5 Steps to Remove Clutter From Your Life

All of us end up with a clutter filled home and mind throughout our life. With the busy times of keeping up with a career, raising kids and keeping a marriage afloat, there’s no wonder that many of us end up feeling overwhelmed and cluttered. When you realize that clutter has taken over your life and home, there are a few things you can do to help remove this clutter from your life, today I am sharing a few tips to help you become clutter free and in turn feel less stressed.

5 Steps to Remove Clutter from your Life

Tackle Junk Drawers

Most people have a junk drawer in the home that’s full of odds and ends. The first tip to removing clutter from your life is to tackle the junk drawers. Organize each item into a category, then donate or recycle any items that won’t serve a purpose in your life.

Take a Relaxing Bath

If you find that your mind is cluttered, taking a relaxing bath once a week can help to alleviate this clutter in the mind. With our busy lives, we tend to hold so much in our thoughts and in turn can feel overwhelmed and tense. A relaxing weekly bath will remove clutter from your mind easily.

Revamp Daily Routine

As time goes on you will find that your routine becomes cluttered and you simply kept living life every day adding more things to your routine. In time, you have to pause to reflect upon what your daily routine involves. Cut some items from that routine and revamp it so that you feel more relaxed.

Clear off Flat Surfaces

If your home is like mine, the kids and others tend to drop items on that open countertop in the kitchen or the dining room table. Flat surfaces are famous for gaining clutter and it’s time to take back that surface! Make it a rule to never place any items on flat surfaces in the home, put them in their place. (You may also like our Tips for Organizing Kitchen Cabinets)

Designate a Space for Everything

Lastly, in order to maintain your clutter-free lifestyle, you will have to make sure that you have a designated space for everything. Have a family meeting to discuss these changes so that everyone is held accountable for removing the clutter from your life.

There you have it, 5 steps to remove clutter from your life. These tips are meant to inspire you to make a change and work towards living a reduced stress lifestyle. Once you implement these tips, you should feel like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders and in time feel great about living a clutter-free lifestyle.


How to Find 15 Minutes a Day to Declutter

How to Find 15 Minutes a Day to Declutter

It can be overwhelming to try to declutter your home when you take a large chunk on at once. Rather than attack it full-force, you are probably more prone to put it off. Day after day, the task seems less than inviting. Daunting even.  You’re not sure but you think you heard your pile of papers and dust bunnies mocking you.

What if you set aside 15 minutes to declutter? Would you be able to approach it then?  Try these tips to get yourself closer to a clutter-free home.

1. Set a reasonable goal
If you want to take on a closet, for example, you will not be able to get it all done in 15 minutes. Start with a shelf, time yourself for 15 minutes and do a really job purging what you don’t need and re-organizing that particular space. The next day, continue with that shelf if needed or move on to another one.

2. Use the KRRT rule
Decide if you want to keep it, re-use it, recycle it or trash it. If you have not used it within the past year, then it is not an item you need to keep. Can it be donated? Is there someone you know who needs it more than you do?  Sometimes, by asking these questions, our perspective on the item changes.

3. Decide on a home
Everything you are re-organizing needs a home. If you just toss it back on the shelf, it will become chaotic quickly. By having a specific home for each item, you are bound to stick to a more organized space. Use bins, jars, labels and whatever else works to keep your space the way you want it. This will add visual appeal and motivate you to stick to your newly organized space.

4. Wake up 15 minutes earlier
I like sleep as much as the next guy. Probably more! However if you’re having trouble squeezing 15 minutes a day to declutter wake up a little earlier. Don’t declutter with your eyes still glued shut but once you’re awake and moving attack a problem area and I bet you’ll have a spring in your step the rest of the day.

5. Talk and declutter at the same time
Can’t chew gum and walk at the same time? Well, this probably isn’t for you. 🙂 The idea is simple, to distract you while you declitter. Hopefully this will help you from overanalyzing everything and make you more efficient. Plus, if you’re talking to a girlfriend she can help give you the nudge you need to let go of some things.

15 minutes a day is all it takes to get yourself started with de-cluttering your living space. That could amount to almost the same time as a Netflix show or a few songs from your favorite playlist.

