Decluttering Checklist: The Kitchen

I remember the first time I decluttered my kitchen. It was in 1998, just after I read the book Totally Organized by Bonnie McCullough. I gathered everything in my cabinets and drawers and put the items in cardboard boxes in another room.  It seemed extreme at the time, but it was really just a mini packing party.  I brought items back into the kitchen as needed, and eventually purged what was not needed.  (And I likely kept some items I deemed unnecessary, to please my husband.)

Now we are a family of eight.  We have WAY MORE STUFF than we had back then.  I don’t do kitchen packing parties anymore.  We use the stuff we have. I’ve spent years tweaking the number of spatulas (and other kitchen tools) that will work best for our family. So this latest decluttering wasn’t difficult.

I went through each shelf or drawer, one at a time, and decided which items to keep. I cleaned as I went.  Some areas I put back exactly as they were and other areas I rearranged to fit our current lifestyle.  For example, I made one cabinet just for snacks.  We used to keep candy and a blender in that cabinet, and some snacks that Bobby eats almost daily were stored in the pantry.  This new arrangement is more convenient.

I purged plastic cups that BOBBY! (surprisingly) said we should get rid of.  And I also let go of a large electric mixer and oven mitts that belonged to Sarah.  She was willing to part with them after a couple of years of them sitting unused.  Sarah is the main baker in our family and she said that she prefers the hand mixer.

I felt really great when I finished with the kitchen declutter.  Just as it is in the girls’ room, there is truly a home for each item.  Now we just need to establish good habits of putting things back in their places. My plan is to attach this activity to meal times.  So, after we eat, we put the kitchen back in order.  And I am certain we are going to eat!

Decluttering Checklist: Week Seven

This week I checked off:

  • the living room
  • the dining room

I purged paper one day. And I entered loads of receipts into an expense notebook that I am trying to keep up with this year instead of using Quicken.

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I also bagged and boxed stuff that we had already decided to get rid of that was still lying around the house. I dropped it off at the Salvation Army and felt a little lighter.

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This was week three of the Uncluttered course. The assignment was to declutter your vehicle (which I did), and the main living areas such as the living room, dining room, sunroom, etc. The only thing I’m getting rid of in the living room is a large landscape painting we had hanging for about twelve years. I don’t really like how it looks with our new furniture. I’m testing out the Order picture (which I love) that was hanging in the foyer. I’m not sure if I’ll keep it in here yet. I’ll give it some time.

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I tested many things above the loveseat, but haven’t found anything satisfactory yet. I’m bummed that Joseph will not allow me to hang his Harvey portrait in the living room. In fact, he won’t even allow me to post a picture of it here.  Joseph played Elwood P. Dowd in his high school’s production of Harvey.  His art teacher created a fake painting of Elwood (with Joseph’s face) and the rabbit, Harvey.  I laughed when Joseph, in character, hung the “painting” above his mantle on stage, and I’d love to see it daily, but no…  so Lego Harry Potter 7 is up there temporarily to make me chuckle for a couple of weeks.

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That throw pillow has moved up to Rachel’s bed.  And speaking of moving things around…

Yesterday, I listened to Joshua Becker’s Uncluttered webinar. In it, he talked to the people who were organizing and moving things from room to room, but not really getting rid of much. That’s me!  I know I’ve been decluttering for years, so I’m not going to have as much to purge as someone just starting out, but truthfully, in certain areas in my home, that is what I am doing.  For example, in the school room, it is easier to reorganize all of the extra curriculum, art and craft supplies, etc. then to let them go and trust that we’ll be OK without them. I’m talking about all of those items in my home that I’m not using and I’m keeping just in case. “I might need them someday.”

Joshua said organizing is always temporary. You organize one day, only to organize again another day. Minimizing, getting rid of stuff, is always permanent.  He added some more motivators. Organizing doesn’t help anyone else. (i.e. donate)  And organizing doesn’t force self-reflection. This is so true.  I have reflected a lot over the years on the stuff I have gotten rid of, and this doesn’t happen when you move it around avoiding dealing with the hard questions and truths about yourself.

Here are some more notes I took during the webinar that will help me as I get back to work on my checklist today:

  1. Do I really need this?
  2. Do I really use it?
  3. Why do I have this?
  4. Minimize first, before organizing and thinking about storage.

And lastly, I’ve added some deadlines to my checklist.  I think they are realistic, but I’m hoping I’ll finish most of them before their deadline dates.  I’ll post my progress soon.

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Decluttering Checklist: Week Six

This week I continued to work on the girls’ room. I hung the new rods and curtain panels and we put Rachel and Hannah’s belongings in the new dresser, wardrobe and bins.  Do the sheers look better loosely hanging or pushed more to the sides?

I also spent time planting a vegetable garden and flowers in the backyard.

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It was the second week of the Uncluttered course. This week’s assignment was to walk around the rooms of my home observing the stuff in them. Then, to go around again with a trash bag, filling it up with things I know I can get rid of right away.

The tour around my home was, for the most part, a happy one.  I took written notes about each room such as:

  • I’m going to go through everything in here
  • I’m done here except for some decorating and organizing
  • Done, but need to follow our routines better

When I got to the schoolroom, I felt a little worried. There was the usual stuff that I can totally handle, but there were also scrapbooks, photos, the VHS-C project, and other sentimental items that I’m not ready to deal with. I continued the tour downstairs, feeling more positive.

  • Need to make seasonal changes and declutter in here
  • There isn’t much clutter showing in here, but I’ll need to go through cabinets and drawers
  • Looks good in here

Then I got to the basement and wrote, “Aagh!!!!!!”

I listed items to get rid of and categories to go through.  Then I wrote, “Many hours!  Days!  Weeks!”  And then after that I had to tell Bobby for the fifteenth time that I am working on the main areas of the house first, and when I’m finished, then I’ll make Matthew work on the basement with me. And I’m going to get rid of a lot of stuff! (I was really trying to convince myself that it will happen.)

The hardest thing for me seems to be finding time when I am home to work on this. I’ve been out a lot and we had a Confirmation party last Sunday and we’re having a 7th birthday party for Mary this Saturday, so I’m also spending time on cleaning, party prep and socializing.  No more excuses… I am going to commit to at least 15 minutes each day this week.  I want to make progress.  I CAN DO THIS!!

Decluttering Checklist: Week Five

This week I checked off:

Nothing again!

I continued to shop for items for the girls’ room. A wardrobe, some sheer curtain panels and cheap curtain rods, a lamp, and storage bins. I’ve set a deadline of next weekend to finish this project.

This was the first week of Becoming Minimalist’s Spring 2018 Uncluttered Course. I’ve  had lifetime access to this course since I first registered for it (for free) by pre-ordering Joshua Becker’s book, The More of Less. So I’ve been through the course before. It hasn’t gotten me through my whole home, but I signed up again for extra inspiration. I joined the closed Facebook group, which I hadn’t done before. This week’s challenge was to list the reasons why you want to declutter your home and post it somewhere you will see it often. (And reduce it to one sentence and post it to the Facebook group.)

There are many reasons why I want to declutter. Maybe I’ll list them in another post, but here’s the sentence I wrote on a sticky note and posted on my bathroom mirror:

I want to declutter my entire home and practice a rule of life so that I may love God, others and myself better.