Tag Archive for: eliminating clutter

10 Easy Eliminations

10 easy eliminations


Ready to make a big break in decluttering?  Not sure where to start?  Sometimes it is best to start with the easy eliminations to make a quick visual and emotional difference.  Choose a few that are really easy for you!  Here are 10 easy eliminations for your home or office.

1. Boxes

I find that families keep toy boxes, shirt boxes, shoe boxes and boxes galore!  Now that boxes are free at the post office for shipping, keep only a small number of different size boxes for mailing.  If you think you may return a product, keep the box only until you have confirmed your decision.  Only keep 2 of those shoes boxes for upcoming school projects please!

2. Tee shirts

Each race we run, vacation bible school we attend, and school alumni celebration adds to our tee shirt collection.  It is time to pare down to a number that can fit in a drawer or hang in a section of your closet.  What number depends on you.   A memory quilt is a good next step if you are not ready to part with these.

3. Ball caps

We all have our favorite!  Pull a few together, hang them in an easy access space, and part with the remainder.

4.  Single use kitchen items

Some of the least useful are often the most space hogging items!  If you have more than one miscellaneous kitchen drawer, go through and pare down to one drawer.  In the newly empty drawer you can fit hand towels or pot holders.   When was the last time you used that breadmaker, fondue pot, or air popcorn popper?

5. Toys that your kids have outgrown.

Our kids are blessed with an abundance of toys.  Keep a few that you consider to be keepsakes.  Ask you kids to be a part of the decision making process. Donate to local philanthropies to make a difference.

6. Cookbooks

Who doesn’t want to have a wonderful home cooked dinner on the table? But having more cookbooks than needed does not make you a better mom or an Iron Chef.  Pare down to what you really love and use.  Think about using allrecipes.com or the internet to find recipes too.

7. Extra towels

You get new towels, but the old ones are put in the back of the closet or in the garage.  Keep a few for those big spills, a few for padding, and move the rest on!

8. Cell phones

Cellphones for Soldiers takes your old cell phone and turns it into a phone card for our service people.  It is free to send it off too!  As soon as you get your new phone, send the old one packing.

9.  Junk mail

Stand over the recycle bin, just inside the garage before you enter the house, and drop in the junk mail.  Right away you feel better!  We are overwhelmed when the mail comes, so just have this baby step as the first step to getting in gear with paper.

10.  Receipts

More than ever, the clerk asks if you want your receipt.  Answer no if it is at Starbucks, at the gas station if you don’t keep a mileage record, at locations with small purchases, and where you think a return is not necessary.  Having fewer receipts keeps them from piling up!

What are the easiest eliminations for you?


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Teachers Team up to Organize

This weekend I worked with a team of teachers to organize a storage closet they shared.   The closet had become totally unfunctional, being blocked on the floor with extra supplies and other clutter.    I had high hopes for this project, but the teachers exceeded my expectations! In 2 hours they had cleared the clutter completely!  How did this happen?

Start with a common goal. Together we defined what was clutter and what was not. Donations were designated for charity or other schools. 

Put a team plan in action. We divided the room into areas for specific content.  We labeled each section of the floor for  math, language, science and geography . One teacher stood at each spot to assess keep or donate.  The donate piles were labeled charity or school.  Runners took items from the closet to the designated areas.

Many hands make for light work. Ten teachers arrived that day ready to make a difference for their school.

So how did we accomplish so much? We stayed on task, partnered, and made excellent decisions. As you can see from the before and after pictures, now the closet is ready for more materials. 

How will it stay organized? Each teacher knows the new rules for what to keep, each teacher has their own shelf for their materials, and we labeled each area to know where to replace materials. 

Have a big project at work? Set the date, gather the team, set the goals, and go for it!