5 Painless Ways to Live With Less

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Painless Ways to Live With Less

Belongings breed like rabbits. Behind your back, your collection of “stuff” can double every year. Those objects feel like extensions of the people who owned them or gave them to you, and that can make getting rid of possessions feel like acts of disloyalty.

But objects aren’t people. The fluorescent green sweater your aunt knitted for you, in a color you wouldn’t wear to your own funeral, let alone hers, isn’t a proxy for your aunt. You wouldn’t dream of getting rid of your father’s watch, but his collection of rusty tools crowds out your own toolbox. Choose meaningful items to represent your past relationships, and declutter the trivial stuff in a productive act of minimalism.

Take Photos Before Throwing Away

  • –  Picture This

One easy way to keep a virtual representation of the things you choose to donate or discard: Take digital pictures or footage of them. Yes, it’s possible to hoard photos, too, but it’s much easier to find storage space for digital pictures than for physical objects. Eventually, you’ll find that photos loses their emotional connections and become “why-did-I-take-that?” image files you can delete.

Vintage Red Dress

  • –  Clothes-Closet Clutter

To regain closet space without losing the shirt off your back, implement one-and-one decluttering rules. If you haven’t worn a garment in one year, and it’s not within one size of your current wardrobe, put it in the donation pile. If your closet fills up with vintage bargains from secondhand stores, limit yourself to garments you’ll wear within one month and use for at least one year. And if you’re a sucker for sales, impose a one-sale, one-garment ceiling on your purchases.

Canvas Storage Box

  • –  Out of Sight, Out of Mind

To help yourself declutter, start a purgatory box. Instead of putting objects back in a drawer when you can’t seem to part with them, put them in the purgatory box and store it on a closet shelf you can’t reach without a ladder. Every year on a specific date, open the purgatory box and choose at least one item to donate. The out-of-sight, out-of-mind principle means that the next time you open the box, you’ll have forgotten the significance of some of its contents.

Shredder

  • –  Please Keep Up

Especially if you’re prone to packratting, impose a one-day limit on allowing piles to accumulate on furniture and floors. “I’ll do it tomorrow” soon becomes “I can’t cope.” Don’t set down mail you plan to shred or recycle: Process it right away, and avoid creating an overwhelming backlog.  (This shredder has good reviews and is only $30!)  Once you decide to get rid of something, don’t let it hang around. Schedule a donation day each month on which you drop off a bag of items to a thrift shop.

Kindle

  • –  Borrow, Don’t Buy

Rather than accumulate items you can rent or borrow, let the public library, tool rental, Amazon ebooks, and other sources help you live with less. Your library’s collections include video and audio recordings as well as books. Small hand tools may make sense to keep around so you can solve problems that crop up in the middle of the night, but you can rent bigger items such as carpet shampooers and power tools.

If you’ve considered minimalism as a lifestyle but backed away from implementing the choice to declutter your home, chances are you’ve equated “live with less” with “lose my identity.” Paring down a lifetime’s accumulation of material things means getting rid of excess baggage, freeing yourself from the past in a healthful, liberating step that gives you a fresh start.

How to Be a Minimalist

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How To Be a Minimalist

Everyone is obsessed with buying more and more belongings. Unfortunately, not everything we buy is really important, and that would explain swollen garages and basements in many homes. There is nothing more fulfilling than living with less, owning what you only need. Although some people may find this a little weird…especially if they are into hoarding stuff, minimalism is one sure way of not just saving money but also decluttering your home and office desk and these tips can help you achieve that.

How to be a minimalist?

Here are 3 tips for the beginning minimalist!

  • –  Buy Only What You Need
    This is an interesting idea that can actually turn you from being a hoarder into a minimalist. Avoid buying something that you do not need. This will only lead to a house that is so full that you have nowhere to pass. Instead, ask yourself if you really need anything before making a purchase, and you will be surprised by the items that you will walk right on past.
  • –  Sell or Donate What You Don’t Need
    One of the reasons you probably have a basement and garage full of stuff is because you do not use those items. Instead of storing them away, go ahead and sell or donate them. How do you know what to give away? It is quite simple, anything that you have not used for about six months (or at least a year) is surplus to requirements, and you can let go. One interesting way to accomplish this is by posting one time on websites such as Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon.
  • –  Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists
    Living with less does not just end with decluttering your home. Many of us have subscribed to mailing lists that keep sending things that are probably mot even necessary. Dealing with a full inbox robs you of your time and unsubscribing from such lists will help you declutter your life. Remember, ignorance is bliss, and you will not be tempted to buy something if you do not know about it.  Unroll.me is a great service for helping you unsubscribe to mass emails quickly.

