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Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:00 pm
by aspencer27
So, I have been trying to get into the habit of decluttering, with some success but not much. I've found that using a microresolution (or the bare minimum as someone else described it) was super helpful in prior years. I have been tracking this in the HabitCal, but there are quite a few reds...

Here is my plan:
During one TV commercial, I have to get up and declutter one small area or one thing.

The key with this is making it small enough that when the commercial is over - it's all put away, so I don't keep the mess out! I am doing one area per month, and for August it's my bedroom. Tonight, I'll be pulling out my under-bed storage.

21 Day Challenge Check-In

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:05 pm
by aspencer27
7/31: FAIL
8/1: FAIL
8/3: FAIL
8/4: S DAY
8/5: FAIL
8/7: S DAY
8/8: FAIL
Day 1 - 8/9: S DAY
Day 2 - 8/10: S DAY
Day 3 - 8/11: SUCCESS
Day 4 - 8/12: SUCCESS
Day 5 - 8/13: SUCCESS
Day 6 - 8/14: SUCCESS
Day 7 - 8/15: S DAY
Day 8 - 8/16: S DAY
Day 9 - 8/17: SUCCESS
Day 10 - 8/18: SUCCESS
Day 11 - 8/19: SUCCESS

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:13 pm
by aspencer27
The few things I'm debating on for this challenge is how to handle S Days. For the next two weeks, I am doing a workshop that doesn't get me home on Mondays and Wednesdays until after 10pm, so I am thinking those days can be S Days. I will also be out of town for a couple of those weekends - so those are already S Days. But weekends are usually pretty easy to do something, so I'm thinking of giving myself 1 floating S Day each week, and having another S Day on Friday. The issue I've run into with floating S Days is that I usually use it as an excuse to procrastinate the first day, then I'll find an excuse as to why I CAN'T do it the second day, and then it's just hard to build the habit.

Who knows, I'm probably just overthinking this. :D

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:42 pm
by aspencer27
Hm, not off to a good start! Oh well - mark it and move on! Today I'll pull one thing out from under the bed and that's all that I have to do.

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:20 am
by ironchef
Hey aspencer27, I've been trying to get a declutter/deep clean system worked out for a long time, so I'm interested in how things work for you.

Part of my problem is that I've been working on this for a long time, so I've picked off a lot of the "low hanging fruit" like bedroom drawers and junk cupboards shelves. I'm at the point where timeslots of less than 10 minutes probably won't get anything accomplished. Any ideas?

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:43 pm
by aspencer27
Ha! I'm there with you, ironchef - let's push through this together! Although, I still have a ton of low hanging fruit... I actually got into a really good habit a year or two ago, but then I fell out of it. I'm hoping to get back to that point now that my schedule is totally different.

What has been working for you to get the low hanging fruit? Like 10 min at a time? I wonder if you could keep the 10 min, but create a decluttering area. So, for example, spend 10 min pulling out all of the stuff you want to, and move it to the declutter area. Then, your next 10 min segment go through the stuff (for as many segments as needed). Then, spend 10 min putting like with like. And finally, the last 10 min segments putting things away. At least this way the clutter will be in one area, and you won't have to tackle the whole thing at once, but you're still handling it in small segments.

My plan for now is to think about how I want a certain area to look and then try and accomplish one thing towards it. I've been so resistant with the habit this time around (although, I think it took a bit of time to get into it last time, too). I think I just get overwhelmed from where I am versus where I want to be, that it's stopping me from getting started. I know I just have too much stuff, so I think tossing an item or two is still quick and easy for me to focus on.

I am thinking of scaling this goal back even more, since I seem to be missing it more often than not. I have been successful for decluttering one time per week, so I may just change my goal to that to get a little inspired (and more greens - ha!)

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:32 am
by ironchef
For the "low hanging fruit" stuff, I took tiny areas one at a time (e.g. one drawer, one shelf in a small cupboard, etc). I set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, then I took a BEFORE photo. Took everything out and put it into my "clutter" box, cleaned the drawer, then only put back what I wanted to keep in there. Then, took an AFTER photo. Somehow, wanting to have an awesome before / after photo pair really motivates me to end up with lots of clear space :)

This approach then leaves you with a little box of clutter each time. If you have time, you can sort it, otherwise wait for another 10 minute session and split it up into: stuff that lives elsewhere in the house, stuff that is trash or recycling, stuff that can be donated, etc.

I like your idea of a "clutter area", but at present don't really have good area in mind. Will think on this one.

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:24 pm
by aspencer27
That is a great idea! Usually I see the 3 box idea - keep, donate, toss - but I like your idea better, less decisions initially, right? And you get to see the space like you want it, which should be motivation for tossing more stuff. Come to think of it, when I was on my declutter kick, I was taking before and after pics, too. I'm going to do that again too. Thanks for the ideas!

I think I'll start with the dining room table tonight - that will be easy, everything goes in the clutter box. Now to figure out what to use for the clutter box, I'm sure I have something lying around somewhere.

For your larger tasks, is there a way to break them down into smaller segments? Like if you're focusing on your closet, maybe start with just long-sleeve button down shirts - pull everything out, sort between keep and toss/donate, then put back. You may have to go through this a few times to get the final look you want, but I think tossing a few things at a time will help.

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:36 pm
by ironchef
Yeah, a lot of people say that clutter is "delayed decisions", so you should sort as you go, but I just love the instant gratification of a clear area.

Hmm, still pondering a clutter area. I'm at the stage where smaller stuff (like my clothes) is already culled - for example I've reached my goal of single figures (fewer than 10) for pairs of shoes. My challenges now are things like the fact that there are multiple baby baths and high chairs stored in our garage shed. Do I need to keep these - just the best ones or all? Are we having another child, if so, how soon? So, I'm looking for an area where I can drag relatively large things out, clean them and assess them. I'd normally do this outside, but it is Winter here at the moment, so stuff can't stay where it might get rained on. Perhaps we can move one of the cars and make a little space under cover in the garage?

Good luck with your dining room!

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:51 pm
by aspencer27
Ah yeah, you're to the real tough stuff! Maybe some planning would help? You could take a count of the baby baths, and think through how many you would need if you do decide to have another child, or if it would be worth it to get rid of some now and buy more at a later time. Can you loan any out to friends or other moms that need it now? That way you still have the item, and it's not taking up space. Once you clear out some space, that might give you an area to keep working.

In the US, we have a site called Freecycle, where you post items that you have and if people want it, they can pick it up from you - I'm hoping to use that for some of my bigger items that I know I want to get rid of - furniture, TV, etc.

My problem now is that I have a plan in place (like always), it's just taking the action to get it going. Especially, when this summer has been super busy and I've been exhausted by the time I get home... My in-laws are coming to town next weekend, so I'll have to do a massive pick up - it will probably throw me off my declutter schedule but it will be motivation to get the house picked up and to a decent state!

