decluttering hotspots around the house

I have been talking a bit about decluttering both here on the blog and in the Planning With Kids Newsletter. In the February newsletter I set myself the challenge to declutter these hot spots around the house:

  • My cook books and foodie magazines
  • The baking section of the pantry
  • My everyday bag
  • The kids’ games cupboard
  • The kids’ shoes

By hot spots, I mean the areas of the house which are used frequently and require regular attention to keep them under control. I am pleased to be able to report that I did indeed make my way through this list!

I wish we had counted the number of items that are no longer in our house – it would be staggering. Timing has been on our side as there has been a couple of events that have helped keep me motivated with the decluttering – a hard rubbish collection and the school biannual fair.

We threw out quite a bit of stuff that was old and no longer useable in hard rubbish collection, but we have also donated items in very good condition to the school, to Vinnies and handed down clothes to friends and family. Some stuff did just have to end up in the bins though – some to recycling and some pure rubbish.

I have used the decluttering purge to also set up some new systems as you will see:

Decluttering – cook books and foodie magazines

Decluttering - Home Station Before
This is what the area looked like where I store my cook books and foodie magazines before the decluttering.

Decluttering - rubbish
This is what I culled. I was quite ruthless and lots of old wine guides, old foodie magazines did make there way into the recycling or the kids useful box.

Decluttering - Central Station
I combined a couple of tips from readers when sorting out the foodie section. One tip from a reader (cannot locate the email – let me know if it was you – sorry!) who shared that she kept her foodie magazines by season. And then Chris who emailed this tip:

My super-tidy and organised friend, had hers in different coloured IKEA magazine holders, with the low side showing outwards. So I did the same to mine. They look great, they don’t fall over if you move one or two, and I now have a spare 30cm on the end of the shelf where the kids’ lunchboxes are stored (without being pushed off by slipping cookbooks).

So I know have four magazine holders to store my foodie magazines in – I obviously buy lots of magazines etc at Christmas time as the summer holder is chockers.

I have decided that once they get full, I will use the one in one out policy to keep the number under control.

This area is what I have dubbed our “central station”. I will go through the rest of what I have on the shelves in another post.

Decluttering – The baking section of the pantry

Decluttering - Pantry before
My pantry had reached shoving point. When I bought new items, because it was overcrowded and disorganised, I was just shoving stuff anywhere I found room.

Decluttering - out of date
Once I removed all the out of date and items I would no longer use it was amazing to see how much room I had. (I will note that I was completely horrified at some of the use by dates that where on some of the herbs and other dry items – embarrassing!)

Decluttering - Pantry after
Loads of room now!

Decluttering - bits and bobs
I had quite a few bits and pieces that I wasn’t sure what to do with. In the end I chose to use some ziplock bags, write the use by date on them and store them together.

Decluttering - bits and bobs
Putting like items together has made looking for the right ingredients much easier. I just need to pull out the tub and don’t have to fossick to the back of the cupboard.

Decluttering – My everyday bag

Decluttering - Everyday bag
As noted in my post earlier this week, toilet training is a challenge in our house with the littlest one and it means I carry quite a bit of stuff in my everyday bag still.

Then with just general use, I find all sorts of things end up finding their way into my bag, so it was time to tip it all out and clear out the rubbish.

Decluttering - Everyday bag
I have put the couple of spare outfits into a plastic bag, to keep all the items together. I have old shopping bags tied in knots to use to store any clothes that may have required changing due to accidents.

You can see more about what I keep in my everyday bag in the post 10 Things I Like To Keep In My Everyday Bag

Decluttering – The kids’ games cupboard

Decluttering - Toy Cupboard
After a massive windfall with the end of year birthdays, Christmas and a birthday in January, the kids games cupboard was also at bursting point.

Any child who wanted to help declutter this cupboard was welcome. Only the younger three chose to help! We considered items carefully and made the traditional 3 piles – to keep, to donate and to bin.

Decluttering - Toys for fair
We didn’t bin much at all, but combined with some soft toys from another storage area, we donated the above to the second hand stall for the upcoming school fair.

Decluttering - Toy Cupboard
Now there is lots more room in the cupboard for the kids to find things more easily and put them back (sometimes at least!).

Decluttering – The kids’ shoes

Decluttering - Shoes before
When a local primary school was undergoing building works a couple of years ago, they put out a number of old book shelves for people to take. Mr I took 2! With this one, he got busy cutting out an area that a drain pipe could fit in, so the shelf could lay flat against the wall. He then fixed it to the wall with brackets so it was safe and wouldn’t fall on me or the kids.

