Declutter Challenge #20 & Downloadable File

It’s the last day!  Spring begins this afternoon and hopefully your home feels a bit more ready to welcome spring by being a bit lighter in the clutter department.  Today’s Challenge:


Gather up all those things you’ve decided you don’t want or need anymore and get them out of your home for good!

As you box and bag things up, make a list of what you are donating.  Keep this with the receipt you get from the place you donate and add it to your 2011 Taxes file for next year.  To help with this I’m offering my first downloadable file!  This Charitable Donation Worksheet is what I use to mark things down before I drop them off to charity.

Here’s how it works:

1. Click on the photo of  the document you want (with kids or child-free)
2. Download or print the document
3. Fill it out!
4. Donate your stuff.  Do this now.  Today.  Tomorrow at the latest. Don’t let the stuff stick around your house. It will continue to be clutter in your home until it’s GONE!
5. Staple your charitable donation receipt to the form.
6. File in your 2011 Taxes file (if you haven’t made one, now is the time)
7. Add the items from your list to your It’s Deductible account. If you use Turbo Tax, you can import the data into your taxes for next year. 

For families with kids

For families without kids

  Why keep a list of what you donate?  Well, if you don’t have a list, you can’t deduct the value on your taxes. And if you want to deduct you need to have a reasonably detailed listing according to the IRS.

What should you do after today? Print out a few copies of the document and put them on a clipboard.  Put the clipboard wherever your normally keep your stuff to be donated. Whenever you add something to the box or bag, note it on the worksheet.  Then you won’t need to do any work next time you have a full box to donate.  Just drop it off and file your paperwork.

Declutter Challenge #19

Just two more…. And today we’re back in:

The Kids’ Closet

If you have more than one child, try the other kid’s room today.  If you only have one child or your children share a room, head back into the closet again today.

And of course, if you are child-free, pick another room – like the guest room or office.

Declutter Challenge #18

We’re down to the wire!  Spring is right around the corner.  Are you as anxious as I am?  Just 3 challenges remain.  And today we’re checking out:

The Kids Closet

If you have more than 1 kid, just start in one room.  If you don’t have any kids, you get to pick a room of your choice – maybe the guest room or a home office.
The key for this room is to make this challenge for a limited amount of time.  You could easily spend all day working in here, but that’s not the goal for now.  Give yourself 5 or 15 or 50 minutes… whatever fits in your day.  Pick off the “low hanging fruit” – the things you can see immediately do not belong, no longer fit, you don’t like, etc.
If your child is old enough, get them involved in the process.  Let them know they can give their unwanted items to kids who may not have something like it.

Declutter Challenge #17

Just 4 more days left until SPRING!!!  Hooray!  Are you getting worn out yet?  Hang in there with me a few more days.  You’ll feel so much lighter when things are decluttered.  Today’s challenge:

Laundry Room

Whether you have a room, a closet or a corner of the basement for laundry, it’s time to make that spot as happy as can be for your laundry needs.  Now, few people really love doing laundry but we all have to do it anyway.  Make your space one that doesn’t totally frighten you away.  Take 10 minutes today and do a quick sweep of your laundry area and get rid of anything that doesn’t belong or needs to go.

And you might even want to toss a load in while you work!

Declutter Challenge #16

Today’s challenge might be a bit harder.  Not because of volume, but attachment.

Your Collection

{Photo via iStock}

Most people have at least one collection of something.  It might be stamps or figurines or strollers or {ahem} diaper bags.  Doesn’t matter.  We’re going to cull the masses a bit.  This might be tough.  These are things you have collected into a grouping.  But do you really LOVE them all?  I’m betting there are a few that were gifts from people that heard you were into owls (or whatever) and bought you the ugliest owl item they could find for 10 Christmases in a row.  Don’t keep things just because they are part of the theme despite the fact that you don’t like them.  Keep what you love.  Make your collection something that brings you joy.  If you are only able to get rid of one item I’ll be proud of you!  It’s the effort that counts at this point.

Oh… if you have more than 1 collection, I’m only challenging you to take on one of them.  But if you want to do more, I won’t stop you!

Declutter Challenge #15

We’re keeping in the theme of reading materials and moving on to:

The “Library”
Strahov Library, Prague
{via iStock}

Now, I’m guessing most of you don’t have a “Beauty & the Beast” castle style library (and if you do, please invite me over for a week of perusing!).  But you probably have a bookcase or 5 with reading materials collected over a lifetime of reading. 

