Decluttering by using your stash- or why I wrote a lot of letters

Taking Brooke’s advice, I’ve been decluttering small areas of my apartment. I’ve done the kitchen gadget basket, my desk, the pantry, my sock drawer and our stationery box. Our stationary box started out as one of those sets of greeting cards you get at Michael’s with a few for every purpose. We’ve added and added and added to it over the years and I discovered we had an absurd amount of stuff in there- stuff we didn’t even know we had.

So to thin it out a bit, I put out a call for addresses on the internet for people who wanted some happy mail. Decluttering by using it up. Probably not an effective idea for decluttering an entire apartment but something to consider for those things you’ve held onto because you think you’ll use them someday. Prove it to yourself and use it! Last summer, I did some decluttering reading- actually reading books I’ve kept because I thought I’d read them someday. In my mind, this is a combination of the decluttering philosophies I’ve dabbled in and also an item on the long list of ways to be happy in Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”- make time for projects.

Keeping things to use eventually makes you live longer. That’s absolutely not at all true, but it’s something I think we tell ourselves. We buy the coloring books for when we’ll have time to relax, the blank books for when we have time to write, the boogie board for when we’ll have time to go to the beach with other people who can watch our kid, the hiking shoes for when we’ll go spend time in nature like we should… And this kind of clutter makes you anxious because it reminds you of things you want to do that you haven’t been able to make time for. When you go on a trip, you pack based on your expectations of what you’ll spend your time doing- and I almost always overestimate the time I’ll have to do things and end up shaking my head at the second novel I packed or the pair of heels meant for a fancy dinner out. Limiting your stuff can also feel like limiting your time- you’re acknowledging the time you actually have and not the time you want to have.

So anyway- using things I have as a way to declutter makes me feel fantastic not just because it creates space for other things, but it honors the intention I had when I acquired the thing. And it helps me be realistic about the time I’ll have to use other things I see online or in a store.

I got eleven requests for letters and had so much fun using up these things I’ve been holding onto. Here’s some pictures of stuff I made:

I still have an absurd amount of postcards so, internet, feel free to send me your address and I’ll mail you one: I will delete your information once I’ve addressed your postcard.

Have you decluttered by using your stuff? Tell me about it in the comments! Or send me an email. 🙂 Happy living your life with the stuff you meant to use!

P.s. Joy the Baker linked to a BBC article about how there’s a Japanese word for buying reading material and leaving it in unread stacks: tsundoku

P.p.s. I LOVE Joy the Baker. Here recipes are kicka$$ and her “Let it Be Sunday” posts are how I read the internet now if I’m gonna be honest.


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