Holiday Declutter Challenge

holiday-declutter-challenege The Holiday season is usually stressful and busy. It’s also a time when we bring more into our homes than we remove, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. This Holiday Season I’m having a Holiday Declutter Challenge. The goal is to simplify your home and life for the holidays and to go into the new year with a more peaceful and clutter-free living space.

The Holiday Declutter Challenge will be running from November 1st through December 31st! I challenge you to join me in trying to rid your home of 200 items. That number sounds big, but that is just about 22 items each week. To keep on track with the challenge I will post a place to focus on Saturday of each week for the week ahead. In terms of this challenge a week will be Saturday – Friday so that each weekend is grouped together.

Spend as much or as little time on this challenge each week, but remember – the less you have in your home to manage the more time and peace of mind you’ll gain.

My personal goal is to spend a minimum of one hour on each area each week and get rid of at least 22 items.

This week’s focus is The Lingering Stuff

This is the stuff you’ve meant to fix, sell, donate, give away or toss for as long as you can remember. Off the top of my head is a curling iron that hasn’t worked in years, a couple of dresses I’ve meant to fix, etc. It’s a great head start because these are already in the back of your mind bugging you.

Take a tour of your house with a box or bag and go through the closets, the drawers, the boxes, etc. and pull out the items that you’ve been meaning to do something with. If there’s something you need to take somewhere to get fixed take it there this week or get rid of it. The items you’ve been meaning to sell? Sell them! Been meaning to donate? Donate them! Been meaning to toss? Toss it! Take action on all these items that you’ve been telling yourself you’ll get to “eventually”. Get them out of your house and off your mind.

I’ll be back Saturday, November 8th with an update on my progress this week and the new area to focus on next week.

I hope you’ll join me for this Holiday Declutter Challenege! I’d love to hear from you in the comments if you’re joining in and feel free to use the image above if you decide to blog about it, all I ask is you link back and spread the word.

Would you like to join me? Do you have any Lingering Stuff in mind that you need to take action on?

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A Few of My Favorite Things // October

a-few-of-my-favorite-things-october The blogging world, and life in general, is full of wish lists, photos and visual collections of things we’d love to have. In my effort to simplify, get back to the basics and love what I already own, I like share MY favorite things (and non-things). These monthly posts will focus on things that I love that are already part of my life, rather than things that I’m lusting after.

Dumdums. At the beginning of the month Blaine, my sister Lauren and I went to the store and each got one bag of candy as our Halloween treat. We don’t get any trick or treaters (maybe three in the years we’ve lived here), so we don’t need to buy candy for that. I chose dumdums hoping that since they’re small and take a long time to finish off, I won’t feel the extra calories on my thighs or in how I feel during the day. I LOVE them and my favorite are the mystery flavor because I’m indecisive. Silly, huh?

Fresh flowers. The flowers above are from Blaine for our 3 year wedding/8 year dating anniversary and I absolutely love having fresh flowers in the house. It’s something I usually only have when Blaine buys them for me a few times a year so I savor them and put them right next to where I’m working. It makes my workspace feel fresh and always puts a smile on my face.

Scary movies. My sister and I binge watched some scary movies a few days ago. We didn’t watch as many as I used to watch around Halloween time, but I’ve been able to fit a couple in and I’m happy about that.

Crisp air. Before Venice, my foster puppy, went to her new home I was happy to let her out in the AM. Something about the crisp fall air in the early morning makes me feel so awake and fresh. My routine was to let her out and sit out on the front porch and read a few pages of whatever book I was currently reading. Depending on how cold it was she would finish her business and then come get in my lap for snuggles and to warm up. Now that she’s gone I’m going to do my best to continue that routine even though I don’t have a silly puppy to force me outside in the morning.

Simplifying. This is always something I love, but with the excessive amount of sorting and organizing I’m doing for my own house as well as with my parents stuff, I’m obsessed with it right now. I think once you get in the right mindset getting rid of stuff you really know you don’t need, it gets easier to get rid of things you previously guilted yourself into keeping. I still have plenty to do, but I’ve been spending a good chunk of my time each week doing this and it’s leaving me feeling productive and refreshed. This has shown in a lot of my recent posts like: How to Declutter Your Closet, Declutter 500 in 2014 Update and How to Sell on Instagram eCourse.

Check out more of my monthly favorite things posts here.

What are some of your favorite things from October?

