Minimizing, House Cleaning, and the 2 Year Rule

    Every couple years Mama Bird and I get to a point where we have a moment asking, “do we need all this stuff?” and the answer is always no. We are definitely not hoarders, we keep our house very clean and organized but over time stuff just builds up and accumulates. Most times it’s stuff we don’t need. So after feeling like space is running out (baby stuff takes up a lot of space, and it’s only going to become more and more as time goes on) we had this moment again. It was time for a big minimalize movement in the house. This meant going through the entire house, room by room, box by box, item by item. To do this you need to use the 2 year rule.

    The 2 Year Rule: This rule is crucial if you are going to actually minimize the amount of stuff that you have just taking up space. It’s simple, if you haven’t used it in 2 years IT HAS TO GO (except sometimes I let it slide with Mama Bird’s stuff and certain stuff of mine. So I let it go to 3 years). It’s taking up space that’s not making it worthwhile to have. For example, Mama Bird had a pair of roller blades and I told her,

“We need to donate these”
“We can’t donate those. What if Baby Bird wants to roller blade when she is older? Then I will be able to go with her”
“Well since you and I have been together, you have only gone roller blading once and that was 6 years ago. So we might as well donate these and if Baby Bird does want to roller blade in the future we can buy you new ones then. It doesn’t make sense to hold onto an old pair of roller blades with the possibility that our daughter might do it.”

She agreed and now they are gone. I get the feeling that some of you might be thinking that’s a little too far to take it, it’s just a small pair of roller blades. If you are having that thought right there, that’s what leads to stuff you don’t need. Yeah the roller blades are small but all the stuff is small by itself. If you start using that thought process with every little thing you end up with boxes and boxes of stuff you’re not using. If you haven’t used it in 2-3 years get rid of it (There are some exemptions but not that many). If you haven’t used that canoe sitting in your back yard get rid of it and when you get to a point of wanting to go canoeing just borrow or rent one. If you haven’t used your tent in 5 years, get rid of it and cross that bridge of borrowing one when you actually decide to go camping. Just like time is the hot commodity in the game of life, space is the hot commodity in the game of house. Don’t waste valuable space with unnecessary stuff.

Here is the "Should I Keep This" flowchart to help you get rid of everything you don't need:

    Once you finish going through the “Should I Keep This” flowchart in every room with everything you have, you now have your 3 piles: Toss It, Donate It, and Sell It. If you follow it correctly you will be surprised how much stuff you don’t need or have been holding onto for too long. I know it’s hard to implement but do your best to actually see if you need to keep it. With the stuff you are keeping you need to be as efficient as possible when packing it up to be stored. I suggest getting the exact same containers so they stack the best. Just play the packing game of Tetris and you should be able to get everything stored away really nice.

    It doesn't matter what type of item it is, it can be sold if it's in good enough condition, whether it's shoes, decor, toys, or clothes, people will buy it.

     Once you go through the whole house, you realize how compact you can make all the keepsakes you need...

...and how much space you will save. Look at how empty our basement is now. All those empty containers in the corners were filled with stuff we didn't need.

    What spurred this years house cleaning purge is Mama Bird and I wanting to finish the basement and possibly get a renter in the basement. So the basement can no longer be used for storage, it has to be pretty much empty. Hopefully this helps with your house cleaning and minimizing needs. Do you agree with this method? Can you think of something that legitimately is excused from the 2 year rule? Let me know in the comments below.

- Papa Bird