Decluttering Challenge for a Monday: Under the Sink

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Last Monday, I talked about our decluttering journey, and I also talked about my plans to clean out under our downstairs sink.  I bought this three-drawer container to help organize.

Before: I had soap, cleaning materials, extra toilet paper, and Handy Boy’s toiletries under the sink.  I’ve been meaning to get it organized for some time.  Lots of wasted space here!

After:  Aaahhh, this is better.  Some of the smaller items are in the three drawer container, and there is more room for extra toilet paper.

Do you have an area that needs to be organized?  Try looking under your sink(s) and see if they need any work.

Today, I’m linking up to another great blog, Between Naps on the Porch.  She is hosting Metamorphasis Monday, where you can see some great Before and After photos.  Scroll down to the end of the post to see all the great projects.  I’m adding this organizing project to the post.

Monday Decluttering Challenge

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I haven’t talked about this in a while, but has anybody been working on decluttering this summer?  I talked about this in prior posts, about how I did a “Declutter 365 items in 365 days challenge.”  Here is a link about the “rules” I used in my decluttering challenge.

I recently bought this three drawer plastic container to organize the contents under our downstairs sink.  I’m still working on it, but I will post photos when I finish.

I recently put an ad on the web site Clean Mama.   Check out her site; she writes about decluttering, green cleaning, gardening, cooking, etc.  Great site!

In the meantime, here is a list of more things I decluttered during my challenge that we do not miss:
– 2 paper back books I won’t read again
– 2 medicine bottles
– 1 watch (sold)
– 1 set of earrings (sold)
– 7 empty jewelry boxes
– misc old business stuff (4 items)
– 7 boxes
– 1 fan that broke
– 2 A/Cs (Handy Man sold them to people at work)
– 2 old plastic trash cans we aren’t using anymore (recycled)
– 6 t-shirts that Handy Man doesn’t wear anymore
– 5 rubbermaid lids (recycled, don’t ask why I had just the lids)
– 4 t-shirts from Handy Man

It’s pretty funny to look at this list now…and wonder why we were keeping some of this stuff around.

Declutter Challenge for a Monday: Just One Thing

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I think it’s time for another small Declutter Challenge!

This is a photo of a (grimy!) old fridge that Handy Man used in college.  We got it recently from Handy Man’s parents, and cleaned it up and sold it.  If this was in our house, it would have left here long ago, believe me!  We try not to keep things around for too long that we can’t use.

Today is the day to find an item that: you don’t use, you don’t need, or that needs to be given to someone.  Are you holding an item that belongs to someone else?  We all do this, at times.  Give it back!  Are you holding on to something that no one in your family can use, but someone else can?  Bring it to Goodwill (if it’s an item acceptable to Goodwill.  Ours doesn’t take appliances of any kind.)

Try Craigslist for selling, but don’t give out personal information, and for safety, try meeting in a public place for your exchange.  That way, you don’t have to give out your home address.  You might also try to put up an ad with a photo on your bulletin board at work, if that is allowed.  Another way to publicize items is Facebook.  I wouldn’t do this for every little piece of clutter, but if you have a large piece of furniture that you would like to move, post on your Facebook page that the first local person who responds about wanting it is the new owner.

I know that all of you probably have Just One Thing that could be donated, or given back to its owner.  Make it a priority to get this thing OUT, especially if its just ONE thing that has been staring at you for months (years?).  Today, or in the next few days, make arrangements to deliver that one thing to someone who could use it.  You know, that thing that is looming in your basement or home…that thing that annoys you every time you look at it!

What is hanging over your head that you could return?  Return it, and you will feel better.  It will prompt you to get rid of even more stuff!  Remember, you are not the storage facility for the world! Let someone else store it.

Decluttering in the Kitchen

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Kitchens seem to be the room in the house that need the most organizing. When Handy Man pulled apart our kitchen, I had to stack allllll of our kitchen stuff in another room. I thought I had gone through and decluttered the kitchen pretty well, but WOW! What huge piles! When the kitchen was finished and I had to move everything back, I took the opportunity to go through everything. Again.

I donated items that I could live without, and tried to put things back in a way that made more sense. One of the things that helped to store my baking pans was this wooden gadget, shown above. I had seen something similar in a magazine, and told Handy Man that I wanted one for my baking sheets and pans in one of our cabinets. What a difference it made! It’s so much easier to take out items when I need them. Handy Man even made the system flexible, so I could remove sections to make them larger or smaller.

If you have a Handy Person in your house, perhaps you could ask them to make one for you. Or, see if you can find something similar online. Even if you don’t have the best storage in your kitchen cabinets, try a little rearranging. Take out the contents of one drawer or cabinet, go through everything, and put back only what you use. Even the smallest kitchen can be a big decluttering job, so don’t try to do this all at once. Take out one or two drawers, declutter a bit, and put things back. You can work on it over the course of a few weeks, if you need to. Put “like” things with “like”, get rid of things you haven’t used in a while, and put things back.

Anyone else need a kitchen declutter?

365 Days of Decluttering: To Yard Sale or Not?

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This is an old stroller for Handy Boy that we sold last year.  Handy Boy is 8 now.  I have no idea why we kept it around for that long.  I think that we sold this stroller on Craigslist…

One thing that people think about when decluttering is “Should I have a yard sale?”  The answer to this isn’t always simple.  Let me tell you what we’ve done, in the past:

When we lived in our first and second house (this is our third house), we had yard sales.  The first house was in an old neighborhood with many houses close together.  When looking in the newspaper at yard sale notices, we saw that there were many, many yard sales in the neighborhoods right around our home.  We decided to try a yard sale, and sold a TON of stuff!  I think we made over $500 at the first yard sale, and had one each summer the next two summers.  There were hardly any items leftover from each sale.  All we did was put an ad in the paper, and Handy Man put signs on the telephone poles at each end of our road, directing people towards our sale.

