As we slide into the beginning of summer, it’s time to get domestic and focus on your home’s condition. You may be asking, “How is spending more time on my house going to give me more free time to do summer activities outside?” That’s a great question! I’m going to show you how to have more time this summer with a garage sale and a clean (empty) house.
Wouldn’t you like to have more time this summer to enjoy yourself? Would you like to have time to play with your kids, go on neighborhood walks, go fishing, go to the beach, have family bbqs, or go to the park? Maybe you’re dying to take the family on a summer vacation. But who has time for all those things?
How much free time do you really have on the weekends? Just because it’s summer time doesn’t mean your life is any less busy than the rest of the year. Between summer camps, the kids’ summer sports, work, dishes, laundry, and other necessary home chores that keep our families dressed, fed, and clean, who has time to schedule fun activities?
If you’re like my family, having time to play in the summer is a huge priority. We live in Alaska and are stuck indoors all winter long, so making the most of our short summer months is really important to us. At the same time, your weekends may be busier than your weekdays. Just because you have the day off work doesn’t mean you don’t have a dozen projects at home on your to-do list that you haven’t had time to start yet.
The Connection Between Possessions and Freedom (Things and Time)
There is a concrete relationship between the things you have (or possessions) and the free time you have (freedom). For example, buying a bigger house adds extra bedrooms and bathrooms that have to be cleaned. The more toys your kids have, the longer it takes them to clean up and the longer it takes you to help them organize. Finding places for all of our things is tough. The more clothes your kids have, the longer it takes you to sort through what’s too small, wash and pack it all away, or try to sell it all on eBay, or take it to the donation drop-off. Plus, then you still have to dig out the bigger clothes from the garage for them to grow into. Since your garage or shed is probably packed full, it will probably take you quite a while to accomplish that task too.
You see, any way you look at it, more stuff = the more time you have to give to your stuff. Less stuff means you have more free time to spend doing things you enjoy, whether it’s an outing to the playground with your kids or just having a Saturday morning to have coffee with your spouse.
Do you want to spend more time with your stuff or with people and on activities you choose? We already know the answer. Choosing time over stuff is the easy part. The hard part is letting go of the stuff and emptying your house so you have more time.
Start With a Good Declutter – And be Ruthless
So you want to have more time this summer? Start with a good declutter of your house, and be absolutely ruthless! This means using some very strict guidelines and getting rid of at least 10% of your stuff. 10% might seem like a lot to give up at the outset, so let’s break it down into simpler terms. Have 20 lipsticks? Get rid of 2. See? That wasn’t so bad!
Pick a spot in your home (the middle of the floor in your garage is a perfect spot) to start building a mountain out of all the decluttered items.
Now, I realize decluttering is challenging because it can be difficult to let go of your stuff. I’ve been through the decluttering process many times and it goes much better if you have a good plan in place. Here are a few tips for different kinds of decluttering that you might find helpful:
- Decluttering the Bathroom Closet
- Declutter Your Closet: Why is it So Hard to Let Go of Clothes?
- Simple Decluttering Criteria for Clothes and Criteria part 2
- Declutter by Returning Borrowed Items
- Clutter Busting: The One in, One Out Rule
- Decluttering All The Paper – Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3
- Decluttering with a Big Family
Next Comes the Garage Sale
Take all your decluttered items and smile! Your house is about to get emptier. First, sort all your items that you intend to get rid of into what can be sold at a garage sale and what needs to be thrown in the trash.
One big, heavy duty garage sale should do wonders for clearing out all the unneeded items as well as bringing in a little extra cash for your efforts! Plan your garage sale and get it listed on Craigslist for free for extra traffic. It helps to take pictures of some of your big items and put them in your garage sale listing with prices.
After the garage sale is over, its really up to you what to do with the leftovers. Do you have the stamina to have another garage sale with the leftovers? If not, find a place to donate your unsold items, such as Goodwill or a local homeless shelter.
Evaluate Your Progress
Did you really declutter enough? Is there a remarkable difference in your house that you and your family can both feel? If you still feel congested in your home or find yourself spending time looking for things or moving and organizing stored items, it’s time to go through the house for yet another purge. Remember that each item you give up now gives you extra time to spend with your family doing things you actually want to do!
Remember the all important 1 in 1 out rule so you make your progress and your clean house permanent. Good luck on your decluttering process, and enjoy all the extra time you just freed up this summer!