Decluttering 2,023 items in 2023

I’m really loving my “Start with me” New Year focus and how it’s already inspired new problem solving ideas and I could stop there for 2023 goals…. but I always feel like I can do more (to my detriment many times) and I do love a clearly defined goal to work towards.

Decluttering and getting to a point where my home feels organized and manageable has been a goal of mine ever since I was pregnant with my first child (4 years ago) and realized how much stuff was about to enter our already messy home once we had a baby. In true me-fashion, I’ve read multiple books, listened to numerous podcasts, skimmed countless articles, followed several influencers all on the topic. I’m familiar with the techniques and methods and theories and I’ve put them into practice off and on.

Now I’m ready to get serious about it, to start forming habits around it, to build my decluttering skills and teach them to my children (and maybe also my husband). I recently came across a challenge to declutter 2,023 things in 2023 and it seemed like a challenging yet still realistic goal to work towards. Even if I don’t make it all the way to 2,023 items, I’m sure I’ll still make an impact with whatever number of items I do manage to get out of my house.

I created an online spreadsheet to track the number of items I get out of my house in each category. If I’m getting rid of close to 169 items per month, I’ll know I’m on track for my goal.

Today, I went through a box that we’ve had in our house for probably over a year of old piano music books from my childhood. I no longer play the piano, we don’t have a piano, and I don’t know that I could even read the music anymore. There’s no benefit in my keeping it. I had posted to my local Buy Nothing Facebook group (a group for the purpose of offering up items for free so one person can get rid of things they don’t need while another person can get value out of that item) and the Mom Swap group (pretty much the same idea but geared towards moms) and no one showed interest.

I looked up nearby piano schools figuring they could make the music books available to students and was about to send the first one a message when I suddenly decided to stop and actually go through the book pile and evaluate what was actually donatable.

I’m glad I did because it was actually much less donatable than I thought. I had forgotten how much my piano teacher wrote ALL OVER the books during my lessons. She’d write notes for improvement, reminders, used “good job” stickers; most of the books were a mess. Some of the items in the pile weren’t music books at all but unrelated loose papers that were just stuck in there. Also, 2/3 of the pile were actually years worth of Zoobooks subscriptions. I must have counted over 80 Zoobooks magazines. In the end, there were 3 music books I determined were even of donatable quality and since it was no longer such a sizable stack, I just tossed them into my miscellaneous donation box that I’ll have scheduled to be picked up later this month.

Adding the count of these books to what I’ve already donated/returned/gotten out of the house since the new year and I’ve removed 139 items in this first week of the year! I know the new year motivation spark tends to fizzle out by the end of February and therefore keeping up with my goal may get harder as time passes. For now, though, I’d like to acknowledge and celebrate this pretty stellar start.

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