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:24 pm
by ironchef
Planning first sounds good - you mean like taking an inventory? I can imagine writing a list, then sitting down with that list and picking out stuff (e.g. we can keep one small and one large baby bath, or loan them out, or just keep the smallest one). That's certainly easier than pulling the physical items out.

Freecycle sounds awesome! We have a few charities here that will come a pick up larger household stuff, but it needs to be pretty substantial to be worth their while.

Good luck with the visit and sorting the house. And keep at it. Even if only one item at a time is being dumped / donated / recycled, you're still making progress towards the goal. Some days I'm so whacked after work, baby, dinner, cleaning, that I just set a timer for 2 minutes (not kidding). Just enough to find and toss the odd pen that doesn't work any more and a few out of date vouchers.

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:16 pm
by aspencer27
That's what I did yesterday - very short time tossing some things. But, it was a planned S Day, go figure! I moved my S Day to today instead, since I have an event until late tonight, but I am going to still try and do something.

There's an app called Sortly that keeps an inventory of your stuff - you can list the items you own, and you can upload pics of the items, too. I am thinking of trying to use this app as I go through each section - if anything, it would be nice to have a list of the big stuff for insurance just in case.

For my sort pile, I just got 2 new pairs of shoes, so I'm going to use the shoeboxes for smaller items, and the large bag they came with for larger items. This way, it will help keep the sort pile small and manageable, so I won't keep adding to the pile before I get through the prior pile!

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:19 pm
by ironchef
aspencer27 wrote:For my sort pile, I just got 2 new pairs of shoes, so I'm going to use the shoeboxes for smaller items, and the large bag they came with for larger items. This way, it will help keep the sort pile small and manageable, so I won't keep adding to the pile before I get through the prior pile!
Sounds like a good plan.

I wasn't going to do anything yesterday, but I knew you would, so I thought I'd better hop to it. I finally decided to donate a pizza stone and rack we were given as a present many years ago. We've used it maybe twice in 8 years!

I also had a good chat with my husband about some of his older paperwork (treasury stuff he did for a club he no longer belongs to) and he agreed I could go through it a recycle some of the paper. This is a big step, as he would never go through it himself, and I would never touch his things without his permission. Ah, the joys of decluttering in a partnership :) Anyway, I got rid of one old file full last night (about 2 kg of paper recycling!).

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:08 am
by ironchef
2 more files full of papers gone today while my son was napping, plus ANOTHER pizza stone. Seriously, what were they all doing up on top of the kitchen cupboards...procreating??

My husband is going out tonight, so after my son goes to bed I want to set a timer and do 15 minutes in our study. Probably more papers.

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:23 am
by r.jean
Interesting reading. I have been working on the clutter issue since I retired in Jan 2013. Every week I concentrate on filling at least one bag that goes out the door and never comes back again. The bag can be shredding or donations or garbage. I often end up with more than one bag. If I get rid of stuff too big for a bag, that counts.

More importantly, I try to cut down on what I bring into my house. This approach certainly saves money!

PS If you figure out how to deal with boxes of pictures in a creative way, let me know. I have a lot of my own and a lot from my mother when she passed. So far avoidance has been my technique.

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:33 pm
by ironchef
I agree that stopping stuff on the way in is key. A while back I started a "one in-two out" rule for clothes. It really stops you getting that new skirt if you know you'll have to let two go. I've recently brought it back to "one in-one out", now that I've got minimal clothing.

Pictures - do you means paintings and so on, or photographs?

Photographs: I only have these in the house now if they are framed and on display or in a nice album with a label. Everything else I have scanned and backed up electronically, then let the physical photo go. I've also been through photos with my mother and we've agreed that if we have no idea who is in a photo, and if no one in the family knows, it needs to go. We had a heap that were ancient, but only my grandmother would have known what they were of, and she never wrote it down before she died.

Paintings and so on are harder, especially original artworks by loved ones. This is such a personal one that I think everyone will have a different solution. We had scores of oil paintings that my grandmother painted, which were really hard to part with when she died. For myself, I don't see the point of paintings or works of art gathering dust in a box, never seen or enjoyed, so my mother and I did the following:
1. Offered the paintings to everyone in the family who might want one to hang at their house.
2. Hung all the paintings we wanted at our own houses.
3. Donated the rest to a charity my grandmother supported, for display in one of their nursing homes.

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:42 pm
by r.jean
I was talking about photographs but I also have some art as well. I have given some away to family but have not been able to get myself to donate any....yet.

I have scanned some photos but still kept the originals.
Not a good idea.

Sounds like you have a good handle on the photographs. There are just so many!

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:19 am
by ironchef
I understand about the sheer number of photos - I never counted, but believe there must have been over 1000 when I started (not counting my mother's collection). It took me about 2 years of slowly chipping away at the sort/label/scan/album process to get where I am now.

Posted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:17 pm
by ironchef
Good "big" declutter tonight: we put our old office chair out on the verge. I really love getting a big furniture item out :) I'm feeling quite sick, so this is going to have to be it for tonight.

Posted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:16 pm
by ironchef
Managed one paper work of files, plus I'm taking 2 empty binders to work today to donate back into the stationary cupboard :)

Posted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:47 pm
by aspencer27
Awesome, ironchef! You are very inspiring on decluttering, I need to draw from your energy.

I need to get started with this decluttering thing, my tracking is so sad... Oh well, I saw a post on another board that you don't fail until you give up, and that's why I'm still tracking.

I have my in-laws coming to stay this weekend, so I'm going to be picking up more so than decluttering this week. I will probably do some marathon picking up - which I feel is similar to the "diet head" on NoS, but it just needs to be done.

This weekend I was at a friend's house, and it was so easy for me to get up and clean. I was thinking about what was different, and I thought of 2 things - it only needs to be done once or twice and not EVERY day for forever, like at my house, and everything had a place to go. That is the hardest part with picking up my stuff, there isn't always a place for it to go, so I feel stuck. This second part is going to be my main focus - finding a place for everything, and I think your strategy of pulling things out and getting the area set up the way I want it will help.

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:27 am
by ironchef
Thanks :) I'm actually being quite inspired just by posting - knowing that I want to be able to say I did something helps me get off my butt!

I'm a bit torn at the moment between decluttering and deep cleaning - both need doing, and I'm not sure where to focus. I know that cleaning will get easier if clutter is gone though.

I really understand what you mean about the endless, recurring tasks. It's not satisfying the way a one-off completed task satisfies me (like fixing a leaking tap). I guess we have to try to be Zen about it? I love to get all the laundry done, dried, ironed and put away, but then I end the day and put my clothes in the basket and think "what! but I finished laundry!?". It reminds me of this post at hyperbole and a half.

