Archive for the ‘Uncluttering’ Category

Cleaning out my Closet…

May 31, 2010

A few weekends ago I scheduled a Feng Shui consultation.  Naturally, I wanted my home as organized and clean as possible so the consultant (www.FengShuiHouston.com) would give me the best advice possible!   

I anticipated she would open doors and look in my closets so I decided I could quickly organize two of them enough so they would reflect orderliness in my life.   

Closet Before Organizing

My clothes closet was simple.  I tackled the top shelf because that’s where it’s easiest to toss things to store.  There was a lot of stuff that had been randomly tossed onto the shelf.  So I took everything off of it and placed the items on my bed.    

I grouped like items with like and then looked at how much I had of each.  I’m reluctant to get rid of my extra pillows (good for napping on the couch and for overnight guests) so those stayed.   I took small evening bags and clutches and put them into labelled containers.   As I was sorting, I realized that most of what I had I planned to keep, it merely needed to be better organized.  So that’s what I did for the top shelf and you can see from the photos what a difference it makes!   

Sometimes it’s not always about getting rid of items but how they are stored.  I’ve done several closet unclutterings over the last two years and it was a matter of limited space for what I wanted to keep.    

My hiking boots were purchased 7 or 8 years ago.  They have not been on my feet for at least 5 years and each time I’ve cleaned my closet, I have put them back under the shoe rack.  This time I asked myself if I would use them at any time during the remainder of this year and when my answer was unequivocably “no,” I moved them into my donation pile.    

I also removed the rack upon which my laundry basket sat.  I never really liked it and thus, there’s no reason to keep it!   

Now all that’s left is to sort through my clothes…and that can wait until another day!   

Ready for my Feng Shui consult!

 

P.S.  The Feng Shui consultation was incredible!  My consultant made some excellent and easy to implement suggestions.  One of the things she had me do was to turn my dining room table 45 degrees.  What a difference it makes in the energy and space of the room!  If you live in Houston or the nearby vicinity, go to this website www.fengshuihouston.com for more information! 

Advertisements

Fast Project #3 Toss Stuff from Your Medicine Cabinet!

May 14, 2010

Medicine Cabinet - Easy Project #3

 

I took 30 minutes and returned to my bathroom medicine cabinet to see how it could be tweaked.   

Cleaning the medicine cabinet is one of those quick organizing projects that can be completed in half an hour or less.   We tend to crowd items into it without removing things that have been in there for years. 

It was so easy!  I found some medicine that was clearly past its expiration date…gone!  I also found travel items that were moved to a drawer where I keep similar items.  I got rid of the mouthwash that I don’t like. 

You may remember that I cleared my bathroom at the beginning of the year.  This is proof that the second time around there’s always more stuff that is overlooked or kept during the first organizational effort. 

One, two, three…time to toss stuff from your medicine cabinet!  Let me know how long it takes and the results!

Childhood Memorabilia

May 9, 2010

Special Childhood Box

I use one of my dresser drawers to keep small memorabilia items, including some from my childhood.  Last month, I was organizing these items and came across a gift I received before I was 9 years old. 

It was a small, rectangular painted box.  I loved this gift because it looked like a regular box but to open it, you had to find the hidden switch. 

I stored my childhood treasures in it and as I opened it, I discovered two acorns that were obviously important to me when I was younger.  I also found a turkey wishbone, still intact, from a Thanksgiving dinner held at my aunt’s.  I remember how two of us discovered it simultaneously and both grabbed an end.  I won the match and the wishbone was mine!  The box also held an old skate key on a red piece of string and a circular key chain engraved with my name and address.  The best item was for magic tricks, two pieces of cardboard that you could flip open from either side and the toy paper money inside moved from side to side.

It was so much fun to remember these childhood moments!  And then I wondered, why do I really need two acorns and an old skate key?  Most of the items were tossed…other than the box and the key ring (which is now in my memorabilia box).

And the wonderful trick wooden box now holds a $20 bill that will be a gift to my youngest nephew…as long as he can figure out how to open the box!

