Weeks 10 – 52 (That’s embarrassing) : The 365 Declutter Challenge – I did it!

Well Hello There! Soooo I guess I’m overdue on an update for the 365 Declutter Challenge. You know, the one from 2014? Sorry I went missing for so long! Those of you who emailed and left comments while I was away – thank you! It meant a lot to know that I was missed.

Life got in the way for a while and then when I went back to blog again, and I couldn’t access the back end of my blog! Something went wrong with an auto-update and I didn’t know how to fix it. But once I asked the awesome folks at Dreamhost (I use them to host my blog) for help, they fixed the problem in 20 minutes or less! Yay! If only I had asked them sooner!

And then I just had a hard time getting started again. You know what’s weird? As much as I wanted to blog, I felt kind of guilty doing it. I felt like I really should be doing dishes, laundry, or putting groceries away that have been sitting on the floor for days.

But here’s the thing: My house actually looks better when I am keeping up with the blog. I thought that was true, and my sister confirmed it for me. So I shall continue on!

Now for the update! I took lots of pictures of the things I was decluttering, but due to disorganization and technical difficulties, I can’t access them. Boo. I was going to let that stop me, but that’s silly! Here’s the best I can do right now. This is what my decluttering sheet looked like when I went to update it:


2014 decluttering chart with stickies

I got rid of lots of clothes, paper, shoes, stuffed animals, magazines, catalogs, an Aerobed, a toddler basketball hoop, broken buckets/outside toys, cookbooks, and a vacuum cleaner!

My goal was to get rid of 365 things in 2014 (one thing a day). I did it! I actually got rid of 479 things! Here’s the final decluttering chart for 2014:

Final 2014 Decluttering chart

The Big Question: Did it make a difference?

Even though 479 things left this house, I can’t say it was enough to really make a difference. It is definitely progress, and I am happy about that. It’s moving in the right direction for sure. But there are still too many things in this house, and I am determined to continue decluttering.

I know that my home will be more peaceful and less stressful. I know that I will be able to spend more time on things that are truly important if I am not spending so much time managing and digging through clutter.

What’s Next?

I am planning to continue blogging and sharing about my decluttering adventures. Maybe some other things thrown in there, too. Even though it’s a late start, I did print out the 2015 version of Nourishing Minimalism’s Decluttering Chart. I haven’t decided for sure about what goal to set this year, but I’m thinking 500. It’s tempting to try for 2,015, but I’m still not sure I can manage that in 1 year. We’ll see!

I know a bunch of you were also doing the 365 Declutter Challenge. How did you do? I’d love to hear about it! I’m also taking requests if there is anything in particular you would like me to write about this year. 

This post contains affiliate links.

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Weeks 8 and 9: The 365 Declutter Challenge – baby stuff and kids’ clothes

It’s time to report on weeks 8 and 9 of The 365 Declutter Challenge

Week 8

This was the week that our wonderful house guests actually arrived. Yay! In the hours before they arrived, while we were doing the last-minute (or last-hours) freak out cleaning, I got rid of some more stuff.

This was all stuff from Anna’s room, which used to be the nursery. But my babies are growing up and it’s time to get rid of the baby stuff.

I know those baskets aren’t necessarily “baby,” but I don’t have room for all of them (I did keep 2) and I don’t want to keep them just to watch stuff start collecting in them. How’s that for progress?

Don’t be too impressed, because I also threw a bunch of stuff (mostly clothes) into bags and stuffed them into closets. Yes, I did.

bye bye baby stuff

Week 9

Here we have some kids’ clothes heading out the door!

boy clothes

And this week I realized that we have a lot of kids’ clothes that need to go! I mean wow.

So that’s 7 things for week 8 (orange) and 26 things for week 9 (purple)!

more clutter counting

What have you been up to?

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Weeks 7: The 365 Declutter Challenge – House Guests!!! Before and After pics, too!

Hi Everyone! Sorry I missed doing a week 7 update! I’m hoping to get week 8 posted tomorrow and then I’ll be caught up.

Here’s what happened: Our dear friends who live out of state called to let us know they were coming into town for a funeral. I offered to let them stay here if they needed a place to stay. They accepted!

A couple of crazy things about this:

1. Am I crazy??? Have you seen the state of my house?? Serious disaster area!

2. This is a 3 bedroom house. We have 5 people in our family. They have 7. Last time I checked that means 12 people in a 3 bedroom house. Crazy! But super fun, too!

A couple of good things about this:

1. We were motivated to clean and declutter. We had to, or people would be standing, sitting, and sleeping on clutter.

2. These are awesome friends (they were both in our wedding). They know us well enough not to expect a super tidy neat and clean house.

