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One Item a Day Decluttering

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

I have mad respect for the 2011 in 2011 people, but I don't think I'm quite up to that challenge yet! Instead, I'm challenging myself to declutter just one item a day. I'm going to keep 4 containers around: Donate, garage sale, recycle, and Limbo. Anything not in those categories gets put away (where it belongs!) or thrown out. The limbo box is where things will be kept temporarily, and by the end of a month if they haven't been used, (and I haven't thought of a darn good reason to keep them around!) they'll get moved into one of the other categories.


I'm doing this for us, and for our future children. DH and I both grew up in cluttered homes (as in "No-horizontal-surfaces-visible" cluttered), and we definitely don't want our kids to be 3rd (or in my case 5th) generation packrats!! I'm hoping to have a garage sale in June, and anything that doesn't sell will get donated.


I hope you'll join me in my slow-but-steady decluttering process!! (even if yours isn't quite as slow as mine is going to be winky.gif). Please introduce yourself, your methods for decluttering, and your reason for wanting to declutter.


I'll be posting here daily to keep myself accountable :)


Today I decluttered the empty cardboard boxes in my kitchen (recycled)

post #2 of 38

Oh I love this idea! Will there be pics too? I might be in if my husband ever donates the 100 items I collected in Feb. nono02.gif

post #3 of 38

thanks for suggesting the "limbo" category ....I like that, that might help me because it seems less drastic than trowing away straight away ...


I still have a vast amount of boxes (I don't know where to put what I un-pack, we moved to a smaller place) after 2 and a half years here + whatever mess I haven't had time to sort through during the last two years and stuffed into big bags "to sort out later" ...

I am working on it VERY slowly too ...

one item a day might not work for me .... I work more in bursts when I can go through a whole box or two and then nothing for a while ...

but I'll definitely lurk here and try to get motivated to move on with it as I read other people's progress !

am rather into cleaning/laundry/sewing project today so tomorrow afternoon or evening is a more likely time for me to get going with decluttering ... will be curious to hear about what you will have been putting aside in which box today and tomorrow ....

post #4 of 38

well, I found something after all !!!!

thanks for that idea, it could well work if I come and read/post here every day !


there was a pair of old trousers on the back of my computer chair, the zipper of which broke on Saturday, as I was back home for 3 and a half minutes during which time I had to get changed, change handbags, grab stuff and ring to say I was going to be late but was still going to turn up at my friend's place. I've been rushing here and there and doing quite a few things over the week-end and totally forgot to deal with it => it's tossed, I had already pinned the waist at two places (I'm loosing weight these days), it's been repaired at the crotch last year and now the zipper dying of old age ....

post #5 of 38

ok, found something else I've been meaning to donate = it was already washed, dry, folded ... just sitting there on top of some boxes, waiting for me to put it in the "donate bag"

post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 

Brees_Mama, pictures sound like a great idea!! Also, I think you totally rock for decluttering 100 things in the shortest month of the year!


IsaFrench, I actually got the limbo idea from a friends' parents: his dad was sneakily taking his moms things and putting them in boxes in another room. If she didn't notice or ask about them for a year, he would just toss them without telling her. I'm not a fan of throwing other peoples' things away, especially without asking, but I guess it worked for them! And I totally understand about binge-decluttering. I've been known to do that when I can't find something I need and I just reach that breaking point!!


Today I'm moving an entire box of skirts from my teenage years into the garage sale pile. I might post pics later, as they're pretty....I'll be honest: flashy AND skanky!! Really not something I should be wearing anymore ;) Though the sheepish part of me (that can't believe I ever left the house wearing them!!) isn't sure I can face having them for sale during our neighborhood-wide garage sale. They might be going into the donate pile to save me some embarrassment...

post #7 of 38

Well, I'm a 2011 in 2011 dropout lol.gif so maybe I can handle this!


Yesterday we decluttered our entire patio of accumulated recycling (mostly cardboard boxes from the hfs)--lesson learned: bring our re-usable bags to the hfs! Then we are not bringing home a cardboard box every week!


My goal today: fold the diapers and put them away while going through ds' drawers and taking anything that doesn't fit into the "donate" box.


