Clutter clearing time! Spring is the perfect time, we have a slight lull before the garden starts producing and you can attack the kids rooms before they are out of school. This is the official start of the clear the clutter challenge. If you are starting with us now feel free to go back to the post that explains how you can join (located here).
Now, I am going to be doing this as a six week clutter challenge. If you want to do it faster then go for it! If you want to do it slower then bookmark the pages and give yourself some extra time. Some of you may need a week or two off in the middle and that is okay too. The key is to do it – how and when is up to you.
There is one “pre-step” you should do this first week:
So.. What is Clutter?
According to the Merriam Dictionary clutter is “to fill or cover something with many things or with clutter”. Why would you want this in your home? To fill or cover your home with clutter stops you from enjoying it. Clutter is usually accompanied with stress, fear of visitors, the constant need to clean and dust. Simplify your life and clear out that clutter today!
Clutter Clearing Challenge: Break your house into 6 zones
- Splitting the house into zones allows you to tackle smaller, but related clutter areas at a time. For example, decluttering all the bathrooms as a zone is faster because you get in the “bathroom” mindset. You can also inventory the clutter in like rooms together there is usually no reason to own double items in different rooms.
- Working in a zone gives you a stopping and starting point and a sense of accomplishment when an area is finished. Small steps are great, every piece of clutter you get out of your home is a reason to celebrate.
- Zones allow you to schedule annual clutter updates more easily. Once your yearly declutter is finished you can check one zone per month and never be too overwhelmed with scheduled maintenance. Things like cleaning your washing machine, dishwasher, the filter on your fridge, washing curtains, and cleaning carpets or rugs can be put on a schedule like this. That way you stay on top of things rather than all of a sudden looking around and feeling like you want to rip your hair out. I go back through my zones twice a year. All scheduled maintenance is done then along with deep cleaning of the area.
My clutter zones are:
- Master Bedroom/Closet
- Kids Rooms
- Laundry Room
- Living room/Hall Closets
- Kitchen/Dining room
I split the bedroom areas because the kids bedrooms include going through toys, which is in a world of it's own. You can do the same clutter zones as me or different ones. I will be posting about them in that order.
This Weeks Clutter Zone: Master Bedroom
This weeks clutter zone is the master bedroom and closet. I just read the book Living with Less, How to Downsize your Personal Possessions and she had a few suggestions that I really liked. One of them was to actually write out what you have. Yikes, nothing like personal accountability when the list is actually staring you in the face. So step one:
Write out a list of the clutter, I mean items, in your zone
I had 1 bathrobe, 38 winter shirts, 2 shorts, 11 pants, 48 summer shirts, 1 dress jacket, 18 dresses/skirts, 2 pantyhose, 2 bellybands, 1 slip, 1 coverup, 3 swimsuits, 38 underthings, 29 pairs of socks and 2 odd ball socks, 21 pieces of lingerie or jammies, 6 belts, and 8 necklaces. That is 232 different items in my closet!
Decide how much you REALLY need
This step is important. If you just divide your items into three piles right now then you will inevitably end up with too much in the keep pile. Doing this step forces you to downsize even more. If your keep pile is too big then you have to keep going!
I decided that 2 weeks (14 days) worth of clothing for each season was enough. Any more than that and I tend to ignore over half of it and wear the same thing over and over. I had a few items in my closet that I do not wear, but I would if I could break out of my comfort zone.
Once that decision is made try to stick to it! It really does force you to clear the clutter even further.
Divide your clutter into three piles
Put all the clutter into three piles:
- I love it, I want to keep it pile
- I need to sell or give this away pile
- What am I doing with this, nobody would want it throw away pile.
If it isn't something you would purchase at a thrift store or garage sale due to condition then just throw it out. I volunteered in a thrift store and it was amazing some of the stuff people would bring in. If it is stained or has holes then nobody wants it! Throw it away. It just makes extra work for the people in the thrift store. If it is in good condition then it can be given away (or sold).
Be careful not to hang on to your stuff hoping to sell it in the future. That is clutter too. After your garage sale or after you try to sell something get rid of the stuff that doesn't sell. Is it worth a few extra pennies to have that clutter in your life? It amazes me that there are so many people who have an extra storage area or an unusable space in their home for things they want to sell. Another thing to keep in mind is the longer you wait to sell something the more dated (and if it is clothes – the more stained) the item will get.
If your keep pile ends up being larger than what you decided you really need (it probably will be) then go back through it. Force yourself to cut back to the amount you determined was enough in the previous step. This will help you really decide what is clutter and what is important.
The No Clutter Closet Result
I ended up keeping 129 of my 232 items. The hardest part was giving up things that I really like, but hardly ever use (like my bathrobe) and some of my go-to pieces that just weren't exciting enough to be kept as one of my 14 day outfits.
Jammies, socks, and under things fit nicely in my rubbermaid three drawer “dresser” now. I have shoe holders that have a clear front for my shoes that work great (I bought those from Ikea – gotta love Ikea).
An added benefit to a no clutter closet is you have more space to see what clothes you have. You need fewer hangers. Laundry day is not as overwhelming because you are forced to do it at least every couple of weeks. There were times in my college years where I really didn't have to do laundry for… well for as long as I didn't want to do laundry. That is not good for your clothes (or your no clutter closet).
Clutter in the Bedroom
Don't forget your bedroom. I was lucky and really didn't have anything. I just have the nightstand (a lamp is on it), dresser (hubby's clothes and a lamp and picture on that), the bed, and a couple storage bins under the bed with extra sheets and blankets.
Dresser drawers can be a place that collects clutter and the tops of dressers can also collect clutter. Be sure to check all of it.
I got rid of 37 pounds of extra clothing items!
That's it, see you next year when I (sadly) see how much extra clutter I accumulated in the year. It is nice starting out clutter free though.
Now it's on to the kids rooms!!