Category: Declutter system

My pseudo packing party!

I mentioned a few days ago that I’m doing a pseudo packing party. Mostly inspired by the realisation, after having participated in my step-mums house move, that I most likely still have a lot of stuff hiding in nooks and crannies, even after my decluttering effort the last year(s).

I decided there are a couple of questions I need to add to my regular decluttering rules, questions like;

  • If I was to move to a different country or a smaller house, would this item be worth paying good money to have it moved, or would it fit in a smaller lifestyle?
  • Would I keep this item if I myself had to physical carry/haul this over to the new place, with no help from anyone…

I don’t want to do a real packing party, like The Minimalists did, as I don’t want to cover up everything I own, and live in boxes (especially after the last few days), but I decided I want to do a smaller version, where I “pretend” I’m moving and therefore have to go through my stuff as if I was packing up for a move. And while I go through my stuff I will evaluate the items according to my regular declutter routine and add the questions above to the mix!

All round better me – one of our fellow bloggers – quickly asked me what it involves, joining my “packing party”!

My original plan was to just “pretend (in my mind)” that I packed up room by room, and while I was going through my stuff I would use the questions above, hoping that that would make a few more things go out the door.

But, All round better me’s question made me stop up and think, that maybe I should do a “proper” job 🙂

So I have made a plan for my pretend packing party. Now! If there are anyone out there that wants to join me, you choose yourself what it is you want to join this “party” with. You can do a room, or a closet, or the cupboards (Therese?), or an area of your house or the whole house. Whatever area you feel you would like/need to give a once over 🙂

The key is – you need to empty the space you have chosen!

Since I’m doing most of the house, I’ve decided I need a plan, to keep it from becoming to overwhelming:

  • I will do one room at the time
  • I will not touch any of the furniture (the original packing party covered them all up, but I’m not going there)
  • As with the furniture I will not touch the TV, cable, stereo ++ as it’s way to many cables to mess with…
  • I’m not touching my books, as I’m doing those separately as part of my read a book program
  • I’m not touching my photo collection as this is a whole project on its own
  • I’m not buying any moving boxes or packing items. The idea is to get rid of thing, not have to buy anything to get that done. I will use boxes, bags, suitcases I already have, and I have “borrowed” some of my step-mums moving boxes. If I have no boxes to use, I will stack the stuff in piles, use plastic bags or whatever I have. The key is, if you are joining me, use whatever stuff you have to pack in 🙂
  • I will store my “packed” items in a different room than the one I’m packing – if possible!

Packing:

  • I will pull things out of my cabinets and drawers and pack away everything that is not going to be used the first 48 hours.
  • While I’m packing I will use my declutter system and ask the questions mentioned above
  • I will only keep out the items I know I will use the next 48 hour (e.g toothbrush, clothing, cups and plates and so on)
  • Then I will “sit back and relax” and enjoy my clear space for the next 48 hours. Why 48 hours? I’m thinking that that will give me just enough time to enjoy my empty space, and also contemplate on what I really want to put back in, when I unpack!
  • Since the space is empty, I figured this is as good a time as ever, to do a proper spring clean! So maybe not so much relaxing after all 😉

Unpacking:

  • I will only put back the items I really want or absolutely need in that cleared space.
  • Since I’m only putting back the things I really want or need, I’m sure I will have leftover items. These I sort through again
  • Items I know I’m keeping that belong somewhere else, I will put where they belong. If that is in a room that is next on the list, I will still put it there, for me to go though again, together with that rooms stuff.
  • Items I’m getting rid off, I will dispose of either as donate, sell or toss (recycle off course).
  • Items I’m not sure about, I will keep packed up, put a future date on them, and store out of the way until that date and then get rid of anything I have not taken back out by then.

When? 

I’m lucky to have some long weekends I can use for this task, and I was planing on packing Fridays and unpacking Mondays!

Saturdays and Sundays will most likely be used in the garden as spring is finally on it’s way, and there are plenty, and I mean plenty of things to do outdoors 🙂

I thought the month of April would be a great time for this job! But, since I have a whole house to do, I will start as early as next weekend, and I’m starting in the bathroom!

Jump on in, any time, from now through April 🙂 And why not blog about it? Let me know, I’ll add your links to my posts 🙂

And remember! A great rule when you are trying to decide what stays and what goes:

Choose what to KEEP, not what to get rid of! 

 

A shiny sink…

Walking downstairs this morning, I realised what a state my place is in. Since I got home from London almost a week ago, all I’ve done is work, sleep, eat and work in my yard.

