21-Day Challenge: How we handle extraneous clutter!

21-Day Challenge: How we handle extraneous clutter!
21-day challenge: an easy approach to organizing your whole home

Last week, I shared with you how I reorganized our entry way, an out of control pantry, the area underneath our sinks in the bathrooms and kitchen, our linen closet, and our playroom. Today, I’m going to share with you how we handle extraneous clutter. Later on this week I’ll share tips for organizing our closets, and on Saturday, I’ll share numbers 6-10 with you.

But for now, extraneous clutter- as the mother of two small children who are both still in single digits, I have seen some clutter. A lot of it. On a daily basis. Don’t be fooled- the adult members of my household are pretty good at creating clutter as well. We just blame it all on the kids 🙂

Don’t let that sweet face fool you- she’s got a Master’s degree in mess making.

We have a number of habits we practice for managing clutter, but just like everyone else, we are not perfect and we definitely slip sometimes, too.

1. Create a daily declutter routine

We take an ordinary laundry basket, and we go room to room each night, putting away anything that was left out. When the basket is empty and everything is put away, we have a decluttered house, and a clean slate for the next day.

2. Manage that paper clutter!

Invest in some file folders and a good paper shredder. File your important papers, like bill stubs, school papers, etc, and shred the rest. No need to let paper pile up on your desk or your kitchen counter! Put it away or get rid of it.

3. Sort and purge anything you no longer need or use at least twice a year

At least twice a year, we have something we call a purge around here. No, we don’t go on a killing spree, like the horror movie. We simply go through closets, dressers, drawers, and cabinets and we get rid of things. We take what we no longer need or use and we either throw it away, repurpose or recycle it, or we donate it. At times, if the items were in good shape, I chose to consign them using a brick and mortar consignment store, or online services such as Poshmark or Thredup.

Yet another rule of thumb is to search or shop your own home for anything you can use prior to buying something new.

How do you and your family manage clutter?

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21-day challenge: week one

21-day challenge: week one
Week one

Well, week one of the 21-day organizing challenge is under way. I had exactly five things I wanted to do this week, and even though I barely got them accomplished, I did manage to get them done.

First, I tackled our entry. It wasn’t terrible but it needed a little attention.

2. Secondly, I straightened up our out-of-control pantry.

And by giving it a good thorough cleaning, I got it to look like this.

3. Next, I worked on the area under the girls’ bathroom sink.

WhenI was finished, it looked like this:

And if you’re wondering what the inside of the drawers look like, they hold various toiletry items for the girls and they look like this:

I also cleaned and organized the area below my kitchen sink.

It looked like this when I finished.

4. Our linen closet wasn’t too bad, but needed a little extra love.

I put away a few things in the proper place and cleaned them up. I was pretty pleased with the overall result.

While “playroom” was on the list, our playroom just got a huge purging and organizing following Christmas, so it was still in good shape.

Just in case you want to play along, and you’ve forgotten what’s ahead:

Next week, we’ll share tips for clearing extraneous clutter, garage organization, and closet organization. Join us next Saturday for my room reveals!

21-day challenge: pantry organization

21-day challenge: pantry organization

We have a really big pantry/coat closet at our house that I absolutely love. It has a ton of storage space, has nice shelves and is just a really useful space. At the moment, though, it’s a really messy space.

What. a. mess.

Thankfully, it’s a mess that isn’t too hard to clean up. I started by going through each shelf and throwing away anything expired, or more than half empty. I also consolidated boxes and containers if I had any items that were open.

Group like items together. It makes it easier to find what you’re looking for.
Use clear jars so you can tell when you need to replenish your dry goods.

I also went through all of my canned goods and straightened them.

Using shelf risers helps maximize your shelf space.

And finally, I used baskets and bins to corral chip bags and snack boxes, clip on shelves to maximize space, and wood crates for under-shelf storage. Eventually, I plan to add casters to the bottom of my crates so I can roll them out easily when I need them.

All of our breakfast items are on one shelf, making them easier to grab and go.
Quick lunch items are also stashed together to make packing lunches easier.

I also straightened up the items on the shelf to make them easier to find and store.

All in all, my pantry is so much neater and better organized. What cabinet or pantry organizing project have you completed recently?

Simplify Saturday: Spring cleaning

Simplify Saturday: Spring cleaning

Some of us have been elbow deep in our spring cleaning routine. Because I am a teacher, spring cleaning takes me a lot longer than most. I don’t enjoy losing my whole spring break to cleaning, so I have to stretch my spring cleaning out across several Saturdays and evenings. This means my projects are on a smaller scale than most, and the bigger things get saved until summer vacation.

I came up with a 21-day challenge for those of us who work a lot, raise kids, and don’t have a ton of time to devote to spring cleaning.

This 21-day challenge breaks your spring cleaning into smaller pieces, and enables you to go through your home room by room instead of tackling your whole house all at once.

Even though it doesn’t say it on the graphic, I dust blinds, baseboards and clean behind and under furniture in each room as I cross it off the list.

Another option is to organize only a small part of each room on the list, and then repeat the challenge for 21 more days and finish the rooms. You have a lot of flexibility.

I would love for you to participate along with us and share your before and after pictures on social media. Please use the hashtag #21dayorganizingchallenge.

Happy organizing! Have a wonderful weekend.