Unclutter Your Nest Boot Camp : Week 2
Hello Uncluttering compadres! So, how did you do last week? I hope you are having great success during this Unclutter Your Nest and Lighten Your Load Boot Camp. The 207 pounds of stuff that we took out of our home from our bedrooms and bathrooms has really energized and motivated us to keep at this unclutter process. Now I’m chomping at the bit to get the unclutter going on in other areas of our home.
If you are just starting the Unclutter Your Nest and Lighten Your Load Boot Camp, then pop back here to get your calendar and discard sheets.
I’ve got to be honest, while weighing it is one more step to take, it has been so motivating. If you are a goal oriented person, seeing those numbers on your scale increase will surely motivate you to keep going. And if I’m at 95lbs, I promise I’ll find something that weighs 5 lbs to take it to 100.
During this process it has occurred to me that I am attempting to lay hands on just about every item in my home. That’s quite an undertaking, but it’s so invigorating to shed stuff and reassuring to know exactly what is in my home
So grab your ‘kit’ and let’s get going. For each area:
- Bring a bag/box for TRASH, for DONATE , for RECYCLE, for RELOCATE and , if you really need it, for STORAGE.
See here for a list of places to donate your gently used items or recycle other items.
- Bring a dustbuster or vacuum, rags and cleaning solution.
- Put on your favorite Pandora station, CD or radio station
- If it motivates you, take note of what you toss and the weight of all the stuff leaving your home. My home is already breathing easier with some of the weight lifted.
- You can deduct the clothes you donate on your taxes. The discard list can also help to keep track of that. Just estimate values of the items as you go along.
Unclutter Your Nest: The Kitchen
If you are at all like me, the kitchen is a clutter gold mine. I am on record as being a sucker for kitchen gadgets. Maybe ‘sucker’ is too nice a word…the truth is that I think I have a kitchen gadget ‘problem’.
My brief stint at Williams-Sonoma only enabled my ‘problem’. So that said, my first order of business was to set aside all my favorite kitchen gadgets and cookbooks to protect them from the tsunami of the unclutter machine!!! Here’s how I went about shedding 117 pounds of kitchen clutter:
- I picked up every single item in all of my kitchen drawers and some of my cabinets and laid them on the counter. I skipped the cabinets that housed my everyday dishes as I use them…everyday… and know exactly what is there.
- By laying everything out and picking everything up, I could easily see where I had duplicate items.
- I had 3 different versions of handheld lemon juicers; couldn’t tell you why.
- Somehow our family of 4 had accumulated 17 ( yes, 17) travel mugs! I guess I was thinking that if we each had 4 hands, we’d have 1 spare in case one broke? Don’t know. In any case, we picked out the best 6 and sent the other 11 to find good homes elsewhere.
- I had some items that I just never used and can’t imagine ever using.
- How many baking dishes does a family of 4 need? I had 4 of those white Corning casserole bakers, 3 of those clear Pyrex bakers, several Pampered Chef baking dishes as well as a couple other more decorative bakers. In laying them all out, I was easily able to realize which ones I use on a regular basis and which ones haven’t been out of the cabinet for years.
- I researched several sites to figure out which knives I need in my kitchen. The general consensus (from sources such as Epicurious, Real Simple and Huffington Post) is that they are 4 basic knifes you need:
And remember that ‘Christmas’ feeling you might get when you discover some long lost item? Well, I was reminded that I needed another shield for my KitchenAid Mixer to prevent the flour from flying out of the bowl because I had lost half of the one I had, probably when we moved 10 years ago.
So in this unclutter process, I threw out the ½ of the shield that I still had and wrote down on my ‘gift ideas’ list that I needed a new shield. Well, when I went digging into cabinets later that day, you’ll never guess what I found? The missing half!!
Unclutter Your Nest: The Office/Craft Room
These rooms are full of paper. Paper is one of those things that comes in so frequently and we don’t know quite what to do with it, so we file it away. Because you need to lay your hands on every sheet of paper, the office takes a good amount of time.
It may be that you put all the papers you need to go through in a box as you work through your office with the intent of ‘processing’ some of them this week and the rest over the next week or couple of weeks. Just make sure you stay on it.
Once I’m done with this Boot Camp…I really want to move our home to be as paperless as possible.
