Today I am sharing more information on what you forgot to declutter podcast. A little while ago I wrote a post all about what you should declutter in the New Year and how a lot of these items are overlooked. I have been featured on the Sustainable Minimalist podcast discussing 6 out of the 8 items. After decluttering everything in my home I found quite a few areas that I had over looked.
You can find the podcast over on the Mama Minimalist blog, but today I will share my notes. I like to over prepare for everything so I typed out all the questions and answers. You can never be too prepared!
What I actually said on the podcast changed a lot from what I wrote here so I recommend going and listening to the full interview.
In Depth What you Forgot to Declutter Answers
Introduce yourself. Who are you?
My name is Shannon Torrens I have 2 young kids, a 3 year old and a 5 year old.
I have been married for 8 years.
What do you do?
I am a blogger, I have a youtube channel, I am an artist, and I am a stay at home mom.
How did you find yourself interested in decluttering/minimalism?
I found out about minimalism when I decided I wasn’t going to pay for cable tv anymore. Thinking outside the box and really analyzing how we were living. The cable company was trying to raise our rates again and I finally became fed up. We decided to get Netflix instead of cable and that is when I happened upon the minimalists documentary. The day after I watched that I started decluttering. I felt like my eyes were finally open to the way we were living.
What was the decluttering process like for you in your home?
I personally jumped right into decluttering. Starting with obvious things. I would walk into a room and open a cupboard and pull out items that I knew were duplicates or anything we weren’t using.
Once I got rid of the obvious things is when the process slowed down for me. I started going section by section in my home. For instance one day I might just declutter my linen closet or just my shoes.
It was important to declutter slowly so I knew I wasn’t getting rid of anything I might want later. The last thing I wanted to do was have to shop for something I just got rid of. The more I decluttered the easier it became to spot the items I didn’t need.
Was your family on board?
My kids were too little to understand what was going on and my husband didn’t seem to care at all. He is not into stuff and has no sentimental connection to things. My husband only ever kept the items he used and everything that was extra was because we never stopped to actually clean it out.
How long did it take?
I took a whole year to declutter my life. Decluttering is very time consuming and can be overwhelming. It was easier for me to declutter one or 2 small sections of my home per week. As I was going through this decluttering journey I was trying to establish new habits at the same time. Habits like only shopping for what we need, no more stock piling, and also keeping track of how I was spending my time. It takes a while for a habit to stick. I didn’t want to declutter everything and then head down the same old road that brought in the clutter to start with.
You say the first area we forget to declutter is our fantasy selves. Who is this person?
Fantasy self is that person that you want to be like, but in reality it isn’t you. This is hard to explain but an example would be to imagine the sex and the city show and how the main character Carrie dressed and acted. I loved her style and think it would be so fun to live that glamorous life, but in reality I live in a suburb in Southern Ca. With my husband and 2 little kids, my life can’t be further away from that character. Now imagine if I started buying wild clothes and heals, but never wore them. It doesn’t make sense in my current life. This would be my fantasy self.
I think it is ok to admire the way other people live, without trying to be them.
Decluttering and minimalism made me want to be more me. That doesn’t mean I can’t dress up once in a while and go out, but in reality I like to wear comfortable clothes.
This fantasy self isn’t just about clothes. I had a ton of scrap booking stuff, but it turned out scrap booking gave me anxiety. The pages couldn’t be done fast enough ha ha. Instead of stressing about all the scrap book stuff I had bought I just donated it and now I no longer think about it.
How do we declutter her possessions?
Think about anything that you are holding onto that you know you don’t really want to wear or work on. Sometimes holding onto these half finished projects can be stressful. Somewhere in the back of your mind you might be thinking I need to finish that cross stitch or whatever the project might be. Holding onto these half finished projects can slow us down from starting something new.
I can imagine going through and deleting old photos can be a long process. Why is it worth doing?
It is a good idea to get rid of the photos you know you will never use. I delete anything blurry or pictures that are accidentally taken. One reason to delete unneeded photos is it will make it easier to find the good photos and it will create more space on your computer.
A lot of people pay for extra cloud storage that they might not even need if they just decluttered the bad photos.
Kids artwork is a major struggle for many moms because we tend to feel guilty trashing it. Do you have any ideas on what we can do with “All. The. Artwork.” that prevents both clutter and Mom Guilt?
I definitely know the struggle when it comes to artwork. As an artist it is hard for me to get rid of my own artwork. The interesting thing about holding onto artwork that you don’t want to hang and won’t sell is it actually ruins my creativity. I think the same thing happens with my kids, they want a fresh sheet of paper to start a drawing.
Now that my 5 year old is in kindergarten I am doing something new with his art from school. Each time he comes home from school with an art project we hang the art that he really loves in his room for a little while and then that gets switched out with the fresh art.
I also bought a binder and I am saving 2 to 3 stand out drawings each year in this art binder. This way as he gets older he can see how much he has improved.
One thing that really helped me to get over the guilt is my mom gave me a huge bin of all my own childhood artwork a year ago. I gladly took the bin off of her hands and started sorting through all of my kindergarten projects. After looking at everything for a while I decided I didn’t want any of it. I can’t imagine hanging a project I made from when I was 7. After this event I no longer have any guilt when getting rid of my son’s art.
What questions should we be asking ourselves as we declutter the unused sports equipment? Where can such items be donated?
I like to ask myself when is the last time I (or my family) actually used this item? Is this something that I only use once every 5 years? For instance I only ski every 5 or more years and in that case I am better renting equipment. We recently moved and I am not sure why but I moved our table tennis balls and paddles. Now we don’t have a table tennis rec room anymore so the equipment isn’t needed. This is why I like to look through everything we have often to make sure we aren’t storing items we will never use.
Talk to me about reusable grocery bags.
(Why not just fold them up nicely?) I guess it depends on how many you have, but I don’t see the point in keeping more than I can use. Recently I realized I had about 20 bags! Schools and businesses give them away and before I know it we have way more than we use. On average I use about 6 to 10 when I am shopping. The drawback to keeping all of the extra bags is you have to keep track of them, make sure they are in your car. I just find it easier to deal with the exact amount I need and not waste time with the extras.
Office supplies and pens – where can this stuff go?
I have tried to use up all of my back up office supplies and I haven’t bought any new office supplies for years. Declutter any supplies that you know you will never use for instance someone gave me a huge box of staples years ago and I barely ever staple anything so I decluttered that.
When I am decluttering I might ask a close friends or family if they can use the item, but normally I donate everything to a local second hand store. When it comes to office supplies I will also ask my son’s school if they can use any extra staples or whatever it is that I am not using.
The final area you mention is the makeup and the nail polish
How did you go about decluttering this area in your own home?
I feel like makeup and nail polish can be over looked when decluttering because we think we use all of it. After I decluttered all of the obvious things in my home like clothes and duplicates I decided to dig a little deeper and go through my makeup, nail polish and lotions and potions.
Once I started looking through my makeup I realized I had some makeup left over from high school. Makeup can go bad after a long time too! I now know my makeup style and it was easy for me to get rid of all the bright colored makeup that I wouldn’t use.
I loved going into more detail on this podcast with Stephanie from Mama Minimalist and getting to hear her tips and tricks. It is always nice to talk about ways to simplify our lives. You can find the full podcast interview here.