Declutter 365: Week One

One of my resolutions for this year is to be more organised. I don’t quite recall how I ended up at Taylor’s blog, Home Storage Solutions, but I’m glad I did. I think it was probably via Pinterest actually.

Anyway, Taylor has spent a lot of time and energy creating and promoting her free printables so I’m going to follow her Declutter 365 project and try to get my house into something that resembles order.

Each day, an email arrives in my inbox with a 15 minute task. Spending 15 minutes a day on these tasks should help me achieve 1) a clutter free household over the next twelve months and 2) ultimately a somewhat less stressful life.

I get really worked up and overwhelmed by the ‘jobs’ that need to be done at home. I’d love to move house but at the moment that isn’t an option so we just have to make do. We’ve very little in the way of storage space and the bottom line is that we just have too much ‘stuff’. So I’m hoping that if I clear out a little every day, eventually I’ll be in a position where coming home to clutter in every room isn’t what I’m doing every day.

Week one starts off fairly easily. I fear Taylor is leading me into a false sense of security.

Day One: Set up a donation box.

This is too easy, surely? All we need to do today is designate a place to put items ready to be donated to charity. We already donate a lot to the British Heart Foundation because my husband’s aunt volunteers there so she just takes our stuff when it’s ready to go. The thing we donate most is children’s clothes, so I figured a simple, labelled bag would suffice for this.

bag for charity shop

Day Two: Create binder for household notebook

We already have a ‘finance book’ which we use to record money coming into and going out of the household. Each week we record which bills are due, what method of payment they require, any allowances we need to make for social events, birthdays etc. and we tick each expense off as it leaves the bank account. This method has helped us to become debt free and we always know exactly where we’re at financially. We’ll be keeping this book and adding a family diary to it. Inside the diary will be appointments, school events, holidays, bin days, the boys’ classes and birthdays. I hope that between these two books I will be able to stay on top of all the important stuff.

I also have a folder in which I keep the prompts for this challenge so I don’t have to be online to know what the task is for each new day.

diary

Day Three: Create a template for a daily to do list

This one I knew I would find more difficult than buying a new diary or sticking a label on a bag. I am truly notorious for giving myself too much to do each day and letting the pressure of such lists get to me. It’s like a viscous circle. Make a list, don’t complete it, give up, realise I’ve gotten nothing done, make a longer list. So I had to think carefully about this task.

I work weekday mornings and the children finish school at 3.30pm, so taking travel into consideration I realistically have three hours a day to do All The Things. My husband’s job means that I am the main caregiver for the children and responsible for all household chores during the week. Another one of my goals for this year is to progress with blogging and perhaps bag some freelance writing work so I know I need to be at my computer every day.

So my list looks a bit like this:

  • 3hrs work
  • 90 minutes writing
  • clean one room in the house
  • walk the dog
  • spend quality time with the boys
  • prep tomorrows blog posts

Whilst this is quite a specific list, I am going to use it as a guide rather than follow it to the letter. I don’t have a day I can dedicate to housework each week so aside from general pottering around and moving stray socks from the boys’ bedrooms I’ve decided instead to dedicate a day per week to each room. If this doesn’t work I’ll have to rethink but at least it isn’t getting ignored anymore.

90 minutes writing isn’t very much at all, but since I’m so passionate about my blogging I don’t think it’ll be a problem to prep the night before then prettify and publish posts throughout the day. Again, we’ll see how it goes.

Quality time with the boys is something I can’t really budge on. When they get home from school we generally have quite an early tea then do either an activity at home or one of them has football to go to. Once that’s done, it’s usually time for bath and bed.

Walking the dog does me more good than Betsy, I’m sure! She never, ever tires so I take a ball and launcher to wear her out a bit. Getting away from the computer and into the fresh air is something I need each day as it gives me some breathing space for new ideas to flow. I’m pretty certain she enjoys it too of course – look at that smiley face!

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Day Four: Declutter or donate old Christmas cards

Wow, I went on and on a bit for day three there didn’t I! Well this one is a quick one – we took down our cards and put them in the paper recycling bin, all apart from special ones which go with previous years’ cards in the loft.

Day Five: Read week #1: Kitchen Counters

This refers to the indispensable free printout on Taylor’s website. As part of her 52 week Organised House Challenge, she provides step by step guidance on clearing out the clutter – and ultimately your life – of things you don’t need.

So an easy day for day five. It’s all prep work!

Day Six: Declutter the utensils and silverware drawer.

I don’t actually *have* any silverware so the knife and fork drawer will have to do here. In fact, there are only two drawers in the entire kitchen. So I might as well sort them both out.

Here are the before photos.

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How ridiculous!

So, after considerably longer than 15 minutes, a carrier bag of rubbish and a heck of a lot of ‘putting away’, they now look like this. I’m really quite pleased with the result.

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Day Seven: Declutter and organise the kitchen sink area.

The kitchen sink area in our house is usually always clear anyway, so this job took me just a few seconds to wipe around and make it shiny for a photo. So tomorrow I get a day off!

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So that’s week one done. It’s taken me less than 15 minutes on some days and on others considerably longer but none of the tasks have taken up too much time and I’ve found the first week to be quite therapeutic!

I’ll be back next Wednesday with a roundup of week two but until then, I just need to get everyone who lives here to keep things tidy!

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