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:53 am
by ironchef
Another file of papers in the recycling - this one mine, part of my last (failed) attempt at getting a bit of a rhythm with the clutter / housework stuff. :oops:

Also finally threw out an old change table mat that has a ripped cover and is past fixing. And repurposed a black document case - I cleared it of old notes and I'm taking it to work to carry documents to meetings.

Out for dinner tonight, so this is all I'll get time for today.

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:16 pm
by aspencer27
Ironchef - you're doing great! And, I finally had a day of success with my decluttering, woo hoo! I cleaned my dining room table off. I didn't get everything put away in an assigned spot, but my plan is to keep that spot cleared. Tonight, I'll clear off the coffee table and make sure the dining room table is clear still.

This morning I had extra time before work, so I did clear some of the coffee table, and I did a little in the guest bedroom, too. That will help with each evening's tasks. I'm glad I'm finally getting motivated on this - funny how a short term goal (in-laws coming this weekend) is great motivation!

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:20 pm
by ironchef
Nice work aspencer! Once you get rolling you'll be inspired by how much you enjoy looking at those clear spaces :)

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:26 pm
by r.jean
I have been inspired by your posts to step up my decluttering. A bag of shredding in recycle and a bag for charity in my car today so far. I still struggle with the feeling that there is no end in sight, but I know I have made progress the last 18 months.

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:28 pm
by aspencer27
Yay! More people joining in - that will help me get inspired! I cleared off the coffee table - mostly. I still have some junk of hubby's left on it, but I'll put that in the back bedroom. I feel like I'm cheating a bit at this point, since I'm more so pushing the piles around... but if it gets it clean before the in-laws come to town, I'm totally ok with it. Plus, I am getting rid of some stuff, just not enough to assign a home for everything.

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 12:20 pm
by aspencer27
Oh yeah, another success on what was a planned S Day. I got home a little earlier than normal, and with the in-laws coming, that was just the motivation that I needed. I cleared off the breakfast nook between my kitchen and living room. And I made sure the dining room table and coffee table were still clear.

Tonight, I will clear the guest bedroom bed and floor. It isn't too bad, so that should be a quick and easy task. Next week, I'm hoping to get to some real decluttering instead of mostly picking up, but I'm only going to do one thing a day to not get overwhelmed and quit. One more thing gone each day is one step closer and better than before!

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:28 pm
by ironchef
Go aspencer! All steps in the right direction, whether everything has a home yet or not. When you go through to find homes, you might find more things you can release?

Nothing from me yesterday - home late from work and quite ill still. Will have to get cracking tonight :)

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:40 pm
by aspencer27
I'm on a streak now! I kept the dining room table, the coffee table, and the kitchen nook clear. And I cleaned off the guest bed - since that's where the in-laws will be staying. Of course, when hubby got home, he put a bunch of junk on the dining room table - this really is never ending!!! So, this morning, I cleared it again, it took just a minute or so, and it felt much better.

I'm taking S Days today and tomorrow while my in-laws are here. I'll get back to it on Sunday, and then the actual decluttering will begin. I have so many ideas and so much stuff that I know will be easy wins, but I'm still going to focus on slow and steady. I won't let my "diet-head" of clutter get in my way.

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:48 am
by ironchef
Fantastic work! Yep, the constant stream of incoming stuff (especially other people's stuff) is hard, but at least you're keeping on top of it.

Back to it today (had my family over yesterday, so no chance to declutter). Slow and steady wins the race!

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:50 am
by ironchef
Just managed the tiny cupboard in the nook between kitchen and living room while my son napped. I did a serious declutter there a year ago, but junk has crept back. Recycled / donated 3 cookbooks, some stubby holders and some papers. There were a few things to put away in my son's toy box - he tends to leave toys in odd places all over the house.

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:22 pm
by aspencer27
Awesome job, iron! I happily took my S Days on Fri and Sat when my in-laws were in town. Sunday, I got back to it. I tried to fight it, but I convinced myself to just do one little thing. I tried clearing the top of my bar, but didn't see anything I wanted to part with yet. So, instead, I cleared out my gym clothes. I pulled everything out, and I tossed (for donation) about 1/3 of it. I moved my winter stuff to a different drawer to make more space, although, I think it would fit in there now.

Also, I went shopping and got 3 items - a dress, a top, and a jacket, so this morning I tossed 3 more items - a dress, a top, and a sweater. Net 0 from the shopping trip, yay!

I also made sure the coffee table was straightened, the dining room table was clear - except for a few of my hubby's things, and the kitchen nook was clear. At least these were mostly clear...

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:36 am
by ironchef
Well done! Pushing yourself when you don't really feel like it is what cements that habit - you just do it.

I didn't declutter yesterday, but spent some time "decluttering" the lemons on our lawn. We're in major lemon season here at the moment, so I sorted about 20 rotten / damaged ones into the compost and another 40 or so good ones into those we'll keep and those for our neighbours. Then another 20 fell down overnight!

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:14 pm
by aspencer27
That's always the way! Those lemons will be great, and the neighbors will definitely appreciate it.

I felt a little ill when I got home last night, but after dinner I was feeling better, so I got up and tossed a bunch of extra jeans and pants - a few wishful thinking pants (my old, smaller size) and a few pants that are too big now. I just can't go back to that size! No safety net!

Tonight I want to get to this old desk that we have. It's basically extra storage and a junk drawer... I would really like to get rid of it - it takes up so much space! But, I'm going to clear most of it off, and try to find new homes for the stuff that I end up keeping.

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:28 am
by ironchef
aspencer27 wrote:Tonight I want to get to this old desk that we have. It's basically extra storage and a junk drawer... I would really like to get rid of it - it takes up so much space! But, I'm going to clear most of it off, and try to find new homes for the stuff that I end up keeping.
Getting rid of a big piece of furniture is a great goal and motivator. I was so, so happy to see the back of our huge, annoying, hand-me-down powder blue desk a few weeks ago. Suddenly, our study seems bigger!

I'm going out for a drink with a friend tonight after my son goes to bed, so won't be any chance for decluttering. But I did quickly pick out and donate another 3 cookery books today. I still have too many (my aim is single figures), but I've given more than 30 away in the 2 years. I love to read and I love to cook, so in my lifetime I've been given a HEAP of cookery books as gifts.

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:25 pm
by aspencer27
Ironchef - that's so great - you still got rid of 3 things with no time! I got overwhelmed by looking at the desk and not being able to get rid of everything on and around it. But, I just focused on getting rid of a handful of stuff. I think overall it was about 10 items (not all on the dresser), maybe even more - a good start.

I have also been focusing on keeping the dining room table, coffee table, and kitchen nook clear. It definitely isn't still fully clear, but it looks so much better! And it has been easier to keep it clear than to let it pile up and do a big clean up.