Childhood memorabilia…select a few meaningful items and redistribute the rest!

My next gift for my youngest nephew!

The Second and Third Times Around

May 4, 2010
Good Bye to the Stair Stepper!

Gone! Good bye to the stair stepper!

 

Uncluttering your home  is easy the first time, there are obvious items to donate, sell, recycle or gift.  However, there’s a reward when you go back the second and third time to unclutter, as items you thought you’d never let go of suddenly become things you wonder why you saved. 

I’m uncluttering for the ninth or tenth time around and it’s interesting to think about why an object or article or clothing was so important to keep when I am still not using or wearing it.  I also think about the things I’ve kept stored in boxes.  If they are important to me, then my priority should be to make space and display or use them. 

One lesson learned is the more often I touch something, the more important it is to keep!  This makes it easier to part with items stored away because the old adage, out of sight, out of mind, applies. 

I took a break from uncluttering my home for a few months, although every week, a few items would be carried to the car to donate.  Now I’m back on track, discovering that I’m happier as more space becomes visible and I have less to dust or walk around. 

Sometimes it’s difficult to let go of an item because there is an emotional attachment, not to the item itself, but to the memories it evokes.  Last week I sold a stair stepper machine.  It took me months to decide it was time to let it go.  I finally acknowledged that I was not 40 anymore and no longer awake and exercising at 4:30 a.m.!   Now it’s gone and someone else is actually using it! 

I challenge you to make the second and third uncluttering rounds of your home.  What will you find that you kept the first time and no longer need or want?

Easy Project #2

February 28, 2010

I was inspired last week by a friend when we cleared out her pantry and spice rack.  I came home and in less than one hour, emptied my refrigerator and spices of all items that should no longer be used. 

One place I reference in order to know how long canned foods and condiments stay fresh is http://stilltasty.com/.  This is an incredible website and easy to use.  You merely type in the name of the product you wish to search.  Information is given on how long it can sit on the shelf unopened before the item begins to change composition or how long you can safely use it after it’s open.

Using their guidelines, I threw out several opened products that were no longer good to use.

Try it!  Post your results as well as realize how important it is to buy food that will actually be eaten.   Let me know how you do.

Life’s Priorities does not include Stuff!

February 21, 2010

During the last month, I learned a lesson that you may already know.  Life’s priorities does not include stuff! 

My boyfriend had surgery and his three-hour operation extended to seven.  Thus, both his hospital stay and recuperation time were longer than expected. 

We set up an office at his home since he cannot drive for two weeks.  As I moved items from my home to his, I realized that if these items were to disappear permanently from my life, I would not miss them.  Yes, there are memories of when I bought each one and why I picked it out at that time.  But during my wait at the hospital while he was under anesthesia, my energy and focus was on him…not my things! 

I am doing another sweep through my home and my pile of items to donate and sell has grown.  The last few  weeks were an important reminder that relationships with people are what is important in life…not the possessions we acquire. 

Closet items to go!

Converting Clutter into Cash!

February 3, 2010

Alchemists believed that you could transform the properties of base metals and create gold. 

Many of us have a hidden gold stash in our homes…our clutter!  During the last two weeks, I have sold three items and pocketed $150 from those sales! 

There are all sorts of ways to convert clutter into cash. 

eBay – Even with the listing, selling, and paypal fees, this is a great source for selling items.  It’s easy to learn and as long as you are correct in your descriptions, pack your items carefully, and ship promptly, you can make a profit.  One year, I averaged over $1,000 per month as I went through my first uncluttering phase. 

Consignment stores are another great way to move items out of your home and make some money on the side!  Call the stores near you to find out what their guidelines are.  It often takes several months to sell and collect your percentage of the items you consign.  The upside is that once the items are out of your house, you don’t have to do anything else except call and pick up your check! 

Craigslist – The primary advantage is the free listing service and most of your buyers are local, thus eliminating the hassle of shipping items. 

