This post is part of the Busy Moms Decluttering Challenge! We are working through Ruth Soukup's Book “31 Days to a Clutter Free Life“- taking one week to work on each of the decluttering assignments. You can see all of our Decluttering Challenge posts here!
Today is officially our kick off to the Busy Moms Decluttering Challenge! Welcome! Our first assignment will be to declutter the entryway to our home- but before we dive into this challenge, let's take a moment to talk about some of the “ground rules” for decluttering which are covered in “Day 1” of the book.
Ruth sets forth these ground rules when it comes to decluttering:
- Everything must have a home
- Everything must have a purpose
- Everything must be in good working order
- Everything must have a label
- If it needs to go- get it out FAST!
So as you sort through each of your items, she asks that you evaluate each one to ensure that it has a place where it belongs in your home and that place is labeled, it has a purpose in your life, and it is in good working order. And if you do decide to get rid of something- do it immediately (before you change your mind!)
Now personally I agree with most of what Ruth says- except for the labeling part. I think if I labeled the proper home for every thing we owned- my house would end up looking like a kindergarten classroom!
My Own Rules for Decluttering
I actually have my own rules for decluttering that I prefer. I look at each item and I ask myself:
- Do I love it?
- Do I need it?
- Do I want it?
- Do I have room to store it?
I must answer “yes” to at least one of the first three questions as well as to the last question if I am going to keep it. Otherwise- it's time to find a new home for that item!
You can download my decluttering printable here– that also outlines what to do next after you've answered those questions for each item!
Assignment #1: Decluttering the Entryway
Once we've established how we are going to declutter our home- it's time to get to work! So we turn to “Day 2” of our “31 Days to a Clutter Free Life” book and we learn that we will begin in the entryway of our home.
I think that we can all agree that no matter where you enter your home- it becomes the dumping ground for everything- kids backpacks and shoes, your handbag, keys, the mail, etc! And since the entryway sets the tone for your whole home- when it is a cluttered mess- you feel like your whole house is a mess! So this really is a great place to start!
However maybe you're like me and use multiple entryways to your home. There's the front door- but that's mainly used for guests- although it is also where the kids dump their backpacks and shoes after school.
Right across from our front door is our main coat closet- one that is really only used for my and my husband's coats and hiking/outdoor shoes. But recently I also started keeping my last season samples in this closet for my cabi business. While not a total mess- this closet is in need of sorting and removing things we no longer use. As well as relocating some items that have unintentionally made their home here!
Then there's the “mud room” entrance which is where we usually enter and exit the house- and that's where all of the kids hang their coats, keep their non-school shoes, etc.
Plus the accompanying closets that hold all of the rest of our outerwear and gear.
Oh yeah- and then there's some hooks and shelves that go down to our basement level where I keep my coat/handbag/gear. So I actually have a few areas to declutter!
A Plan to Tackle These Areas
Target a Donor
The very first thing I did before I examined a single item was to make a plan for how I was going to donate things I no longer needed. And the easiest thing for me to do is to use pickupplease.org and schedule them to come to my house to pick up my donations. In my area they are connected with both our local Boys & Girls Club as well as the Veterans- so whomever comes I know they will make good use of my donation!
Knowing that I have a deadline to work towards (the donation pick up date) keeps me motivated every day to get the job done!
Break Down the Work
Next I broke down my tasks into manageable daily bites. Since I have three main areas to declutter (the front door, mudroom, and basement steps) plus two large closets- I broke it down to doing this over 5 days. That way I can spend 30-60 minutes of time in each area daily for 5 days until the entire job is complete. Knowing that I didn't need to find a 5-hour block of time all at once to work on this made it much more manageable for my life!
Make Suggestions for Others
I also know that there will be times when I am decluttering an area where the stuff is not my own- it could be husband's or my kids' belongings. So while I won't make the final keep/not keep decision for them (it's important that they make their own decisions and not feel like they need to worry that I am going to throw away their stuff!), I will make it easy for them by pulling things together into groups based on my own suggestions. I am much more likely to get a teen to cooperate when I say, “Hey Kyle- I haven't seen you use any of this stuff (show him the organized pile) in a long time. Are you done with it? May I donate it?” than trying to get them to work alongside of me as I clean out a closet!
So now I am ready to jump in and tackle this job! Check back at the end of the week to see how I did!
Want to join us in the Busy Moms Decluttering Challenge?
If you want to declutter with us- check out our facebook group where we will be posting before/after photos and sharing ideas, frustrations, and success stories! We'd love to have you!