Also, 11 straight days of success with my decluttering! Go me!

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:30 am
by ironchef
11 days - well done! Well on the way to a good habit :)
aspencer27 wrote:I got overwhelmed by looking at the desk and not being able to get rid of everything on and around it. But, I just focused on getting rid of a handful of stuff. I think overall it was about 10 items (not all on the dresser), maybe even more - a good start.
A great start! 10 items on a regular basis will get you there.

One thing I read on the minimalists website that has really stuck with me when trying to declutter junk drawers and collections of "just in case" stuff is their "20/20 theory". Basically they say: if you don't use something regularly ask yourself "Could I replace this item for under $20 and obtain it within a 20 minute travel time from my home?". If you can do so, there is no good reason to store it in your home for the next 5 years until you need it. You can give it to someone who needs it now! I found this so freeing when assessing what to keep.

The other thought process I find really helpful is to decide in advance how many of a certain item I want to keep. Then take my entire collection of that type of item and start picking out my least favourite / worst condition one, until I am down to the number I want. This doesn't have to happen all at once, but it gives you a process to follow, especially for junk drawer type stuff. For example, for scissors and staplers I decided that one pair plus one spare was enough. For earrings, max 2 pairs in any given colour. And so on.
And it has been easier to keep it clear than to let it pile up and do a big clean up.
Definitely. Big clean ups can look so big that I never even start.

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:22 am
by eschano
That's so inspiring ladies! I have started decluttering as well, as it's nearly time to get the winter stuff back and some of the summer clothes stored, which always results in my looking at the quality and giving away or throwing away items that are no longer needed or usable.

I am taking it very slowly as I find big efforts a bit daunting. More like one drawer a week but eventually I will get there too :)

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:07 pm
by aspencer27
One drawer a week is great! I'm finding that it doesn't take very long to notice an improvement.

So, I ended the 21 day challenge on a fail! No! And the streak is broken. Oh well... I did pick the house up, but no decluttering, so not a success, but still a win! I definitely see an improvement in the living area, so I need to keep up the maintenance with my hot spots there.

Also, the other thing I was thinking about this AM is that normally, I would try and make up for missing yesterday - do an extra declutter. Then, I would usually put it off, and get really behind and overwhelmed by the amount of making up I would need to do. But, I'm treating this like NoS - I can't control what happened yesterday - mark it and move on. And today, I only have to do a small declutter session, only the one for today to get a success! Back on track!

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:03 pm
by r.jean
I made a resolution when I retired in Jan 2013 to get through the clutter in our house. A fair share of it came from things left behind by our adult children. I have made tremendous progress, but I stalled. I think I need a 21 day challenge to spend at least half an hour each day working on old clutter. I am managing the new clutter better, but there are still so many crooks and crannies of old stuff. It is mostly pictures and other memories, but there is other stuff as well.

I managed to get rid of a pretty large rock collection, display case and all, this week. I asked around through a friend in the school system and donated it to a teacher. This collection was a fun thing with our kids years ago, but no one wanted it now.

I can throw away junk, and I can donate stuff. My problem comes when I have things with sentimental value that have a limited value to any family member or to the average donation place.

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:57 pm
by aspencer27
It doesn't sound like you've stalled at all! You're still getting rid of things, and that's great.

I definitely understand on the sentimental items. Some of the common suggestions are to take a picture and toss the item, or if the item is truly valuable to you to display it. Or, can you have someone give you an outside perspective on some of these items? This can help you really take a hard look at why you want to keep these things.

Last night I didn't declutter anything because I couldn't find any easy items. But, this morning, I looked at the book case, and found a lot of books that I've already read. I'm going to take these down to our apartment's shared library tonight! Easy, and quick.

R.Jean - I'm going to do a September challenge, if you'd like to join!

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:56 pm
by eschano
So we have a rule - for every person living in the household you can have two boxes of sentimental nonsense each (I'm talking 40 litres here) and for every person that moved out (in our case an old flatmate who is still a friend and used to live there) you can have one box.

Obviously, this is completely random! But it gives me perspective to stick to a made-up rule. And two 40litre boxes of sentimental stuff is really quite a lot. They live in the attic and I very very rarely look at them.

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:13 pm
by ironchef
Last night was a big cooking night (dinners for the weekend), so I didn't get any declutter time.

I'm in a Sept challenge - the more the merrier :)

I have one sentimental box, which has love letters from my husband (ahem, and a few other boyfriends), old travel correspondence and diaries, and several small objects like the box my engagement ring came in. The box is basically for anything that can't be on display.

For other things, I've gotten more and more tough over the past 2 years since a baby came into the house and space has been at a premium. I've spent some money framing and hanging a few things that are really special, but a lot of other things I've let go.

The things I find hardest are those that were gifts, especially if the gift giver has since passed away. I've got a few things that I know are not useful and aren't particularly pretty either, but they are staying. But that's ok, my house will never be "resort living" standard. My goal at the moment is simply to free up enough space so that we could potentially fit a second child in the house :)

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:14 pm
by aspencer27
Ugh, fail again! Oh well. I had a lot to do last night, I'll get back on track. I'm reeling over how my house feels much more open already. It's a great start, and doing just a little bit makes such a big difference!

Iron - I'm sure with the big cooking night came lots of cleaning, so I count that as success!

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:24 pm
by r.jean
Day 1 of 21: Yesterday I spent my half hour (and then some) going through some "paper" that I saved during the school years of my three children. (Newspaper articles, report cards, programs, cute projects, etc, etc.) it was very sentimental. I managed to get rid of a lot of it.

Maybe I can eventually get each child down to one box.

Sept challenge sounds good!

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:11 pm
by ironchef
Go r.jean - isn't it amazing how once you do some decluttering, many times you're actually inspired to keep going.

aspencer - so good to hear that you're already noticing the improvement. I remember reading some advice once along the lines of: if you think you need a bigger / newer house, try cleaning and decluttering the one you have first and you might be surprised.

I went through some papers last night that belong to my DH, do I needed a night when he was home. He agreed to clear an entire file of old work papers he no longer needs. Win!

Posted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:23 am
by ironchef
Another file of husband's out-dated paperwork gone today, with two empty files set aside for me to take to work.

I've also picked out a few more of my paperbacks to donate. I did a massive purge on books last year, so there isn't much left that I don't love.

My ultimate goal in the study is to completely empty the bookcase, so it can be dismantled back to flatpack and put in the shed for storage. Then we only need to bring it back in the house once our son is old enough to need it for school text books or files.

Posted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:09 am
by r.jean
I did not think through my 21 day challenge to spend half an hour each day on decluttering. I failed the last two days for good reasons, for one thing, I was barely home. So, I am going back to a weekly goal. I will get rid of 3-4 bags or boxes each week. This includes shredding. Today I packed a box of paperbacks and knick knacks for a friends garage sale, gave a bag of beanie babies to a local cause, and shredded one bag. :)

Thanks for the encouragement and ideas!

