Clutter Tip of The Week: Raid Your Pantry
Yippee! I finally feel myself getting back in to the swing of this decluttering thing, Want to know what got me back on track? You did! Jen & Samantha got me started and then I ran in to a whole new bunch of ladies starting #2011in2011 thanks to Twitter and the spark was lit all over again. It’s so much more fun to do “not so much fun” stuff when you’re not alone. Thanks for getting me back on track ladies!

Here’s what I purged this week:

46 Papers (r)
50 Kids Clothes too small or out of season (40 d, 10 s)
17 Just plain old trash from my counters (t)
15 Homeschooling Worksheets (r)
1 Toy (d)
2 Kids Chairs (d)
1 Broken Mirror (r)
150 Random Papers & Trash- from a junk pile I started but never finished (r,t)
10 condiments/foods from the fridge we don’t even eat (t,r)
18 Items in the pantry/fridge we wouldn’t normally have eaten (t,r)
310 less items in the house!!

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for …

The Clutter Tip of the Week: Raid Your Pantry

When we first moved in to this house, I thought the kitchen was GINORMOUS!!! Cabinets, cabinets everywhere and even a mini walk-in pantry. “Who could EVER fill all of these cabinets”, I boasted. Ha, I must have cursed my self. For months we lived with many of the lower cabinets completely empty so the kids had plenty of places for hide and seek … but little by little day by day things just sort of had a way of finding their way into those spacious cabinets.

Before I knew it, all of the cabinets were full, jam packed even and things were busting out everywhere. Since I started purging, I have reclaimed my cabinet space, organized my baking goods, and created an awesome recycling center that actually works for us … but, there was no where for me to put the dry and canned goods I was bringing in each week, the cupboards were anything but bare.

While on a weekend walk around the neighborhood, planning our meals for the week (that’s when I do my planning), I decided I just wasn’t going grocery shopping this week. I would use only items we already had in the cupboards, pantry and freezer to make our meals.

And you know what … we survived. We ate well actually, probably even more than normal because I was trying to get rid of things. We also ate leftovers (something we hardly ever do) and I’ll tell you why we did this time, in an upcoming post (riveting, I know).

And when we were done, my cupboards are just starting to make sense. I had room enough to organize by type instead of just cramming things in and hoping they didn’t fall out and hit me on the head the next time I opened the cabinet.

But best of all …

I saved over $150 this week!!

(the amount my family of 5 spends on groceries in a typical week)

This week I’m challenging you to plan a meal entirely from items you already have on hand but aren’t part of your normal rotation. Then come back here and tell us what you made.

Check out these great gals, also doing 2,011 in 2011: Jen, Samantha, Michelle, Christina, Erin, Melissa, Lilyalayne, YOUR NEXT (there’s still PLENTY of time to join in)

Clutter Tip of the Week: Grab 10

I have to tell you, I’ve lost some momentum on the clutter front. Oh don’t we all! That’s how we got here in the first place, am I right? I’ve been at this for quite some time now and while I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes life just changes your plans. The last few weeks have been a roller coaster for me but those details are for a different post. Today, I’ll tell you what I have gotten done clutter wise and a favorite challenge of mine that helps me get through the days I just don’t feel like doing anything.

55 Toys from the playroom (d)
8 Magazines (r)
5 Items on the counter (r)

68 = Total for the week (d = donate, r = recycled, s = sell, t = trash)

This is the most embarrassing total I have posted to date but hey, sometimes that’s life and at least my house is lighter than it was before. And my playroom! Yay, my playroom. It’s finally in a manageable state – details coming soon.

Now for my first declutteirng tip:

When I find myself in a spot where I just can’t bring myself to tackle the clutter zones in my home, I like to play a little game I call “Grab 10″. Grab 10 can be played in one room of your home or throughout your entire house. The title pretty much speaks for itself but I’ll explain it anyway. As quickly as you can, find 10 things that just don’t belong in your home anymore and don’t stop until you do.

On days when that’s all the time or energy you have, then Grab 10 will be enough (psst … that’s actually more than the number of items you need in a day to finish 2,011 in 2011 so that’s really something) — but, where this game really comes in handy is on the days when doing it feels particularly therapeutic. It’s on those days, I challenge you to try Grab 10 in each room of your home. This is honestly the best piece of advice I can give you on decluttering. Try it and you will see, rarely will you stop with only 10 items … and if by chance, you play Grab 10 throughout your home, well, then it will probably look as if you’ve cleaned your house as well. BONUS!