These are not very big changes.  They are small but they lead to a better life where you will not be bothered by clutter.

Live With Less Declutter Game – $100 Prize!

Declutter Game

Since last January, I’ve been trying to declutter and minimize my belongings.  To gain motivation I’ve shared my process and hosted challenges where people can “play” along with me in this process of living with less.  I’ve had so much fun (and I still have a lot to get rid of!) that I decided to host another challenge for the month of January!

This challenge will be like our very first one.  $100 is up for grabs!

Declutter game - $100 cash prize!

A game that will hopefully end with everyone owning less stuff and one winner walking away with a $100 in cash!

The game is a simple one.  For the month of January, you need to get rid of one thing on the first day of the month.  On the second, two things.  On the third, three things….and so on.  Clothes, toys, tools, junk, magazines, decorations, etc.

This is your mission should you choose to accept it!  It starts off easy but it will soon get trickier.  You can do it!!

How will I choose a winner?  We’re all winners by getting rid of our unwanted belongings but I’ll choose a winner from the people who take pictures of their discarded items each day and do one of three things 1) Share them on social media and tag them #LiveWithLess, if you’re not active online 2) Email the pictures to me at MrsAshleyWalkup@gmail.com or my favorite way – 3) Share them in our Live With Less Facebook group. To keep things tidy, if you chose to share in the Facebook group it’s handy if you post days 2-31 in the comment section of your first post (some have chose to make an album or add a photo to an album and post continuing days below that – whichever – the wall or album is fine).

Q&A

  • – If you skip a day are you disqualified? No, but you may only skip two days at a time.  Three consecutive skips will disqualify you from winning but you’re welcome to continue playing.  Even though you skip a day or two you still have to go back and make up the days you missed.
  • – Can you track my shares on social media?  Yes, if you use the #LiveWithLess hashtag I can track them.
  • – How can I make sure my emails get delivered to you? Okay, so no one would really ask this but for my sanity, could you please put #LiveWithLess Day 1 in the subject line?  Thank you!
  • – When will this challenge start, I just heard about it?  The last day to join will be January 8th when you need to have all your days 1-8 posted…or technically 1-6 since you’re allowed to be two days behind at any point.
  • – If I share pictures of my junk in the Live With Less Facebook group will all of my friends see it?  No, not unless they are in the group.  It’s a closed group.
  • – Will you be sharing the items you’re getting rid of?  Yes!  I’ll be posting in our Live With Less Facebook group daily.  Forgive the bad quality pics, this is going to be a quick thing every day.
  • – What if more than one person makes it to the 31st?  This would be wonderful and I would choose a winner at random using random.org.
  • – What if no one makes it to the 31st?  Then I’m keeping the money for myself and going to the spa! 😉

A Side Note:

Have you been selling some of your items that you’re tossing?  I started selling some of my unwanted things online and have been shocked at the money I’ve made.  I’m excited to announce that I have an ebook coming out soon detailing the process, tips, and tricks that I learned the hard way!

If you have any questions or if I missed something please let me know.

Who’s ready to play?  I hope you’ll join me!  This will be more fun with friends!

If you’re just now joining us and want to catch up on past posts you can find them all linked here on the intro post to our Live With Less series.

30 Days of Giving – Live With Less Challenge

For just about every year since I started blogging I’ve participated in or led a 30 days of giving each November.  I’ve been blogging since 2009 so that’s quite a long time!

The old challenge went something like this:

The challenge is to give something to someone everyday in November.  The gifts can be anything given to anyone…money, food, old clothes, crafts, your time, or even kind words.  I would love to have  my readers join me in this challenge.  The way I see it, even if I don’t give something every single day it will probably would still be more than I normally would have given any other month…and that’s worth it, right?

