Saturday, February 19, 2011


I'm slowing chipping away at the clutter in our house as part of my sole 2011 resolution, and working at my continuing quest to Clean All the Things Most of the Time. I've taken my Declutter All the Things resolution pretty seriously, and after probably way too much thought have settled into something of a three-pronged attack. First, of course, I want to get things out of the house and not bring in a bunch of new things to replace them. Secondly, I want to organize and store what we are keeping in efficient / clever ways. Finally, we are striving to spend smarter. From sticking to a grocery budget and wasting less food to not going overboard on purchases of baby toys and clothes, this has turned out to be a major player in the general life-decluttering game.

Proving that the universe has a sense of humor, I found the book Throw Out Fifty Things buried in a pile of clutter when I cleaned out the side porch to make Nico's playroom. As you can probably tell by the recent lag in posting, I've been pretty busy over the past couple of weeks, so my decluttering efforts have stalled a little. I've been thinking about following the advice in the book and starting a list of things I've thrown out, with the twin goals of kickstarting my cleaning (because I can't resist a list) and of eventually reaching 50 items. The rules stipulate that all of one kind of item just count as one thing on the list, so I can't throw out twenty refrigerator magnets and say I'm almost halfway done.

I'm planning to update the list on this post as I go along, rather than creating a new post each time I chuck something (unless I find something really funny or embarrassing buried in one of the closets). I'm sure this is only entertaining for me, so feel free come back later for cute Nico pictures. Throwing out includes throwing away, giving away, donating to Goodwill, or selling, so most of the stuff on my list will (hopefully) not be stuff that went to the dump.

Throw Out All the Things
1. a big bag of non-preferred plastic food storage containers
2. four reusable water bottles
3. the old gas stove in the basement
4. non-Vista-compatible flatbed scanner
5. the remainder of Nico's powdered baby formula
6. all the expired food that was collecting dust (and guilt) in the pantry
7. let National Geographic subscription expire (I'm counting this since for years I got the magazine but never made time to read it.)
8. five seven boxes of stuff to consignment shop
9. leaky exercise ball that I never used because it was always half flat
10. 90% of the empty boxes from the shelves in the furnace room
11. outdoor trash can full of crap from shed
12. bag of cat-hair-covered curtains from our last apartment + raggedy old throw blanket
13. three boxes to Goodwill
14. one box of items posted on freecycle
15. worm composting bin cleaned out and loaned to my workplace
16. five (!) boxes of books donated to a fundraiser sale for the dog rescue that saved Indy
17. six boxes of stuff + a spare crock pot, dust buster, and rocking chair sold in a yard sale / packed up for consignment / donated to Goodwill / freecycled
18. set of extra (crappy) hand weights
19. garbage bag full of bubble wrap and packing peanuts
20. cool but space-hogging never-used owl mug tree set consigned
21. five pairs of too-small / raggedy jeans Goodwilled
22. kitty litter box freecycled
23. basket of expired baking chips thrown out (sadness!)
24. two shopping bags full of lotions, soaps, and other pamper-y stuff donated to women's shelter
25. whole bunch of old earrings shared with sister / freecycled
26. four cool (but stored under the bed since JUNE 2004 WTF) Japanese panels consigned

Organize All the Things
1. Nico's bitty baby clothes sorted by size into plastic tubs and carried up to the attic
2. outgrown Nico jackets, bitty baby items / toys, and bitty baby bedding / swaddlers sorted into plastic tubs
3. currently-too-big Nico hand-me-downs sorted by size into boxes and stacked in the closet
4. outgrown Nico baby gear Tetrised into guest room closet
5. quote obtained for list of small home repair items we can't complete ourselves
6. breast pump and accessories washed and packed away
7. small home repairs done!
8. shed cleared out and organized
9. last of yard sale remnants sorted into three boxes for consignment and one (small!) one to keep
10. one box from bedroom pile sorted and put away
11. hand weights moved into a basket on the entertainment center instead of lying on the floor and serving as dog hair traps
12. breakfast nook / mudroom organized and top of dog crate cleared
13. whole bookcase of college books and notes carried down to new storage cabinets in the basement

14. two three boxes of non-preferred kid clothes packed up for future yard sale / craigslisting
15. basement decluttered!
16. gift wrapping supplies sorted and moved from guest room to basement

How many gift bags does one family need? Probably not this many.

17. two shelves on living room bookcase cleared / consolidated to make space for Nico things

18. buffet storage decluttered and reorganized
19. space cleared on top of bookcase for Nico's library books
20. one box emptied and removed from Box Mountain

Decluttering & Organizing Goals for 2012
1. clear out guest room
2. finish clearing box stack in master bedroom
3. clean out dining room buffet storage
4. evaluate game collection and pare down if needed
5. solve living room lighting problem
6. reorganize / optimize linen cabinet
7. reorganize / optimize / pare down craft supply closet
8. move all important papers to basement filing cabinet
9. buy a new shredder and take care of stacks of to-shred papers
10. hang caterpillar quilt in Nico's room

2012 Consignment & Craigslist Profit: $29


  1. I really need to do this too. I still have boxes of stuff belonging to my exhusband in my basement. He was the first clutter that left the house more than 5 years ago, lol, and now I guess it's time to get rid of the rest of his stuff.

  2. I think you DEFINITELY get to count the ex husband as more than one thing on your list of fifty!