Declutter Challenge #6

Since my Sunday ended up being crazy I didn’t get a challenge posted.  Hopefully you had a chance to enjoy some time with your family today and get prepared for the week ahead.

Looking forward to a great week!

Declutter Challenge #5

We’re staying in the bedroom this weekend! It’s the room we tend to neglect most because it’s seen the least by people other than ourselves.  So the Master Bedroom tends to be a haven for clutter.  Today we’re tackling:

The Nightstand

photo credit:{istock}

Whatever kind of nightstand you have, a simple table, something with drawers, or a make-shift table from another part of the house, my guess is that it’s gathered a collection of “stuff” on top and inside.  Tissues (some dirty?  ewww!), a few books and magazines, an old water cup, and who-only-knows-what-else.

The challenge: QUICKLY toss anything that’s trash.  Next, take everything that doesn’t belong on your nightstand and take it off.  If it needs to go to another room in your home, put it aside for now.  I like to use a laundry basket to catch all of those misplaced items.  Now, replace everything that stays (a box of tissue, the book your reading right now, your reading glasses, a picture frame with a cherished photo, a candle, your alarm clock).
Take the basket full of misfits and return them to their proper homes.  DO IT NOW!  I’m serious about this.  This is the heart of this challenge.  If you let them sit in that basket they are STILL CLUTTER…. just clutter in a different spot.  Put them away.  You’ll feel better when you’re done.  This is another challenge that would be great to involve your spouse in.  You can always entice him or her with a little snuggle time in your cleaner room once your done! 😉

Now don’t be scared! This isn’t meant to be an all-day endeavor. Just take 5 minutes if that’s what you have. You can do a lot in 5 minutes. If you have all-day and are really feeling motivated, then by all means feel-free to do a full purge. I won’t stop you. But make sure you really have the time to devote to it. I don’t want you neglecting other duties to make this happen. Decluttering & organizing should be part of your regular routine, not a disruption of your entire life.

The challenge: take 5-10 minutes (set the timer if you have to) and take an honest look at your closet. Pull out anything you know you won’t wear again. This includes things that:

don’t fit (especially if it’s too big!)

in disrepair – holes, snags, broken zippers, missing buttons you know you’ll never fix

not yours (seriously… if you have clothes from your old roommate or your mom or your sister, get rid of them!)

not your style – I know you know what I mean. We all have that item that we bought on a whim thinking it was so cool. But once we got it home (and ripped the tags off & lost the receipt of course) we realized it really wasn’t consistent with our style and/or body type. Let it go!

Shoes that pinch your toes

Shoes that have seen better days

What should you NOT do… please do not purge your husband’s closet! Discarding someone else’s stuff is, quite honestly, a big violation of their privacy. We feel protective of our stuff, especially those clothes that have memories for us (like his holey old college t-shirt!) So if his side of the closet needs a little purging, invite him to join you for your 5-10 minute session. But don’t just toss out his stuff.

Declutter Challenge #4

If you didn’t do it yesterday, today you’re gonna need to grab a box or a bag for donation items.  We’ll keep using this (and adding more) over the next few weeks to put those items we no longer want or need but that are still in good condition.

We’re moving out of the kitchen today and into the bedroom!

Your Closet
photo credit:{iStock}
Now don’t be scared!  This isn’t meant to be an all-day endeavor.  Just take 5 minutes if that’s what you have.  You can do a lot in 5 minutes.  If you have all-day and are really feeling motivated, then by all means feel-free to do a full purge.  I won’t stop you.  But make sure you really have the time to devote to it.  I don’t want you neglecting other duties to make this happen.  Decluttering & organizing should be part of your regular routine, not a disruption of your entire life.
The challenge: take 5-10 minutes (set the timer if you have to) and take an honest look at your closet. Pull out anything you know you won’t wear again.  This includes things that:
  • don’t fit (especially if it’s too big!)
  • in disrepair – holes, snags, broken zippers, missing buttons you know you’ll never fix
  • not yours (seriously… if you have clothes from your old roommate or your mom or your sister, get rid of them!)
  • not your style – I know you know what I mean.  We all have that item that we bought on a whim thinking it was so cool.  But once we got it home (and ripped the tags off & lost the receipt of course) we realized it really wasn’t consistent with our style and/or body type.  Let it go!
  • Shoes that pinch your toes
  • Shoes that have seen better days
What should you NOT do… please do not purge your husband’s closet!  Discarding someone else’s stuff is, quite honestly, a big violation of their privacy.  We feel protective of our stuff, especially those clothes that have memories for us (like his holey old college t-shirt!)  So if his side of the closet needs a little purging, invite him to join you for your 5-10 minute session.  But don’t just toss out his stuff.