Here are some of the gift ideas I’ve came up with so far:

  • –  donate can goods to a local food pantry
  • –  donate new toys in your gift drawer or closet to Toys for Tots
  • –  make and deliver a meal to a grieving family or a family with a sick loved one
  • –  donate a couple of hours of free babysitting for new parents
  • –  rake up the leaves in an elderly friend’s house
  • –  clean out your closets to donate to GoodWill or the Salvation Army
  • –  give few more dollars in the plate at church
  • –  prepare a gift for those new to the neighborhood
  • –  send a letter and a box of non-perishable goodies to a soldier
  • –  have the kids make and mail cards to missionaries (or to vets)
  • –  put together a shoebox (or several) for Operation Christmas Child

The old challenge had zero accountability and truthfully not many people participated, or if they did they didn’t let me know about it.

 

30 Days of Giving

The New 30 Days of Giving Challenge!

I want to combine this old challenge with a Live With Less twist!  I want to suggest finding things in our homes that we no longer need or LOVE and give them to someone else.  We can still make meals and cards but it’s my desire for us to find usable things we have just laying around and donate them to those who can make good use of them.  This could be giving an old piece of china to a relative who would enjoy it, passing along a favorite book to a friend, or it could be donating a bag full of items to a charity.  The choice is yours!

Giving Challenge Prize!

Wait?  Can you really win a prize from giving away your things?  Yes, you sure can!  I’m going to award one reader a $100 Amazon gift card!  Winner will be drawn randomly from those who have completed the challenge.  (It’s fun to win, just ask Rebecca who won last month!)

Giving Challenge Rules:

  • – You must submit your daily entry by posting photos of your items to be given on the wall of our Facebook group – located here.  You can start a new post each day or continue posting follow up days in the comments of your first post.  Most prefer the latter but whichever is fine by me. (Side note, if you’re new to Facebook groups and you don’t want to see notifications when everyone posts you can change the settings in the group.  Message me in the group if you need help with this.)
  • – If you don’t have Facebook you can also email me the pictures at MrsAshleyWalkup@gmail.com with the subject 30 Days of Giving Challenge.
  • – If you know you’re going to have a busy week you can work ahead in the challenge up to five days ahead of time (this is a change from the previous challenge, you can now work further ahead!) and you can be two days late and still be eligible for the prize.
  • We’re going to start the challenge a on Monday, Nov. 9th so we can give others a few days to find this challenge and give you who are reading this a head start gathering your unwanted items.  Because we’re starting late you don’t have to give away 30 things, just 1 per day till the end of the challenge (21).  If you want to do more, by all means please do.
  • – This is a question I would ask if I was participating so I’ll ask and answer it in case you’re wondering to.  Do you actually have to donate the item to, say Goodwill, or can you just set it aside in a box in your garage until the end of the month?  The garage is fine!  There’s no need to make a trip daily to take one item some place.
  • – Share this with a friend!  It’s easier to stick with it if you have a friend or family member who are joining in too.
  • – Last but not least, have fun!!!

In the words of my wise friend Dawn, “This challenge is about being grateful for what you have and blessing others who are less fortunate!”  I couldn’t agree more!

I’m excited to have you join me.   Feel free to start snapping pics, donating, and posting your pics in our group now but our official start date will be Nov. 9th.

31 Days to Live With Less + $200 Giveaway!

31 Days to Live with Less

If you’ve been following my blog for long you know that in January I kicked off a 52 Weeks to Live With Less series.  It has been a fun adventure to take with you all and I’m excited to make the month of October a challenge month.  I’ll be posting a challenge daily and there will be a B-I-G prize up for grabs for one reader.  Don’t worry if you don’t catch the first post right away, I’ll give everyone a few days leeway at the beginning.  This is going to be great, y’all!

Since there is always more strength in numbers, I would love for you guys to join me here and in my Live With Less Facebook group this month for some daily organization inspiration and support.  Each day will only require 5-15 minutes of decluttering for a simpler and less cluttery home.  I’m excited at the thought!  If you share any of your photos on social media or your blog please include the hashtag #LiveWithLessChallenge so I can find it….and that way everyone can search the hashtag for instant organization/decluttering inspiration!

Contest – Win $200!

