Posts tagged ‘decluttering challenge’

MORE vs less: Would You be Okay With Living in a Storage Unit?

Day 27 – Living in a storage unit is awkward and not very homey.

For too many of us, that is exactly where we live, a storage unit.

Granted most of us are not hoarders that have to navigate floor-to-ceiling stacks of boxes and piles.

But many of us do have too much stuff in our garages, cars/trunks, closets, drawers, and storage units off site.

So much so, that we don’t like it when folks come over unannounced. We think, “Don’t you dare open any cupboard, doors, or drawers.” We don’t want anyone to see our stuffed, haphazard, messy collection of items.

If this describes you, you might be living in a storage space. How does that make you feel?

I know that describes some, many, okay ALL of my drawers, shelves, and closets (before I started this 31 day cleanse). And add the fact that I hardly used my piled possessions. I don’t like how I feel: ashamed, wasteful, lazy, and a bad steward.

But isn’t it great that I have today to declutter. I have today to start making different choices. And so do you. Then we can claim that our homes are spaces to live and not mountains of guilt, fear and STUFF.

“Your home is living space not storage space,” Francine Jay.

Your Turn . . . Look through this series of posts (here), to determine which idea you’ll first implement. . . .  These posts will help you learn How to Think Clutter-Free. . . .  Decluttering is not a linear journey. . . .Nor is there a perfect moment to begin. . . . Just get started and you’ll see your motivation rise and carry you through to completion. 

Day 27 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering = I spent 31 minutes in my pantry and refrigerator. I am already to go shopping because there is plenty of space.

I know that I zigzag in my decluttering. Some people might go crazy with such a schedule. But I like the flexibility and it works for me. I hope you find a schedule that works for you.

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days  . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less.

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MORE vs less: Using Clutter Goggles to See What’s Really There

Day 26 – I would use my clutter goggles, if I knew WHERE they were,

Colorblindness and clutter-blindness have a similar characteristic. In colorblindness. a person cannot clearly distinguish different colors of the spectrum.

In clutter-blindness. a person cannot clearly distinguish clutter from non-clutter. A clutter-blind person does not notice the piles of stuff mixed in with the useful stuff. While folks around them are disturbed by this mess, the clutter-blind person is not. And in many cases is comforted by having their stuff out and available.

Colorblindness has no cure. However, clutter-blindness does. It is a simple trick. Wear Clutter Goggles.

This is a habit you cultivate that helps you see what is out-of-place. Each time you leave a room, put on your (imaginary) clutter goggles. Purposefully look at the space and observe the piles on all the surfaces. Notice what’s out of place. Now take a few minutes (set the timer) to tackle at least one thing.

  • Collect all the pens/pencils and put them into one container.
  • Hang up your clothes or put them in the hamper.
  • Move the thrift store box out to your car.
  • Re shelve books.
  • Stack dishes in the dishwasher.
  • Throw away trash.

I learned the idea of clutter goggles from Lorie Marrero. She suggests putting them on so we can see the cluttered area for what it really is – a disorganized, overflowing shelf, drawer, table, closet, trunk, etc.

The clutter goggles I spoke about are imaginary. But there are “goggles” that you can put on in order to see what’s really there.  Denise Drake, a friend and fellow declutterer, has an idea that she uses. She uses a camera as if they were goggles.

Denise takes a photo of the area to be decluttered. By doing this, she can have an objective look. The disorganization and excess really stand out. She also takes a photo when done. These before and after pictures not only bring great satisfaction at a job well done, it shows the difference in a way that cannot be missed.

Wear them  in only one room. You could even decide to wear clutter goggles (or take a photo) all day in only one room. By the end of the day, you’ll have sorted out many of the out-of-place items.

As we make this an ongoing habit, our spaces will be freed from clutter. Won’t that feel good?

Day 26 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering = Storage closet is done!

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever used a camera as clutter glasses? . . . Do you think this tip would work for you? . . . What else could we use to replace imaginary clutter googles?

Related Resources . . . 

  • 3 Tips on Clutter Blindness [A Messy Minimalist Video] 1. Purposefully look and stare at every item in a room. Assess the problem areas.  Accept how bad your clutter is. … 2. Invite a detail-oriented, clean-freak friend over to assess the same room. Accept her findings. …. 3. Frequently check out your known problem areas in all parts of your home. I.e. Surfaces, corner of the room, floor.
  • How to Think Clutter-Free by FruitfulWords

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days  . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less. If you’d like, you can join our private Facebook group that is encouraging one another in this task.