Declutter Challenge #3

Is your kitchen feeling lighter yet?  One more day in the kitchen this week!

The Large Utensil Drawer/Crock

photo credit: {iStock Photo}

Do you have a drawer full of spatulas and spoons and whisks or a crock that sits on the counter?  What?  You have both plus another drawer?  Aha!  Time to weed out.  I bet you have 5-7 cooking utensils you use over and over and over again. 

The Challenge: Look at every single cooking utensil in your kitchen. Immediately categorize it as one of 3 things:
1. I use it every week
2. I don’t use it every week but I can remember the last time I used it and it was sometime since Thanksgiving.
3. I can’t remember when I used this last or I remember when I last used it and it was definitely before Thanksgiving.

If it’s #1 then put it back in your drawer.  If it’s a #2, think for 10 seconds about whether you really plan to use it again and if so put it back.  If it’s #3 put it right down into the box you just got out for items to be donated or into the trash (if it’s broken or in disrepair).

I know what you’re saying… “But, but, I don’t want to donate it.  I might need it.”  Fine.  Put it in that box.  Close up the box, label it and put it wherever your store stuff (the basement, the garage, whatever).  If you find in the next 6 months that you’re missing something, go grab the box and get the item for your drawer.  If after 6 months you haven’t opened the box, drop it off on your next trip to the local charity.

Cooking is something we do almost every day.  Treat yourself to utensils that serve you well.

Declutter Challenge #2

Congratulations on ridding your refrigerator of those scary science experiments tucked in back.  Staying in the kitchen today we’re moving on to something a bit harder.

The Storage Container Cabinet
I know you have a cabinet or drawer full of Tupperware, Rubbermaid or other plastic and glass storage containers you use for leftovers and lunches.  Is it bursting at the seams?  Time to pare down! 
The Challenge: Get rid of anything that doesn’t have a lid, is warped or cracked, hasn’t been used in the last year (oh you know the one I’m talking about!), or has a fading logo of a brand of margarine you haven’t purchased in 5 years.  If you primarily use old food containers that’s okay, I understand reusing!  But if you just have a few Kewl Whip containers hanging out among your otherwise nice pieces, toss ’em.  Be good to your food and store it in the nicest containers possible for your budget.
Don’t forget to link up to the MckLinky if you make a blog post about your decluttering!  We want to know!

Declutter Challenge #1

We’re starting off with something I hope will be pretty easy:

The Refrigerator!

The Challenge: Search your fridge for anything that’s expired, growing unidentified fungi, or that you simply didn’t like and won’t eat again.  Throw it out!  Reclaim your storage containers!

Today’s not the day to clean the fridge, just to clear it out.  And don’t feel like you need to hit the freezer… we’ll get there soon enough.  Just check all those shelves and drawers and door shelves for anything that needs to go.

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Are you Delightfully Decluttering your way toward spring?  Grab a button & Let the world know!

Countdown to Spring!

March 1st.  Based on the US Calendar that means we are just 21 days… 3 short weeks… away from the 1st day of spring. 

I love spring.  I was married in the spring.  My first child was born in spring.  Spring is a time for renewal and rejuvenation and celebration.  There’s something about those first few days of being able to throw open the windows and let in the sunlight that make us want to freshen up our lives.  Others can keep their New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ll take a good Spring Cleaning over a Resolution any day!

Here at Delightfully Organized I am counting down to my spring cleaning party.  We’re going to spend the first month of spring focusing on the cleaning.  But before we get there we need to prepare.  And the best way to do that is to downsize what we don’t need so there’s less to clean.

My challenge to you for the next 3 weeks is to join my Delightfully Decluttering party.  Each day I’ll give you a challenge.  If you accept the challenge you can spend 5 minutes or 50 minutes on it.  Either way, you’ll be making progress toward having a more alive home for spring. 