It then became our shoe shelf. We don’t have a rule about no shoes in the house, but I love wearing no shoes and the kids have followed me with that trend. We found the first thing they would do before entering the house was to kick off (often quite literally!) their shoes.

The shoe shelf does work really well, but after another growth spurt from a number of the kids and new shoes bought, we had lots of shoes on the shelf that were no longer needed.

Decluttering - Shoes after
It lasted being this neat for about 4 days! Although it isn’t as neat as this at them moment, there are still significantly fewer pairs of shoes on the shelf, so it still looks much better.

Would love to hear how you are going with your decluttering. Once again any de-cluttering tips you would like to share are very welcome in the comments!

What are the hot spots in your house?

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20 comments...read them below or add one

  • Lucy March 09, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    You have the same pantry methods as me. The same Tupperware too. I LOVE to declutter – my wardrobe is getting done this weekend…you have inspired me to take some before and after shots!!

    • PlanningQueen March 09, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Can highly recommend the before and after shots, loved putting this post together!

  • Trish March 09, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I just did my pantry , I love Tupperware now I have room for more , if I only I could convince my husband.
    We use IKEA for lots of storage ideas ,especially their Expedit book cases.

    • PlanningQueen March 09, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      Same in this house too. Once I had de-cluttered I did mention some more tupperware and he gave me one of those “no way” looks!

  • Kathryn March 09, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Thank you. Great post. Gets me motivated. A few of the same areas need a de-cluttering in our house.
    P.S – Hope you didn’t throw out all those out of date herb/spices bottles. They make perfect glitter shakers for craft!

    • PlanningQueen March 09, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Oh I did put them in the recycling bin! That is such a good idea – wish I had known earlier :(

  • Melissa March 10, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Thankyou for all of your wonderful post I am really enjoying them. Recently when I reorganised our families shoe shelf, we had a competition to see who could keep their shoe section the tidiest (with the winner recieving a chocolate – high currency in our house) and what a surprise – the shoe shelf has been the tidiest ever for many weeks!

    • PlanningQueen March 10, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Thanks Melissa! Chocolate would be high currencly in this house too.

  • Sandy March 10, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I’m ashamed to say that your “before” pantry picture looks like my “after one! One thing I’m finding useful is that I’ve installed some baskets inside the pantry doors to hold things that tend to get lost on the shelves – small jars and bottles like baking powder, spices, etc.

    I’m curious about the outside shoe storage – do you ever have issues with spiders and other creepy crawlies getting into the shoes?

    • PlanningQueen March 10, 2012 at 10:14 am

      No, not to date and we have been using it for a year or more. I do make sure to look for cobwebs though.

  • Annie March 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Funnily enough I’ve been culling a lot lately too as have a bit more time to do so. One of the main things was that I have gotten rid of almost every foodie magazine because apart from old favourites I just go online for recipes these days! I thought you might be the same but maybe I was just in extreme decluttering mode! I’m very much into less is more at the moment!

    • PlanningQueen March 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      I do look online quite a bit, but I actually just like the tactile feel of flipping through a magazine too. Think I will always by a few a year.

      Less is more is in my thought processes a lot too.

  • Susie March 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I too get rid of all foodie magazines – and others eg the free kids’ ones – I find them clutter in themselves as I will never want the whole magazine again. I just rip out all interesting recipes / articles etc and keep them in a recipe file, then chuck the mags into the recycling.

    • PlanningQueen March 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Susie, what sort of recipe file system do you use? I did contemplate this process.

      • Trace March 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm

        I cut out recipes and keep them in one of those expandable file folders. I have marked out sections for Desserts, Soups, Cakes, etc.
        This folder is for recipes that I haven’t tried yet. Once they are tried they are either thrown out, or rewritten into my Recipe Journal.

  • Kellie March 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I had the same issue with my herbs/spice cupboard a few months back. Very scary dates. Now we only have a handful in there!

    • PlanningQueen March 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      I bought about 5 or 6 that I use throughout a month during my last shop. I still have less than half of what I used to have prior to the declutter though!

  • Maxabella March 19, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Bravo! I adore a good clear out and you’ve just worked your magic beautifully. I am envious of the amount of room you have for your baking supplies – mine are shoved on two shelves and they are not happy. You’ve inspired me to do some decluttering of another cupboard to empty it to create my new baking cupboard… here I go… x

    • PlanningQueen March 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Our kitchen is incredibly dated, but it is super practical and has good storage space – can’t complain really!

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