Posted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:11 am
by ironchef
I'm with you r.jean, I need some S days, just like with other everyday systems. S day yesterday, we spent Sunday at my parents' house and stayed the night there with our son. I cycled straight to work this morning.

I'm starting a 21 day challenge of 20 minutes decluttering OR deep cleaning each week day (N day), with weekends free to do as little (or as much) as I want. When I say "deep" cleaning, I mean things like polishing the piano, cleaning the tops of our kitchen cupboards, cleaning the oven and so on. 15 minutes seems a little short to accomplish some of the bigger cleaning tasks, while half an hour might not be achievable, given my other committments.

25 Aug: Success 20 min declutter study
26 Aug: Success 20 min deep clean kitchen cupboards
27 Aug: Success 25 minutes decluttering
28 Aug: Fail time based
29 Aug: Success cleaning and declutter
30 Aug: S Day :)
31 Aug: S Day :)
1 Sept: Success 20 min deep clean kitchen cupboards
2 Sept: Success only 12 minutes declutter, but will count as green :)
3 Sept: Success Decluttering paperwork
4 Sept: Success Decluttering (only 14 mins)
5 Sept: Success Deep cleaning windows and mirrors plus declutter baby clothes for donation and for friends
6 Sept: S Day :)
7 Sept: S Day :)
8 Sept: Success Paperwork
9 Sept: Success Cleaned bathroom
10 Sept: Success Top of kitchen cupboards
11 Sept: Fail
12 Sept: Success declutter
13 Sept: S Day :)
14 Sept: S Day :)

Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:15 pm
by eschano
Sounds great!

I managed to do some decluttering over the weekend! Unlike you, only weekends work well for me but I'm delighted about the progress. I didn't get everything done on my to-do-list (I haven't actually gone through my summer cloths and stored them away) but we managed to restore the gym room/my boyfriend's dressing room from when we got the kittens and made it a "safe" room for them. Now they are smart enough around things they use the whole house so we put the room back together.

My room also saw some changes which is great. The room is ready, the contents still need de-cluttering :)

Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:18 am
by ironchef
Nice work eschano! Sounds like you made big strides, with reorganising whole rooms!

Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:36 am
by eschano
Thank you ironchef! It's quite sporadic so it has to be big strides :) Next time I can do it is Saturday in two weeks time, although I will try to find some time during the week.

I ordered dress covers and an under-bed duvet storage so I can get the rest of the room done and I am about to sort out my clothes and bring a big pile to charity. I'm looking into the 333 Project now so I'm wondering if that works for me (only have 33 items of clothing every 3 months). I love that this can be seasonal, so have 33 items for autumn, 33 for winter, 33 for spring and summer.

Yesterday I wore an outfit that made me feel a very poor version of myself. A bit slobby and not at all put together nor even comfortable. So I'm donating it and everything else that's not up to scratch :)

Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:02 pm
by ironchef
I think the 333 Project is a great one.

Today I managed 25 minutes, all in short 5 minute bursts in between toddler-wrangling. In a way it was good, because I had to make quick decisions, with no time for mulling things over and second guessing. Relocated and stored: photo albums, chess and Go sets. Out for recycle / donation: excess stationary, baby clothes, some more books, some puzzles with pieces missing (grr!). The book case now has 3 empty shelves - only 1 more to go :)

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:39 am
by eschano
You did all of that in 25 minutes? I'm amazed!!!

Yesterday I got my dress covers and as I put them on I realised I have these two beautiful skirts that just aren't me. They are amazingly beautiful but I haven't worn them in 6 years or so so I think I will put them on ebay next weekend. A pity but that's the reality.

I also realised how many clothes I have! Amazing. A lot will have to go. Some shirts that are still in good condition but I have had them for 7 years and I'm just over them now. A bit scary to let those familiar items go but I just don't LOVE them anymore.

Still ironchef: amazing progress in 25 minutes. It makes me think!

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:20 pm
by r.jean
I will have to assess my clothes to figure out how many items I have. I am sure it is more than 33 per season. I have gotten rid of a lot, but I have a big closet. ...and then there are all those t-shirts I have in dresser. A while back, I read of another challenge which I found intriguing. I read an article that said most of us could go a year without buying any new clothing. Socks and undergarments and necessary shoe replacements are exceptions. Excess shoes are not.

I made it a couple months without buying anything, but then I caved in for a special occasion. I think I will start Sept 1 and see how long I can go without buying any clothes.

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:19 pm
by eschano
That sounds like a tough but worthy challenge.

I certainly have more than 33 items but I probably use no more than that on a regular basis.

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:16 pm
by ironchef
Thanks eschano. My ability to do something in a little grab of time has definitely increased with a 2 year old in the house ;) It works for the clutter, but not for the cleaning stuff.

Yesterday was a fail - I worked, then came home, made dinner, went late night grocery shopping, made a dessert for the weekend and cleaned the kitchen. At that point it was 10:30pm and I just wasn't interested in setting a timer!

Interesting challenge r.jean! It is my belief that most people in Australia have far too many clothes, most of which don't get good use. In my city we don't even have the excuse of strong seasonal change. I'll have to count my clothes and work out where I'm at. I've only bought 2 work tops in the past year, but my mother bought me 2 T-shirts, so that probably counts too.

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:52 am
by ironchef
Managed a sort of 20 minutes today. Did some deep cleaning with my son - we cleaned windows and mirrors, because he LOVES the spray bottle and the squigee. Then I did 7 minutes more in the study getting rid of or filing papers. I may do more tonight if I get time.

Just counted - 66 items of clothing in my closet and drawers (not counting underwear and socks). I'm wearing 2 items, also have probably another 10 items at work, which I keep there as I cycle to work. Add in say another 5 items in case something is in the wash, and I probably have around 80 items. I wonder what a reasonable target would be?

Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:45 am
by ironchef
Took free days over the weekend, although I did a lot of cleaning and tidying ahead of a dinner party on Saturday night.

Got in a low key 20 minutes yesterday evening - still deep cleaning the top of our kitchen cupboards (yuk!). I think one or two more sessions will do it though, so that's motivating.

Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:13 pm
by eschano
Wow Iron, you are running this show! Amazing :)

I have to count my clothes! I will count this weekend and bring some to the tip as I'm doing it - some of my clothes are really not wearable anymore but it's hard to say goodbye to comfortable favourites.

Your son is so cute! Squeezy bottles ha!

Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:32 pm
by aspencer27
Finally got caught up on this thread - you two are doing amazing! I was out on vacation last week, and it was nice to come home to a pretty clean house just from the small changes that I've made.

