Category Archives: Goals

Need a Kickstart to be Clutter Free? I do!

Hi Guys! Just a quick post to let you know about this e-course I’m taking:

Kickstart-Cover-FINAL-w-Shadow1

 

Something about the new year always makes me want to ramp up on the decluttering. I know I’m not alone! The problem is that even though I really want to do it, when I look at my mess I get overwhelmed. It’s hard for me to know where to start. Sometimes it’s just hard to start even if I know where I should start!

So when I saw that Kathi Lipp is doing a 2 week kickstart called Kickstart to Clutter Free (affiliate link), I was totally interested.

Here are some things I like about it so far:

  • 2 weeks: 500 things gone. That sounds awesome and a little scary all at once! But what makes it not as scary is that Kathi tells you what to get rid of each day. There are little assignments. She has an encouraging video and paper resources, too.
  • Only 15-30 minutes a day!
  • The course is self-paced and you have continuing access. It doesn’t expire after the 14 days, so you can revisit the materials over and over or spread it out over a longer period of time.
  • There is a place for comments on each day of the class, so you don’t feel like you are doing it alone.
  • Cost: $11.99  – Not crazy expensive or anything, but sometimes paying for something like this means you are more likely to follow through with it (I’ve learned that the hard way). And if you are selling or donating some of the things you declutter, you might just make that money back. And it is a lot cheaper than paying a professional organizer to help you get rid of 500 things!

Just so you know who you are working with for the e-course, Kathi Lipp is a Christian author and speaker. One of her books is Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space. (I haven’t read it yet, but it looks good!) She’s funny and down-to-earth. And she hasn’t always been clutter-free (another reason I like her)!

One of the first things Kathi says to start with is finding someone to help hold you accountable. Soooo I’m planning to blog my way through this e-course. If you don’t hear from me for  a while, you have permission to bug me about it! (Comment, Facebook, email me). And if you want me to help hold you accountable, then comment on this post and tell me you are going to do this with me!

If you want to join me in the e-course, click here to register and let’s get rid of 500 things in 2 weeks together!

By the way, especially for those of you who have been following my blog for a while, I do have a post started giving lots of updates on what’s been going on with me while I’ve been a little absent around here.

This post contains affiliate links, so if you buy something from clicking one of those links, it helps keep things running around here. Thanks! 

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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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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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Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Goals, Kids

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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4 Things I’ve Learned and My New Cleaning Schedule

4 things I’ve learned in the past year:

1. Maintenance is key

2. Planning is important

3. Cleaning and decluttering go hand-in-hand (I didn’t want to admit that for a long time!)

4. Accountability is very helpful

My first real attempt at a cleaning schedule was about a year ago. And I think it was a good start. I also posted a couple of updates here and here. I have been meaning to revise it for quite a while and just haven’t been able to figure out the best way to organize it.

So I started searching around for what was already out there. I actually tried someone else’s cleaning schedule a couple of years ago and it just didn’t work for me at all, but what I found this time is very exciting because it is customizable! These downloadable forms are from Money Saving Mom, which happens to be one of my favorite blogs, too!

Here is the link to all of Crystal’s Household Management Forms.

The one I am using here is this one: Customizable Cleaning Lists.

And here it is with my personal customizations (you can also see Crystal’s personal cleaning lists filled out here):

I want to get back to using my timer for those 15 min. cleaning/decluttering sessions. The days of the week on the right side help me know where to focus that day, so that nothing gets ignored for too long (assuming I follow the plan).

And here’s the second page, which covers monthly/semi-annual cleaning:

I have been attempting to use this plan for a couple of months now, and while I haven’t been able to accomplish everything on the list in any particular week yet, I feel like I am on the right track. I have goals and plans!

Do you have a cleaning schedule? I’d love to hear about it!

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What happened to my bedroom in 11 months

I told you yesterday that I’m doing a “Love by Decluttering” theme for my husband for the month of February, with the master bedroom as the big month-long project. I also told you I would post before pictures today. Oh boy.

I must say I’ve been dreading showing you these pictures, but I know it needs to happen. I need the accountability.

So I’m just going to warn you that they are bad. Really bad.

But really bad before pictures make for even better after pictures, right? I’m just going to look forward to that.

What makes it extra hard is the fact that I cleaned up and organized the closet area of the bedroom about 11 months ago. And it was so fabulous. I really didn’t think I would mess it all up again.

But I did. Not right away, but over time.

Part of this project will be analyzing what happened and coming up with some solutions to prevent it from happening again.

Ready? Let’s take a look.

This doesn’t seem too bad…

Wrapping paper, boxes of kids clothes, a potty seat. Wait. Which room are we in again?

Laundry baskets, unfinished decluttering projects, another potty seat…

Mega clutter pile. Mega, I tell ya.

The kids asked me why I have a box of microwave popcorn in my room. I told them it is in case I get hungry in the middle of the night. They didn’t buy it.

This stack of boxes contains books that once belonged to Mr. RSS’s grandfather. They have been siting in these boxes in our house for at least 8 years.

His side is not nearly as bad as mine.

And now we conclude our Tour o’ Clutter in the master bedroom. I’ll get to work and I’ll be back with an update on this project on February 10th.

Are you working on any decluttering/organizing projects this month?

I’m excited to be linking up with the 29 Day Organizational Challenge over at Org Junkie!

 

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Getting ahead of the things that make me fall behind

I had a lightbulb moment the other day. Sort of  a revelation. My mind was spinning all morning trying to figure out why I struggle so much with keeping up the house. Well, I didn’t figure it all out, but in the process of all the mind spinning, I realized that I should focus on some of the things that seem to have a domino effect in my day.

Like dinner. I struggle with getting dinner ready on time.

So I thought about it and backtracked through a typical day.

