, I am going to work on my things so I can have a nicer room.

  11. Mommy Hates Cooking

    I have been trying to do the same thing. Clutter and stuff everywhere starts to effect my mood, and that is never good! Like you, I’ve never considered myself a hoarder, but when I look around in my storage room and in a few closets I begin to think that maybe I’m in denial. Why have all this stuff if it sits in boxes all of the time?!


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