Whether you are joining us for the 2011 in 2011 challenge or not, I’d like to ask you to play Grab 10 sometime this week. Keep track of your 10 items and come back here and let everyone know what they were and what you plan to do with them (donate, sell, recycle, or trash). Who knows, maybe you’ll get bit by the declutter fever and decide to go all the way.

I’m happy to welcome Jen and Samantha to our group this week and I invite you to follow along with them on their journey as well. Catch up with all the 2,011 in 2011 participants here:

Clutter Be Gone

Last week was a huge week for me, not just in learning to love myself, but also in terms of clutter.

I finally tackled our dining room. It’s a constant source of trouble for me. We do our homeschooling in that room so it’s ALWAYS a mess and well, items without a home just sort of seem to end up in there. I got about 70% of the way done … wish I could tell you I was done, done but alas, that’s why I need this challenge! I actually found time to “read” 7 magazines. By read, of course I mean flip through at opportune moments throughout the week ripping out articles I want to “read” later. We also donated several large boxes of non-perishables to our local food bank oh, AND I emptied my purse!!

The breakdown went a little something like this:

34 Homeschool Treasures (r)
4 Unused Toys (d)
7 Recycled Magazines (r)
67 Items to the Food Bank (d)
45 Items from my Dining Room (t,r,d)
25 Things from my Purse (t)

182 = Total for the week (r = recycled, t = trash, d = donate, s = sell)

That’s 296 pieces of clutter out of my home in January. That’s pretty awesome in my book.

How’s the decluttering going in your home? Are you keeping tally of your numbers and doing a good job getting items out of the house once you label them as trash, donate or recycle?

It’s never too late to join in with us, remember I did the 2010 challenge in just 3 months last year. Here’s a list of all the folks taking part in the challenge so far. Leave you name, email & url (if you have one) in a comment below if you would like to be added to the list

Let’s Do This Together

If your house is fairly orderly, chances are you are doing something very similar to Opeartion Minimize in your own home. But if you’re a clutter queen like me (or have several little ones running around), then this is one resolution you’re going to want to keep. Here’s the plan …

Each of us will purge 2,011 items from our homes in 2011.

It may sound like a lot of work, but trust me it’s not that bad at all.

In fact, it breaks down to
168 items a month,
39 items a week, or
just  5.5 items a day.

See, easy. Trust me when I say YOU CAN DO THIS!!

How do I know? Cause I did it already! (2,010 items in just 3 months last year) I’m betting, if you join in we’ll actually purge a lot more than 2,011 items and be so much happier with our homes in the process.

Decluttering Guidelines

What Counts: Anything that has taken up residence in your home. Any item using valuable floor/counter/table space you could be using or areas you could be not using in a more calming, soothing way.

This could be stacks of papers and magazines, clothing you no longer need or wear, items in your cupboards you haven’t touched in years, toys no one plays with, hair and body products you have never opened … you get the idea.

What Doesn’t Count: The only items not included in our challenge are things you will be replacing with an item of a similar nature (i.e, – food, recycling, beauty supplies you use on a constant basis, laundry detergent) and items you bring in your home after you start the challenge, like mail, new clothing, etc.

The only exceptions to these guidelines are 1) when you leave mail lying on the counter for a week (or more) and it takes control of your kitchen. Go ahead and toss it and count it. Or 2) when you find 5 empty TP rolls in your guest bath or 3) large empty bottles of laundry detergent in your laundry room just junking up the place. Don’t be hard on yourself, just tally them in with your other items and be done with it. Vow to do better the next time around.

See, simple rules. Just to make sure you’ve got it down, I’ll outline my items for the week.

26 Items I sent off to my SIL (they were things hers already, just stuff that had been living with me)
32 Catalogs stashed in my magazine drawer
3 Magazines (you’ll see as time goes by, this is a big source of my problems)
42 pieces of random junk from my counter & coupon drawer
5 toys no one plays with
6 items for the local Food Bank
114 things just like that

The beauty of this challenge is unlike most declutter projects that tell you to conquer your worst space first or work on one area per week, you don’t have to start anywhere in particular or feel overwhelmed by how bad any one space is. It’s low-stress.

Just grab a few things here & there as you notice them
and keep a tally in your head.
Write down the number whenever you throw something out
or stash it away to give, sell or donate.

Before you know it, you’ll be competing with yourself to see how much you can get rid of each week and as the number gets bigger you’ll notice your problem areas getting smaller. As they shrink, you’ll find the confidence to tackle them once and for all. Just like I did. Plus, I’ll be sharing my tips and personal stories with you along the way.

If it sounds like something you might want to try leave your name, blog or email in the comments section. Feel free to post on your own site every so often about your progress, or not. It’s entirely up to you.