Here’s what to do:
1. Grab a Delightfully Decluttering button for your blog to let the world know you’re decluttering your way toward spring!

2. Check back daily by subscribing on the sidebar, adding me to your google reader or following me on Twitter or Facebook.

3. Carry out each day’s challenge (or as many as you can) within the amount of time you have available.

4. If you blog, write about it when you want to.  And link back here through the MckLinky.

5. If you don’t blog, come tell us about your efforts on Facebook.  Bonus points for pictures!

I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together!

Are You Prepared?

Today’s post is inspired by a reader and friend, Robin, who asked me a very good question: Do I have an emergency preparedness kit?

Sadly, the answer for me is NO!  I am woefully unprepared for any kind of natural disaster.  Of course, I have the luxury of living in an area that is not prone to most of the major disasters we see on the news – hurricanes, earthquakes and mudslides.  But we do get tornadoes here (though not usually in my town) and my family really should be prepared.

About 5 years ago I actually printed out a list of the things I would need for a kit but I never acted upon it.  It’s still sitting in our family BOB (Big Ol’ Book – a manual for our household) but has never been used.  It’s probably about time I thought about that.  Especially with kids, if we did need to hunker down in our basement for a tornado those kids would go crazy without a few creature comforts (and so would I!).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) actually has a whole website devoted to helping Americans get prepared: http://www.ready.gov/.   Here’s their list of suggested items for a kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) – PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from http://www.ready.gov/.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

It’s a great list actually!  And one we should all be working on assembling for our homes.  Of course another key piece is adding a tickler to your calendar to check the kit at least once a year (maybe when you change the clocks?) to rotate out food and other products that might expire or lose their effectiveness.
 
I’m adding this to my to-do list for this spring.  Once I have a kit assembled I’ll be back to share it with all of you.
 
Now it’s your turn?  Do you have a kit?  If so, let us know!  Share a link to your blog post about it or share a picture on Facebook!  We want to know how you are preparing!

Around the (blogging) World in 8 Posts

This has been a rough week in the Brown house.  Everyone has been sick.  Mostly me and Mr. Brown.  All our normal routines, including work, have had to be adjusted or just plain left behind for a few days.  Hopefully this weekend we can get in a thorough disinfecting of the house and get everyone healthy again.  In the meantime, here are some other blogs you should be reading.  I picked these 8 because they speak to where my family and life are right now.

1. Ten Minute Tuesday by Susan @ The Confident Mom – Just a simple reminder of where I get my strength.

2. When Just The Minimum Is Enough by Monica @ Your Life. Organized.

3. The Perks of Caffeine by Shelly @ Shelly Ventures

4. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread by Heather @ Join Us, Pull Up A Chair – I just wish someone at sea level would make it for me and send it!

5. Four Common Obstacles to Completing Chores by Erin @ Unclutterer – and remember, when you’re an adult, they aren’t really “chores,” they are just called “life”

6. Loosen The Grip of “More Stuff” by Rachel @ Small Notebook – Rachel’s family is a great example of not being weighed down by stuff as they just made a major life change and moved to Italy!

7. 5 Elements to Building a Successful Blog by Brian Gardner – great advice!

8. surrounding beauty… by Daniella @ dress design decor – these photos just make me smile.

Quick Tip Thursday – Packing Tape Insanity

Today’s tip is less about being organized than it is about not making yourself insane over something small. Do you ship packages? Ever? With family out of state, selling things online and returning online purchases I actually ship more things than I really imagine. I like to use clear packing tape for my boxes. I’ve been using the stuff for at least 17 years, since that first time I had to send myself boxes at college. And in those years I’ve found one trick that is basically fail-proof and always, always saves my sanity.

When you’re done with the tape, tuck under one teeny little corner. This gives you a tab to pull it back up again when you need to use it next time.

It sounds so small, and it is.  But if you don’t do it the results may not be pretty.  I know you’ve been there… your tape has stuck to itself and now you’re trying to peel it apart in one piece.  But it’s ripping into shredded pieces and you’re getting little strips of tape.  Your frustrated and want to toss the whole thing in the trash.  (Yes, I know, I’ve had it happen too.)

But once you get that tape back to its full state do yourself a big favor and tuck under a corner.  You might lose 1/2 an inch of tape but you’ll save your sanity and your fingernails the next time you need it.