Well, Mr. RSS was not kidding around about making progress in the basement. Here’s what he was able to accomplish in less than one day.

Ready?

Before:
(FYI – these are before pics I took in January, so that rocking horse is in the pictures even though I got rid of it a few weeks ago):

cluttery basement

After:

basement progress

Before:

basement clutter party

2 After shots:

Yay!

Much better

What went out the door?

3 old computers

old computers

2 shoes (actually 3 individual shoes – 1 pair and 1 single), a book/cartridge from an old LeapPad (water damage), and a bag of miscellaneous clothes and kid stuff (I counted this as 10 things)

shoes, book, cartridge

7 boxes of mostly clothes (I counted each box as 15)

boxes of clothes

Soooo that means I had a lot of little x’s to make….

121 things out the door!

121 things out the door for week 7!!!

In summary: My husband is a decluttering rock star.

What have you been up to? Any decluttering?

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Week 6: The 365 Declutter Challenge – Food Waste

Ok! Time to report on week 6 of The 365 Declutter Challenge. This week I was mad at myself because I hate it when I waste food. I did a quick clean out on the refrigerator and came out with this:

food waste

And about 1/3 of this bag of trash is food waste. Grrrr.

food waste

Here’s a jar of caramel the kids found that had a best by date of May 2008!

old caramel

And then I pulled some old baby food out of the pantry. It makes me so mad that I wasted this!! I could have given it to someone else before it expired, or used it in baking or cooking.

baby food, boots, hat, vac. bags

Other items include old vacuum bags that we don’t have a need for anymore, a hat and boots that are too small, and a pair of jeans. I think I attempted to get rid of these jeans once before and they stuck around anyway for some reason. So I didn’t include them in my “official” count.

I just counted all of the fridge food waste as 6, plus everything else gave me 19 clutter items out the door for week 6!

clutter counting - 19

If you want to read something more lighthearted about food waste, check out my Ten Ways to Waste Food.

And if you are in the mood for something more Valentines-y, read about my Love by Decluttering post from a couple of years ago.

Fill me in on what’s going on with you! Do you have a certain type of clutter that makes you mad?

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Week 5: The 365 Declutter Challenge – The Purple Coat

It’s time to give updates on week 5 of The 365 Declutter Challenge!

It was kind of a tough week for me. Maybe I can blame some of that on my cold, but maybe it was just me having a hard time making decisions and saying goodbye to things.

I spent way too much time wandering around my house with the vague idea that I needed to find things to get rid of, but having trouble picking anything.  But I persevered, mostly thanks to the fact that I knew I had to get this blog post up. Thanks so much for helping to keep me accountable!

Here’s what I ended up with:

decluttering the purple coat

  • A purple coat. This coat was passed on to me maybe 2-3 years ago. It’s a nice warm coat and I kept it to use as a “backup” coat that I might use when it’s really cold. Well, it’s been really cold and I haven’t been wearing it. Why am I holding onto a perfectly nice warm coat just to have as a backup? Someone else might be so thankful to have this coat to keep them warm every day! Giving this coat away makes me happy.
  • A T-shirt and some pants that Mr. RSS picked out to send out the door. (For those of you who are new around here, “Mr. RSS” is my husband’s nickname here on the blog, short for “Mr. Ready Set Simplify”)
  • Some old baby medicines. Most of them expired in 2007 or 2009. I counted these as 4 because there were 4 different types of medicines.
  • Cell phone chargers – 1 broken and 2 very old. I counted these as 2 instead of 3 since 2 of them were identical.
  • A rocking horse (see picture below). This guy has been hanging out on this chair in the basement for too long. Time for him to get out and get some exercise! It turned out our church’s nursery really needed something like this. Perfect!

Rocking Horse on a cluttered chair

That made 10 things for me for week 5:

Counting clutter - 10 more things!

How was your week? 

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Week 4: The 365 Declutter Challenge – Kids’ books

It’s week 4 reporting time! If you want to catch up on what I’m doing in this challenge, check out these previous posts:

I’m Decluttering 365 Things in 2014!
Week 1: Easy Bake Oven!
Week 2: The clothes didn’t fit in the drawer
Week 3: Lots of kids’ clothes!

This week I decided to attack some of the kids’ books.

kids' books

I focused on the books that have been living in the big kids’ bedroom. I have been wanting a bookshelf for that room for a long time, but I can be pretty frugal/patient/distracted when it comes to things like that, so the books have just been lined up/piled up on the floor for years. You can see an older post showing that here.

Well, as I was taking before pictures for this whole 365 challenge (which I haven’t been brave enough to post), I realized we had an old Ikea furniture piece that could work quite well as a small bookcase/nightstand.

