This week, Toni over at A Bowl Full of Lemons is challenging us all to PURGE! I think everyone starts to get into that spring cleaning mode this time of year and wants to get everything out of their houses!!
She makes a fantastic point --
Clutter = Stress
When you have clutter laying around everywhere, it adds stress to your daily life. The stress of where to put stuff; of finding homes for everything; of keeping everything rolling when you can't find what you need. Sometimes we think we need the "stuff" but, do you even know what you have?? Here's a prime example. Last year, I was cleaning things out; I took a piece of "art" off the wall that we had made on our honeymoon (it was our name). When I took it down, I found a huge moth nest behind it for one but, than I mentioned to my husband that I took it down. His response? We had something hanging above the door? To make it worse, when I described it . . .he had no idea what it was I was talking about! That proved to me that we don't need all of the stuff we had because we didn't even know what we had!!!
How do you deal with all of that clutter? This is the system I used last year when I went through every single room, closet, box, cupboard, corner of my house and cleaned out more stuff than I even knew I had.
Remember - the clutter did not happen over night and it won't be cleaned out overnight either!
How do Delcutter
Supplies: Gather your supplies. I would suggest three large Rubbermaid totes, garbage bags, either a label maker or a marker and labels (you may want packing tape to make sure the labels stick well!)
Time: Set aside time each day or each week to work on this project. Even 15 minutes a day will knock the clutter out!
Location: Decide where you want to start and only work in that area until it is complete. Don't get distracted!!
Take the three tubs and label them
1) Items to keep or stay in the room
2) Items to store
3) Items to donate/giveaway
4) And have that trash bag ready for everything else!
I'll give you a few examples of areas I cleaned out - I think it is easier than trying to lay out a general plan.
Our Study (which we no longer have due to kids LOL) - At one point, our study had gotten so full that there was no room to move. I took my tubs and placed them in the living room. Next, I took items out one by one and placed them in the bins. I was brutal. The room is small and there wasn't much space for things outside of true office supplies. In true "decluttering" fashion, you really shouldn't store things but there are things I really love yet I don't have room for them now. Instead of getting rid of them, I did choose to box a few items up for the future. Once I had completely emptied the room, right down to emptying out all of the drawers in the desks, I took out the multiple trash bags, boxed up the stuff to go to Goodwill and loaded it in the car. Than, I took the box of things to go back in the room and made sure each item had a home. If it didn't fit, it either had to be donated, thrown away or stored. How long did this take me? Only about 2-3 hours total.
Here's one more example. My basement had become over run with "stored" stuff. I set up my tubs/trashbag and got to work. This time I labeled the tubs by category for storage - such as "Home decor", "Educational items", and "holidays". I than went through each and every bin that was in the basement and cleaned stuff out and organized it all by category. While putting things away, I made a pretty detailed list of every item in a bin and than numbered that bin accordingly. I now have a list of bins and their contents in my Home Management Journal. If I need something (and I have needed to find things) this makes it very easy to locate everything. Plus now, my basement is well organized. How long did this project take? I would say about 5-6 hours spread over the course of a few weekends.
I live in a pretty small house so keeping clutter at bay is a daily (sometimes hourly) project - my dining room table is my "Hot Spot" - it is where everything gathers, it seems. How do I conquer this? Every Friday and Sunday I do something called a "wrong room rescue". I take time to purposefully walk into each room and look around for anything that is out of place or that doesn't belong in the room and put it away. By doing this on Friday, we start the weekend "clean"; I do it again on Sunday because weekends tend to bring a lot of clutter out that isn't usually around like diaper bags and such. I'm also constantly looking for ways to organize and containerize things where we use them without making my home look like the Container Store :-) My other "weapon" is my husband - he doesn't like clutter. Actually, he more than doesn't like it - it bothers him a lot. Periodically I asked him to look around a room and point out things he thinks we don't need anymore. It surprises me what he points out sometimes, really. I'm grateful for his opinion though - I usually end up getting rid of half of what he suggests and than save the rest for next time ;-)
So, what are you going to purge this week? I am amazed by the number of people who have garage sales every spring . . I mean, really? I had one last fall and won't do it for a very, very, very long time again LOL
If you are cleaning out clutter this week, feel free to link up with me over at