Where to start decluttering? 7 questions to help you (and me) figure it out

Let’s just be super clear that I am not currently a decluttering expert. I am a person on a decluttering journey. I have a long way to go, but I have been making progress.  Today I have some advice to share as someone who has struggled with clutter for as long as I can remember. It can be very overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

Here are some questions that can help you figure out the best place for you to start decluttering, or figure out what to work on next. I have used all of these questions at one time or another. Often more than one at a time. See which ones motivate you to get started. Or just pick one and go for it!

1. What bugs you the most? Is there an area that is just driving you crazy?

For me:

2. What will make the most impact? Pick a room/area where you spend a lot of time, or the first room when you walk in the front door, or areas that guests will see.

For me:

    • Living room – the first room you see when you walk into our home
    • Coat closet
    • Bathroom
    • Kitchen

3. What will save you time in the long run? Get ahead of the things that make you fall behind. Would you be more efficient in the kitchen if you had a clear counter with  no dishes in the sink, and a refrigerator where you can actually find what you need in 5 seconds or less? Oh yes!

For me:

    • Paper clutter 1, 2 – Too much time spent digging through piles of papers just to find that one very important paper that I need!
    • Laundry/clothes – You gotta love digging through laundry baskets or piles for that one shirt.
    • Kitchen island – Having a workspace ready saves me time!
    • Refrigerator/pantry

4. Is there an area to declutter that would bless someone else in your home?

For me:

    • Car – Mr. RSS cleaned it out the last time, but I know it would bless him if I can keep it clean!
    • Living room
    • Bedroom

5. Is there an area to declutter that would bless someone outside of your home? Declutter and give things away to people who actually need or want them!

For me:

    • Clothes
    • Baby stuff
    • Toys
    • Kitchen
    • Basement – Oh wait until you see more of my basement!

6. Is there an area that will save you money, or potentially help you earn money?

For me:

    • Coupons – sitting around in piles isn’t helping so much
    • Toys and other clutter that could be sold
    • Refrigerator/pantry (wasting food = wasting money)
    • Paper clutter  – This can keep me from paying late fees (Grrr!) or missing a check!

7. What can you accomplish in a short time to get a taste of success? Pick an area you can finish in 15 min. or less. Start small.

For me:

    • Cookbook shelf
    • Bathroom vanity
    • Kitchen counter
    • Pick one drawer or shelf in the kitchen or bedroom

After writing this out I think my next new project will be the kids’ rooms/clothes. That is driving me crazy, it will save me time, and it can bless others!

How do you decide where to start decluttering? Do any of these questions help you? What will you declutter next?


How I sweep my really messy, cluttered floor

Like most kitchens, my kitchen gets a lot of traffic and is one of the most popular places to be in our home. With 3 kids, including a toddler, it gets messy and cluttered in an instant. As you might guess, I’m not on top of it as I should be, and either are the kids. We’re working on it!

Yep.

 

Hmmm...hm.

When I think of the “classic” way to clean up and sweep a really messy floor, I think of these steps:

1.  Go around and pick up all of the clutter on the floor, putting everything away in its proper place. Throw away/recycle larger pieces of trash.

2.  Sweep.

This is what I used to try to do. Sort of. Every now and then-ish. Not often enough. The going around picking up things and putting them away part is really overwhelming when there is so.  much.  stuff.  all over the floor. Seriously.

But it does need to happen. Because the little crumbs, food and dirt need to go. Those things actually bother me more than the bigger clutter.

So one day, when I was somewhat frustrated with the situation and I really wanted to sweep the floor, I switched the steps. I just started sweeping. I swept up everything into a big pile. A really big pile. In some weird way, I felt empowered.

I remember that one of the things on the kitchen floor that day was a ride-on toy. I swept it into the pile, too. And I liked it.

The floor was cleaned up really quick, except for the one big pile, which I then sorted and dealt with. It’s been about a year that I’ve been doing it this way, and you know what? It works for me. For now, anyway. Of course the goal is not to have everything all over the floor to begin with. We are getting there, and I think my sweep piles are getting smaller!

Here are the steps I use for cleaning my messy, cluttered floors:

1. Sweep up everything on the floor that is not in its proper place. IF there are wet/sticky things, like banana, pick those up separately. Sticky-wet-messy things do not work well in this method. Trust me on this one.

This is my sweep pile. A nice big one. See? I got the ride-on toy in this one, too!

2. Sort. Put the toys together (or have your children come and “rescue” them from the pile), the books together, the kitchen stuff together, etc.  Toss or recycle the bigger trash.

Trash, toys, laundry

Little bits to sweep, books, kitchen items

3. Sweep up the little bits.

4. Put everything else in its proper place (I’m thinking maybe if I use the phrase “”proper place” enough, it will sink in and become second nature to me.)

So if you ever find yourself overwhelmed with a messy cluttered floor that needs cleaning up/sweeping, shake things up a bit and try this method.

I’m linking up for Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT Family.


How to clean out disgusting leftover food containers from the fridge -or- Ridiculous Procrastination

What you will need:

  • disgusting leftover food containers from cleaning out the fridge
  • determination/bravery
  • sink/dishwasher and soap
  • garbage disposal/ trash can/compost bin

Helpful and recommended:

  • the ability to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose
  • rubber gloves and scrub brush
  • nice smelling candle
  • open windows/doors
  • baking soda and/or lemon peels

The Steps

1. Prep work: Learn how to waste food.

2. Clean out the refrigerator and put all of the disgusting containers on the counter by the sink.

The reusable containers are mostly in the back in this picture and hold old (some very very old) leftover food.

3. Plan to clean them out. Sometime soon. If you really like them to be extra mega-mold-disgusting, procrastinate:

  • Try to wait until both the sink and the dishwasher are empty on a trash collection day, during nap time for little ones, when you are well rested and the laundry is done.
  • Secretly hope that someone else will clean out the containers for you.
  • If you have understanding friends coming over, just leave the containers there.
  • If you are having a family birthday party for your son, put the containers in a trash bag and hide them on the back deck.

I am not kidding.

4. When you are finished procrastinating, (For example, when a new babysitter is coming over on a nice warm day and you are afraid she will find the trash bag of disgusting moldy food containers on the deck) get out your supplies and your determination.

It does not matter if your candle is from the wrong season, just use it!

Can you feel the determination and bravery represented here?

5. Work quickly!  Breathing through only your mouth(to avoid the dreaded odors entering your nose), dump/wash/scrape the stinky moldy food into the disposal/trash/compost container.

6. Wash the containers well with soap and water, and/or run through the dishwasher. (Maybe even twice if there is a lingering odor. It happens.)

7. Wash the sink well, clean the disposal with baking soda and/or put lemon peels down it. Take out the trash or compost container.

8. Continue nice smelling candle and open windows/doors until necessary.

9. You did it! Good for you! Don’t let this happen again! DO NOT repeat!