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MORE vs less: Learning from “Coming Clean: A Memoir” 

Day 17 – Have is clutter impacting you?

Kimberley Rae Miller grew up in the home of hoarders. Rodents, bugs, broken water pipes, mildew, and holes in the floor lurked beneath massive, ever-growing stacks. Whole rooms were unusable, and the house structure was unsound. I learned about her plight from the audio book Coming Clean: A Memoir written by Kimberly.

It is evident that Kimberley and her parents were impacted by clutter. But you don’t have to be a hoarder or live with a hoarder to be distressed by clutter. Living in a home overflowing with stuff comes at a cost. This is true even if that stuff is expensive, useful, and memorable. Friends have shared some of their costs.

  • Cannot find what they are looking for.
  • Financial waste because of buying identical items.
  • Don’t enjoy guests because the cleanup is exhausting.
  • Prohibit spontaneous visits.
  • Depression.
  • Can’t live in parts of the home or use some of the furniture.

At the very least, too much stuff negatively impacts mental health, motivation, finances, and relationships. Although I am not a hoarder, I was subject to the above costs. And my daughter was subjected to the same costs, even though it wasn’t her clutter.

After I listened to the audio book, Coming Clean, I surveyed my environment. There was a jumble of items on each surface. Containers, drawers, and closets were full of things I didn’t use and didn’t have room for.

Kimberley’s story opened my eyes to what I was doing to myself, my environment, and my relationships, especially with my daughter. This book helped open my eyes.

I am no longer in denial or blind to the evidence of excess and disorganization. Instead of going on a thrift shop binge for more treasures, I went on a sorting binge for more space. Three months later, anyone can come over at any time, and I will open the door. (As a side note, I still have more to declutter, but clutter no longer plagues me.)

Your Turn . . . Do you have clutter? . . . . Is it affecting you, your environment, or your relationships? . . . . What one step will you take today to combat the chaos? . . . . I recommend that you read Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller and other posts in this series, MORE vs less.

Day 17 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering  – 31 minutes in my storage closet is making a slow but steady difference.

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days  . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less. If you’d like, you can join our private Facebook group that is encouraging one another in this task.

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MORE vs less:15 Decluttering Quotes

Day 15 – “Clutter is postponed decision.” ~ Barbara Hemphill. Our quality of life is determined by the decisions we make about our stuff. Looks like I have a lot of decisions to make.

Do you like quotes?

  • I like the pithy wisdom that quotes can contain.
  • I like the one line (or two) of wisdom that I can easily remember and meditate upon.
  • I like their short rally cries to  action.

With these thoughts in mind, here are 15 decluttering quotes, in no particular order, that I currently embrace.


1. “Clutter is anything that doesn’t belong in a space – whether because it belongs elsewhere in your home, or it doesn’t belong in your home any longer.” ~ Chrissy Halton 

2. “Your home is living space, not storage space.” ~ Francine Jay.

3. “Discarding memorabilia is not the same as discarding memories.” ~ Fumio Sasaki

4. “Our things are like roommates; except we pay their rent . . . Our things aren’t going to pitch in with the rent, and they aren’t going to help us take care of the household chores. Instead, they create extra work for us. Do we really want to continue to pay the rent for them? It’s wiser to kick them out.” ~ Fumio Sasaki

5. ”Live with fewer things that have greater meaning.” ~ Dominque Browning

6. “Once I started looking at what I owned and how effectively it all worked as a whole, I realized that even too much stuff of beautiful things create a not-so-beautiful experience.” ~ Melissa Michaels

7. “Do not open and re-clutter! Put the clutter in the bag, close it, take it to the car and NEVER re-open the bag!” ~ FlyLady

8. “Holding on to clothes that don’t fit is like having friends that make fun of you behind you back.” ~ Peter Walsh

9. “Will putting this item here add order or disorder to this space?” ~ Melissa Michaels

10. “If you are not content today. There is nothing you can buy this weekend that will change that.” ~ Joshua Becker

11. “You might get 85 years on this planet – don’t spend 65 paying off a lifestyle you can’t afford.” ~ Cait Flanders.

