Category Archives: Squeaky Clean

Decluttering part 2: books

I decided to just pull the band aid off, and get rid of what I knew would be the hardest before moving onto the other stuff.

I had segued into this purge with my cookbooks and food magazines, but now, we’re into the nitty gritty: the novels, the short story collections, the memoirs.

Just kidding, I refused to get rid of my memoirs.

But I did donate – including cookbooks – 144 books to a local library today, and I managed to drive away without crying.

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Decluttering part 1: cookbooks and food magazines

Recently, the husband and I read (he listened via audio book) The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

Now, financially, we’re not in bad shape – we’re actually in pretty good shape. But we’d like to be better. Specifically, we’d like to be more mindful about spending habits, actually use a budget every month, pay off my student debt, and save for the future.

We’ll have been married for a year tomorrow, and you know what? Things are exactly the same as they were during the five years we were together before getting married. Except for one thing: money.

Our money is more combined than it ever was, which is a good thing, but it’s all the more reason to get on the same page.

What does this have to do with decluttering, you might be asking?

Well, in researching budgets in general after reading the book, the husband found Budgets Are Sexy, and through that dude, we found Blonde on a Budget.

This chick is ridiculously smart about money and budgeting. She paid off $30,000 of debt in two years by creating budgets and living a minimalist lifestyle. She went through a massive decluttering of her home, literally taking inventory of everything and getting rid of 60% of what she owned.

I spent hours reading her blog. And I began to get inspired. 

The husband and I often talked about getting rid of stuff. I did donate some clothes awhile back (big whoop). But usually the conversations go something like:

Me: We have too many Christmas decorations. We need to get rid of some.

Him: Well then let’s get rid of some Halloween decorations, too.

Me: (icy cold glare as I mentally wrap my arms around my pumpkins and witches and ghosts).

Or,

Me: Do you really need all of this electronic crap and computers and wires? Can’t you get rid of some of it?

Him: What about your books?

Me: (falls over and has a heart attack at the thought of parting with my beloved collection of paper and ink and pictures).

But now, we’re ready.

The easy part will be getting rid of our own stuff that we know we’re able to part with. The harder part will be getting rid of stuff we need to consult the other one about, but we’ll do it together, because that’s what married people do.

So as not to get overwhelmed, I’m going through stuff one category or section of the home at a time. And I’m going to document as I go along – maybe you’ll be motivated to cleanse your home as well.

The rule is: You don’t have to get rid of anything you use often or that you really, really treasure. Otherwise, be ruthless.

Now, I started with my cookbooks and food magazines. I have collected many cookbooks over the years – about half a dozen I use regularly, a few more sparingly, and the others go untouched.

I am subscribed to Food Network Magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and Bon Appetite – of the three I love Food Network the most, by far. (Also, I get Writer’s Digest, but I’m keeping those for now because there’s far fewer of them.)

I decided to rip out recipes I want from my magazines and toss the rest of them. Unused cookbooks will be donated. Hopefully this will be a good segue into donating a good chunk of my other books.

Continue reading Decluttering part 1: cookbooks and food magazines