Somehow it ended up in our small upstairs hallway surrounded by clutter. It turned out to be a blurry picture, too, but I’m throwing it in here because I know some of you enjoy these clutter pics.

Upstairs hallway clutter

So I moved it on into their bedroom and we worked together to pick which books would stay and which ones would we could send out the door.

Things we considered while decluttering our books:

  • How much do we love this book? Do we enjoy rereading it? 
  • Is the book damaged? (We got rid of several like this, but we also kept a few because we still love them and read them.)
  • We had to all agree to get rid of the book. If one person (most often my 4-year-old) wanted to keep the book, we kept it for now. I’m sure we will revisit books again this year!

I realized I forgot to take a nice picture of the finished bookcase, so I just ran up there and took this picture in the dark while they were sleeping:

Books on shelves

A few of our Favorite Keepers:

This one Anna (age 4) would like me to read every. single. day.

Gabe (age 7) is crazy about this one.

Ella (age 9) is loving Narnia.

(The 3 book pictures above are Amazon affiliate links, just so ya know.)

We have 19 books heading out the door! There are a few math workbooks and baby board books that I threw in there on my own.

Decluttering kids' books
And…..I bumped over the 100 mark!!

Counting clutter chart

What have you been decluttering? Do tell!

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Week 3: The 365 Declutter Challenge – Lots of kids’ clothes!

Time to report on week 3! If you want to catch up on what I’m doing in this challenge, check out these previous posts:

I’m Decluttering 365 Things in 2014!
Week 1: Easy Bake Oven!
Week 2: The clothes didn’t fit in the drawer

I was on a roll with the kiddie clothes! Check out my mostly-blurry picture! (It’s almost like I meant to do that in an artsy way, right? Right.)

Getting rid of kids' clothesI had 2 motivators this week:

1. I need to find some stuff to send out the door!

2. There is a toddler girl coming over to my house tomorrow.

Put those together and you get: I’ll find some toddler clothes to give away to my friend!

I didn’t time myself, but I think it was under an hour that I worked through some miscellaneous laundry baskets and piles of clothes and came up with 63 things!!! Wahoo!

They are separated by size now (brilliant) and the pile in the middle has those stained/ripped/not-so-great clothes. I usually cut those up for rags, but if you have any other ideas (especially for jeans), I would love to hear them!

I also found some more boy things to pass on to my nephews. Oh, and the trashy-looking pile of bags on the left is just that. I was looking for bags to put the clothes in and I found those 3 ripped up bags in my bedroom!? I didn’t even bother counting them in my 63 things, but they made it into the picture.

Speaking of 63 things, check it out:

counting clutter

That was fun. (If you want a chart like mine, you can get one over at Nourishing Minimalism if you sign up for the free mailing list.)

OK! Your turn! And please feel free to join in with the challenge at any point if you haven’t yet!

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Week 2: The 365 Declutter Challenge – The clothes didn’t fit in the drawer

Time for the Week 2 update! If you want to catch up on what I’m doing in this challenge, check out these previous posts:

I’m Decluttering 365 Things in 2014!
Week 1: Easy Bake Oven!

I have a fairly simple update for you today. The inspiration for this week’s decluttering was my son’s shirt drawer. As he was putting away his clean clothes, he said, “Mommy, I can’t put these away, they won’t fit in my drawer.” 

Instead of telling him to just put them somewhere else for now, we took action and I said, “I’m sure you have some shirts that don’t fit you anymore or that you just don’t like to wear that much. Let’s get rid of those until we have enough room for you to be able to easily close this drawer.”

It didn’t dawn on me until now that I should have taken a before and after picture of the drawer. Oh well. We ended up getting rid of 6 shirts and a random pair of underwear that fit him 3 years ago. On a different day, we discovered a pair of pants that were too small. That’s 8 things heading out the door! The pile on the right is going to his cousin, and the pile on the left is off to Goodwill.

boy clothes to give away

Working towards that 365 goal…

week 2 decluttering update

What have you been decluttering? Inspire me!

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Week 1: The 365 Declutter Challenge – Easy Bake Oven!

So, I decided to get rid of 365 things in 2014. Oh! And I decided on a name for the project: The 365 Declutter Challenge!

Here’s what’s leaving from week 1:

week 1 decluttering

The goal is 7 things each week. This week I have gone to 11!!

What’s Heading out the door?