12. “The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” ~ Marie Kondo

13. “For the longest time, I thought I needed to be more organized. Now I know I just needed less stuff.” ~ Alysa Bajenaru

14. “Clutter is stuck energy. The word ‘clutter’ derives from the Middle English word ‘clotter,’ which means to coagulate – and that’s about as stuck as you can get.” ~ Karen Kingston

15. Clutter is not just our stuff. Stuff = I.e. clothes and  paper. It is also about …

  • Digital = email
  • Mental = fears, voices, guilt
  • Emotional = unconscious, negative patterns, “I can’t” voices
  • Spiritual = lack of forgiveness and peace

Clutter is anything that keeps us from living the life we want to live and enjoy our lives. ~ From Clutter to Clarity  ~Kerry Thomas (TED Talk)


Day 15 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering = Okay, so I fibbed. I decided to spend 31 minutes in the OCC closet. One more session and I will be done.

Your Turn . . . Which quote do you like best and why? … Do you have a decluttering quote to share?

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days  . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less.

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MORE vs less: Check the Expiration Date – it’s not what you think

Day 5 – I spent 31 minutes decluttering the trunk.

How surprised are you when you spring clean your kitchen and bathroom cupboards to find items that have expired? 

I’m not surprised. It isn’t that hard for me to toss these goods. I feel a little regret that I didn’t use them up. But I am able to toss them because I don’t want to make myself sick or turn green by using an item that has passed its expiration date.

But did you know that this advice applies to things we own? Everything we own has an expiration date.

Yes, you know that food, vitamins, and beauty products have expiration dates. But I am saying that EVERYTHING has an expiration date.

Expiration = a fixed point of time when something ends.

Ava took her beloved camera to the store because she had dropped it in water.  The camera technician was final in his diagnosis; “It can’t be fixed.” So she bought a new camera and used it – then.

That camera is still working well. It still takes great photos. But Ava doesn’t use it any more. Ava’s cell phone takes photos that are comparable. It is easier to use her camera on the cell phone. And by using the camera on the phone, she doesn’t have to remember to bring her camera.

Expiration = a fixed point of time when something ends. The use of this camera has reached its expiration date.

Ava keeps the camera even though the expiration date has passed. It is no longer useful. It no longer fits in her life style. Her interest, desire, and need for the camera no longer exist.

It doesn’t matter that Ava spent $1000 on the camera. It doesn’t matter that the camera is still in good working order. All that matters is that the expiration date has passed. And so she doesn’t use it.

I need and want to look at my items with this idea in mind.

I want to ask myself these types of questions when decluttering is emotionally hard.

  • Is it useful now?
  • Does it fit my lifestyle now?
  • Am I interested in it now?
  • Will I use it/wear it/complete the project now?
  • Do I have the physical energy to use it/finish it now?

Remember those potential blood-streaked eyeballs (aka ping-pong balls) I talked about yesterday? It is just possible that the expiration date has come and gone.

Day 5 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering = Today’s space is my car trunk. My daughter and I are going away for two days and it would be lovely to put our suitcases IN the trunk.

Do you ever put things in your trunk that need to go someplace? … Salvation Army … the library … a friend’s home …  And they just stay there? They stay there forgotten? Yep, that is me.

I didn’t want to expend the energy or the time to take care of it in the past. So this task lingers and takes up space. Today, I will take care of business; I have things to deliver!

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days  . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less.

Your Turn . . . As you look at the items you are deluttering, are there any where the expiration date has passed? . . . How hard is it to let go of these items? . . . Can you relate to Ava’s experience?

Related Post . . . Taking my Hobbies from Plans to Implementation to Finishing

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MORE vs less: 7 Fears Contribute to Clutter

Day 4 – Decluttered a basket of papers and art/craft supplies in my book-case cubby.

Carver mentions 7 fears that contribute to clutter and/or our inability to deal with the clutter. Read the article to get a fuller explanation of each fear. Below is a one sentence synopsis of each fear.

  1. I’m afraid I’ll have to buy it again.
  2. I’m afraid that if I let go of something sentimental that I will forget the memory.
  3. I’m afraid my stuff won’t go to the right place.
  4. I’m afraid I won’t have anything left to give my children.
  5. I’m afraid getting rid of my stuff will take a lot of work.
  6. I’m afraid people will think I am weird or ungrateful because I keep giving things way.
  7. I’m afraid that I wasted money on things and giving stuff away is like money down the drain.

I am attached to my belongings for two reasons.

  1. I may need that item someday. And many times after I have released an item into the world, I have needed it. Argh! So this perpetuates my belief.
  2. An item has sentimental value. So getting rid of it is like getting rid of the person/memory attached to the sentiment.

I need and want to think new thoughts about my belongings. I will start by combatting the two fears expressed above. . . . Maybe by journaling? . . .  Just declutter and live with the uncomfortable feelings? . . . Or???

