Sunday, March 4, 2012

500 Things Project

While Allen was busy doing this in London:

I decided to get busy with a little project of my own. I remembered reading about the idea of purging your home of 100 things every 3 months to keep the clutter down and I decided to get really ambitious and rid our home of 500 things over 6 days.

Because there are eleven people who share this space in our home we really have no room for clutter (also known as: stuff, things, junk and excess). I was excited to delve into this project because I love to organize and get rid of stuff. I'm like the opposite of a hoarder. I think this is why, a few days into this, I worried that we might not make it to 500 things. However, I decided to keep shooting for it anyway. The rules I made were simple:

1. If it gets thrown away, it counts as one thing. (One piece of junk mail, one forlorn shoebox, one pair of holey socks, etc.)

2. If it gets donated, it counts as one thing. (One article of clothing, one stamping set, one outgrown toy, etc.)

3. If it gets organized or passed along to another person in the household, it doesn't count - but it makes me feel great.

It was awesome to slowly watch my house go from this:
my dresser

kids' craft cupboard

hall closet

to this:
I love my dresser again!

Now they can actually find what they need!

I know, it doesn't look much different in the hall closet. But I got rid of a bunch of excess in these bins where we keep the toys:
Side note: We use a checkout system with the toys. The kids are only allowed to have one bin out at a time. Once those toys are all back in their bin, they can get another one out. The closet locks. It's awesome.

In the end, it was getting close, but the little kids' underwear drawer in the bathroom (36 pair of underwear, GONE!) and the lonely-sock box: 18 mates miraculously found; goodbye, 21 lonely socks!

helped push it over the limit. With help from the kids, I ended up ridding our house of 600+ things!

I rewarded my efforts with half of a Green & Black's milk chocolate bar which Allen brought me back from his trip to England. I enjoyed it all the more from the solitude of my clutter-free closet (with the bedroom door locked).

However, the best reward by far was that awesome feeling of accomplishment and knowing that my house contains 600+ less things.


Anaise said...

Great accomplishment! I so want and need to do the very same thing . . . perhaps when the baby is a smidgen older . . .

Threeundertwo said...

Wow! Congratulations! Now I want to start counting stuff I declutter.

Rachel said...

I just love that feeling! That feeling of when the crazy lady hits and you start chucking stuff. I did that recently and filled the back of my truck with stuff for DI and the black garbage can over flowing full!

I'm always amazed at all of the STUFF we bring into this house!!!

I'm ready to do it again and it's only been about a month since I did it last.

I wish I could sit in a clean closet and eat really good chocolate...... We Americans need to figure out how to make good chocolate...... Time to send The SM on another European business trip. I've a hankerin' for some good chocolate.

Rebecca said...

I would lose count, for sure! Way to go!

Connie said...

First, I love your dresser. It's beautiful!
Such a good feeling to set a goal and accomplish it! You deserved the whole chocolate bar!

Matt, Erin, Kaden, Sophia, & Jack said...

Oh how I love this post. I love anything organizational and I love your idea about checking things out of the toy closet:0

Linn said...

You wanted me to feature you on my organization blog right? Right? I'm thinking a little "get it out of the house" challenge with links to your awesomeness. Yes?

Gerb said...

Anaise- It's amazing how free I feel! You won't regret it. And the kids love helping, too. They were motivated to get rid of things they otherwise wouldn't because they wanted to get to 500.

3U2- It really made it more of a game - and fun to see what was accumulating number-wise. We kept an index card and we'd add up each bag of trash or bag of donated items as it became full.

Rach- My car and trunk were so loaded that the guy at DI who was unloading for us commented that he's never seen so much stuff in a small car! It's a great feeling to purge, isn't it? I've already accumulated 20+ more things to donate since then.

Bec- We did a couple of times and I'd say, "let's just estimate" but the kids were pretty into it and they'd go through and count things up.

Connie- My husband built that! Isn't he amazing?!

Erin- It will change your life. Do it!

Linn- Do you really even have to ask? I'd be honored!

Petersons Blog Spot said...

I am inspired. Does taking books back to the library count? My MIL made a quilt out of the big bag of lonely socks and my husband recognizes some funky socks he had from the 80s!

LinnOrganized said...

Yeah! I can't guarantee when I will get it up (two birthdays this week at our house), but I'll let you know when it appears. Thanks friend!

Richard & Natalie said...

Way to go, Gerb! You are my hero once again. This is an awesome idea! And, unfortunately, it is something completely doable at our house. I think I shall start tomorrow! No really, I am not procrastinating- it is just getting late to start digging and chucking tonight. ;)

Gerb said...

Jerri- Taking books back to the library totally counts, as long as it's something leaving your house! I actually mailed 6 books back to people we've borrowed them from because I knew they'd just sit on my husband's dresser for at least another 6 months if I didn't. And I love the sock idea! How do you make a quilt from socks? Did she cut them into squares?

Linn- I'm so excited!

Nat- You're going to love it. It feels so great to have an organized home!

A Lark said...

Looks fantastic! I love your toy check-out idea - I am going to pass that on to my siblings. (:

Petersons Blog Spot said...

Yes, she just made sure each square was the same size.

Chelle! said...

You have inspired me once again. I have decided to attempt this. Nervous...I am not sure if I have the courage to get rid of 500 things in my home but you have inspired me and I will do it!!! :)