Yard sales – I was once a yard sale queen!  My friend, Kathryn, and I held two or three yard sales annually for five years!  The adage of your junk being someone else’s treasure is true!  What we did not sell, we repacked for the next garage sale.  After repacking the same unsold items two times, we donated what was left after the third sale.  You can literally earn hundreds of dollars in one day while watching lots of items be taken away by their new owners! 

If you have old, worn gold jewelry that is not worth the cost of repair, you can sell the gold.  Some jewelers offer this service as well as for silver items. 

These are some of the more common methods for selling items you are no longer need or want. 

Look around to discover what you can transmute into gold! 

Sold on eBay!

 

Sold on Craigslist!

Late Night Fun Idea #1

January 24, 2010

Refrigerator with everything stuck on the front

 

I’m receiving the coolest comments on this blog, including those who share their current organizing successes.   

Last night I had a fun idea…why don’t we all unclutter the same area and then report on our outcomes?    

We can start with something small and even if you’ve recently gone through it, we often become more discerning about what we wish to keep the second time around.  

I’m beginning with my refrigerator!  Not the contents inside but the magnets, photos, memo pads, clips and other things I’ve got hanging on the doors.   The first photo is with everything I had on the front and sides of the refrigerator.  The next photo is the front after I uncluttered.  There are four more items on its’ side.  I put five photographs into my “Photo Scan” box as the current pictures are posted.  I realized I have not used the clips in more than a year and I had excess magnets.  Total tally:  37 items originally on the refrigerator and 14 after culling.  I’m donating 18 items.  

Take a look at yours, figure out if you can reduce what’s on it, and send me your results!  

The "After" Results of the front

It’s the Little Stuff that is So Overwhelming!

January 20, 2010

Last week I began uncluttering my bathroom.  The project was an offshoot of my not being able to find my thermometer.   As I started taking things off the shelves, opening drawers, and searching underneath the sink, I decided to organize all the little things that had accumulated.

Originally, I was not concerned about getting rid of half of what is there, because it’s all stuff I regularly use, right?

Ha!  I opened up my medicine cabinet and as I straightened up the shelves, I realized I have five boxes of band aids!   And then I got to my first aid kit and found three more boxes!  Then there was the three storage containers of hair clips (haven’t worn a barrett in over a year), most of which were from when I had longer and thicker hair.  I recognized some that I’ve stored for…gulp…over 15 years!

So here’s what I’ve accomplished.

I consolidated the band aids, threw away old cosmetics, and placed items such as never used combs in my donate pile.  I also gave away a glass bowl I kept on the counter, I have two others on it and don’t need three.

An old seashell night-light (circa 1986) was also given away.

Items are now in boxes with lids and labelled.  I have enough towels for company and me. 

One drawer is empty and the others are less crowded.

I organized the linen shelves and got rid of mismatched containers that did not stack.

I acknowledged I was never going to use most of the hair and nail products I bought and said good-bye to those.

I learned that when I find something I like, I buy multiples…and usually more than I will use.

But most of all, I realized how much little stuff there is around me.  Hair items, nail products, cosmetics, shower gels, first aid supplies (in addition to my kit), dental items, there was far more than I need.  It’s the small stuff that is overwhelming to sort.

And I never did find the thermometer!

Help! I’m overrun with food storage containers!

January 12, 2010

This was an amazing weekend as I uncluttered room by room.  I will go back and sort some more but I wanted to move out as much as I could in one day. I was doing great…until I got to the kitchen and opened up the cabinet where I keep my food storage containers.  Help!  Plastic containers and lids fell out of the cabinet and on the floor, all different shapes and sizes!   

As I sorted and decided what to keep, I realized we buy items in sets.  I take my lunch and store leftovers but how many containers do I really need?A quick search on the Internet for food storage containers brought up several great deals.  I can buy 48 containers with lids and two storage systems for $19.99.  I’d have to store a lot of food to use 48 containers!  Many companies sell their leftover food containers in sets of 3 to 8 pieces.   Some are quite pricey!   

Instead of believing more stuff is better…I believe less is best!   

Excess food storage containers...and they are gone!