Friday, April 23, 2010

Project Organization :: Decluttering

I have found that the number one problem in my home is clutter. CLUTTER is the reason for all other problems and cause of all my frustrations.

So lately I have made my number one goal to de-clutter every inch of my home and of my life as well. I'm always reading blogs, websites and books on organization (it seriously is a hobby of mine!), and these are the top tips I've found on de-cluttering.

  1. Declutter for 15 minutes every day. It’s amazing how much you can get through if you just do it in small increments like this.
  2. Don’t allow things into the house in the first place. If you are on a mission to get rid of clutter, make the commitment to not add more clutter to the already existing clutter. Even if you find a cute little whatever that will go great with your decor. Wait until you are done! And even then, think about it, real hard, you don't want to just start cluttering again!!!
  3. Donate stuff you’re decluttering, so you don’t feel bad about wasting it.
  4. Create a goal, write it and make it visible — maybe you just want to declutter your closet, maybe it's your entire house. Either way, an unwritten goal, is nothing but a thought!
  5. Start at the corner by the door and move your way around the room, doing  the superficial stuff first – surfaces, empy the bin etc. Repeat, but do more the 2nd time around – ie. open the cupboards.
  6. The 6 month rule for spices:  if you don't remember using it in the last 6 months, get rid of it. This goes not only for spices, but for other foods in your pantry like those chocolate sprinkles from last years birthday party. Also, if it makes you feel any better, spices older than 6 months loose their taste and potency anyway... 
  7. Use the “one in, two out” rule. The rule: whenever you bring in an item, you have to throw away two other items. First you cheat, by throwing out two pieces of paper, but soon you will have to move to big stuff. I've always done this with clothes. Before I go shopping, I go through all my clothes and pick out what doesn't fit, what I don't like and so on to give away. Then not only do I have room for my new clothes, but I also don't end up with a clother stuffed with clothes that I don't wear.
  8. Make your storage space smaller and more minimal. If you have lots of storage, you’ll fill it with stuff.
  9. Clothing rule: If you haven’t worn an item in 6 months, sell or donate it.
  10. The One-Year Box. Take all your items that you unsure about getting rid of (e.g. “I might need this someday…”), put them in a box, seal it and date it for 1 year in the future. When the date comes, and you still didn’t need to open it to get anything, donate the box WITHOUT OPENING IT. You probably won’t even remember what there was in the box.
  11. Declutter one room (including any closets, desks, cabinets, etc.) before starting on the next one. Spending time in that room will feel *so* good, and it will be so easy to keep clean, that it will motivate you to do more!
  12. Keep a list in your planner labeled “Don’t Need It – Don’t Want It.” When you’re out shopping and run across some kind of gadget or other item you crave, note it down on the list. This will slow you down long enough to reconsider. Also, seeing the other things on the list that you nearly bought on impulse really helps.
  13. Internalize that your value is not in your “stuff”. It is just “stuff”. And realize that your value grows when you share your “stuff”. Hoarding is a selfish act.
  14. Have someone else (who you trust!) help you go through things. They don’t have the (sometime’s irrational) emotional attachment that you might have, but can still recognize if something should be kept.
  15. Gift everything. Books you’ve read immediately get recycled among friends, family or local libraries. If you buy a new gaming system, donate your old one – and all the games.
  16. Toys. leave only a small box of toys out. Your kids will get plenty of entertainement from those toys, and once they get tired from it, you can switch it up with other toys that have been hidden and it will be like Christmas morning every 2-3 months.

I'm not saying you should throw away everything, but at least with me, I know I am guilty of keeping things just in case I ever need it... only to find three years later that I never did need it.

So be smart with what you keep, be even smarter with what you buy and you won't need to go through decluttering!


Do you have any other tips on decluttering?! 
Who out there is also on a mission to declutter?! How has it been?
Share! share! share!


Aline Carson said...

The biggest problem I have is with toys. I probably have 10 bags of toys in our storage and it is taking up too much space. Once I left like, 6 toys out for each child and it was nice! But then they just started to multiply again. The hard thing here is that you don't have a DI to take everything (which is so much easier) but you do have a lot of people to give it too. The hard thing is just loading it all up in the car and figuring out who to give it to (well, I guess it's not THAT hard, it's probably just laziness).
My next project are the bins that are outside in our balcony and are all dirty because of dirt and pollution. We need to clean them out and take them to my parents' house, but it is just so much work! And I'm scared there will be jumping spiders out there hahaha...But seriously, I don't even know where to start!!!

Liesl said...

Love the "don't let stuff in" and "one two rule"! Definitely need to start that!

A big problem of mine is with outgrown kid's clothing. I don't want to get rid of it because we will probably have more kids, but there's just so much of it that I just want to get rid of it! The good thing is that I have a shed out back that I can box it up and put in in. I just can't wait until we can officially say we are done having kids and have a huge garage sale!

Do any other moms hang onto outgrown kid's clothing or do you guys just give it away or garage sale it? I'm so tempted to just garage sale all of it except my favorite outfits.

Aline Carson said...

I don't think I ever gave away any kids clothes. Well, I take that back, I gave away a couple of Eric's outfits, ones that were stained because of spit ups. But I figure I'm only going to go through them again when I get pregnant, so...It will probably be a while! =)

Anna said...

I have gone through Thomas' clothes a few times and every time I pull a couple items out to give away. I have kept most of it though, I just figure that Thomas had a lot of clothes to start with... plus, there were a lot he never used, and then there is also the fact that I will probably want to buy new things for the baby boy (if we ever even have another baby.. and boy for that matter) so there really is no need to keep every little sock and onesie.
I still have nonetheless a huge tub with his NB-12 mon clothes and am still saving up what he outgrows.

I actually sell it to second hand stores instead of giving it away, because this way, I have money to buy new clothes that fit him... it's my way of recycling!

The Marshalls said...

After reading this post last week I thought to myself "There is nothing here I can apply to my life, my house is not cluttered, not at all".
It turns out I was in denial. Last night, talking to my husband, I realized I have to declutter a lot of stuff in my house. I'm not like a hoarder or anything, but if I don't fix this now... who knows?! haha

Thanks Anna for this post. Learning is a humbling experience.

As for baby's clothes...
Thomas didn't have much clothes to start with, I had to do laundry more than once a week. (I still do) So I kept everything. They are boxed up, sealed and labled in the garage.

Liesl said...

Good to know I'm not the only one hanging onto baby clothes! Maybe in a few years we will be posting about garage sales :)

Jennifer and Shay said...

The whole baby clothes thing is terrible at my house too. I usually save up clothes from my 3 year old, because my 10 month old will wear it. But I also get clothes from my sister, she has a 8 year old, and some of his clothes, mostly church clothes she gives to me. So I swear there are always piles of clothes waiting to be put in diaper boxes, that's where I usually store them, but I'm running out of space!