Eventually, we moved to our second home in a town just 15 minutes away.  We still seemed to have a big pile of “stuff” to get rid of, even though I tried to declutter before moving.  That home was in a part of town where people didn’t drive through very often.  Also, people tended to go to the previous town where we lived for yard sales, since there were many more sales clustered together there.  We did make $300, but Handy Man sold two items for about $100 each.  Not as many people stopped by that yard sale.  Those who did complained about “how far out” we were from the main town.  Well, excuuuuuse us!

We moved to this house in late 2005.  We tried a yard sale in the summer of 2007, and it had the worst turnout out of all our sales.  We live in a neighborhood where houses aren’t very close together, and our area of town (and our town) is kind of off the beaten path.   We made about $200, and that was after selling one item for $100!  We had a lot of stuff leftover after that yard sale.  At that point, we swore off yard sales…but thankfully, we didn’t have much left to declutter at that point.

Bottom line: Yard sales can be great, but they are a LOT of work for little money.  It took us a lot of time to sort, clean, price and set everything up.  I think its more worthwhile to have a yard sale only if you live in an area that historically hosts a lot of sales.  Plus, people always try to get the lowest price possible.  We tried to mark items for almost nothing, but there are still people who tried to get our “stuff” for nothing!  You must be OK with marking your stuff way, wayyyyy down, and haggling with people over prices.

I’m not against yard sales.  However, if you have a lot of clutter you need to get rid of, and it’s making you feel overwhelmed, yard sales may not be your best bet.  Put your things that are still in good condition into bags and take them to Goodwill, etc.  You can also investigate getting your items picked up, as some donation centers will do pick-ups, especially for larger items like furniture.

Have you ever had a yard sale?  How did it work out?

Declutter Challenge for a Monday

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Let’s continue our “Declutter 365 items in 365 days” challenge. I hope you have set up some guidelines for yourself. You can check out our guidelines here in this previous post.

Today, get a large box or a garbage bag, and set it up in a convenient spot. Set it up somewhere that you won’t trip on it, but where you’ll see it easily. This week’s challenge is to go through your home and find twenty…yes, twenty items to declutter. It can be stuff that is beyond repair (trash!), stuff that goes in your recycle bin..or stuff that goes into the bag or box for donation. Just twenty things. I bet most of you can find twenty things to get rid of. If you are keeping a list or a tally, mark down when you reach twenty items.

The photo above is an air conditioner we weren’t using any more that Handy Man sold to someone. We have sold things to make money, but only if the item could sell for more than $25 or $50. Its just not worth your time to try to sell lots of small items; especially if you have a bad clutter problem. Forgive yourself, and just toss, recycle, donate and keep going.

Just for laughs, here are some items that left our house during our 365 challenge last year. Handy Man thought it was silly that I was keeping track of the actual items; I told him I thought it would be funny to look back on:

– 1 bag of tiny toys/papers from Handy Boy’s toy box (counted as 1 item, per our guidelines)
– 4 old coloring/workbooks of Handy Boy’s that he finished
– plastic baby clothes hangers (seriously, BABY clothes hangers??)
– DVD that doesn’t work in the computer (why….?!!!)
– 1 hand towel that had seen better days
– 2 paperbacks I won’t re-read
– a kit for an art-like project I decided I was never going to do
– one 3-ring binder
– 1 set of candles I won as a prize but really didn’t like the smell of (WHY was I keeping those?)

Go ahead and laugh at the silliness of some of these items…and the fact that most of these items are tiny…however, if you keep going, even the tiny items removed will clear out more space in your home. Especially if you can get up to 365 items (or MORE!). For now, just start with 20 items over the next several days and week, and see how you feel.

Report back here with results…ready, set, Declutter!

365 Items Decluttered: The Rules

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Perhaps some of you have started your “Declutter 365 items in 365 days” challenge.  Or maybe you are thinking of starting.  In either case, have you thought about the rules or guidelines you will use in counting your items?

With this challenge, you can make up your own rules as to what counts as an “item”.  I’ll tell you about our rules.  You can use them, or not.  Feel free to make this up as you go along.

I wanted to count things that were somewhat substantial. Yes, we did get rid of some large items, like the dresser shown here.  Several of the items we got rid of were on the small side.  Even small things add up (especially 365 of them!), but I made the following rules for our challenge:

– We didn’t count stuff we would have thrown out anyway.  Like a paper plate.  😉  That’s garbage.  If you have an issue throwing away garbage, you need help that you aren’t going to find here.

– We didn’t count pieces of paper.  Catalogs or binders, yes, but not single pieces of paper.  If you have a bad paper problem, you may want to try a “Toss 365 pieces of paper” challenge.

– I also didn’t count tiny things as 1 item, like Handy Boy’s tiny McDonald’s toys.  I put them into a bag and counted the bag as 1 item.  We found a big pile of packing peanuts in the basement.  I put them into a bag and counted them as one item.  Again, your mileage may vary.

– I counted a pair of items that go together, like shoes, as ONE item. (Ha, you thought I’d miss that one!)

Those were pretty much the only rules we made.  Another thing that I wanted to do was to dispose of all these items in a responsible way.  Items that could be recycled were put into our recycling bin for curbside pickup.  Some items were passed on to other adults or children who could use them.  Some items were sold to people that Handy Man knew; others were sold on Craigslist.  Several things were donated to Goodwill.  Yes, there were a few items that were put into the garbage, but we tried to recycle and donate when possible.  Some things are just beyond repair!

If you are taking this challenge, what are your rules?

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