I realised looking at the mess in my house, that what I’ve been doing the whole week is drop thing all over, in my “haste” of getting to other things. Rather than putting things away where it belong, right away (like a good girl should). And boy, in a small place it looks messy real quick!

Somehow, somewhere along the way, I’ve gotten out of my habit of doing a 5-10 minute room “rescue” every night, before I go to bed. So that I can wake up to a nice place the next morning.

Years, and I mean years ago (2003?), I came across Marla Cilley’s Flylady webpage. At that time it was a small webpage, helping people get their house and “life” in order, with tools such as BabySteps of shining your sink, 27 fling boogies, 15 minute declutter, 5 minute room rescues, cleaning your house in zones (one zone a week), with daily focus areas. Today the webpage have expanded to include all sorts of resources, tips, hints, Flylady TV/radio and even a shop!

With the help of this webpage I got into pretty good habits of:

  • Shining my sink (short version; the concept is to wipe down the sink, every time its used. It stays cleaner, and it discourage you filling up the sink with “junk” + a shiny sink is a good start for a clean uncluttered space)
  • 5 minute room rescues – daily
  • Cleaning – using a 10 minute interval “rule” (using a timer)

Through the years, I’ve been on again, off again, this habit. And now it seems like I’ve fallen off the wagon one more time 😦 (with the exception of a a shiny bathroom sink).

So today, I’ll be putting my timer to work, 10 minute intervals, in every room 🙂 I bet you when it comes down to it, it will only take me an hour (or two), and then my house is back up to snuff 😉

 

NB. If you decide to sign up on Flylady, be selective of what you sign up for. It’s easy to get email overload! When I signed up in 2003 the choices was one mail a day or one a week! Somewhere along the way, they changed their system, and I got overwhelmed with several emails daily. After changing to the “Flylady Lite” list, I still got +/- 50 emails a month! So now I’m sadly unsubscribed.

 

PS. This was not really what I was planing to write about today (until that walk down the stairs), funny how that works! I was going to tell you about an outing in London! Oh, well, guess that will just have to wait… right now I’ve gotta find my timer 😉

 

It’s closet time!!!

I had a run at my clothes cabinet a couple of weeks back, as a start on my big closet declutter task.

You know how they say we pretty much use only about 20% of our stuff, 80% if the time. I found this very true, when it comes to the clothing I use. I have some pieces that I use pretty much all the time, and some that are almost never (if ever) worn.

So I decided it was time to clean up shop, and continue what I started a couple of weeks ago. So that I could get the clothes out of here 🙂

I use my declutter system for closet clean ups, just like with everything else.

The rule is to be honest with yourself when deciding what to keep.

KEEP:

  • love and use
  • use daily, weekly, monthly or even maybe yearly
  • that they fit, and I look good in them

OUT THE DOOR:

  • have not used the last 12 months
  • will not use the next 12 months
  • no longer fits
  • do not look good on me – even if they fit
  • clothes I don’t feel comfortable in – even if they fit, or even look great on me. (Why would I wear clothes I’m not comfortable in? If I won’t actually use them – they gotta go)

NOT SURE – items I have a hard time making a quick decisions on for the following reasons:

  • might have a use for the next 3, 6 or 12 months – but I’m not really sure because they:
    • do fit, but will I actually use them? I might have an intention to use them this coming summer/fall/winter
    • might not be a perfect fit, maybe even a size down from where I am right now, but there is “intention” to fit into them within the next 6 months. Is that what we call wishful thinking? 😉

So how did I go about it?

I pulled ALL the content from my closet one category at the time: pants, office shirts, t-shirts, jackets and so on, you get the drift.

As I pulled them out, I sorted them into my Keep, Out-the-door and Not sure piles.

Everything in the Keep and Not sure pile, I tried on, to make sure they fit and looked good (or decent 😉 ) on me.

  • Everything that did not fit that bill, went into the out-the-door pile.
  • Not sure items, that survived this exercise, went into my allowance box.

From the out-the-door pile, I pulled out everything that I could give away or donate. I packed them nicely into some plastic bags (since the donate station I use, don’t take boxes), and went down to the donation station with them right away (just down the road).

A couple of tips:  

When you give away/donate, it’s always nice if you can place the items neatly into a box or a bag. Make sure they are clean, and that you have emptied the pockets first 🙂

Before putting anything back in the closet, it might be a good idea to dust, vacuum and even paint the walls if you want a fresh, new look 🙂

How did I do?

