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Now that our tools are all organized I want to get started working on some projects I've been holding off! I have some extra wood lying around with lots of leftover supplies from a string art project. Plus all my paints. So many ideas, so little time!
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 31: Outdoor Areas
In order to get to our tool bench I had to clean the garage first so I'm technically out of order on my own challenge! But when this is the before picture, serious work needs to happen.
During the winter we got really lazy about putting out recycling and combine the cold weather with all the extra boxes around the holidays and our garage exploded! Plus I was gathering all the items we were donating and simply tossing them in boxes in the garage. And anytime we had things that we didn't know what to do with? Into the garage. It became the catch-all place and was super ridiculous.
I tackled the garage in stages over the course of several months. Because it was SO terrible I wanted to do it justice. The first time we sorted through we got rid of obvious garbage. Our city hosts a "clean up week" where you can toss things that are too big for the normal garbage can and trucks will pick it up to haul to the dump. Lots of people drive around neighborhoods looking for good finds on the curbs because some people toss perfectly good items. We got rid of those dining chairs (the legs wouldn't stay attached and we bought them for 2.99 each at a thrift store several years ago), a really old toaster oven, buckets that had holes, broken shovels, and who knows what else. I should have taken a picture of our curb pile!
Round two of cleaning out the garage took place after returning from vacation. I knew the kids would want to be riding their bikes and Micah has started riding bike again and adding in a larger recycling bin meant TOO MUCH STUFF in the garage again. See?
This time I pulled EVERYTHING out. I moved all the bikes out, all the extra boxes out, and started sorting into piles. That big Dell box in the bottom? All full of plastic from Micah's old Transformer boxes. That just needed to wait for garbage day. The car seats were waiting for us to make the big swap for the kids (check that out next week!) so I put those off to the side. and was left with an almost empty garage!
After sweeping the ground (because, yuck) I began putting things back. I knew I needed to keep a place for the garbage and recycling bins at the very front of the garage so they could be easily taken out on pick up day. We also like keeping them away from the door just in case of any smells or spills. And the whole space issue. I lined up all the kid bikes in front of the bins for easy access and stacked what was left.
There is still quite a bit of stuff in this space but it's so much easier to find what we need! Plus this picture is before we sorted through everything on and under the tool bench and now there is even less in that area.
And that is the final time we sorted through the garage clutter. By that point we had tossed the Dell box with all the plastic inside and donated a bit more that was waiting in the garage as well. Look at all this space now!
Did you find anything to donate or toss in your outdoor space? Kid toys? Old patio furniture? What was taking up space that you decided was no longer needed?
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 32 to clean out all the junk hiding in your car! I'm amazed at all the toys, books, and clothes that find a home in the car. Not to mention coloring sheets from Sunday School, spare water bottles, and so much garbage. Clean it all out next week!
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.