Entering the second phase of the process was still not too difficult, but required a little more thought and commitment than phase I, as expected. During this time, I also checked out the book The More of Less by Joshua Becker (also a blog), which I recommend for those getting started on this journey.
We also watched Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things, which gave us even more excitement about what we are doing.
Additionally, we read some lessons learned about the “does this bring me joy?” method of decluttering by Marie Kondo from her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. You can find some of the lessons learned and tips here.
Lastly, we told our children that if we made any money out of selling their items we could give them that money towards the one big ticket item they are saving for (to replace a similar item :)). They warmed up a little more to the idea but still with some hesitation. We also explained again that some people do not have the fortune of having fun things to play with and we could share this joy with them. That helped a little, at least for one of the kids.
Step 1: Goal
Having gone through the initial high level decluttering, our goal here was to find another 500 items that do not bring us joy and or that simply we don’t use.
Step 2: Do I Need It? Does It Bring Me Joy?
We had a little bit more ‘low hanging fruit’ items to destash. For example a giant bag of nice kid clothes I wanted to sell, but that process was going slowly. Instead, I packed it up and gave it away to a crisis center. In addition I had a few items that I collected from ebay – an old camera, typewriter, a 1950s desk, which I posted on facebook for any of my interested local friends to pick up for free, while asking them to consider doing a nice act of kindness towards someone else as a pay it forward.
In the end, we only had a couple of items for sale, which made the process go faster and keep momentum going.
Once we were done with those obvious things, we took Marie Kondo’s advice and swapped to the strategy of tackling categories of things vs rooms. With this method we were able to reduce our clothes and kitchen items further.
Step 3: Assessing Results
Three awesome things happened in this stage.
First, we could actually start feeling and seeing the difference less stuff made in our day-to-day practical living. We were about 2k items down and unlike with the first round this was starting to really show! Plus our attic is almost empty, only a few more boxes to go and our bags and camping gear.
Second, we sold a bike of my kids’ stash and gave them the money, as promised, towards their new goal item. They were so shocked about the amount they got that they immediately ran upstarts and literally gave me like 15 more items asking if they could sell it all ha! I may just ‘buy’ it from them, donate and replace with the one item they want. They also started making comments about not needing stuff and noticed they wanted to spend more time with us outside. I actually have been having a little more energy to play with them, like checking off these goals is making me tackle the most important one which is being present with them – win, win, win.
Lastly, it really got us thinking about how much we do actually need to be happy. We even starting thinking about trading to a smaller house! (right now we are on 2,100sq feet, our ideal would be about 1,600-1,800sq feet for 4 of us plus a dog). Not sure we will tackle this yet, but it certainly has us rethinking about potentially retiring even earlier if we can make do with less and be happy. Our definition of ‘enough’ may be revisited towards FIRE.
We closed this phase by making plans for Phase III. In this phase we will tackle a category that had been put off for ‘later’. Well, ‘later’ finally arrived: time to say good bye to our books.
Follow our Phase III here.
Phase I here as a reminder.