Instead of talking about counts this week, I want to tell you a little of what has been going on here. We just moved into a new house with very little warning. I had 3 weeks to get as packed as possible while watching my littles, and then moving day happened. Maybe you are much better at culling your life than I am, but I still had a lot of stuff that didn't get thoroughly gone through before we moved. That means I moved clutter from one house to another. sigh
The easiest place to see the clutter is in clothing. We have so much clothing we don't use. I have been trying very hard to get rid of unwanted clothing the since I started this project, but... I have been holding on to a lot unnecessarily. Clothes that don't fit well, but have memories attached (note to self, I am not going to be 4 inches shorter for a looooong time...), clothing I liked when I bought it, but haven't worn in a long time. Clothing that other people could be wearing, instead of sitting neglected in the back of my closet.
I realize my relationship with clothing is not the same as others': My rule for jeans is if they don't smell and they aren't visibly dirty, they don't need to go in the laundry. I have several pairs, but I only wear one or two pairs until they fall apart, then I pull a pair out of reserve. (I have been known to mend a favorite pair of jeans until there is no possibly way to mend it again, and then I turn it into something else.) I don't sweat, so a single tank top can last me an entire weekend, and the only reason I put it in the laundry is because it is stretched out. The same goes for t-shirts and socks (aired out over night, of course). My jeans rule also applies to hoodies, sweaters and sweat shirts. The only clothes that automatically go in the laundry at the end of the day are undies.
You would think, with clothing rules like that, that I would rarely have to do laundry. Once upon a time, in college, that was true. I did one load of laundry every two weeks (and a second of bedding) and was good. Now, however, I find little hand prints on my shirts. Glasses of milk are spilled on my jeans. And, of course, I do laundry for my children and boyfriend, too. If they are being kind to laundry, I can get away with not having to do more than 2 loads of laundry a week. More often, though, I do a load (or two!) a day!!!!
These clothes are not always dirty, though. Well, okay, they are, but sometimes they are dirtied before that have been on a body. I don't mind doing laundry, but I HATE putting it away. Right now, I am looking at a basket of laundry waiting to be folded. Likely it will wait until tomorrow, because I put away 4 full baskets this morning. If it sits there long enough, my littlest will start pulling clothes out of the basket, one article at a time, and distribute them around our home. Some articles will be fine, ending up in harmless places: on a clean floor, on a bed, on the couch. Some articles, though, will be less lucky: dropped in a toilet, put in the dogs' water bowl outside, used to wipe up a spill on the floor.
I realized as I was folding a shirt I remembered folding a few days before, and a few days before that, but that had been worn by no one, that I was washing clothes that I shouldn't have to. Worse, it was a shirt I haven't worn in more than a year, and don't particularly want to wear now. That is when an idea happened. I put away the laundry that belonged to the rest of my family, and then I went through my closet, one section at a time, and pulled out 1/3 of it. That means if I had 9 around the house t-shirts, now I have 6. I picked 1/3 because it seemed like a big enough percent to make me really decide if I wanted to keep a shirt I haven't worn in 6 months but really love, but not a big enough number to make me have to chose between clothing I enjoy wearing frequently.
For the most part, it was pretty easy-peasy. For dressy t-shirts, it was a little more tricky, but after trying on a few of the contenders I easily decided on what could stay and what had to go.
I haven't tackled my dresser yet, but I have been keeping strict to the 1/3 rule as I unpack more caches of clothing. The pile on my dresser for friends to look through before I donate is getting bigger. I would guess there are about 40 things up for grabs right now (typing that makes me freak out a little at the implication of how much clothing I still own...).
Here is where the challenge comes in: Pick a percentage right now. 10% is good. 33% is good. Any number that you think will push you to get rid of things you don't wear anyway but won't cause you to have a panic attack is best. Now pick a drawer, or a section of your closet, and go through it, removing the appropriate number of articles and donating them. Or trading them. I don't recommend putting them in your craft stash unless you are going to use them RIGHT NOW - that is just a way to say you are cleaning out your closet without actually cleaning it out. Now enjoy your space, and the knowledge that the next time you grab out a t-shirt/pair of jeans/dress, it will be one you will actually want to wear.