Tag Archives: decluttering

Clearing some clutter before the New Year

Today I learned about a Japanese end-of-year tradition called Oosouji.  It literally means “big clean” and is very similar to spring cleaning.  Before starting the new year, Japanese homes, businesses and schools get a deep cleaning to get rid of dirt, clutter and disorganization.  I love the thought of starting the fresh goals and resolutions of the New Year with a clean home!

Instead of being overwhelmed at the thought of deep cleaning my entire home, I decided to start with the holiday stuff.  When I take down the lights and decorations, I make sure everything is still in good working order. If you happen to have some items that need replaced, do it now when everything is on sale!  When you dig things out again next year you will be able to get right to decorating, rather than having to go to the store for an overpriced string of colored lights.  

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Storage containers are also on sale right now, but I am refusing to buy any.  All of my current storage problems can be solved by decluttering, rather than buying more containers.  All of our holiday decorations fit into one lime green tote, with room to spare.  I actually threw in the Christmas themed books and cookie cutters too, so when we open the box next year, it will all be in one place!  Now I just need to make a label for it and put it back under the stairs.

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After the decorations are stored, it is time to think about where those holiday gifts are going.  If you received appliances or tools, can they replace other things in your kitchen or garage?  When you are making space for that new blender, take a good look at what you are storing in the pantry closet.  Did you use that bread machine this year? The cupcake maker?  Be honest and ruthless.  If your new blender is buried under so much stuff that you can’t easily get to it, you won’t use it either!

The same goes for clothes in your closet.  I can pretty much tell you which clothes I don’t like and rarely wear without even looking in my closet.  Those all went in the donation bag today, to make room for clothes that I am excited to wear.  Last week I went shopping with my mom, sister and sis-in-law and scored some awesome new clothes!  I am trying to get rid of two things for every one thing I bring in, but I have already gotten rid of most of the items I don’t wear.  One for one might have to work for now.

Our kids got some pajamas for Christmas, so out go a pair (or two) of old ones that are too small.  They are also outgrowing some of their toys, so clearing them out will make room for the new ones.  The tricky part for me is getting the old stuff out of the house before the kids ‘remember’ the toys they don’t play with anymore.  If you can possibly get your kids on board with the clearing out/donation process, I am sure it would be much easier.

I love the feeling of a decluttered home, so I am hoping to get to my little office space this week also.  I have a lot of personal and professional goals I hope to accomplish this year, and starting off with a clean slate seems like a great way to welcome the New Year.  Happy 2016!

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Mission: Closet Organization

Well, as hard as I tried, I couldn’t transform our shared reach-in closet into a dreamy walk-in dressing room.  Maybe I need some new magic words?

This closet makeover has been in progress for quite awhile now, but it is finally nearing completion!  Since I recently turned our guest room closets into a sewing space and kid art/learning storage, we really needed our closet to function to its fullest potential.

 The first thing I recommend when cleaning and organizing any closet is to take everything out and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit and doesn’t make you feel good.  I did this when my sister was visiting, so I had a trustworthy critic to help me be ruthless.  I donated two garbage bags full to the thrift store!  And that was after I had already gone through things on my own.  While I was at it, I switched from plastic to slim and sturdy velvet covered hangers to gain more space.  (fyi, our Costco has them on sale right now, and they are not flimsy like some others I have bought).

For our closet, we decided to go vertical and raised the existing shelf and hanging bar to make room for a partial second hanging bar.  Jer built a box of sorts out of plywood and we attached a hanging bar to it and the wall.  About one-third of the closet is reserved for longer items (my dresses and skirts) and the other two-thirds is divided with two bars.  The high upper shelf is now the perfect size for labeled baskets containing infrequently used or off-season items.   Jer didn’t really want baskets for his things, so I will likely add a few shelf dividers to keep stacks neat.  We each have a row of hooks on ‘our’ sides of the closet to hold belts and scarves or ties.  There is currently room for some shelves for sweaters, jeans, etc. but we are going to live with the closet as-is for awhile to see what would work best for our needs.

Shoes are always a challenge in a closet.  Since our closet is small, I opted to use a hanging shoe rack over the door.  I bought a metal one, but it kept falling apart, so I twisted wire around each of the joints.  It works m.u.c.h. better now.  I might spray paint it a fun color one of these days, but right now I am okay with the white.  Boots and other shoes that don’t fit on the rack have their own spots on the floor of the closet.  We might build custom cubbies for these (I will share the details if we do).  If you do have the space, clear shoe drawers and boot boxes with a photo of the shoe on the front are a fun option.  Jer has fewer shoes, so his are on three shoe shelves that fit sideways on the bottom of the closet.  Another option for everyday shoes is a sturdy basket on the floor of the closet to toss the shoes into.  We do that in our entry with our summer shoes.

When all of your stuff is out of the closet, it is a great time to paint and freshen up the space.  I painted the closet the same color as the rest of our room, but if you are feeling adventurous, closets are a fun place to add bold color, a stencil or some wallpaper.  Since our room is small and the door opens right in front of the closet, we removed the closet doors right away.  I made curtains that I will hang eventually, but I really love not having to wrestle with doors coming off their hinges.

I always color-coordinate my clothes when I put them back into the closet.  This looks fun and enables you to find a particular item more quickly.  It also tells you a lot about your color preferences!  I labeled my baskets with scrapbook paper, ribbon scraps, and a few feathers from my kid’s craft closet.

I am looking for a fun divided tray to set on top of the shelf created by the second tier.  My husband likes to toss random objects on any flat surface, so this would be a way to corral some of the clutter. We also hope to add a light to the closet at some point.

Ahh, I really love a freshly organized space!