  • An Easy Bake Oven!!! I always wanted one of these as a kid and I never had one. (Boo hoo.) So when I had the chance to get one for free from someone at church, of course I jumped on it! How cool! And we had so much fun with it…about 3 times. And then I realized that this thing is a lot of work to make 1 teeny tiny little itsy bitsy cake. Wouldn’t it be more fun to just use the real oven and make a big cake? Then I just went ahead and left that Easy Bake Oven in my kitchen cabinet for about… 4 years. Until now! This one is sneaking out the door. And now I have more space in that cabinet!
  • 7 miscellaneous small toys – the kids helped with these. The (off brand) “Mega Bloks” are from a set we already gave away.
  • The stuffed dog. The dog was a sweet gift. And it looks just like our old dog who died. Which is why this thing has creeped out the adults in this house too many times. It looks too real when you just catch a glimpse of it from the corner of your eye. And it’s watching you. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. I didn’t tell the kids I was getting rid of it, but they don’t play with it anymore. I’m sneaking it out. Here’s a picture of our real Snugs. She was the best dog!

Chillin' on the dock

  • 2 pots – One has a coating that is peeling badly and I’m not interested in eating that stuff with my food, the other one I just don’t use. Here’s a before and after of that space:

decluttering pots and pans

 

How I’m keeping track of my progress

I found this great super-easy chart for tracking decluttering from Nourishing Minimalism. She is doing a 2014 in 2014 Decluttering Challenge, which is so awesome but a little too overwhelming for me right now. You just have to subscribe to her mailing list to get the printable chart for free. Of course you can make your own or keep track in other ways, too. But this was perfect for me. I put a red border around the 365 box so that I can see my goal a little better, but I’m hoping to go past it and I think 2014 things is a great stretch goal for me.

Keeping track of decluttering thanks to Nourishing Minimalism

 So how is your decluttering going? I would love to hear about it in the comments! It’s not too late to join me on this challenge!

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I’m Decluttering 365 things in 2014!

Declutter 365 Things in 2014 with Ready. Set. Simplify.

Hey There! I want to do a post giving you all kinds of updates on what’s been going on around here, but I just need to tell you about this first.

This is one of those ideas that has been hanging out in my mind, and then in my drafts folder for too long – It’s time for action! Here we go….

There’s this problem I have as I go around my house trying to declutter, organize, and just clean up. I often want to put things away and there’s just no room to put it away.

Examples:

  • I want to put away a medicine bottle, and the medicine cabinet is already full.
  • I’m working on this paper decluttering project, so I go to file something, but my file cabinet is full.
  • I want to put away my pitcher, but that cabinet is already so full, it can’t close all the way.
  • My daughter has some new hand-me-down clothes that are sitting on the floor because there is no room to put them away.

It’s frustrating in that moment when I’m trying to do the right thing and put something away, but it won’t fit.

It’s not because all of these spaces are too small. It’s because there is too much stuff in this house!

I know. Shocker.

Money Saving Mom did a Clutter-Busting Challenge in May where she challenged everyone to get rid of 7 things a day for the whole month of May. I really wanted to do it, but I knew at that time there was just no way. (By the way, I’m super excited about her new book coming out in January: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.)

I read Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, and she also got rid of 7 things a day for a month. I was really thinking about trying it and posting here on the blog, but I just didn’t think I could keep up with that pace.

Then I remembered Megan’s blog, Declutter Daily. Her plan was to get rid of 1 thing a day for 365 days. I’m pretty sure she got rid of more than that. I miss that blog, and I always thought that was such a fabulous and simple plan.

So that’s what I’m planning to do:

365 things out the door in 2014!

That’s 1 thing a day. 7 things in a week.

I can do this.

My plan is to post about the things I’m purging once a week. You know I need something like that to keep me accountable!

You can’t trust me to declutter on my own.

Rules:

I might need to make up some rules as I go along, but the overall goal here is to get rid of lots of stuff, not get bogged down with rules. Here are a few thoughts I have going into the project:

Paper clutter: I’ll count a good-sized stack as 1 thing.
Regular household trash/recycling doesn’t count.
A set of 50 marbles counts as 1 thing, not 50.

Want to join me?

Boy would I love it if some of you wanted to do this with me. Let me know in the comments! If you want to join me, you can simply share your updates in the comments of my weekly blog posts.

Or, if you have a blog and you want to blog your updates along with me, let me know, and I’ll figure out a way to do one of those link-ups. (That would be so fun!)

I’m wondering if I need a special name for this project, like “The 2014 Purge” or “Declutter 365″ or something. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Happy New Year and Happy Decluttering in 2014!

Check out the other posts in this series:

Week 1: Easy Bake Oven!
Week 2: The clothes didn’t fit in the drawer
Week 3: Lots of kids’ clothes!
Week 4: Kids’ books
Week 5: The Purple Coat

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