I am starting a new series on our family’s journey with cleaning, purging and organizing our lives.
I set goal of reducing the number of objects in our house by 50% in 2014.
Last year (2013) my goal was to give away at least one minivan load of stuff each month. I had successfully completed this goal plus some. Still, our house was overflowing with things we didn’t need and/or use at all.
So, I set the goal for this year and started posting my adventures on facebook.It is awesome getting feedback from others who have been inspired by my crazy journey. I have loved that people are sharing their own stories. I get pictures of things heading to donation centers, articles of inspiration, and notes of thanks and encouragement.
After months of saying things like “We don’t need 1/2 of this stuff”, or “we could get rid of 50% of the stuff around here and never notice”, I had stumbled upon a goal. I haven’t been legalistic about it. I’m not counting the number of spoons I have and getting rid of 1/2 of them. I am picking different areas and ruthlessly purging. Sometimes I work for hours and do a whole room, sometimes a few minutes and attack one drawer. I get easily overwhelmed so I give myself a lot of grace.
We’ve been at it a full 6 months and I am seeing a difference. It is much easier to find things now. Cleaning up at the end of the day is easier because more things have a home. We have been able to bless others with things we didn’t need.
Here are a few of my favorite tips I have employed in the last 6 months:
1. Trash Only –I have 2 different methods. Sometimes I will set a timer and see how much trash I can find around the house in 15 minutes. Sometimes I will choose one area or room and look for all the trash in that space.
2. One small space at a time. (i.e. one set of bathroom drawers, top of desk, laundry room shelf). I empty everything out of that area. Then sort into 3 piles: Keep, Give Away, Throw Away. I put the keep back. It is always great to see how much better stuff fits. Most times I try to organize it well as I go. True confession time: It doesn’t always happen, however at least everything in there belongs 🙂
3. Always have Give Away Boxes/Bags. On each level I have either a bag or box of things that will be given away. It makes it easy when I run across something we no longer use. Just toss it in the container. (I have separate bags from separate charities at this point, because I’ve been at this long enough that I know which organizations need/accept what items).
Here are a couple resources that I have used to inspire my ideas:
1. Fly Lady- She has TONS of great tips, ideas, routines. She starts simple and adds from there. Her website has TONS of great ideas, and tips.
My favorite tip from the Fly Day is to your clean your kitchen sink everynight before you go to bed. This was a HUGE help while we were doing the Keto diet.
2. Peter Walsh
Walsh is a professional organizer who does a lot of daytime tv segments (Rachael Ray, Oprah). I first saw him on a TV show called Clean Sweep, where he and a team would go in and rescue a families who had been buried in their own stuff. He has several books with great tips and tricks.
My dream would be the have Peter Walsh come organize our home. Thankfully, we are not to the level of the TV shows rescues he does.
My favorite tip from Peter is what he calls the “trash can tango”. Each family member grabs a trash bag and has 5 minutes to fill it.