Friday, January 4, 2013

Decluttering in 15 Minutes

Every January, I add decluttering to my list of other impossible goals.  Truthfully, I started in December.  Okay, well, I started to panic in December because I still was working on last January's plans to declutter.  It is my perpetual goal.   You'd think at some point, the goal would be reached and we would exist in an absolutely organized, everything in it's place little world.  But, alas, the junk drawer has a permanent place in my kitchen.

In an effort to be more productive, my task continues with these two simple guidelines:
  • 15-minutes at a time
  • find a re-use for anything worth re-using 
Why only 15 minutes? Doesn't sound like a lot, but it's just enough of a time constraint to feel like I need to focus on the task.  If I give myself unlimited time, even an hour, my mind wanders and I end up on some tangent.  You know, go from cleaning out the fridge to reorganizing the entire kitchen type thing.  

And the re-use thing?  Because I do have a habit of holding on to things that may or may not be useful right now, but might be later on.  (Some people call this being a packrat, I call it being prepared.)  But with these guidelines, if I can come up with a good use for something, I can keep it.  Otherwise, it needs to be thrown out, recycled, or donated, as appopriate.

My intention is to pick one space a day, allowing that if I can't think of a space, I'll skip that day.  And space needs to be also narrowly defined to keep the task do-able.  This one yarn basket rather than my entire yarn stash (crafters, you know what I’m saying).

So far, I’ve done my lingerie drawer and under my bathroom sink.  Yes, each in 15 minutes.  What got thrown out, what was reused? 

Lingerie drawer – My weight has gone up and down during my pregnancies and since then.  Now that I’m at a pretty consistent weight, I threw out the underwear and bras that were too big, too small, the wrong size, the wrong whatever.  Never liked how the wire poked me in the side, didn’t like the fit of the bra.  Wasn’t as cute on me as the mannequin?  Yeah, got rid of all that.  Nothing to reuse.

Bathroom cabinet – I did the hallway bathroom, so the main task here was putting stuff back where it really belongs, rather than here where it was stashed by people too lazy to go upstairs.  I threw out expired pain relievers in the first aid kit, old sunscreen, and miscellaneous junk. It’s a good idea to keep lotion, toothpaste and toothbrushes in this bathroom though for the kid who “forgot” to use these items and needs to hurry up and get out the door. 

I almost threw out some used jar candles, but instead they became my re-used items.
Burned down jar candles?  Fill with warm water to loosen the wax.
I filled them with hot tap water and let them sit a few minutes to soften the wax.  I spooned the wax out and washed out the jars.  Ta-da - sparkly new little jars!  I can use them as little flower vases for a few blooms or to hold little knick-knacks – make-up brushes, pens, crochet hooks.  I found that the rounded jar is perfect to hold a ball of yarn and keep it from rolling away while I’m working with it. 
Jars from candles after being cleaned out - perfect for re-use around the house.

I think my desk drawer is next.  And I’m sticking with 15 minutes.

I’m not an organization expert so I don’t promise any earth-shattering tips on how to get your space in order.  But if you, too, need to get some orderly space, I invite you to join me through the month.  I'll post here and/or on FaceBook any interesting re-uses or tips.  Feel free to share!


Robyn said...

Good idea of organizing a space instead of a whole room. Less overwhelming. Think I will start with my bathroom linen closet, then under the bathroom sink, etc.

Mommyx4 said...

The linen closet is a good spot! Get rid of old towels, worn sheets. I fold everything, except our pool towels (with a swimmer in the family, we use them all year round) - I roll them. It takes less space and is easy to gan & throw in the gym bag. Enjoy your new space!