Decluttering Challenge Week #1

January 9, 2020

Let’s get this party started! This year has been off to such a slow start for me.  I was so ready to start purging and organizing but the holidays were completely overwhelming – and then the kids were all sick.  I needed a little break.  But, now I am once again motivated and can’t wait to start getting all this junk out of my house!! On another note, we finally hung the new living room curtains that I bought back in November.  I LOVE them – they are a much needed update for that room and I can’t wait to share this project with you.  Of course, now I realize I NEED a new rug and couches.  Baby steps!

How do you purge?

There are so many different ways to clean out your home and get rid of all that clutter.  Some people go room by room, but I have chosen to purge by item or category of item.  This means if we are purging the kid’s old art work I want you to look in their rooms, the playroom, the closet – anywhere their old art projects might be hiding.  I like to purge this way because then I see everything I have at once and keep less.  

Most of us have a system for purging already but if you don’t – here’s what I do.  I like to keep it simple.  A box for trash, a box for items to donate or sell and an area to keep the remaining items.  Then get rid of the stuff.  Don’t let that donate pile collect dust in the hall closet for month.  Until the stuff is out of the house it isn’t really gone.

My husband has had great success in selling old toys, curtains, furniture and other oddball items on both craigslist and facebook marketplace.  I don’t have time to deal with that but it makes him happy.  His piles of stuff to sell in the basement drive me crazy though. I just want the stuff OUT of the house.  So we compromise and I let him sort through my donate pile and choose items to sell.  Then, after a couple months if an item hasn’t sold we donate it.

Letting Go of Stuff is an Emotional Process

Getting rid of your stuff can be really hard.  We attach so much emotion to the most meaningless items.  We allow this stuff to hold our memories captive and take up precious space in our homes.  And then there are those thoughts that fill my head about how much money I spent on these things that I am throwing away. I feel wasteful.  After clearing out my parent’s home I realized how few of our possessions are actually valuable. I am now much more ruthless when purging.  I always ask myself – “what is more valuable, this item or the space it is taking in my home?”

Challenge #1 : Candles and Vases

I don’t want you to be overwhelmed right away – so let’s start with something easy this week that shouldn’t involve too much emotion.  Let’s go through and purge our candles, candle holders and vases. Here are some questions to help you decide which items to keep.

Questions to Help Decide What to Keep

  1. Is this a scent that I love? If not, will I actually burn this candle?
  2. At this stage of my life do I use tea lights?
  3. Do I still need all those small candle holders that filled my first apartment?
  4. Are any of the candle holders damaged?
  5. Are any vases cracked?
  6. Will I ever use this many vases simultaneously?
  7. Do these items work with my current décor?
  8. Do my battery operated candles still work?
  9. Are any of the candles faded or discolored?
  10. Do I really use tapered candles?

My Current Storage

I keep my candles and vases together in a utility closet off the mudroom.  It’s kind of a mess in here – old dog stuff, art supplies, all kinds of random junk.  But we’ll get to that later. I need to remind myself that the mess didn’t accumulate overnight and that getting everything cleaned out is a process.  I don’t know about you but if I start off too strong now I’ll get tired of purging and I’ll never finish!

The little voice inside my head is wondering why I am decluttering candles when there are much bigger issues in this closet – baby steps!

How I Purged Candles and Vases

So, here is what I did.  I emptied the messy shelves in the closet and found a few other small stockpiles of candle holders around the house.  Next, I placed everything on the kitchen counter so I could see what I was dealing with. 

Then, I went through and separated my items into categories.  First, I looked at all the vases and chose which ones I wanted to keep.  Then, I placed them back on the shelf.  I went through this process for the candle holders and various types of candles. 

Once I had placed all the keep items back on the shelf I packed up the remaining donate items from the counter.  Finally, I threw away several partially burned candles.  I also placed a couple scented candles to the side because I think I don’t like them but I want to burn them one more time to decide!

Not bad – that’s a lot of decluttering for two little shelves!

This whole process took less than an hour and I was able to fill a box of items to donate.  Plus, I have one neat little section of the closet.  Not a bad start to the year. 

The rest of the closet is still a disaster but we can ignore that for now!

Once you find time to clear out your candles and vases post a picture in the comments – what you got rid of, how organized it looks now or both!  Join me next week as we tackle a new purging project.

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    […] the house.  If you are the sentimental type, this challenge might be a little but harder than candles and makeup.  There are definitely some good memories associated with the decorations and hats in […]

  • Reply 2020 Decluttering Challenge - Lilacs and Lost Socks January 15, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    […] Week # 1 Candles and Vases […]

  • Reply Meghan January 14, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    Thanks – the list of questions really gave me the final push to really toss some items (so true on the tea lights! 😂).

  • Reply Decluttering Challenge Week #2 - Lilacs and Lost Socks January 13, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    […] you clean out candles and vases last week? Are you motivated to keep going and reclaim your home – one small project at a time?  […]

  • Reply Sarah January 10, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Love this! I am in the process of moving and these tips are super helpful for decluttering. Thank you!!!

  • Reply Valerie Fowler January 10, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Our purging method is similar; I also prefer to go by item/category and see everything I have at once. I think I am down to two vases and maybe a few candleholders {which I don’t even use but they are sentimental because of the source}. We just moved recently so I feel like we did a pretty good purge, but as we are unpacking the new house I’m still seeing some things we brought and I’m like what??? Thanks so much for sharing. ♥️

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