This month, I'm just going to keep up with doing one small thing - either a small decluttering or some housecleaning thing. Tonight will be catching up on laundry from vacation and sorting through 10 days' worth of mail... I won't get home until late tonight, so I'm giving myself a break from decluttering!

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:06 am
by ironchef
Welcome back, aspencer! Definitely take a free day - getting organised again after a holiday is always a big job :)

eschano - yup, if there is a spray bottle involved, my son is keen. I have one with plain water, and one with water with a bit of lemon oil in, and he "helps" me clean :)

Only managed 12 minutes yesterday (date night with my husband), but in those 12 minutes went through my chest of drawers, folding and culling. Got rid of 2 tops for donation, a bunch of underwear and socks that have seen better days and some other odds and ends that have snuck into my drawers (a sunglasses case?).

Just spent 25 minutes sorting and washing a million fallen lemons. Well, not a million, but I stopped counting after 50. Hope to get in 20 minutes tonight.

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:29 am
by eschano
You have your own lemons? I wish me too!

Sounds like you're making amazing progress iron.

Aspencer, welcome back! Can't wait to hear what you'll come up with :)

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:11 pm
by aspencer27
Didn't get to anything last night. I didn't end up getting home until well after bedtime, so I went straight to bed. Tonight will be better - I'll be home earlier and I'll have a chance to get to my laundry and mail.

My plan for tonight is to do one small decluttering thing. I think I'm going to focus on the top of my bookshelf tonight. Oh, and I should take some books downstairs to our shared library while I'm down there with the laundry.

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:38 am
by eschano
I'm getting a sofa bed this weekend! I'm so delighted. I know, I'm meant to get rid of things instead of bringing them in but I have to explain: currently my dressing room has a very uncomfortable, ugly, and most importantly space-taking double bed in it from the times when my boyfriend lived with his flatmate. So we will replace it with a small sofa bed from ikea which will fold out into a double bed.

This means: more space for the majority of days (anytime we don't have guests) and also that I can finally access my clothes properly! Yay!

So I will have to have a proper declutter session then :)

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:19 pm
by aspencer27
That's awesome! Bringing stuff in is fine, especially when you replace stuff you don't like!

I was being very rebellious (read - lazy) last night, and didn't want to do anything! I didn't cook what I had defrosted... I didn't work on an event I'm trying to plan (actually 2 events), I didn't follow NoS, I didn't get my laundry done, and I didn't declutter anything! Urgh! I'm having a hard time getting back after vacation. But, today is a new day. Lots to get done, but I'll focus on the small stuff and get to it!

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:08 pm
by r.jean
I seem to be on an every other day schedule with decluttering. Tuesday I spent a couple hours on old paperwork and getting rid of sewing and craft scraps. I tend to keep it all thinking I will use it.

Unfortunately, I also brought more stuff into the house Wednesday.

Wednesday I bought two new dresses, a shrug, and two pairs of shoes (running and dressy). Today my goal is to get rid of twice the amount I bought. I am working on items to donate to a garage sale so the clothes can go there. Maybe I can find other things and fill a box today for the sale.

Having this thread keeps me thinking about decluttering rather than ignoring it. It is off topic, but for me it is very related to an entire lifestyle. For a long time, I rushed around eating on the fly and spending too little time on exercising and taking care of myself. Part of taking care of myself means organizing my life and being able to enjoy what I have. I am not sure if I conveyed that exactly like I feel, but simplicity and fewer belongings and a clean house is appealing.

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:58 pm
by ironchef
r.jean, I think I know what you mean. eschano posted on my daily thread about having "things you love and the space to love them" and that really resonates with me. A peaceful environment definitely helps me find a peaceful mind.

eschano, very exciting about the bed. Definitely a step in the right direction - and it is one-in-one-out too. We recently donated our entrance side table and replaced it with a small cupboard my parents weren't using. So, instead of a messy table and shoes by the door, we now have the shoes tucked away in a cupboard where they are at least out of sight!

aspencer, can definitely relate to the "post holiday blues". Tomorrow is another day!

A bit under 20 minutes today, but I'm still going to claim it. I did 7 minutes decluttering the bathroom cabinet while my son was in the bath, then another 7 minutes before bed in the study. I have FINALLY gotten all my husband's papers decluttered and the important ones filed. Phew.

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:35 pm
by aspencer27
Nice job, ironchef - you're so inspiring on all of this decluttering you're getting done in small bouts. I'm revved up to get to mine tonight now!

Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:07 am
by eschano
I cannot wait for tomorrow- you guys give me so much inspiration to just want to go and get my room in order now!

I did start noticing lots or areas. The latest was under our bed. One of our cats stole my ring today (not kidding, I put it down for a second, she took it in her mouth and took it, off she went) and I had to crawl under the bed to get it back. That's a great place to declutter! (And clean :oops:)

So thanks for the inspiration! I will start with the dressing room tomorrow, then take it room by room on weekends, with two weekend for the kitchen.

Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:12 pm
by aspencer27
Well, I cleared off the magazines from the top of the bookshelf - there's still more stuff though - and they were all DH's mags, so I didn't toss them. I am not taking any decluttering credit for last night, but will be back on track this weekend.

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:54 am
by eschano
Aspencer - it's still off the top of the bookshelf and hopefully your DH will toss or read them :)

I got the sofa bed and can finally access my clothes! And I got all the winter stuff down from the attic so now I can start sorting through it and sorting through my summer things too so I can give to charity or toss (depending on quality) - no need to say there is chaos in my room but it's so much better than before!

Excited about the clearing.

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:10 pm
by ironchef
aspencer - I sympathise, that's one of the complexities of trying to declutter when in a partnership. One thing I've agreed with my husband is that magazines or newspapers of a certain age can go (without discussion every time).

Go eschano! Great work. It's cool reading about your great strides on the weekends :) I never have a big chunk of time, so never really great strides all at once.

Managed just 15 minutes tonight, but did complete all the filing of loose paperwork and bills. We had an exhausting weekend and I just didn't have the energy for cleaning. Almost there in the study, soon it will be clear enough to function as a bedroom.

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:25 pm
by eschano
Amazing ironchef! It might not seem like great strides to you but I can see how this little bits add up to more than my one big decluttering binge :) and it psychs me up for my decluttering binges to read of your steady progress! Go you!

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:54 pm
by aspencer27
So, some positive - I spoke with DH, and he said that he is fine with getting rid of the magazines, yay! I better get those tossed quickly before he changes his mind! :lol:

I didn't get anything done this weekend, and tonight I won't be home until late, so I'll be picking back up tomorrow.

Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:58 pm
by ironchef
Nice work on the magazines aspencer :) Maybe he'll be inspired and join you?

Cleaned the bathroom last night while my son was in the bath. Not sure it that counts? Today I am determined to have another crack at the tops of the kitchen cupboards - I would love for that to be finished!

Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:23 am
by r.jean
I am still trying to do a little organizing each day, but I seem to benefit most from a concentrated effort of an hour or more once or twice a week. The daily effort keeps more clutter from accumulating. The weekly effort attacks the backlog.

I managed to find 6 articles of clothing to donate to the garage sale along with 2 pairs of dress shoes, 1 pair of slippers (never worn) and 4 pairs of barely used flip flops. This definitely offsets my shopping spree last Thursday (times 2). My daughters would probably clean out my closet for me and ditch all my outdated items if I let them. They are not shy about telling me to get rid of things that are frumpy .....

Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:29 am
by eschano
Lol Jean! I think let your daughter do their work!

I have a friend who I have a spring throwing-out session with and it's so much easier with someone else there who just shakes their head in disbelieve when I say: it's still wearable.

Seems like you have it sorted with the daily and weekly routine! I will start thinking of adding some little efforts during the week to.

Iron - sounds like you're doing well!

Aspencer - well done on getting those magazines out! My boyfriend has about 30 old computer games - he hasn't touched them in the 6 months I lived with him but he won't even let me put them at the back of the book shelf lol!

Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:17 pm
by ironchef
Clearing out clothes with a friend is always great. Someone who can look at it from the back and say "not flattering" in a gentle way!

20 minutes on those bloody kitchen cupboards today, almost finished. This will teach me not to ignore them for 6 years. Or perhaps it will teach me to just never climb a step ladder and look at them again! Ugh.

r.jean, sounds like you're in a great rhythm. You are absolutely right - I find those little daily efforts are key to preventing new clutter arriving and setting up shop!

Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:59 pm
by aspencer27
You guys are still doing so great! I signed up for the Habithacker Nest e-mails - a similar program to FlyLady but without the stuff that doesn't jive with me. My task last night for Day 1 was to do one thing. I did it! Yay!

I actually got a fair amount accomplished last night - I pulled everything out from under my bed, but I didn't find anything to toss. There was much less under there than I was expecting. :lol: I'm wanting to get more storage bins to store things under there. We're in a tiny city apartment that is almost 100 years old, so there is no storage at all!

I also tossed a few pieces of clothing and an old gym bag, as well as a bunch of the magazines. And, this morning, I spent a couple of minutes straightening up - I hung a few stray dresses back up in the closet.

My task for today is to do my 'Do (focus on people that work at home - since I work out of the house, I'm already done with this!) and get the supplies together, and do one thing. I won't be home until later again tonight, but I have no choice but to do one measly little thing!

Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:14 pm
by aspencer27
I'm counting yesterday as a success with Habithacker, even though I did it this morning. As soon as I got home yesterday, I fell asleep!

Yesterday was to do one thing (polish your place), and to do my do. I cleared my dining room table of all of the junk that has accumulated on it, and I paid one of my DH's medical bills. Yay!

Today's new action is to find a spot for your keys. That for me is easy - I keep it on the dining room table (notice a trend here?) next to my purse to grab on the way out the door. So, tonight, I'll polish my place and keep my purse and keys on the dining room table - easy enough.

I've also been reading up on this 21 day journey to minimalism - There is no way that I would ever want to do that, but I think it has helped me re-think some issues that I've had with getting rid of stuff. I'm hoping this will help with my decluttering efforts because I feel a bit stuck!

Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:08 pm
by ironchef
Go aspencer! I love the minimalists and have read a lot of their stuff. I find it very inspirational, even though with a non-minimalist partner and a small child I can never really aspire to their way of life. I have a fantasy where I'm single and have a huge packing party ;) Someone here (I think maybe oolala?) met them in person.

I also really like Joshua Becker and Leo Babauta, and as they're both writing about minimalism from the point of view of a family, their stuff is a bit more applicable to me.

Complete fail last night, by the time we got our son to bed, then had dinner, then baked morning tea for my husband to take to work, it was about 20 minutes until my bed time. Hoping to finish the 21 day challenge on a green note today.

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:48 am
by ironchef
Green for my final day of the 21 day challenge - yay!

Cleared some larger stuff (travel and picnic gear) from our study, agreed to give the good stuff to my sister. Picked out a relatively new, but uncomfortable jacket to donate, plus some excess crockery.

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:11 pm
by aspencer27
Yay! Way to finish strong - I can't believe it's already been 21 days! I'll definitely look into Joshua Becker and Leo Babauta. Last night I got home late again, but I did my main Habithacker task this morning - polish my place. I picked up the dining room table - not much, so it was quick, and I picked a couple things up off of the top of a dresser.

Today's task is to add another round of polish my place, so I guess my morning ones are going to count for that day - no more make ups, ha! I am going to use the dining room table and the top of the dresser as my two spots - must keep clear daily!

I am also going to declutter some stuff today. On my plan (yes, I plan my decluttering more than I actually DO the decluttering...) I have the desk in the bedroom. I really, really, really want to get rid of this desk, but it has a bunch of stuff that we use on it. There really isn't anywhere (yet) to store the items, like laundry detergent, my sewing machine, etc, so I usually get stuck with this one. Maybe I'll just skip it for now, and focus on the guest bedroom today.

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:25 pm
by r.jean
"I am also going to declutter some stuff today. On my plan (yes, I plan my decluttering more than I actually DO the decluttering...) "

Too funny! We are all guilty of this at times!

I got on a roll yesterday with decluttering. I got a notice in the mail about an old largely dormant account and could not locate the paperwork for the account. This made me realize how much unorganized paperwork I have...from years of keeping too much. I have cleared out a lot but there is so much left!

I spent almost 4 hours cleaning and ended up with 4 bags of shredding and a large pile of recycling. I had owners manuals and paperwork from items we have not had for years. And I am still working on all the "treasures" I kept from the school years of my three children. Then there were those unsorted boxes of stuff to file that was never filed. Part of my problem is that I have too many places to just stick things away. We have tons of storage places and huge closets. This was great with 5 of us but now that it is 2 of us, it is just an excuse to be a pack rat.

Posted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:37 am
by ironchef
Wow, go r.jean! 4 hours - you're a rock star!

Paperwork is strange, it's so easy to keep (because 1 piece of paper is so tiny), but it seems to grow arms and legs in the cupboards.

aspencer, sounds like the Nest is going really well!

My mother came over yesterday and bought me a really sweet green T-shirt, very nice of her. Kind of kills my "year without buying anything" though. However, it did push me to pick out something to donate and I ended up picking a top AND a dress, so my overall wardrobe is smaller as a result of this gift :)

Have a great weekend all!

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:51 am
by ironchef
Ok, now I'm finished my 21 day challenge I think I will just continue with a basic "HomeFree" habitcal.

The system is: each N day do a set time (15 - 20 minutes) of decluttering or deep cleaning. S days are weekends, and any other special day when that 15 - 20 minutes is just not going to fit in.