Great thread! I will try to post daily!

post #8 of 38

Yeah, I like this idea. I dropped off a whole bag of clothes at the Salvation Army today (I could argue that's a month's worth, but I'll make it one item since it's been sitting in the garage for 3 months :P).

One a day, huh. Okay, roll on tomorrow. I just need to think of a system.



post #9 of 38
Thread Starter 

craft_media_hero Taking a few extra minutes to clear out ill-fitting or too-small clothes while putting others away sounds like a great idea. After all, you're already there with the drawers open! I think I'm going to try to implement that strategy too, DH's sock drawer could definitely use paring down the next time I'm putting socks away! I'm looking forward to your daily posts :)


Perdita, I went through that same "hmm, do I count it as one item or more?" conundrum with my box o' skirts. Then I realized that I have enough stuff lying around, it's not like I'm going to run out of stuff to post about decluttering any time soon! lol.gif I can't wait to hear about the system you come up with!



I've discovered that I need to figure out a better system for donating/garage sale storage. I had a few different containers lying around in various rooms, but it seems like things keep getting pulled out and moved around. I might just have to pull out a giant christmas-tree-sized plastic tub to keep in the basement, and garage sale-bound stuff goes in and STAYS!

post #10 of 38

yeah, keeping stuff inside the "donate container" is hard over here too .... I haven't finished decluttering half of the school stuff ... from last July !!!!

1 - my time without the children is already crammed of activities

2 - I cannot do it when they are present because A - I cannot concentrate properly, I get too easily distracted and B - they are attached to even small dirty pieces of scrap paper ... which they haven't looked at in 6 months anyway but scream murder if they see me touching it ....


have to think of something for today ...

yesterday's stuff was mine & I had already taken the decision to get rid of it, just not fully gone through the motion ...

post #11 of 38

Uh oh.Day 2 and I already am falling off the wagon! Must go find something to declutter. Does children's art count? ;)

post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 

IsaFrench, I was the same way when I was a kid (okay, maybe I still am...a little...or a lot Sheepish.gif). I kept everything, I mean candy wrappers, stickers, papers I'd doodled on. I had a neat bunkbed that had 4 drawers under each of the beds, and half of them were full of my "special things." I may or may not have a box somewhere in the garage that's filled with the "special things" I couldn't bear to part with when I moved out. Maybe one of these days I'll make that my one-a-day clutter!


Perdita, If you're comfortable with decluttering it, childrens' art definitely counts :)


Today I decluttered some old food we had lying around: sweets I wasn't planning on eating, some produce that was a bit off. I also got rid of some old calendar pages I had been holding onto for crafting (but that my dogs ruined days ago). Not bad for a busy day, but not hugely life-changing. Maybe I'll declutter something big and meaningful tomorrow to make up for it ;)

post #13 of 38

yesterday Tuesday = 0 (watched TV instead, there was a new reality TV thing, a TV station offered a week under the sun to women in a small village and stayed behind to film the men dealing with work & children wife-less ...)


so ... I'll need to find two things today, right now am trying to finish daily cleaning tasks and some of the weekly tasks + laundry


will come back later to post  !


post #14 of 38

how are you all doing with your count ?


illness struck us on Wednesday (one child sick in the classroom, had to go and pick up and bring a change of clothing + another one was sick in the bus on the return trip + tow other of us started feeling queasy later during the day ...)


so today I need to find 3 things ... or tomorrow Friday I'll do 4 items ...

post #15 of 38

I love this idea and I am in.  Dh and I both work full-time and have a 4 1/2 yo and a 6 yo.  Our house is always cluttered and consequently hardly ever gets dusted or swept.  I am beginning to wonder if subconsciously I am keeping it cluttered so I won't have to dust or sweep.  Hmmmmmm, definitely a possibility.  Here is my plan:  I have a big green lidded plastic tub hidden under a table that has a cloth over it in my bedroom (hopefully the kids won't wonder what is inside when they try to hide there playing hide-and-seek).  I am determined to put one thing of mine (or household item) and one child's item in it every day.  When it gets full I will sort to give to a friend, donate, trash or consign.  I will have to do this when my kids are not around.  Yesterday I had a bag of kid's clothes sitting on my dresser that I am giving to a friend.  I put it in the bin and counted it for me and a child's item.  This morning I put in a Halloween toy craft made at Lowes and a phone case I have never used.


