We Did It! So Can You! {April 2015 Edition} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: We Did It! So Can You! {April 2015 Edition}

Friday, April 10, 2015

We Did It! So Can You! {April 2015 Edition}

Do you have clutter in your home but don't know where to start purging?  Do you feel like you don't have enough time to declutter?  Have you seen all the 365 Items in 365 Days posts and thought "I really should do that", but you keep putting it off?

You're not alone!  But you also don't need to stay in your paralyzed state.  You CAN declutter!  And to prove it I want to share some stories of people Just. Like. You. 

Welcome back to the "We Did It! So Can You!" series.  This series is about real people decluttering their homes, one day at a time!  Busy people, with too much stuff, who decided to take the plunge and purge.

Today I want to share Teresa's journey.

Ready to be inspired?!  

About Teresa

Teresa is a wife, mother, grandmother, and volunteer firefighter.  She's a busy lady!  Clutter accumulated in her home over many years.  But she made a decision last January to join the 365 Items in 365 Days declutter challenge and has decluttered hundreds, probably thousands, of items from her home since then!  She is an active participant in the 365 Items in 365 Days Facebook group, regularly showing us her before and after pictures, encouraging other participants on their decluttering journeys, and sharing inspiring quotes and articles about decluttering.

Today I want to share a few of Teresa's decluttering successes to inspire you on your decluttering journey!


Teresa shared before and after pictures of a couple of closets she decluttered.  Here are her comments as she was working on this project:

Left at Home Unsupervised.......I got lost in a closet! Have not quite found my way out as of yet, however just one more day and there should be major progress. This photo is the before. Stay tuned for the after.....

Partial total of items gone 14. still have to tally another pile....

The above closet after!

Working on closet #2.....So much going out can't wait to tally it all up

Going to need a tote for the empty hangers!

2nd closet done

Now to tally it all up while Hubby goes to pick up Pizza!

Drum roll please.........192 + 14 for a grand TOTAL of 206 items and that is just clothes and shoes from two closets in two days...

Oops 8 more so 214 for today whew

Isn't that amazing?!  214 items out of 2 closets!

Between all of Teresa's comments on this thread in the 365 in 365 FB group, were lots of encouraging comments from other group members, cheering her on, being inspired to tackle their closets, and sharing in her joy at the outcome of her hard work.  This is one of the things I LOVE most about our group. We're all in this together!

Other Decluttering

Teresa also did little decluttering projects along the way.  Like this china cabinet drawer.

She also decluttered paperwork, which is always a tough task!

Teresa even decluttered big stuff like a stove, microwave, and furniture!  Some of it she gave away and some of it she sold.  It's always great to help others or make a little money when you're decluttering :)

Teresa tackled her garage, her bedroom, her grandchildren's outgrown clothing, and lots more. She even found she could declutter while doing the laundry... now that's multitasking at its finest :)

Teresa's Attic

Last year, Teresa shared pictures of the clutter in her attic.  Here's a description of her attic in her own words:

I have an attic full of our family's lives. Many memories, Holiday Decoration, and some trash I am sure! This is my hoard the weakness in my world. If I don't want to deal with an item, that's right to the attic it goes. Many times I have tried to organize and element things from this space. Keepsakes n Klutter.......What do you do with all of the stuff. Less really is more. For the longest time I have as many others battled with how to display and decorate with the items in our lives. Mine are multiplied with items from Love Ones that are gone. Parting with some of their items is the hardest. So this year I am going to get extra containers and sort through those things I can not part with. One simply cannot display everything that is owned and love. Instead of showcasing all of the ceramic vases, for example, divide the collection into four groups for the seasons and/or by holidays and rotate in a new set. The individual pieces will appear more dramatic if they’re not lost among the masses.

Here are some before pictures.

Teresa kind of got lost in her attic for awhile as she decluttered up there.  At one point part way through the decluttering process, she said she'd weighed what was out the door and it was 65 lbs!  She called her attic her tallest mountain and after climbing it she felt like she could declutter anything!  But it was emotional at times as there were a lot of memories in that attic.

