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Were you able to part ways with any small appliances last week? Did you find a new place to store anything because of previous decluttering? How is the whole challenge going for you? My kids saw the blender in the donation pile and couldn't understand why we would get rid of something we've used to make smoothies... twice in two years. So we had a good talk about only keeping things that are actually used or useful to us. We'll see how that talk works when we move on to their items and not the general household items.
If you are just joining us, here's the deal:
I still had this mindset of decluttering being a big ol’ chore up until a few months ago when I read this fantastic post from Nony at A Slob Comes Clean. It was like a huge light went off in my brain! Decluttering is simply the act of getting rid of what doesn't belong, isn't needed, or belongs in the trash. It doesn’t mean buying a whole slew of new bins for your things to go in or coming up with some type of system that you hope will change your life - that’s organizing. It’s a whole different ball game. Right now, I’m in the game of decluttering. I just want things GONE.
When there’s less stuff, especially less of what has no purpose in your home anymore, organizing can often happen naturally. You won’t be cramming thirty towels into the closet because you only need ten and they fit nicely. You don’t need to dig through a tub of medicines to find what you need only to keep coming across bottles that are long since expired.
Here’s my challenge: Each week, take on ONE area of your home. I’ve already made the list for you so that part is done. Go to the area, throw away trash, put items that you no longer need but are still in good condition into a donation box, and put other items where they belong. Simple!
Week 13: Kitchen Surfaces
Counters, desks, tables, decorative shelves - we can tackle all or one of them today. I'll be taking on our "desk" that really serves as extra counter space. It holds my Kitchen-Aid mixer and the flour bin but otherwise it becomes a catch-all for far too many things.
Full disclosure: I took this before picture in January. I had every intention of working ahead on this challenge so when we had crazy weeks I'd still be ready with a post. Well... other than putting away the Christmas cookie tin and tossing out a few papers we didn't need this desk didn't change much. A few things would get added and a few things taken away. I realized that decluttering this spot is always going to be a task. It's not a "go through it once and you should be good" area. It's an ongoing, constantly managing the clutter area because it's our toss spot. We put school papers here when we need to hang on to them. We keep a bowl of pencils and pens for doing homework and writing notes. We have chargers and a speaker. I frequently have projects here that I'm working on for the blog or for MOPS. It's never going to stay clutter free for long.
But I can work on it now. I can get rid of stuff now rather than just accepting that it's always going to have things spread out. I can toss what isn't needed, put away what doesn't belong, and store items that aren't needed at this exact moment.
Since this before picture is a little older the items I went through are a bit different. That Cooks Illustrated magazine went away back in February once I had finished reading through it. The dog treats were put away in a better spot. Random plastic bags were tossed. Kleenex moved to the shelf above the desk. Chargers not currently in use moved to the cubbies above the desk (which I'll need to declutter when we get to a different week, lol).
The biggest area I noticed that needed attention is actually a small spot but so significant. We have this bowl of writing utensils. A bowl that every day our boys search through for a pencil that actually works. We have WAY too many of those holiday pencils that kids get when someone doesn't give candy for Halloween, Christmas, or Valentine's. Honestly, I'd rather have candy because I can send it to work with Micah when I don't want it in the house. Instead we get about 30 pencils a year that don't sharpen well in hand sharpeners. Plus we toss all sorts of other writing utensils in this thing. Look at all this stuff!
I sorted it all out and discovered the inside of the bowl was filled with flour. Yup, this needs to not be so close to my flour bin, apparently. I dumped all that into the trash and washed the bowl out so we'd be starting fresh.
This is what I found to toss. Random little markers that came with something that I'm sure we don't have anymore. Plus they don't work. Gone. Several pencils that no longer have erasers - what's the point? A Twistable Crayola crayon. A single crayon because we don't have them anymore. Gone. And two AAA batteries. Um, why? I only say that because we use rechargeable batteries for everything so the only reason we'd have non-rechargeable batteries is because they came with a toy and then died, so.... why are they in the pencil bin? Ugh.
And these are all the markers, crayons, and colored pencils that have their own homes but found sanctuary in the pencil bowl for the last who knows how long. You know how it happens: you find a crayon on the floor and instead of putting it back where it actually belongs you simply set it somewhere easy and figure you will put it where it actually goes later. And later never happens. Repeat ad nauseam.
Once all that was taken care of I moved on to the pencils. I sharpened every last one of them so there is no hunt for one that isn't broken. We found this sharpener on clearance at Target last week and it was well worth the few bucks so I don't give my hand a cramp from the little manual sharpener anymore.
I kept all the little erasers the kids have brought home from various school events as well but I probably could have tossed them without the kids noticing. Perhaps next round through.
I still need to get a sawtooth picture hanger for my weekly menu chalkboard so it can be on the wall instead of the desk but otherwise I'm really happy with how it looks right now. I will need to stay on top of this space - especially that area in the corner where i'm sticking papers and other important items. I think I might add this space to my Office Day task list so I don't forget about it and end up with a disaster like the first picture again.
What surface in your kitchen did you decide to declutter?
Share a picture in the comments or on social media with the hashtag #clutterbusterchallenge of what you found to declutter.
Come back next week for week 14 of the Clutter Buster Challenge when we go through our cleaning supplies. All those bottles under the sink or hiding in a cupboard need to be looked at. Don't let items you don't need continue to take up precious storage space!
If you are looking for a better way of keeping on top of your homemaking tasks now that you are steamrolling through all this decluttering you might be interested in a new course from Humorous Homemaking. Home Management How To: A Guide to Daily Success is open now! I've got a post about my experience with this course here but this is a great course for you to take control of all the household tasks in a way that is tailored specifically to your family and life. Don't wait - the last day to purchase the course is March 31st!