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Wise Words // To Begin

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[Tweet “Wise Words: “To begin, begin” – William Wordsworth via @lifebyaileen”]

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How to Declutter Your Closet

how-to-declutter-your-closet Over the last couple of years I have really been working on paring down my wardrobe. I had a full closet plus a dresser that was always overflowing, yet I never knew what to wear. Decluttering your closet can be overwhelming so I’m going to share my favorite way to simplify your wardrobe below. Most people will tell you to take out items you haven’t worn in 6 months or a year, etc. but I find that emptying my closet and starting fresh works best for me. You will need to set aside a couple of hours to do this, especially if you have a lot of clothes, but it will be worth it to save you time and frustration.

Empty Your Closet

Take everything out of your closet. I mean everything, even the clothing you know you want to keep forever. This will give you a fresh, clean closet to work with. In fact, while it’s clean feel free to do any cleaning like vacuuming, etc. while it’s empty. I usually pile it on my bed (see photo above) based on type so I can see how many of each item I have pretty easily.

Can’t Live Without

The first thing you need to do is go through your piles and take out the items you absolutely cannot live without. These are the non-negotiables, not the “I think I really like this, but I’m not sure where I can wear it”. Hang those back up in your closet. Looking at the pile that’s left there should be a clear divide in your mind between everything left and everything you have in your closet, you LOVE everything in your closet, everything else has varying degrees from “hate” to “damaged” to “hmmm” to “i like it”.

Maybe and Rehome Piles

This is the hardest part, but you’ve already hung up what you can’t live without so you can really scrutinize your options here. I will usually take inventory of what I hung in my closet and use that as a guide. You can do this mentally, just noting in your mind or you can actually mark it down. If I already have 30 tops and I think that’s enough, I’ll be tough on the pile of tops and maybe only keep a couple of them. Your best bet will be to go through each category at a time and sort them into “Maybe” and “Rehome”. Anything damaged that either can’t be fixed or you have let sit around unfixed for months, or even years, should be in the “Rehome” pile. Anything you really just don’t like that much should go in the “Rehome” pile. Don’t think too hard, have second thoughts, just quickly go through without emotion and your clothes in one pile or the other.

Evaluating the Maybe’s

Once you’ve separated the “Maybe” and “Rehome” piles, go through your maybes and really consider each piece.

  • Do you have anything to wear it with?
  • Do you already have several tops like it?
  • If it were in a store today at full price would you buy it?
  • Try it on. Do you like the way it looks and fits?

I really recommend trying everything on before putting it back in your closet. If you don’t like the way it looks or fits now, you probably won’t like it later either. Don’t hold on to things hoping they’ll fit again later. Don’t hold onto things because your boyfriend’s mom’s best friend gave it to you.

I always like to actually create a maybe pile instead of putting them back in my closet so I can see how much I’m keeping. Usually, I’ll go back through one or two more times to take more out once I see how much I’m trying to keep.

Rehome: Toss, Sell or Donate

Once you have gone through your “Maybe” pile and have sorted them into “Keep” (back in the closet) and “Rehome”, it’s time to sort the Rehome pile into three piles:

  • Toss: throw away or repurpose. These items are too worn out, damaged, etc. to even give away. I personally hate throwing stuff out so many shirts turn into rags for cleaning/dusting or I even use a couple of my husbands shirts to cover the smaller dog beds in our house. I just hate throwing stuff away!
  • Sell: these are items that are on the nicer end that you don’t want to donate because you’d like to get some money back. For me this is usually higher end brands or items that are brand new with tags. Usually if I can confidently sell it for $10 I’ll do that. If you’re looking for a place to sell I really love having virtual yard sales via Instagram. More info on how to sell on instagram here.
  • Donate: Most items will probably end up in this pile. Clothes that are perfectly fine, but aren’t exactly sought after and will be better off used by someone else or sold at a thrift store for a few bucks.

Remember

  1. Getting rid of an item someone gave you doesn’t mean you don’t care about that person!
  2. By selling/donating, any items you don’t keep will make someone else happy!
  3. Having a wardrobe full of clothes and accessories you like and can easily access and manage will make you happy!

Getting rid of things is hard for a lot of people, but you will thank yourself next time you put away your laundry and have space to put it away without shuffling around. I hope this helps you get to a closet and wardrobe that makes you feel happy and peaceful.

If you’ve got some items you’d like to sell check out my How to Sell on Instagram eCourse, a step-by-step guide walking you through setting up your account, taking and editing photos, how to price, how to figure out shipping and more? Click the image below to learn more about my

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