The Gains. The Lessons. The End.

Today, I took the remaining items to Goodwill. All but two of them, that are currently listed on eBay (sorry, but it’s almost impossible for the stubborn salesman in my blood to pass on $50 I’ll get for those items if I leave them up for a few more days.) Honestly, it feels GREAT to be rid of the items, and even more so, the mental clutter they were causing me.

I’ve said before. Everything ‘fit’ in this house, but there was no space. I’ve gained some empty shelves, drawers and less stuff taking up counter space (because it fits in the cabinets) and there is still much more space in this house to recover. The entry way; used to have school bags, swimming bags and a nightmare of jackets; now, the swimming bags fit in the closet and since I can see that there are only three jackets and school bags there, it actually looks clean. The bathroom counter, used to have six zillion toothbrushes, hair products and contact stuff constantly on it; now, all of that has ample space in the medicine cabinet and the counter looks SO empty. My office, still needs some work, however, the closet has some free space in it to lay out what I still need to go through. The bookshelf looks awesome, organized with the books I love, that will be read.The kitchen is my favorite, the other day, I actually thought an appliance was missing from the counter and tried to figure out what it was…quickly realized that the missing ‘appliance’ was all the coffee, formula, cereal, etc. that used to be stored on the counter and is now in the cabinets. I can’t believe how much less ‘picking up’ I’ve had to do since the Happy Meal toys headed north. Space. You get the picture. I really, really, really LOVE space.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this is how ridiculous my programming was on “stuff.” I’ve completely reprogrammed. At the beginning of this, I got rid of things I’ll clearly never use again, by the end it was super easy to get rid of things that I might need or may use again. If the chance I’d use it was less than 50% — out with the item. Really, if you do the math, if I get rid of twenty items, and need ONE of them sometime in the future, I’ve still been 95% correct on what to get rid of.

This project was supposed to be a challenge; by the last week, I was SO surprised that there was nothing challenging about it! I still have enough extra stuff could HONESTLY do the entire ‘The Thirty-One Day Minimalist’ project again; maybe twice. (I will continue to purge; however, it is quite time consuming to find items every night past day seven, so I will probably not pursue this method again.)

Then there is the new stuff, there will always be stuff I need. I went to Target last week…and only bought the five things on my list. All of the impulse items, seemed to annoy me a bit. After selling a bunch of stuff off. I’ve also become much more interested in buying used (on some items), than I ever have been. There is a TON of money to be saved, and honestly, so many people have so much extra ‘stuff’ it blows my mind what you can get out on the pre-owned market.

And finally, the blog. I don’t know when or why I decided to blog about this; but the blog was critical to my completion of the 496 items in thirty-one days. It held me accountable to the items and forced me to reflect on what I was doing and why. Naming the project and framing out the days made purging interesting; I was not expecting to enjoy writing it as much as I did. “The Thirty One Day ‘Minimalist'” blog had over 1,300 visitors in three countries at the time that I write the final post…the comments and feedback were so encouraging. I hope the blog was as much fun to read as it was to write.

Four hundred and ninety-six items, thirty-one days. I am ‘The Thirty-One Day Minimalist.’

The Final Countdown

Per the rules, I have until Thursday to “finish the job.”

Realistically, it will probably be done by the end of the weekend. Getting stuff out is a lot of work…if three extra days is my epic failure from this project, I’m ok with that.

Not that I have that much to get rid of. I mean, this is a picture of what I had from the last week alone:


Look at all that. Yikes…never anticipated how fast the last pile would grow.

What I haven’t written about is the ‘other stuff’ I got rid of during the process; mostly in exchange for new stuff– but there were a couple big things in there too; a shelf, some carseats, a desk, outgrown baby items. All of it takes time to lug, to itemize, to sell, to donate, to return, etc.

I’ve been busy. But in less than a week, this living room will have space for just that…living. Stay tuned.

Day 31: Trick or Treating

Today is the last day. It is also Halloween.

So in honor of both; I am trick or treating today. Room by room, and ar the end I will have a sweet bag full of what I call, “Energy Suckers.” These are the things I’ve passed up. (Some more than once) during this whole process.

They all have really dumb excuses for still being here; same excuses i have heard in my head the whole month!! They are wearing masks as useful, needed, what if someday I want to…after tonight, costumes and masks are no longer cool, they are creepy (until next Halloween.)