Closet TALLY 😉 =  54 items out-the-door

8 shorts – surf shorts and regular shorts
1 swim top
1 bikini bottom
2 knee length pants
1 bicycle t-shirt
1 pair of indoor “shoes”
4 office shirts
3 sweater
1 knitted hat
1 fleece buff
2 regular buffs
1 scarf Stockings – a bunch (counted as 1)
1 par of socks
3 of my dad’s ties
12 unused unmentionables
5 pairs of jeans – 2 worn, 3 unused (but sadly to small)
1 pair of office pants
1 top
1 T-shirt
1 knitted jacket
1 pair of insoles
1 belt

And believe it or not, I still have stuff left in my closet, that I can get rid off! How about them apples?

Oh well, that’s for another day. Now? I think I deserve a coffee mocha 😉

2014-05-10 17.33.462014-05-10 10.18.38

Another pile of books

I don’t know if you remember – but early this year in Taking a stab at by bookshelves, I wrote about my Read a book program. How I’m planning on reading my way through my books, to decrease the collection I keep.

I read in spurts, either not reading at all, or can’t seem to get my nose out of the books, kinda spurts 🙂

The year started off slow, but the last 6-7 weeks I’ve really gotten into my paperbacks. I have read a bunch of books and so far only one is a keeper 😉

That means that today, 18 books are going out of the house.

Well.. that is not strictly true actually, I know my mum reads some of these authors, so I’ve shot her an email to check which ones she wants, before I get rid of the rest. Hopefully in a day or two, some will be on their way to my mum in England and some will be on their way to the paper recycle bin 🙂

As soon as the weather is good enough to start my garden projects, I won’t get much reading done..  but for right now at least, I’m on a roll, so I’m hoping for one more pile of books this spring.

I have to admit, it’s hard to let them go, I like my books. But I have checked, and they can all be bought, as kindle e-books, should I want to read them again 😉

What about you, how do you handle your book collections?

2014-04-07 15.04.33

Email declutter challenge

I believe I need an email declutter challenge.
I’m completely into email overload, especially at work. I have lost all control, and looking at the 1211 unread email is just about to drive me nuts (yes, even more so, than I already am 😉 ) Talk about stress factor.

Enough is enough, I’m going to give myself an email declutter challenge for 2014. I’ll be deleting and archiving as best as I can. I know I can’t delete everything since I need to keep some for work, but hopefully I’ll be able to archive most of those, to our digital storage, so that my personal mailbox at the office no longer overflows. And I definitely have some old and “mouldy” emails I should be able to loose with not too much elbow grease 😉

As I write this I have 1,45 GB worth of emails in my work mailbox, amounting to 19592 individual emails! What on earth!!!!

My goal for this year – reduce to less than 500 MB worth of emails – how many individual are this? I don’t have a clue! Guess we’ll find out as I go along. I’m hoping that brings be down to less than 2-3000. That’s loosing 17 000 emails.

How? – Using the Inbox Zero concept.
I will be implementing the Inbox Zero system by Merlin Mann. What is the Inbox Zero, you might ask? It’s a simple but great concept of how to handle emails that comes your way. In short it is an system to help you take your email box from overstuffed (like mine) to zero – and then keep it that way. The system cover the skills, tools and attitude that helps you to accomplish this.

I just about “kissed the ground” when I came across this system a while ago. I had ever intention to start my 2014, implementing this system, but as soon as I walked into my office that first day after new year’s, all “hell” broke loose, and I have not found the time to actually sit down to do this yet. But tomorrow a new day is born – and it’s finally happening 😉

This concept might, or might not, be for you – but regardless if you have a small or a HUGE mailbox, I strongly recommend you reading about it anyway, even if you believe you have everything under control 😉 There might be an idea or two that could help you in your everyday email life!

I could do a quick write up of the concept, but I think I’d rather leave you in Merlin Mann’s capable hands on Inbox Zero instead.

My plan
As part of implementing this system, I need to de-stuff my horrible 19592 mail mailbox. So through 2014 I’ll give myself a couple of 30 days challenges to accomplish this. I’m starting tomorrow, and my goal for the first 30 days is no less than 7000 emails. “Starting a Tuesday in the middle of the month? Why not start the first of the month or at least in the beginning of the week?” You might ask. Well, why not? There is no more perfect day to start, than NOW 😉

Since the intention is to get rid of old emails all together, any new emails will not count against the 7000. By the time my 30 days are over I have to be down to no more than 12592 email left in my mailbox. (Oh my!! That’s a whole lot of deleting and archiving…)

Keeping track
For the fun of it I made myself a template, that I printed out. It is just a simple sheet, that you can easily make yourself, or you can print mine 🙂

Why don’t you join me? I’m sure you have one or two, to many…

Lets get started!!

Email declutter challenge – downloadable PDF

Email declutter challenge picture 1