To give you a little more motivation to toss your unwanted belongings, I’m going to award one reader a $200 Amazon gift card.  Winner will be drawn randomly from those who have completed the challenge.

Contest Rules:

  • – You must submit your daily entry by posting photos of your items to be tossed (recycled, donated, etc.) on the wall of our Facebook group – located here.  You can start a new post each day or continue posting follow up days in the comments of your first post.  Whichever is fine by me. (Side note, if you’re new to Facebook groups and you don’t want to see notifications when everyone posts you can change the settings in the group.  Message me in the group if you need help with this.)
  • – If you don’t have Facebook you can also email me the pictures at MrsAshleyWalkup@gmail.com with the subject Live With Less Challenge.
  • – If you know you’re going to have a busy week you can work ahead in the challenge up to two days ahead of time and you can be two days late and still be eligible for the prize.
  • We’re going to start the challenge a on Saturday, Oct. 3rd so we can give others a few days to find this challenge and give you who are reading this a head start gathering unwanted items. 🙂  We’ll still do 31 days but the first few will be so easy you can do multiple ones in a day.
  • – Share this with a friend!  It’s easier to stick with it if you have a friend or family member who are joining in too.
  • – Last but not least, have fun!!!

I’m excited to have you join me. 🙂  Feel free to start snapping pics, tossing, and posting your pics in our group now but our official start date will be Oct. 3rd.

Here’s a handy dandy printable version!

Oh and please know that when I say toss, I really mean donate, recycle, and lastly throw away.

Day 1: Paper.
Do you have a pile of old mail, cards, coupons, paperwork collecting on your kitchen counter (or covering all of your counters like mine have been before currently are)?  Sort through old receipts, bills, and shred, recycle, and relocate your paper to it’s proper home…after you take a picture to share with us that is.

Day 2: Junk drawer.
Take a photo of it before.  Take everything out.  Put back in only the things that you’ll use.  Take another photo of the unwanted, well, junk and a photo of the nice, new organized drawer!

Day 3: Sock drawer.
Sort through your sock drawer and toss any unpaired socks or holey beyond repair socks that may be hanging around. Photograph your donation/trash sock heap.  If your sock drawer is already perfect, show me a picture of that drawer and find something else to toss. 🙂

Day 4: Cleaning supplies.
Go through your cleaning supplies and get rid of the products you never use.  If you have half filled bottles of the same product, combine them.  Toss any old rags that you never use or that may have passed the age of usability.

Day 5: Medicine/first aid supplies.
It is recommended that medicine be stored in a cool dry place out of the reach of children.  Sort through your medications and toss any items that are expired or you’re unlikely to ever need again.  Visit fda.gov for proper ways to dispose of them.

Day 6: Bathroom cabinets.
Sort through your beauty products and keep only the ones you’ve used.  Old hotel shampoo bottles?  If you haven’t used them yet chances are you won’t.  Put them in the shower and use them this week or toss them.  Old electric razor you’re not sure where it came from?  Check with your spouse, then toss it.

Day 7: Your choice.
Go to the most cluttered area in your home and toss what you don’t need, don’t use, or don’t find attractive.

Day 8: Shoes.
Evaluate the shoes in your house and let go of the ones that rub blisters, that you’re keeping in case a special occasion happens to arise, that have holes in them, etc.  If you don’t use them, they’re just closet clutter.

Day 9: Decor.
Do you have extra place mats you no longer use?  A picture you never really liked hanging in the hall?  Decorative pillow that matched your last couch?  Search out those unloved belongings and pass them on to someone who can enjoy them.

Day 10: Clutter magnet.
Take a picture of an area in your home that is a magnet for clutter.  Entry way?  Kitchen counter?  Dining room table?  Take a before picture.  Find a home for the keepers and toss the rest.  Take an after picture.

Day 11: Something broken.
Fix or toss anything you have that is broken.  Keeping it around will just make you groan inside every time you look at it.  Free yourself.

Day 12: Magazines/catalogs.
If you have old magazines sitting around because you haven’t clipped that recipe or idea out yet go do that now.  Donate or recycle the rest and free yourself from clutter.  If you have several ideas clipped out for, say a new bedroom remodel (like I do) store them away in a folder in your filing cabinet.  They’re accessible without causing clutter.