Here's a thought she shared with the group:

So you pack up the old with fondness and care, and you tenderly and tearfully send it off to where it will be used and loved, and only then do you realize how much that old stash had been weighing you down.

Chin up, shake it off, breathe deep. A fresh start feels good.

It's so true.  Clutter weighs us down more than we know.  And letting go of it releases us into a life we've longed for.

Great job Teresa!  Sentimental items and paperwork are tough to declutter and you plowed through it.

I'm not sure why I couldn't find any after pictures of Teresa's attic, but just hearing how she let go of so many things, I can imagine how wonderful her attic looks now :)

Motivating Others

Teresa regularly gives advice to others who are asking for help in the 365 Items in 365 Days Facebook group.  Her inspiring stories and quotes keep everyone motivated!

She decluttered her first 365 items in a little over a month, inspiring others to really dig deep and declutter their homes too.  She continued right on decluttering all year and sharing her before and after pictures to inspire us all.

Here are her thoughts a little over a month after starting the 365 in 365 challenge:

YES....I have filled in the blanks and I have reached my first 365 items for this year! And profited $385.00 in the process. NO I am not anywhere near done! No stopping now, no reason to!

35 years of Marriage 3 children and almost 4 Grandchildren! Time to lighten the load with all the old stuff just not being used or having a place to keep it.

Teresa, like many of us, had a variety of challenges in life that slowed her down from her initial decluttering progress.  It's wonderful when we tackle big projects and get rid of a lot of stuff in a short amount of time.  But we can't always declutter hundreds of items in a few days or weeks.  Life happens.  Health problems.  Family issues.  Work demands.  These are the things that often cause clutter to build up in the first place and they're not going to stop just because we've decided to declutter.  But even in the midst of "life", it's important to keep decluttering... a little bit at at a time.  This January, Teresa reflected back on her decluttering journey in 2014 and looked ahead to 2015, with these thoughts:

Last Year 2014 I took on the Challenge to de-clutter. Using the Facebook Inspirational Page by Hilda 365 Items in 365 Days, this was a great challenge and there was so much completed. It did help and as the year went by I slowed in the intensity that I started with but still managed some organization and de-cluttering. Still not finished by any means of where I want things to be. Life happens, and this [clutter] did not happen overnight or in one year or even two. So I have resolved that the purge that has to be done, unless I just want to hook up to the flat-bed trailer and pitch it all really fast, is going to be a slow go as well.

True words Teresa... clutter builds over time so it will take time to get rid of it too.  But slow and steady wins the race!  That's why this challenge is so great.  One item a day and it all adds up!  And each success motivates us to continue. 

Thank you Teresa for being such a wonderful member of our group!  And for sharing your story with us all year.  And especially for being willing to let me share your decluttering journey here in the hopes of inspiring others to join the challenge and start decluttering their homes!

Your turn!

So how about you?  Have you been putting off joining the 365 Items in 365 Days challenge because you think it will be too hard?  If you have, then please don't delay any longer!

No matter how busy you are, you can find time to declutter one single item per day.  It's not overwhelming then.  You don't have to find time in your schedule to declutter a whole room.  Just find one item every day that you no longer need, use, or love.  And if once in awhile you have time to do more you can.  Like Teresa's closets!

You can join at any time... it doesn't have to be a calendar year.  Join the 365 Items in 365 Days Facebook group and be encouraged and inspired all along the way.  Get your friends, neighbours, or family members doing it too!  That way you'll have some real life accountability and encouragement along with the virtual help from our group :)

If you're overwhelmed by clutter, then join the 365 Items in 365 Days Challenge today and get started.  A little bit at a time makes a big difference.  Start purging and start living the life you want.

What's your motivation for decluttering?  What holds you back from purging?  What area of your home will you tackle first?

Happy organizing decluttering!

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