Through this process we’ve recycled 315 pounds of paper that we just didn’t need to have because it was outdated or otherwise unnecessary. Let me say that again…315 pounds of paper!!
Most of the 315 pounds of paper were professional documents from my husband’s business, but we all hold on to documents in case we need them for taxes or other purposes.
There are some statute of limitations after which you can safely discard your documents. Suze Orman has detailed what should be keep for how long here.
- We had tax documents and returns going 20 back years. We discarded 13 years worth of them. Because of the personal financial nature of these documents, we shredded or burned these documents.
- We had cancelled checks going back many years as well. We burned or shredded them.
- Non-sensitive papers were put in our recycle bin. I’m feeling for the trashmen when they come this week.
RECYCLE THESE ITEMS AFTER YOU’VE DIGITIZED THEM:
- Instruction Books and Manuals. I used to have a 2 big binders of all the manuals& warranties of all the appliances in my home until I realized that these manuals were available on line as PDFs. On my computer I created a ‘Manuals and Warranties’ file and then downloaded a PDF for each appliance and scanned the warranties and saved them to the ‘Manuals and Warranties’ file.
- Scan all your old photos and save them to disk or flash drive/USB drive/thumb drive. Then, and here’s the hard part, recycle your photos. If you are like me I know this will cause you to panic a bit, but you have the digital versions now and can access them anytime. I made duplicate copies and put an extra set in our safe deposit box at the bank just in case.
This will take some time and you may not get it all done this week, but if you plan to do a little bit a day, you can work through it. Once again, put them all in a box and spend an hour a day weeding through them. I have a Canon Pixma MX922 which is a printer/scanner/fax machine/copier and it works perfectly for this. I would imagine most machines with a scan capability would accomplish this task.
I made a file for each year and saved each photo to the appropriate year.
- Scan your child’s school documents that you might need or want later. I set up a file for each child on my computer and then saved all pertinent date to their file.
- Scan all your receipts. My goal for this year is to scan my receipts weekly and then trash them to eliminate that paper clutter. While my Pixma would have worked just fine, I got a Fujitsu ScanSnap for Christmas which is the BOMB.
It makes scanning receipts, and other documents, so effortless that there really is not excuse for me to not do this on a regular basis. The software that comes with the scanner is well integrated such that when you scan a receipt or document, you are immediately prompted as to how and where you want to save the document/receipt.
I would imagine most crafters have a drawer (or 2), a box (or 2), a cubby (or 2) or a bag (or 3) of ‘best laid plans’ craft supplies. You know what I’m talking about..don’t you? I hope you do. Please tell me you do.
I once purchased ALL the fabric necessary to make a queen size quilt, although I had never ever quilted before. I had great plans, but they never got off the ground and that fabric found a home somewhere else along the way, though I don’t quite remember where.
- In addition to my kitchen gadget obsession, it’s fair to say I’ve collected way too much yarn over the years. Last year I went through my yarn stash and easily gave away 50 skeins of yarn to my local Senior Center. They use the yarn to knit blankets for newborns and stocking caps for the homeless in our area and were so very grateful for the donation of my yarn. ( I try very hard not to dwell on how much I’ve spent on all my best laid plans. UGH!)
- Scrapbooking Supplies: I tried my hand at scrapbooking several years ago, but have rather fallen off lately. I packaged up all my unused scrapbook paper, pages and stickers, put them in a clear bag and sent them to Goodwill.
- Fabric and sewing supplies: I donated boxes and bags of fabric swatches, polyfil, trim and other sewing paraphernalia to our local high school for use in their sewing class.
- Our local library will always accept our unwanted books for their semi-annual booksale. I will be taking 151 pounds of books (or about 100) to my library tomorrow.
So here’s our tally thus far:
Office/Craft Room 485
808 pounds of stuff has been taken out of our home! Holy Cow!
Catch up on all 4 weeks:
We’re starting the second week of our Unclutter Your Nest and Lighten Your Load Boot Camp. Isn’t your home breathing easier with X pounds of stuff taken out of it? Aren’t you breathing easier just knowing you have fewer things to tend?
I’ll be back next weekend with suggestions for your laundry room, den and linen/coat closet. Until then, enjoy your lighter home. And don’t forget to share your pictures and success stories at #unclutteryournest on Twitter and Instagram. I love seeing them.
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