Friday, September 7, 2007


This is a subject that is currently close to my heart. I thought I would offer some of the tips I'm using. Maybe they can be useful to you as well!

1. I read a Feng Shui article in a magazine once. Feng Shui is HUGE on decluttering. It said something like, "Go around your house, touching everything in it. Ask yourself about each item, "Do I love this, does it make me smile? If the answer is no, throw it away." After having a good laugh about the way they said it, I have applied that principle ever since. If something makes me feel sad when I look at it, or if it was given to me and I have no use for it, or if I bought it and no longer need it, I throw it away. I DO NOT throw away things that have meaningful sentimental value. I have to be careful about this, because I tend to throw away too much and then I'm sorry later. You may lean in the opposite direction - be aware of how much you need to/want to get rid of.

There is no reason, for example, for me to have 3 sets of measuring cups. 2 of them I think I bought at the dollar store when I got my own apartment in college. I have Tupperware ones I got as a wedding present. There. 5 more square inches of cabinet space.

Note: Useful things do not necessarily have to make you smile for you to keep them. I do not advocate throwing away your dishwasher, no matter your feelings toward it.

2. Put same-sized objects together. They fit better and take up less space.

3. Utilize containers - glass bowls, baskets, lazy susans, vases - anything can be used to group things together and keep them looking neat

4. Keep your focus - what is important? For me, I love books. I also love to have people over. Therefore, I am not likely to get rid of many books, except on paperbackswap. I also want to keep most of my duplicate dishes because they will allow me to entertain. I do not spend a ton of time baking, so some of my baking stuff can go. We only have two bedrooms and therefore don't need 5 sets of extra sheets in the linen closet. At the very least they can go into storage in the garage for the day we have a guest room (or when the girls want to build forts with them in a couple years!).

5. Clothing - they say if you haven't worn it in a year, you never will again. Take it to Goodwill. Your kids will be mad in 20 years when you say, "I used to have one of those" about something they would DIE to have. But really, do you have space to store it for 20 years? The kids clothes should be packed away in boxes for future siblings or sold or taken to Goodwill once they are too small. Allowing them to stay in the drawer just complicates getting them dressed (and keeping the dresser drawers closed!).

6. Toys - Are there pieces that end up all over the floor, never used for their intended purpose? Are there things your kids are bored with? Pack them away for a month and begin rotating the toys. Every month when you bring out the old stuff, put away different ones. Voila'! New toys every month.

7. If you don't know where to start, set your timer for 15 minutes and do SOMETHING, anything! If you are still overwhelmed when you're done, set the timer for 15 minutes and rest. Then set it again and work for another 15 minutes. Or, just keep going. If I can get into cleaning mode, I can change the world in the course of an hour. :)

Alright. Gotta go use some more of my own advice! Happy decluttering!


  1. This blog comes at a great time, seeing as how our church "moms group" is going to have a giant stuff swap.
    We are going to bring all our unwanted stuff, outgrown baby clothes, etc. and just let everyone have at it. The leftovers will be donated.
    I'm SOOOO amped. I used to be a huge pack rat and now I can't get rid of stuff fast enough.
    I am a person, however that gets rid of things a little too hastily now.
    6 months ago I got rid of ALL of my pre-pregnancy clothes because I was depressed and thought, "what's the point??"
    Well.. here I am fitting into my pre-pregnancy size, but melancholy because I don't have the pair of jeans I bought on my honeymoon.

  2. Your timing was perfect. I spent the weekend cleaning out my closet. It looks so nice that I am on to the guest bedroom this week.

  3. Flo - what a cool idea! And, aside from sentimental value, it's more fun to buy new pants anyway, right? :)

    Kyla - glad to be of service. :)