Here’s what I found in my trick or treat bag: Girls life jacket. Pan. My second favorite camping coffee pot (that we forgot we had, so we bought another one.) Bottle drying rack. Baby changing pads. Frame. Video baby monitor. Some containers. Books…think if I haven’t read them in six years they are a priority? A few of Brad’s things (hey, at least he started a pile,) a TV stand, a fish bowl, a baby car seat toy, digital converter box, a shower game, dried up Modge Podge (it was hiding,) old business cards, some bath toys, dog toys. More than 31 items. I thought today would be HARD. It was not. The hardest part was selecting items that I can pitch, donate or sell in seven days (per the rules.)

Thirty-one days down, 496 items out…I did it.

The last week has been TOUGH, “speed purging” is exhausting (but relieving and rewarding.) I need a day off! Glad I have seven more days to get the rest of these items out of my house and to finish this project and this blog.

Day 30: The Retirement Home

Only I understand what this computer stands for. My last semester of college, I finally broke down and bought my own computer; financed it over twelve months, on the premise that a job and a salary were lined up for the day after I graduated. It cost about a third of what made in an entire summer.

This was the first big thing I ever bought with my money from, “the real world.” And barely ten years later, the computer retires long before I do.

What other dinosaurs do we have around here? Has this house become a retirement home?

VHS tapes probably with re-runs of the Wonder Years on them; five purses that I haven’t used in…five years; two DVD players – one that hasn’t worked in months, another that we’ve hated (very cumbersome) for about two years; a media drive and a remote control.

Two dresses that if I ever lost half my body weight, would fit me again, but who wants to be skinny and out of style 🙂 My cross-country coat from high school, and snowpants from college. A uniform, from a job that no longer exists.

A camera, that doesn’t work! Two cell phones, that don’t work! Oh look they had a baby, a camera phone, that doesn’t work either!! This reminded me of the travel baby bottle warmer…that NEVER worked, so I threw that in there too.

Now the kitchen. Four cookbooks were little tough to part with, but I still have tons of them and The Magic Bullet blender (I used to use all the time, now I make big batches of everything in the blender), some bar lights.



One more day and I can retire…I’ve certainly got some extra space to enjoy.

Day 29: Weeks of Supply

I work in the grocery industry. One of my favorite metrics in inventory management is “weeks of supply.”

The calculation: the number of items in inventory / the number of that item sold per week = weeks of supply

100 apples in inventory/ 25 apples sold per week = 4 weeks of supply

Time to take inventory on a few items. Guess what the first three items have in common? They were free. Free clutter. Awesome.

#1- Cough syrup; They gave a whole case of this once at daycare. I used about 5 of these last year (.096/ week.) I have 45; 468 weeks of supply. Gone.

#2- Cosmetic bags; I use about one per year (.019/ week.) I have 8; 421 weeks of supply. Gone.

#3- Pens; I use about 2/ week. And I get free pens all the time. Heaven forbid I ever buy a $2 pack of pens should I run out. I have more than I can count…let’s say 500; 250 weeks of supply. Gone.

#4- Jump drives; I use about 2/ year (.038/ week.) I have 8; 210 weeks of supply.

#5- Sunscreen; We use about one bottle/ month in the summer…which in Wisconsin will MAYBE last 4 months (.153/ week.) I have five bottles, 33 weeks of supply. I will keep two; and ditch three of them (if you are paying attention, I’ve already gotten rid of at least two more bottles of sunscreen in previous posts.)

#6- File folders; I take out about eight (?) a year for new things (.153/ week.) that’s probably high. I have sixty EXTRA folders 392. I will even keep 40. But 20 have to go.

#7- Socks; I wear about 15 pairs…have a drawer full. I’m getting rid of seven pairs.The math on this one gives me a headache. I like socks. So there.

#8- Swim caps; have I ever replaced a swim cap? I don’t think so. I’ve swam for six years, and have four of them (all because they were free!) So I’ve gotten 312 weeks out of one swim
cap. I’ve got 1,248 weeks of supply…if you’re pedaling swim caps, please hit me up in 24 years.

Twenty-nine more items out, which means only TWO more days left.


Day 28: Rock Bottom

Four weeks in, and I’m down to my last room. The basement.

First a picture of my “Shrine to Home Purging.” The tower of empty containers that is living there.


This area definitely stores a few boxes of boxed up crap that I just haven’t gotten around to dealing with.

After four weeks of this, you would think I’d lost the ability to surprise myself. No. I just found two of my favorite boxes today.

The first box contained old letters, my first diary, some pictures from my time in Spain. All really fun stuff; I can’t wait to look at, I will keep.