About giving kids things away without them knowing, my kids are extremely attached to their horses and stuffed animals and a few other things, so I will not give any of those things away without express permission.  About 6 months ago, there was not one square foot of empty floor space in either of my kids rooms.  While they were out, I filled 4 large plastic bins with stuff from their rooms.  I think it took me about 30 minutes because I did not sort at the time (I agonize over what to do with things).  I told them that I had put away some toys (not stuffed animals or horses) and if they did not ask for them after a few months I was going to donate them.  During that time, one child asked for a little plastic mermaid that I knew I had put in there.  I fished it out and gave it back.  After about two months, while they were out, I sorted - 1 bin was trash, 1 bin of stuff I consigned and 2 bins I donated stuff or gave to a friend.  They have not asked for anything else from those bins.  This worked great, but now after Christmas, a birthday, and random gifts from local inlaws, toys are multiplying again - uuggghh!  It is really the cheap little plastic toys that drive me crazy!


I wish everyone luck on their decluttering mission.


post #16 of 38

I put a black fleece zip up jacket in the green bin (I really like it but it sheds black fuzz on whatever I am wearing underneath).  A magazine my daughter was using to scribble in went in the recycling bag (all the way to the back porch - not on the kitchen counter where dh leaves things to be recycled).

post #17 of 38

so today Friday I had to make up for the 3 previous days ... but I got going ! (some of it I've been putting of for ... 5 years even - sorting through the school papers)


- trashed 7 pounds of school papers (from 7 to 2 years ago)

- recycled 2 big mail order catalogues (3 more are by the door ready to go)

- donated some clothing (size 2 y.o. coat and underwear, a warm hat and adult size warm gloves)


planning to go through more boxes tonight after the children are gone to bed ...


thanks Brighids Flames for strating this thread, it HAS helped me to get going again

+ I've got the idea now that I "owe" to my home to sort out and get rid of one thing per day

so the question is not "shall I do it today or not ?" but rather "what will it be today ? " & if not done" today" I count one for every day until I can get going ...B

post #18 of 38
Thread Starter 

Welcome to the group ssantos! I like the way you decluttered your kids toys, those cheap plastic ones are so obnoxious!! Here's an interesting blogpost I read the other day that has to do with the benefits of reducing the number of toys your kids have "Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids". It's definitely worth checking out. And like you pointed out, your kids do have toys that they deeply care about (and they're almost never the cheap plastic happy meal toys either!). Now they can play with the toys they love without having to dig them out from under piles of boring toys.


IsaFrench, I'm so glad that this is helping you as much as it's helping me! If it's easier for you to do it as more of a "7 items a week" thing, that is totally fine. I'm sure at some point I'm going to miss a day and just make it up the next day :)


Sorry for not posting daily, this week was a bit hectic school-wise (I had big important tests two days in a row!). Despite that I'm managing to stay on track so far. Wednesday I cleared off the dining room table. Most of the stuff on the table went either to trash or the dishwasher, and the rest went back to their places in cupboards, etc. Yesterday I decluttered my school binder (which desperately needed it!!). Everything from this semester I filed (in case I need to use it to study for finals), and all the scraps and things I didn't need anymore went into a recycling bag. This resulted in the coffee table being cleaned off, and parts of my desk and my husband's desk too (funny how decluttering can lead to a chain reaction like that...)!  Today I decluttered my tea drawer. I had a lot of boxes of tea bags that only had one or two left in them, so I condensed a ton of the tea bags into a tupperware container, and recycled the boxes they came in.


I am thrilled that so many people have decided to join me (and keep me accountable)! Having a place to share what I've done everyday is really helping me to stay on track :)

post #19 of 38
Another 2011 in 2011 drop out hear I'm not sure I have that things in my home but do still need some declutter I'm going with 365 in 2011 hope the works for this group I'm moveing my 2011 total over hear so I'm at 195. 170 to go
post #20 of 38

Great idea! 


I'm going to stick with the 2011 thread, but aiming for one thing a day is a good reminder to keep at it.





Edited by clutterwarrior - 3/11/11 at 8:37pm
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