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
This is what the area looked like where I store my cook books and foodie magazines before the decluttering.
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.
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
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.
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!)
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?