Well, I have slowly, but surely started to get rid of stuff. Today I did our coat closet and the books in the kids rooms. I was shocked...well no too shocked, at the amount of coats I have. I got rid of 4 of my own coats and at least that many hat, scarf, mitten combos. I limited all of us to one winter coat (and snow pants for the kids), one "spring" jacket (also suitable for fall!), one rain coat and a dress coat for hubby and I. That is 17 coats right there!!! And I got rid of some. I had 2 denim jackets, 2 rain coats, 3 winter coats, and the shawl that Martha Stewart wore when she was released from prison (a copy!). I need my hubby to go through his coats. His collection includes more coats for his many outdoorsy pursuits: hunting clothes, rain gear, and the always handy Carhartt collection. I want to send those down to his workshop, but I have too much of my own stuff filling that space. It will all happen by the end of the purge. Once I get it all upstairs to be loaded into the car for the trip to the Salvation Army, I will take a picture and you can marvel at my progress! (or be disgusted by the excess!)
Next, I explained to my children that they were to clean out their bookshelves and that each of them would be able to save 20 books each. (For a house total of 60) I did not count books for sentimental value, like those given at baptisms or by grandparents, because those are keepers for sure. Kid # 1 cleared out his entire bookshelves and began with the keep pile, the give away for sure pile and the "Do I have to get rid of this?" pile. (Do you think he has watched an episode or 2 of Clean House?) We have filled 2 Sam's Club sized Pampers boxes with books for the local library's book sale. Kid # 1 emptied an entire shelf and has room for his invention box, chemistry set and microscope all on the other shelf. He was so proud of himself! My daughters have had a harder time, but luck out when they both agree on a book. That means there is one extra they get to keep. At 4 and 5 years old, it is a bit harder to part with things, but they are getting it.
I feel great about involving my kids in this process. My first inclination was to do it without them, but it is so much easier for them to get rid of the stuff when it is up to them. My goal for this week is to get the first round of stuff out of here and post the larger items on Craig's List. I also have a few large items to take to the children's resale shop. I am feeling lighter already.