Day 13: Email clutter.
Use unroll.me to unsubscribe yourself from all those mailing lists you never remember signing up for.  It’s such an enjoyable experience, you might even hear angels singing!  Take a screenshot of how many you unsubscribed from if you want to brag.  You can also take a photo of your computer for this entry…after you’ve unsubscribed from emails.  It’s not necessary to use unroll.me for this challenge but it’s a great tool to make unsubscribing a breeze (and it’s free!).

Day 14: Games.
If you have old board games you never play consider donating them to someone that would get use out of them.  Old electronic games count as well!

Day 15: Garage/basement.
Both garages and basements are known for collecting clutter.  Set a timer and spend 10 minutes in your garage or basement finding things you no longer use.  Sell, donate, recycle, or trash.

Day 16: Kid’s Toys.
If you don’t have kids, find a random cluttery item to toss.  If you have kid’s evaluate which toys are loved and bring happiness to your child.  Let go of the unwanted toys so that they can focus on their favorites.

Day 17: 4 Things
Find 4 items, any items in your home to get rid of.

Day 18: Pantry
Go through your cabinets and toss all expired products.  Put the ones nearing their expiration date nearest the front.

Day 19: Bookshelves.
Sell, donate, or recycle books that you will no longer read.  This is a hard one for me but if all it does is collect dust, it’s not worth having.

Day 20: Kitchen Cabinets.
Search for kitchen items you no longer use.  The high shelves are probably a great place to start.  Make sure all your storage containers have matching lids.  Toss duplicate kitchen gadgets and utensils.  Have an enormous appliance you only pull out once a year?  Consider storing it in a different location (attic, garage, basement, under a bed, etc.) to keep your kitchen less cluttered.  Toss any cookbooks you have never used.

Day 21: Car.
Grab two plastic bags and head out to your car(s).  Use one bag for trash and the other one for items that belong in doors.  If your cars are perfectly kept, show us a picture and find another item to toss.

Day 22: Linens.
Evaluate all the sheets, blankets, and towels in your home.  If you never use them all, let go of some.  Don’t forget dish towels too!

Day 23: Entertainment area.
Find all your CDs and DVDs and make sure they’re in the right cases.  Toss any you don’t listen to or watch anymore.  Possibly download your CD’s electronically and then toss it.  Make sure you’re not just collecting them because you spent money on them.  If it isn’t bringing you joy now, let it go.

Day 24: Your choice!
Go to the most cluttered area in your home and toss what you don’t need, don’t use, or don’t find attractive.

Day 25: Something embarrassing.  
If you can, find something to throw away that you would be embarrassed if anyone knew you had it.  Mine is a near-dead plant.  My husband calls it dead but I see a little bit of green so I’m clinging to the hope that one day it will come back.  It’s been this way for two years.  I need to admit it’s gone and let it rest in peace.

Day 26: Fridge/freezer.
Find and remove all items from that have expired, are frost bitten, or you know you will never use.  See Making & Maintaining a Freezer Inventory so this doesn’t happen again.

Day 27: Something sentimental.
I’m not talking about your most prized possession that your great great Mimi left you but something you don’t like but you’re holding to because you would feel guilty letting go of it.  If you can’t make yourself part with it store it away in a closet or attic for a few months and reevaluate it again later.  Chances are you won’t have missed it any and will have an easier time letting go then.

Day 28: Closet.
Take a picture of at least one thing you’re tossing from your closet.  Wrong size, wrong style, or just wrong for any human to ever wear, toss it.  No guilt.  Wear what makes you feel good about yourself.

Day 29: Your choice!
Go to the most cluttered area in your home and toss what you don’t need, don’t use, or don’t find attractive.

Day 30: Something seasonal.
Do you have Christmas wrapping paper that never gets used but you found it on sale for $0.10 so you feel like you have to keep it?  Maybe that’s just me.  What about old decor that you no longer set out?  Toss it.

Day 31: What’s left.
What did I miss?  Look around your room now and see what looks out of place?  If it doesn’t have a home or a purpose, let it go.

I can’t wait to share my 31 day decluttering journey with you and am excited to see how you much you all will get rid of!

Are you ready to begin?  I promise that come November 1st you’ll be happy you joined in!