Who couldn’t use a little home environment spruce up? Holly at Simply Organized has been challenging their readers with assignments to de-clutter in 12 months. Today at the Playground we’re challenging you to a speed de-clutter in just one week!
The first step to a project like this is to purge and sort. Your easily achievable goal this week is to get rid of 10 things every day. If you were going at this challenge whole-heartedly it would be very achievable for the majority of households to find 50 items in each room that they do not use, like, love, or have duplicates. We’ll work on one room a day.
The rules of what goes out: If IT weighs you down or makes you feel bad about yourself, or if it just sits there taking up room and contributing nothing positive, it goes out. If you’re spending a lot of time deciding whether to keep or toss it, IT goes out.
Set up a tub or trash bag that is labeled “donate”. Don’t forget that we are de-cluttering, not organizing. Your goal is not perfection. Your goal is “good enough”. Here we go!
The first thing you can do is quickly look in every cabinet and drawer and take action on items you don’t like, don’t use, have never used, and get in the way. Be ruthless! Don’t keep something because you or someone else paid good money for it. And don’t keep something simply because you got such a great deal on it and the deal will never be as good again. Your ability to daily find what you need is more valuable! Imagine yourself preparing meals here and finding your tools quickly. Don’t forget the junk drawer. For more on the kitchen read here.
Don’t forget to look over the pantry. Take everything out. Try to group like items together. Throw out obvious trash and expired food. Donate food that is not expired but what you are obviously not going to eat. Donate your excess. Be honest about what you actually use. Don’t worry about how much it cost and be glad to provide a meal to someone without an income. Clean the shelves. When else are you going to have the chance to clean every shelf in your pantry?! For more help in the pantry read here.
This is usually the place we all hang out for entertainment. And our entertainment “supplies” are stored here. So, toss out all video and audio cassettes that are broken or old. Ask all of your household members to do the same. Cross check video and DVD recordings. Keep one copy and donate the other one. Get rid of CDs you already have mp3s to, especially if you listen to mp3s 90% of the time, and who doesn’t?!!!! If you don’t have a turn-table, it is now time to decide what you are going to do with your albums. Either make a legitimate plan to purchase a turn-table in the near future or gift this music to someone else so the music can still be enjoyed. You can determine their value: www.gocontinental.com/pgde.htm. Amoeba Records will buy used albums www.amoeba.com. You can also trade CDs, DVDs and books at Hastings. Toss remotes to electronics you no longer have. Pick this room up, get toys, paper, and clothes out of here. Take a hard look at your knick-knacks. Too many look cluttered. Take away those you do not completely enjoy. Be honest. Imagine how much easier and faster you can clean with less stuff.
Eeew! Everyone hates the bathroom but it’s an important room to de-clutter. Start by clearing everything off the countertops. If you notice something that is terribly dusty it’s a clear sign you MUST donate it or toss it. Clean of the countertops. Toss outdated medication, old cosmetics, moldy or damaged items and empty bottles (check the shower/tub area for all of this too). Corral the bath toys with a mesh bag or toy basket. Donate old, ratty towels you don’t like to use anymore. Pet rescues and the Humane Society could be using these instead of them sitting in your closet. Don’t forget to scrutinize the contents of every drawer and shelf and don’t forget the back of the toilet and everything inside the shower. You don’t need three types of face cleanser. Choose one. Stock the others in your closet or toss them. Repeat these steps in each bathroom.
We’re combining a work horse room and a pretty room today. Attack the utility room first. Toss empty bottles and boxes. Throw out the dryer lint. Pick up the floor. Clear off your flat spaces and look at what you’re accumulating. Donate your extras. Toss the junk. If you find a lot of random stuff here then it’s a tell-tell sign that these items desperately need a home and this is the natural place for those items (batteries and lightbulbs often land here). Grab a handy little basket, Ziploc bag or something to corral these items. You can decide on a “perfect” container later. Transport clean laundry to the rooms they need to be in. Don’t worry if they aren’t folded yet, just get them out of the utility room. Disburse hangers if you have too many. If you don’t have any in here, bring some in. Imagine yourself in this clean room happily performing this chore. Do what it takes to get close to that dream.
Hopefully your dining room table is not full of papers like I often see because “clear off the table” is a joke to you. However, for many the table becomes a dumping ground. Quickly sort the papers as fast as you can. Label a box or bag for “shred”, “file”, and “what the heck?” Your goal today is to have a clear table. Labeling how you are sorting is vital to dealing with this mess later. Look around and see what else is out of place. Fill a basket of those items. Then deliver them to the rooms they belong in.
Ah, probably the most neglected of spaces, yet we end and start our days here. Take a photo of your own messy room (you’ll want it for tomorrow). Begin in one corner of the room and start sorting your mess as quick as possible. Hang clean clothes, put dirty ones in a laundry basket. Pile the items that need action together. Fill a box with items that don’t even belong in this room. Scrutinize all surfaces first: floor, shelves, nightstands etc. Next attack the drawers in your room and closet. Last attack your closet. Do this quickly, you are doing a clean sweep today. Once you get everything put away and out of your room, take a photo. Don’t forget to look under your bed! If you have some time, do a thorough purge of your clothes with help here.
Next, help your kids do their own rooms just like you did. Show your kids your before and after photo. Talk about how you feel seeing the before photo and how you feel about the after. Tell you kids what their jobs and goals are today and what the reward is for working hard to reach that goal. While working together, or managing multiple kids while they de-clutter, ask a lot of questions about what they are keeping and why. Talk together about the less fortunate. For help on a thorough kid’s closet de-clutter job read here. Don’t forget under the bed! Kids love to stuff items under there. It’s a good time to also talk about clutter problems and how you can solve them together.
Our cars get so cluttered and who isn’t embarrassed by that? Grab a trash bag and clean it up. Take notice of who the mess makers are and what messes are being made. You probably need a trash receptacle near the biggest mess maker. (I’m giving away a leak-proof one here).
You now have a good idea of the items you are donating. You need to get these out of the house today. Choose the new happy home for these items. Make your decision quickly and stick with it. If you have a lot, donate to one location. If it’s Sunday, fill your car with donations and add the drop off chore to your to-list on Monday.
Whether by phone or an in-home consultation, Holly can help you organize what is left by recommending the best Clever Container products for the job. Simply Organized can also help with item placement and common-sense ideas on how to store everything you are keeping.
If you failed miserably at these tasks or can’t even get started, help is here! Holly and Janet at Simply Organized are passionate about you loving your home. Whether you want extra help throughout your house or you just need side-by-side motivation, visit OrganizeNWA.com for contact information and fees.
Find Holly on Facebook at Clever Holly and Simply Organized NWA