Day 4 –  31 Minutes of Decluttering = I cleaned out a basket in a bookcase cubby at work. It had (KidMin) paperwork and art /craft supplies. Since I no longer oversee KidMin, I was able to throw away meeting notes, schedules, and potential curriculum ideas. Boom! Right into the trash without even looking at it. The folks who oversee it, do not need my old ideas.

However, getting rid of art/craft supplies was HARD. I see the potential fun. I see the ideas I want to create. I.e. I have a pint jar filled with white ping-pong balls. Why? I have this idea to make the balls look like bloodshot eyeballs. Wouldn’t that look cool for Halloween?

Maybe another fear I have is that if I get rid of this stuff, I will miss out on fun and cool projects. Do you think I tossed or got rid of this potential craft project? Leave a reply in the comments.

Go here for the landing page with all the posts for MORE vs less: 31 Days of Decluttering. #write31days   . . . I am joining 100’s of bloggers who are determined to write every day in October on one topic. To read more about #Write31Days, go here.

Join me in this experiment of MORE vs less.

Your Turn . . . Can you relate to any of the fears?  . . . How will you combat it? . . . Do you think that just by doing the work of decluttering, the fear goes away? I am newish to this and don’t know the answer.

Related Post . . . I’m Not Letting Fear Make Decisions For Me

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Friday Declutter Challange A Miscellaneous Mixture

When I am crazy busy with a project and need to take a break or procrastinate, I’ll tackle another project for a bit. Luckily for me, it was decluttering.

 September 6: Pile of papers from my desk.

September 7: One empty box (wahoo – all those papers are now in the trash), one magic set filled with broken and missing pieces, & paper trash (from the box).


September 8: More discarded papers.



September 9: Went through a box of clothes and books. Both yielded items that no longer fit who I am.



September 9: One Basket . . .Two Clear Ornaments . . .Three bottles of glass paint.

Read this post to see why I gave them up. The pertinent part starts with these sentences: “I have some ornament kits that I thought I would make with my children. My children are now 24 and 25.”

 September 10: Pile of socks. Mates are MIA and have been for several months.

September 11: Decluttered my inbox: Down to 83.

Go to Marcia’s place, Organising Queen to sign up for this week’s challenge or to see what others have accomplished. If accountability, camaraderie, and encouragement would help you with decluttering, consider joining the decluttering challenge and then share your results next Friday.

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Identifying Not Just Goals, But Legacy Goals Makes Junk Tossing Easier

Artist and blog author Luann Udell thinks the “How-to” articles in magazines are not all that helpful. They don’t live up to there titles. So, when cleaning out her attic a pile of ArtCalendar magazines was an easy toss.

But it was time for a 10 minute break and a cup of coffee so, Luann grabbed a magazine that declared, Summer Project: Declutter Your Studio/Three Easy Steps. This article, written by Jo Israelson, a master stone carver, installation artist, AND personal organizer, actually proved helpful. It taught Luann how to make some hard choices.

The help came in the form of identifying the goals for this project:  “Understanding why we are doing this will help us stay centered and focused when the process gets hard.”

The following suggested goals are for artists, but they can be readily adapted for those of us non-artists.

  • Downsizing
  • Retiring
  • Trying to be more organized
  • Make room for larger pieces
  • Getting ready for a studio sale or tour
  • Overcoming a block

There are more that Luann didn’t list. I NEED to find a copy of this issue to see what I’m missing.

Luann goes on to share, “But the part that is absolutely brilliant to me is when she [Jo Israelson] asks us to define our legacy goals. This will help us move through the inevitable emotional wall we hit when the initial euphoria of de-junking ebbs, and the sadness, confusion and frustration of the process overwhelm us.”

 Jo Israelson says, Your legacy goals will serve as the framework for the distribution of the remaining items.”

A legacy is what is passed on to others,  whether it be ethereal like advice, values and love or more practical like physical stuff. Usually a legacy is given upon death.

But it can be given while still alive. And that’s how I choose to look at my decluttering. First, look at the meaning or memory behind the item. Then decide who could best benefit from that meaning. Some times it will be Goodwill because there is no good memory or no there is no attachment to the object.

I have some ornament kits that I thought I would make with my children. My children are now 24 and 25. I held onto these because of the potential memories they had in my mind.  Mafia Princess would love to create with her children. And these memories will move from potential to actual. I can now release those items.

What I give away can help someone else in their legacy. What I keep helps define mine. I am no longer a homeschool mom, a procrastinating crafter, a mindless collector of miscellaneous stuff.

I am  . . .  a grad student . . . a mom with adult children . . . .  a finisher of projects and books . . . .  a purposeful collector of fine art. Thanks to my artist daughter . . . And I’m more.