When it’s time to start dinner, I can’t just start cooking. First I have to wash any pots,  pans, and knives I might need to use. And I might need to clear out at least one side of the sink. And clear/clean some counter space. And find the ingredients – including the ones that are still in their grocery bag on the floor left from a few days ago.

This is why it takes me so long to make dinner!

Then the table needs to be cleared so that we can eat. And when dinner is done, the dishes all get piled up in the sink with the rest of the dishes from the day, because the dishwasher has clean dishes in it that were never put away. 

After that we need to rush through homework and getting the kids in bed, which usually ends up being late because dinner started late.

Then the kitchen gets cleaned….or at least the dishes…usually. And then there’s laundry, and I have to check email and my blog, right? I get to bed too late.

So if I can put away the clean dishes early in the day, then the dirty dishes throughout the day should be able  to go right into the dishwasher. This helps with both the dishes-piled-up-in-the-sink problem and the clearing the counter/table problem!

I should be able to actually start cooking dinner sooner, which should help the evening routine to go smoother, etc, etc! I know, it won’t always work perfectly, but I think if I can get ahead of the dishes thing by simply emptying the dishwasher early in the day, that will ultimately help dinner to be ready on time!

Check it out!

Of course I have known before that this would be a good and helpful thing, but I don’t think I realized what a big impact it could make on my whole day. I know for some of you this is a ridiculously obvious thing, but for me…I needed a lightbulb moment!

What other things help you get ahead of the crazy?

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Project: Simplify: Getting things OUT the door and paper sorting

This is the last week of Project: Simplify over at Tsh’s blog, Simple Mom. And this week we get to pick whatever project/hot spot we want! Sweet!

I was really tempted to pick a new spot (I have plenty that need decluttering!), but I decided the best thing would be to finish up some of what I have already started.

Tsh’s post announcing the hot spot is really good. I felt like she must have read my blog and she was speaking to me on several points, especially what she said about working quickly.

So I picked 2 projects from previous hot spots:

1. Actually get the clothes, shoes, and toys that were bagged and boxed up from weeks 1 and 3 OUT of the house!!

I know my son looks like he is in pain, but really he is just saying cheeeeeeeeeeeeese.

Why is that last step of decluttering so hard for me? I think at least part of it is deciding what exactly to do with it. Should I give it to a friend? Who? Should I donate? Where? Should I sell some of it? How? I need to just make a decision and take action!

Theoretically, this should not take much time once I make a decision! I think having the deadline of doing it this week will help!

2. Sort the rest of the paper clutter that I gathered.

I’m not saying that I’m going to get it all filed and taken care of this week, but I want to at least sort the 3 containers of very miscellaneous papers. What I learned from the one container I sorted in week 2, is that most if it can be recycled and doesn’t need to stay in my house, sitting around causing me stress.

The 3 containers to sort:

Gabe really likes to be included, as you can see!

And I still have my sorting boxes all set up, with papers there waiting for new paper friends to join them:

There's Gabe, snuggling with the shred box 🙂 I love that boy!

 Are you working on a decluttering project this week?

Do you have a hard time getting decluttered stuff out of the house?

I always like to hear your advice/ideas, too!

As usual with this project, I hope to post results on Friday or Saturday!

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Filed under Clutter, Declutter, Goals, Paper Clutter

Project: Simplify: I’m doing it!

Tsh over at Simple Mom is doing a decluttering project called Project: Simplify and I’m going to join in! She is picking one hot spot a week (for 5 weeks) for us to declutter and organize.

This is just the kind of thing I need to stay motivated and inspired! There is something very motivating to me about doing a project alongside someone else. I always work better that way!

So, even though I’m really working on my own, knowing there are bunches of other ladies all over the world doing the same thing really helps me! And there’s an accountability part with before and after pictures!

The first thing she challenged us to do was to develop a family purpose statement. It totally makes sense to me that my home should follow along with our family’s priorities and goals. We may want to flesh it out a bit more, but here is what we are starting with:

 As a family we will seek to glorify God by enjoying Him through our thoughts, words, and actions.

And I think my five reasons for simplifying actually work along with this. That makes me happy! 🙂

Sooooo Tsh just announced today that this week’s project is working on our wardrobes/closets. I was really really REALLY hoping it would be something else! My closet area was one place that I really wasn’t sure I could handle posting a picture of. It’s scary. For real.

It’s one of the places I usually (maybe that should be “always”) put off because most people never see it.

But I’m going to do it !

Here are 2 before pictures for today:

My, my, my... I have a lot of work to do.

Oh dear. Maybe you shouldn't look!

OK then! Off I go! I think you have a pretty good idea of what I’m in for!

Are you joining me in Project: Simplify? Or are you working on decluttering another area of your home?

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Filed under Declutter, Goals, Motivation, Priorities

5 Reasons why I want to Simplify

This is a "Before" picture just begging for an "After" picture!!

 These are not in any particular order….

1.  I have too much stuff! If I declutter and get rid of stuff, it will be less stuff to take care of, clean, put away, organize, etc, which will give me more time to do things that are really important. And maybe someone else could really use some of the stuff that is just sitting around here! (OK, this is sort of 2 or 3 reasons in one.)

2.  I will save money. Things are getting broken from being stepped on. I won’t waste food  because it is lost in the refrigerator. I won’t buy things twice because I can’t find the first one I bought. I won’t get a fee from a late bill payment because I misplaced a bill or just forgot in my disorganization.

3.  I will bless my family.

4.  I will be a better example for my kids and will be able to teach and train them in this area so that hopefully they won’t have these same struggles.

Sweetness!

 5.  I will bless others. I will be more likely to invite people over, and will have more time to volunteer and help others.

What are your reasons for simplifying? Do you have any to add?

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