Monday, July 29, 2013

40 Bags in 40 Days: Days 1 and 2-Entryway Closet and Entryway

I hope everyone had a successful day yesterday cleaning your entryway closets.  There were some great tips on the Facebook Event, including to not only consolidate your reusable bags, but go put some in your car, right now, ok when you're done reading this.  I ALWAYS leave them at home, so this way they'll be there when you need them (thanks Anne!). 

My weakness yesterday was our shoes.  We have too many, well the girl and I do!  So I moved shoes that are too big into the closet, unseasonable shoes (winter boots) into the bench storage, shoes that are too small either went into a donation box or in the garbage, like the boots that had holes in the soles.

I also couldn't just do the closet, since I was organizing our shoes, so I started on our shoe rack.  It's just a cheap one we got at Walmart, but the is shoes are too small to fit on both bars, so I took some cardboard pieces to put on top.  But since the bars are at an angle, the cardboard would just fall off, SO I hot glued some spots on the bottom so it would sit nicely against the lower bar. 

One of our family weaknesses is just putting stuff anywhere.  So we need to find a way to keep the bench clear, and the other surfaces in the entryway.  I DO have a hanging mail organizer that we need to start using more.  Cleaning that out is one of my tasks for today.  And organizing the kids coats on their coat rack.  I'll also do the regular cleaning in that room, so cleaning the window, the mirrored closet doors, dusting, then sweeping and mopping.  I'm so excited to finally have my entryway organized.  I HATE walking into the house and being instantly overwhelmed by the clutter right as I come in.

Feel free to share your tips and struggles as you work through your entryway.  And join the Facebook Event for more conversation!

40 Bags in 40 Days: Days 3 and 4-storage and deep freezer

Our under-the-stair storage area had become a dumping ground for stuff that we didn't need right away.  It's mostly our Christmas decorations and camping gear, so not stuff that we can get rid of, but not stuff we use all the time.  The back of the area is organized, since it's just boxes, but the front, well, we had just shoved stuff in there.

SO-it just took a little bit of organizing and rearranging to tidy up.  For example we keep gift bags, and they had been randomly shoved into two (now broken) bags and were all over the floor.  So I tidied those up and it looks like a whole new room!

Today is the deep freezer.  The reason why I stuck it on the list is because I KNOW we have stuff at the bottom that we won't eat, so why are we keeping it?  Also-the little frost check thingy is TOTALLY covered meaning we need to defrost the freezer.  But we use it regularly and it's fairly full, so moving the stuff upstairs into our (small) freezer won't be easy.  What better way to tidy up the freezer and see what's in there than to clean it out!  It'll give me a good idea of what to make for dinners for the next week or so so we can work through the food in there before shopping again.

And I really feel like I'm making progress!  My whole entryway area is tidy and easier to manage on a daily basis!  Which means it doesn't get messy, and I don't have to clean up.  Mind you it's only been 4 days, but still.  Taking one area at a time and working through it is a LOT easier than just jumping in at random and trying to do it all.  BUT-the rest of my house has become a bit of a mess, so I do need to spend some time tidying up the rest.  It's great to REALLY deep clean these areas, but it kind of defeats the purpose to just let the rest of the house go crazy.

Time to get back at it!

40 Bags in 40 Days-Days 5, 6 and 7: Laundry room cupboards, Laundry room and Living room

The laundry room in our house has been, well, a dumping ground recently.  If we had to move stuff out of the entryway, it ended up in either the laundry room or the office.  So one task was to go through some boxes and get rid of stuff we don't need.  Or move stuff that we had out back into the storage area.  Clean the floor, etc.

But one task that's going to take longer than I thought is disposing of the stuff in the laundry room cupboards.  That's where we store most of our cleaning supplies.  So we have old laundry detergents, bleach, and more.  So I've done some research on how to safely dispose of these items.

Most of our cleaning supplies are water-soluble, which means they are mixed with water for use, and washed down the drain.  The best way to dispose of these items is to use them up, or give them away so they can be used up.  If they can't be used, our water treatment facilities can handle these items, so they can be poured down the drain.  Solid cleaning products can be safely disposed of in the garbage, as can aerosol cans that still have products in them.  Empty aerosol cans can be recycled at most facilities, be sure to check with your local recycling depots.

For more information, CLICK HERE.  If you have any questions, phone your local recycling and garbage facilities.

So now I can go through those cleaning supplies again and either use them up, give them away, or dispose of them.

My living room shouldn't be too hard, since I clean it on what feels like a daily basis.  I do have some piles of stuff on the stairs to go through, and today would be a good day to go through all the socks we leave at the bottom of the laundry baskets, but it shouldn't be too bad.

Don't forget to go through your cupboards/drawers while you work through your areas.  We have a lot of drawers that we just shove things into and it would make life so much easier if we had certain spots for certain items, and just threw our junk in the garbage/recycling.

I hope this is getting easier for everyone.  It's almost therapeutic to go through items and get rid of so much stuff that we don't need.  The house will be MUCH easier to keep tidy once we're done!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

40 Bags in 40 Days-Preparation

So my 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge starts this Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013.  Here is the schedule:

Not every area will apply to everyone, so adapt it to your own house.  If you don't have an area, then either take a day off, spend more time on an area that needs it, or work on an area in your house that isn't listed on the schedule.  

I also did the schedule strategically, starting when we walk in the front door and working our way around the areas we use most.  I find nothing more overwhelming than walking in the house and being hit with a huge mess.  So gradually, that mess will get farther and farther away from when we walk in.  The areas should also be relatively small, so that you don't have to spend a ton of time on them.  

Here are some tips:
  • your bags don't have to be huge black garbage bags, mine will probably just be small grocery bags.  The whole idea is to go through each area carefully and get rid of the items that you don't really need.
  • with each item you go through, ask yourself if you need it.  No, do you REALLY need it?  If you're debating on something, chances are you don't need it.  If you don't have a home for it, and are keeping it 'just in case', chances are, you don't need it.  
  • you don't have to throw everything in the garbage.  If you have spare boxes, label them 'DONATE' and 'SELL' and have your garbage bags.  If you don't have boxes, just use extra bags.  At the end of the 40 days, you can go through your boxes/bags and decide further what to do with your items.  Drop off some stuff at a local thrift store.  Visit a local consignment shop or sell on Craigslist, or a local buy/sell/swap group.  
  • have your Norwex Enviro cloths, or other cleaning supplies handy, since this could be a great way to get some deep cleaning done.
  • get your kids involved.  In their rooms, they can put on a fashion show to see what clothes don't fit anymore.  Or it could just be a really good exercise in deep cleaning, and getting rid of clutter.  
Any questions?  Feel free to ask.  And follow along each day, comment with your successes, struggles and tips.  Let's do this together!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm BACK!!!

So the whole working mom thing didn't work out as planned and I'm back baby!  And I'm hosting a 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge!

I've created a public event on Facebook and you should be able to join from THIS LINK.  I'll post updates here, and will also have daily tips and conversations on Facebook.  

I'm starting Tuesday July 23rd and the last day will be Saturday August 31st, so we'll be done by September 1st.  I can't wait to have a cleaner, easier to manage house!!!