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:03 am
by eschano
Lol Iron!

I think if someone unexpectedly buys you clothes it doesn't count as a fail! And you even shrunk your wardrobe!

I am so looking forward to doing another session of clothes-decluttering! This Saturday I have enough time.

Jean - amazing! You're doing so well!

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:00 pm
by aspencer27
This weekend was pretty good with the decluttering. I definitely think reading some of those minimalism sites helped kick me back in gear. There is no way that I could be a minimalist, but questioning why I want to keep some things that I haven't used in forever helped a lot.

The desk in my bedroom is the enemy! But, I was able to get quite a few things cleared off the top. I think I'm going to focus on some other areas for now, as I would like to find homes for the remaining items on the desk, and then get rid of that desk.

For habithacker, Saturday was to take a 4 minute break every 11 minutes or an 8 minute break every 22 minutes. I didn't really do this or use a timer. The Sunday task was to tackle the area that constantly gets cluttered - effectively a hotspot a la FlyLady. Well, that is usually my dining room table, which I have already been focused on for a while. I have been keeping it clear, and I even cleared it this morning before I left for work.

My goal for tonight is to work in the guest bedroom for a bit tonight.

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:23 pm
by ironchef
Nice work aspencer. Keeping that one place consistently clear is harder than it sounds, especially if it is the family dumping ground.

The desk will get there eventually. You'll chip away, and keep reading minimalists for inspiration, and then eventually the right moment and the right storage solution will come up, and it'll go!

Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:22 am
by eschano
I'm with everything ironchef said!

Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:11 pm
by aspencer27
Thanks for the support! Last night I really didn't feel like doing anything, but I still made myself clear the dining room table, and I tossed a couple of things. So, it was a success. This morning I tossed two more things off the desk - it's getting closer to being clear, just a few more items that I don't know what to do with them.

As for habithacker, the last couple of days haven't really been applicable, so I have kind of been doing it, kind of not. Today is writing down the routines - I always got stuck on this one on Flylady - I just couldn't find a great way to do it. I tried using a 3-ring binder, but that just seemed to create another piece of clutter because I wouldn't ever reference it. I do have tasks in an excel file, but the problem is that file is on my computer at work, and not at home where I would need it. I tried putting something together in Evernote because I have the app on my phone and on my iPad, and I tried setting up a GTD system in there, too, but I just never stuck to it. What I usually do is write my couple of planned tasks on a sticky note and stick it to my phone... :lol:

Do you have anything that you've stuck with in putting together a plan? I think I tend to overcomplicate it and put together a whole system at once. Maybe I'll try Evernote one more time and just do what Habithacker tells me to.

Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:16 pm
by r.jean
Aspencer you are doing something and that is all that matters, For me, keeping up on the daily clutter (like the dining room table) is key to establishing new habits. You are doing that. Just like No S, sometimes simple changes are best.

I have been doing deep cleaning the past few days in preparation for a gathering at our home this week. I have straightened some closets and stowed some stuff away but there is no time to address serious decluttering. I really wanted to attack 2 junk drawers in the kitchen yesterday but needed to ignore it for now.

Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:13 pm
by ironchef
aspencer, I have begun or attempted: GTD, FlyLady, Habithacker, Remember The Milk. Probably a few more I can't remember :) Ultimately the system ended up taking more of my energy than the actual tasks. Things would inevitably break down - GTD when I had days with no access to paper, files or electronics, FlyLady when I was being woken by a small baby at 4am (where's your "get up 15 minutes before everyone else" now!).

All the systems I tried seemed to put too much effort into What To Do, when really, my house and garden are small. I know What To Do, I just need to get the energy and motivation to get off my butt and Do It. Also, I never found anything that dealt properly with working in a partnership, family or marriage (and not a FlyLady one where you just do everything and they'll "follow").

I've taken good ideas away from every system though. From GTD I learned that if something is less than 2 minutes, I should do it now, because tracking it will take longer than doing it. From FlyLady, laying out my clothes and things for the next day, using a calendar well, and doing little chunks of 5, 10 or 15 minutes because it would still make a difference.

Another red yesterday. Days when I work are much harder - by the time I get home, spend time with my son before bed, make and eat dinner, clean the kitchen, organise clothes and breakfast for the morning, all I want to do is spend a bit of downtime with my husband.

I did do a few tiny things - selected another skirt for donation and went through my son's summer clothes and put a few things in the donation bag. But nothing close to 20 minutes.

Anyway, today is a day at home, so I should have plenty of opportunities.

Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:41 am
by ironchef
Yay, 20 minutes done! Didn't really get one big thing done, but lots of tiny little things that had been creeping up. We're changing our loans over, so there was lots of documentation from the old bank that we're not going to need anymore that needed shredding and recycling.

Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:26 am
by eschano
You're all putting me to shame - doing absolutely nothing during the week! (Well, I did change the bedding this morning and washed a load but that's just maintenance, not really something). But most of all you are making me itch to get on with it this weekend! Thanks for that :)

Aspencer, I echo Jean - you're ahead of me by doing SOMETHING.

Iron - how about taking the working days off? I always find anything too hard is not worth it and the habit might creep into the work days anyways.

Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:21 pm
by aspencer27
Hm, I think that all of those count as getting stuff done, eschano, jean, and iron! You're further ahead than where you'd be otherwise.

Iron - I agree with Eschano, work days could be your S Days.

Last night I cooked dinner, so I used that as my getting something done. Although, I did keep my dining room table clear, and this morning I wiped down some of the blinds and tossed a few magazines. I'm taking it as a win!

Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:18 pm
by ironchef
Good idea eschano - I usually have more free time on weekends. Perhaps my work days can be my S days, instead of my weekends? That gives me 3 S days a week though, which might be too much when trying to maintain and declutter a 3 bedroom house and a medium sized garden? Hmm, need to ponder.

aspencer - a few less magazines cluttering your house, and your table is still clear. Definitely a win :)

Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:54 pm
by aspencer27
Yeah, I always struggle with how to handle days off. I am exhausted by the time I get home from work, then working out, then finally getting dinner (usually between 9 and 10pm). But, on weekends, I just want to relax from the week and spend time with my hubby!

I didn't declutter anything last night, but I did keep my two shiny spots clear.

I also got frustrated because I've been trying to get it where my hubby's clothes actually fit into our drawers - he has about twice as many clothes as I do! So, I cleared out two extra drawers for him, and fit all of his clothes in there, and somehow his clothes multiplied and they no longer fit! It's so annoying because I feel like I'm really paring down - even parting with things I still wear but don't love - and I'm not making any progress because of his stuff! Sorry, rant over :lol:

Iron - I bet with the 3 days off you'll still make great progress. You could also try and do some maintenance on days that you work but really small stuff. I'm surprised at how much is getting done with the VERY little amounts that I am doing.