Although, I am not too sure -yet – of ALL of who I am.  I’m sure all of my stuff does NOT accurately express my legacy.  

With this legacy-focus on decluttering I have a direction. And I have a permission to release who I was and grow into who I am becoming. . . . without guilt, restraint, or hurry.

Go here to read the whole post by Luann Udell. It is tip #5 in the series on “Cleaning the Attic.”

I hope to see you all sign up for Friday’s Declutter Challanege at Marcia Francois’ Oranising Queen.

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2 Decluttering Tips From This Week’s Decluttering Challenge Entries

The month of August was a daily month-long decluttering challenge hosted by Organising Queen and My Simpler Life. It helped push me into thinking about decluttering every day.

Marcia from Oranising Queen is now hosting a weekly Delutter Challenge. Every Friday we post what we did the previous days regarding decluttering.

In a nutshell, this week,  I have been working on decluttering piles of papers. I’ve even helped myself by buying some folders and filing away the important ones.

Below are two tips I gleaned from the entries.

  1. Books. Culling the bookshelves to reduce their number is a hard one for me. Domestic Bliss asks these questions (at this post) of fiction and non-fiction books to determine if they stay or they go.
  2. Put away and organize simply & thoughtfully. Mom to 2 Busy Boys shows how that works here. Doing these two things can make a nice difference.

What tips will you be able to use?

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Month Long Decluttering Ends with Wahoo, Links & Lessons Learned

Marcia from Organising Queen says I deserve a huge pat on the back since I decluttered every day this past month. You know what? I agree.

There are some others who also did the same.

Wahoo & congrats to ALL of us


This is what I did this past month.

  1. For Week 1 Decluttering go here.
  2. For Week 2 Decluttering go here.
  3. For Week 3 Decluttering go here.
  4. For Week 4 Decluttering go here.
  5. For Week 4.5 Decluttering go here.

If you want to see what others did, go to this link.

I learned 3 things this past month.

(1) Decluttering one item a day is doable and adds up over a month. In order to NOT get discouraged about the huge task, I need to concentrate on the one thing I can do today. Because I was able to keep that focus, I usually decluttered more than one thing. Of course, I celebrated that. But, for the days I decluttered one thing, I celebrated just as much.

(2) I learned that I’ve been decluttering more than physical things. The act of decluttering, for some of us, is an emotional task. Thankfully, I’ve been dealing with some of these emotions. So, I was able to declutter some expectations, memories, and guilt associated with various things.

(3) Boy, do I expect a LOT from myself. You should see my to-do list. I admit, pretty unrealistic. The same is true for what I think I can declutter in a day. My expectations were way off, and still are on some days. I didn’t get all this stuff in one day, one week or even one month. So, it will take me some months to declutter fully. I know that Clean House is NOT coming here to rescue me  – to get me all decluttered and organized. I can do this.One item at a time. And with God’s help I can decide upon and follow a doable schedule and to-do list.

Finally, what is the biggest impact on my home? To be truthful, at times, it is still messy. Mainly because I’m not too good about putting things back after I’ve used them. I know that having a clutter free home takes more than just getting rid of the clutter.  I’d like to answer this question after another month of decluttering. maybe then, I’ll have an answer.

Thank you to Marcia from Organising Queen  and Beth from My Simpler Life for this challenge and for giving me (and us) the opportunity to declutter and grow as individuals and as a group.

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August Declutter Challenge – Summary Week 4.5

Here is the summary for the last 3 days of this August Challenge.

Day 29: 17 items were found between the washer and dryer. The 5 socks are now washed and with their mates. The other 12 items are in the recycle bin.

Day 30: 12 items were tossed or given away from the bathroom sweep for clutter.

Day 31: 8 videos/DVD’swere thrifted or returned home.

The month long challenge is now done. I fulfilled the terms of the challenge. But I see that I had higher expectations for myself.  Well, challenge or no, I still have tomorrow to declutter one thing a day, Like this blogger who has decided to follow a 365 days of decluttering challenge. How well did you do?

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August Declutter Challenge – Day 31 (Media Cabinet)

Today’s decluttering is brought to you by the media cabinet. Besides housing the obvious TV, VHS player and DVD player it also has many videos and a few DVD’s. 

I am returning 4 titles to their proper homes and thrifting 4 items. Wahoo to me!

 The other movies that I have in the cabinet and in one tub are full of the movies my kiddos watched growing up. I want to go through those titles with my kiddos (24 & 25 years old).

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