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

This post contains affiliate links.

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Decluttering with Clutter Interrupted!

Last week I showed you lots of clutter pictures, especially of my Clutter (Kitchen) Island. I also told you that I found some new inspiration. Now you get to read all about it and see some progress and an after picture!

Here’s the story.

I was visiting one of my favorite organizing blogs, I’m an Organizing Junkie, and she was talking about how she was interviewed on the Clutter Interrupted Radio show. Well, I love listening to podcasts while I do household tasks like dishes and laundry (so that I’m not bored out of my mind), so I was all over it!

Once I heard the show (the hosts are Tracy and Chelle, by the way), I was pretty much hooked. So I listened to all of the archives, too. And they have great blog posts to go along with each radio show topic each week, too. Sweet!

Now for the show that inspired me and changed my thinking about my constantly cluttered kitchen island. It’s this one: Next Stop. The Clutter Zone.

On that show and in a blog post, Tracy and Chelle talk about the 3 Steps to get Started Organizing your Clutter Zone.

Here they are:

Step 1: Ask, “What is in the clutter? Why?”

This is the one that was earth shattering for me. WHY is this clutter here??? WHY? Why didn’t I think about the why before?? Maybe it was just the right timing for me to really hear this, or maybe it was my auditory learning kicking in, but it was like a lightbulb went on.

Later I remembered that I actually have analyzed my clutter once before. When I decluttered my master bedroom. That might be the only time.

Of course I needed to figure out why this island keeps getting cluttered and then make changes to help us keep it clear. And I’m not talking about a  general/big picture-type analysis, I’m talking details.

I actually wrote down a list of the things I found on the island and tried to think of why they were there. No, I didn’t write down every single item, but I did notice trends as I was writing things down. This is just the front side of the paper to give you an idea of what I did.

100_6994

Step 2: Reenact: Reality first. Ideal next.

In this step we are supposed to “reenact” what happens when we put things on the island and then talk about what the ideal situation would be. The way I did this was sort of interviewing my family members (except the 3 yr. old) about why they put things on the island and leave them there.

Gabe (7), had a cheery response, “It seems like a great place to put it.”

Ok! Let’s find an even better place!

This step fit in really well with adding to that Why list I made.

Here are some of the reasons that came up more than once:

  • Item doesn’t have a “home”/Don’t know what to do with it
  • The place to put it is too hard to get to, or already overflowing with clutter
  • Keeping things “safe” (away from the 3 yr. old, usually)
  • Keeping things (usually paper) handy, because some action needs to happen with it, or it has important information to refer to later.

I sort of forgot to talk to everyone about the “ideal” part, but I know at least the adults in this house want everything to get put away in its own proper place (and some of those places are yet to be determined). There.

Step 3: Use END CLTR to organize your clutter zone.

END CLTR is an acronym for Tracy and Chelle’s signature organizing method. It gives you the steps to follow to organize a space. You can read more about it in this blog post where they used END CLTR to do a Mud Closet Makeover.

So here’s how it went for me and the island:

E: Empty

Start by emptying the space. I do this for some decluttering projects, but for some reason I haven’t done it with the island. I usually just pick and plod away at it trying to get everything put away. It wasn’t working most of the time.

So I grabbed some boxes and bins and started removing everything from the island and categorizing it as I went, which brings me to the next step….

But first I have to say that it felt SO GOOD just to get all of that stuff off that island!

N: Name Piles

THIS is all the stuff that has been cluttering up my island! Seeing it this way also helps with the “What is in the clutter?” question. There was more paper than anything. A decent amount of kid stuff, kitchen stuff, and look at that trash/recycling that was just sitting on my island!

Categories of clutter from the kitchen island

D: Decide

This is where we decide what to keep, donate, and relocate. Most of this stuff just needed to be put away in the correct place.

I put away the kitchen stuff (had to throw away a few things). I put an apple bookend in the donate bin. I put the arts and crafts stuff in the arts and crafts bin (which needs its own decluttering). I gave the kids’ stuff to them to put away (I may have thrown out a few things first).

C: Contain

The fact is, I don’t want much on my island at all, so I don’t want to do too much containing of stuff there. Right now I have 3 things that should “live” there (and they could get kicked off, too): My fruit bowl (Which should only have food, not toys and paper!), my pretty flour container, and my paper towel holder.

Here’s my BIG idea for the kid/toy clutter that I know will end up there unless I can invent a force field for protection. I’m going to keep that blue container (from the picture above) in the kitchen and whenever I find toys and such on the island, I will put them into that bin. Then it’s the kids’ job to put it where it belongs! I hope you love that idea, because I do!!

Now about that paper clutter. Huge amounts of paper clutter. Guess what? I have a solution worked out thanks again to Clutter Interrupted! One new thing I have is an inbox, but that’s not all. I’ll tell you all about it and show you pictures in my next post! I can’t wait to show you!

L: Label

Not necessary in this case. :-)

T: Test/Treat

Now I need to test things out and see how they go. Right now things look good. I know a lot of it is just putting things away every day so that it doesn’t pile up to an overwhelming state. I may need to test out some different places for my inbox. I’m trying to pick a place that is not actually on the island, but near it.

I’m planning to test things out until October 1st, because that is about a month into the new school year, and you know school = clutter.

Can you believe I almost forgot to put a before/after shot in this post? The after picture is the “Treat” part of this T.

Clutter Island Before:

Kitchen Island 7-20-13

Kitchen Island After!!

Kitchen Island!!!

R: Revisit

On or about October 1st I’m going to revisit the kitchen island and see what is working and what needs to change (if anything). I’m going to put that date on my Google calendar to remind me.

Thanks Tracy and Chelle from  Clutter Interrupted  for helping interrupt my clutter!

And in case anyone is wondering, I am not affiliated with Clutter Interrupted in any way. I just love what they are doing and wanted to share!  :-)

I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have a clutter zone where you would like to try this method? If you have any additional ideas for me, I always love to hear those, too!

I linked this post up with the Organize It! Link Party.

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Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Hot Spot Check Up, How To, Kids