The second box (larger than the first) contained several used notebooks (all with just blank pages left), blank loose leaf paper, three blank legal pads, two unused pads of graph paper, a carefully tabbed out three ring binder (blank) and a BOX of unopened notecard packages in a variety of sizes.

Wow. I’ve had an Office Depot in the basement and didn’t even know it!

For a minute, I thought about saving some of the paper for the kids. Nope, I’ve got a stack of scrap upstairs, a box of notepads and a dollar to spare for a new notebook (should they ever run out of paper.)

Twenty-eight more items go out with the box of paper products leading the way. That’s 406 items so far…four weeks down; three days and 90 more item to go.


Day 27: Skip to My Loo

Today, I was going to use my husband as the subject; he hasn’t come up with twenty-seven items, so, I’ll continue on to the next set of rooms. The bathrooms.

This is becoming a trend. Once again, I thought I’d find almost nothing (already cleaned out my makeup); once again, I was wrong. Dead wrong.

The bulk of the items were expired medicine bottles. I rarely even pop a Tylenol, but when I’m sick, there is some sort of driving force that sends me to Walgreen’s in the middle of the night 100% convinced that the ailment will last a week and then reoccur at least twice. For example, I had dry, itchy skin for about four days (never, ever before or again have I had itchy dry skin) I left Walgreens that night with like $45 bucks worth of eczema creams. Two days later, I was fine; and had a stockpile of lotion products.
Note to self: the next time I run to Walgreen’s suffering from an ailment, buy the smallest quantity of product to treat available.

Then there is my ‘third favorite’ curling iron. That’s crazy. I don’t use my first favorite curling iron very often. My second favorite is for Laura’s hair.

Four open packages of flushable wipes…all dried out. What a waste. A bottle of self tanner? Huh? Didn’t even know I used self tanner. Oh wait, I don’t!! A bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles with no nozzle. And rust. Pretty sure I won’t be needing that.

A few more miscellaneous items get me to twenty-seven pretty fast. These are trash. My hypothesis, “I won’t find much in here,” is again defeated.


Day 26: Office Space

I have come across my fair share of harsh reality and surprises during the last twenty-five days. The problem in this room, my office, completely blind sided me.

Yesterday, I noted that this room keeps ‘stuff from overflowing into the house.’ This statement is 100% true. Before today, I thought there was a lot of unused junk in here; which is 100% false. You see, the problem in this room is that it has ‘stuff’ that belongs in other rooms; and has truly turned into Office Space’s ‘Store Room B.’ That’s right, and I guess that makes me Milton, so I’ll have to burn this place down. Not really.

I spend about an hour putting stuff ‘away,’ and I’m still not even done. Along with that, I find a pile of co-workers that have been here for awhile and haven’t done their job in a long time. Pink slips for all of them.

No doubt that this room still needs work. However, there are twenty-six less items here that I need to deal with during the process.


Day 25: The Spaghetti Incident

I am starting to notice a feature in this house; a feature that I have not noticed in a long time. Space.

Having space is different than having room. Very strange, a few weeks ago, everything seemed to fit in this house, everything had a place. However, many of those places were hidden, 3D Tetris puzzles. There was room for everything; but not much space…empty shelves, half full drawers and cabinets, bins that aren’t crammed full. So far, I think I like space.

There is still one room, that has no space. For that reason, I hate this room. With a passion. My office.

This office is a two day project. What I do love about it is that it keeps stuff from overflowing into the house. What I hate is that I end up looking at that stuff for 8+ hours a day.

I knew there were ‘some’ unused cords in a box taking up space. Never in a million years did I think day one of the office would be brought to you exclusively by this little disaster:


A box of cord spaghetti and manuals (which I stopped counting at 25.) Now all I need is a little marinara and a glass of wine to go with it. And it’s Friday. Perfect!

Day 24: Skeletons in the Closet

I’ve done four big rooms; now, it’s time to tackle the little non-rooms.

The closets. The closets make me nervous. They aren’t overflowing, they are organized…then I start to think about what’s in them. Well-organized stuff. Stuff that has been there untouched and well-organized for years. Way, way up on the top shelves. on second thought, twenty-four items will be a cake walk.

This closet collection is random; it’s kind if like a replay of The 31 Day Minimalist’s ‘Greatest Hits.’ Everything from girls bedding to Bitter Apple for dogs. Another bag. A hamper (the only item on here that I didn’t even realize we still had.) NWT’s. Room decor. A miscellaneous piece of trim. Christmas ornaments and cards. A chicken. Coloring books. All in the closets, and all moving on.

Honestly, if you quizzed me on what I took out of the closets today in 24 hours; I bet I would remember about four items.