If you’ve read any of my previous posts on decreasing objects in my tiny home and reeling in the tide of stuff that enters then you will know I strive for minimalism but it’s definitely still a struggle.  This past year has been full of change and I’ve been trying to focus myself on some specific goals as I move forward.  One of those is to recommit to minimalism.

Something I’ve always aspired to achieve is the 100 items per room.  Today I tackled my first room and thought that I’d share a bit of a ‘how to’ on going about this process.  Throwing away stuff seems pretty self-explanatory but if you don’t go in with a plan you’ll get tired, unfocused and derailed from your vision.

Let’s start with the 100 concept.  It’s an arbitrary number that can be applied in many different ways.  Some go as extreme as only owning 100 objects period, others take that as applying to categories such as clothing or toys.  I’m applying it to rooms in my house and you will have to decide where you are comfortable drawing that line.  Next I’d pick the easiest room in your house to begin.  I chose my back room which is our powder room and serves as storage.  It’s a small space with a moderate amount of stuff.

Step 1- Empty the room!  Here’s what the entire contents of my bathroom looks like on my living room floor.

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Step 2- Clean the empty room.  This is an opportune moment to get the space fully cleaned before you put everything back.

Step 3- Look at your pile of stuff and set aside the obvious items that fall into the following categories:  Necessities, Garbage, Donate, Gifts.  Some examples from my own room were Necessities (toothbrushes, toilet paper, etc.), Garbage (left over Hallowe’en candy, old make-up), Donate (old backpacks and bags), Gifts (neoprene wine bottle bag that I’ve never used.)  The necessities will jump out immediately and so will some garbage.  It’s the other two categories that take time.  I put the first round of items away in order to clear floor space and see what was left more clearly.  I counted them first to see where I was on my 100 items.
Take the time to think about where you put items back.  This is an opportunity to evaluate the logic of where items should go.  Also, clean anything that needs it before returning it to the fresh space.

Here are my necessities.

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Step 4- Take your time and be ruthless!  Admit to what you don’t use, to what is a duplicate of another item, to what you don’t need, to what you are holding on to out of a sense of want rather than need.  Remember to continue to count the items you put in the “keep” pile.

A note on counting:  how you decide to count your items is up to you.  Some people count sets of things as one item.  If you do this too much you’re not going to make a dent in your belongings, so challenge yourself.  In my case I had craft supplies so a bag of glue sticks I counted as one item, but things like my make-up I counted each eye-shadow and liner individually.  Another example is that I keep a few coats in the armoire which I didn’t count at all as I’m going to go through all my clothing another day and I will apply a numerical rule to clothing as a whole.  Overall I’d say to stick to individually counted items as much as possible.

Step 5- Sorting is completed.  It’s time to put everything away.  This should be simple now!  I probably decreased the number of items in my room by at least half, if not more.  Here are all my post its with my count: total number of items in the room 137!

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My example was a fairly simple and small space with items that were easy to part with.  There wasn’t a huge amount to go through and virtually nothing that would confront me with sentimental attachment.  But it still took me almost 5 hours.  You heard right, FIVE HOURS.  This is why when people think they can tackle their house in a weekend, I’m baffled.  I have been slowly plugging away at parring down for years now.  It’s a process and it takes time and effort, so set your bar high but also be forgiving if it starts to feel overwhelming.

Share your stories of “dismantling your house of want”