The challenge: decide what you’ll really read again and/or want to keep for some kind of sentimental value.  I recently rid my bookcase of a few books from college that I had never actually read.  They were great philosophy type books and I wanted to be the type of person who would read them for pleasure.  But I had to own up to the fact that I am not.
Now, in full disclosure, I still haven’t rid my bookcase of my advanced mathematics text books from undergrad. While I will very likely never have a need for them again, they are such a part of who I am that I cannot yet bring myself to get rid of them. However, I have limited the space I allocated for books and only keep the amount that will fit in that space.  So if you have some books you don’t really need anymore, don’t worry… just make sure they are given the proper amount of space and not taking over your entire room.

Declutter Challenge #14

Are you tired from this weekend’s purge?  We’re going to slow down a bit today and take a bit of a breather.  This is a 5-15 minute challenge (I hope!)

The Magazine Stash

If you don’t have any magazines you have a free day (or you can pick something else).  If you’ve got a stack of them lurking somewhere, time to cull them.  I know, I know… there’s a great recipe in this one that you are going to try.  And that one has some cute ideas for your son’s next birthday. 
Your real challenge for today… being honest with yourself. When was the last time you actually made a new recipe from a magazine?  Last week?  Okay, then clip the one you want, put it on your menu plan for this week.  Last year decade?  Um, yeah… you want to be the type of person who cooks fabulous new recipes from magazines but, um, you’re not.  Toss it.  If you really want it later, it’s probably available online.  And I know you’re internet savvy enough to find it because you are reading a blog.
So be ruthless.  Get rid of the ones you’ve read.  If you do decide to pull out a few pages/articles then make sure you have a place for them.  Better yet… add the information about the product/article/recipe/url to your Springpad notebook and come back to it when you have time.

Declutter Challenge #12 & #13

This weekend we’re hanging out in the

2nd Scariest Place In Your Home

Take the momentum from Friday and keep it up.  Three 15 minute sessions should leave you with a much tidier space than you had before.  Three 60 minute sessions and your probably getting close to sending your pictures in to Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

Good luck!  And if you find anything especially cool, weird, strange, scary, funny, or outrageous, let me knowI’d love to see a few pictures of what’s lurking in your space!

Declutter Challenge #11

By now you hopefully have a pretty good pace of getting rid of things you no longer need, use or want. At least I really hope you have a rhythm going because this weekend I’m going to challenge you a bit more.  It’s three days of “Pick Your Poison.” 

Right now, picture the most disheveled, messy, unorganized, afraid-to-open-the-door-for-fear-you-might-be-crushed room/cabinet/closet.  Got it?  Don’t go there.  Think about the place in your home that is one level less fear inducing.  Still insane but doesn’t send you into a full-blown panic thinking of your mother-in-law opening the door.  That’s the place we’re going to tackle. 

The 2nd Scariest Room/Closet/Cabinet In Your Home
In case your wondering… for me it’s the closet in our office/guest room.

This is a 3 Day Challenge.  Unless you are just entirely bored for this upcoming weekend with no commitments (and probably no kids!) this is not a pull-everything-out-and-put-it-on-the-lawn exercise. This is a 15-60 minute per day challenge.  If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare, spend that amount of time each day.  You can probably achieve a ton in just a quarter of an hour.  If you have a little more time, spend an hour.  Do not freak your spouse out by making your whole house an “under construction” zone for this.  Do what you can in the area in the amount of time you have allotted.  Include a few minutes for cleanup in the allotment.  Set a timer if you need to or do it during nap time so you have a built-in kid timer. And if you don’t get to everything today, no worries, we’re going to come back on Saturday & Sunday!

Trash/Recycle anything that’s:
*broken beyond repair
*broken and you don’t have the skills to to fix it

Donate anything that’s:
*still in good condition but no longer of use to you
*things you can’t remember using in the last decade
*things that don’t represent who you are as a person/family

Keep anything you:
*have a place for

No get hoppin’… there’s stuff to be vanquished!

Declutter Challenge #10

Hopefully after yesterday this one should be nice and quick!

The Shower/Tub

It’s time to get rid of anything in your shower that you don’t use or don’t like.  Have 6 kinds of shampoo bottles with 1/8″ of product left in the bottom of each?  Resolve to use them up over the next few days or toss them out if you don’t like them anymore.  Ladies… old razors that are past their useful life?  Toss them (where the kids won’t grab them and play with them!)  Any bottles that are empty and poofs/loofahs/scrubbing tools that no longer perform need to go as well.

The shower is the first stop most of us make in the mornings.  Try to make it a place that doesn’t stress you out!