Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Paper: A Journey Begins

I think I need to embark on another journey with paper. I don't exactly want to do this job, but I know that one of my goals before we move again (likely still two years away) is to eliminate enough paper that we can move with one file box. Last time we took two VERY stuffed boxes of files with us, it was way too much. And that was after eliminating bags and bags of shredded paper!

I'm calling it a journey as I know it will take some time. I also know it is a hard job that can't be completed in one afternoon. Physically maybe, but not mentally. The journey will involve small tasks over a period of time. I know I will need to review all pieces of paper, scan some and shred others.

The first task is to figure out if I need to buy a new scanner. I think I might be making it into a want, but I need the scanning process to be fast, so that it doesn't drag me down. Anything slow with computers can get so frustrating and make me want to give up on the whole process. I've heard of a Doxie scanner, but they are a little pricey. It needs to work well with my Mac.

Actually, my first task should be to clean up my online files! Earlier this year, I moved a lot of files from one computer onto our hard drive and it is mass chaos now. Digital files are easier to delete and move around at least. I think this is a better first task, so that when I do go to scan new items in it is more clear where they should be filed.

Now let's see. I need a plan to make the digital file cleanup a reality. I'm thinking a set amount of time per day to work on them. An hour feels too long, but ten minutes seems pretty short. I'm going to strive for thirty minutes each day until complete. I'm going to make sure to close all my internet tabs in the process so I don't get distracted. I will also set a timer to keep me accountable. I wish I knew how long this would really take, so I could set a deadline. I would prefer to be complete with this in about two weeks, or mid September. All I can do is strive for that right now. If I see I'm close to that date and don't have much more to do I will put in some extra time. Luckily, there is no major consequence if I don't complete it by that date!

Is anyone else on a paper journey, or need to be on one? I may post more about my process, if there is interest. I'm also interested to hear how others keep on top of their paper.

Monday, August 29, 2016

What is the Goal? What is the Reward?

Decluttering can feel like such a big chore, right? One has to take time out of their day to physically touch everything they already know they probably don't want. It is overwhelming mentally to make decisions over and over again during the decluttering process. We usually would rather be doing something else. Something more fun!

Have you thought about what the end goal is for your decluttering? What reward will you get by decluttering your garage, or living space? Focusing on the positive results can help remind you why you are doing this possibly unpleasant task.

For example, some people can't park in their garage because of all the items in it. The end goal or reward might be to declutter that space so you can park your car in there. Parking in your garage might be safer, warmer or cooler than parking outside depending on the weather. It might save you time to park in the garage. If you live in a winter climate, you often have to defrost your windows before you can drive away. Parking in the garage eliminates the time needed to complete that task and the reward is more time in the morning. Who doesn't need that?

If it is your living space you find cluttered, ask yourself what you would do in the space if it wasn't cluttered. Would you invite people over? Would you have more room to play games as a family? Would you just feel more relaxed in the space upon returning from work? The time with friends and family is the reward for putting in the effort to get the space free of the clutter. The feeling of peace and relaxation is the reward for clearing the excess and unneeded items out.

Another place I've noticed can be cluttered for people is the kitchen. Often the kitchen counters have a lot of items left out, usually these are the most used items. The less used or never used items are hidden behind the cabinet doors.  The act of digging deep into the kitchen cabinets and pulling out the unused items is creating space for the items being stored on the counter! And therefore, uncluttered countertops! The reward of uncluttered countertops is more space to prepare and wash dishes. The reward saves time not having to find space to use for cooking preparation. The reward may even be eating more meals at home because it is more pleasant to cook in an uncluttered kitchen. That may result in money saved, which is another kind of reward!

My kitchen example above with things left out can apply to almost every room in the home. If excess items are visible it likely means the storage areas are full. The closets are full in a bedroom when piles of clothes are found on the floor, piled on dressers and in laundry baskets. The stuff in the closet is overwhelming. It is too hard to find anything because the hanging clothes are in there so tight. It's possible that these items in the closet are not even used because they can't be retrieved. Eliminating the excess, the unlike and unused, the stained and torn, too small or too big and out of style items opens up space to store the items that are used. The items that may previously been stored out in the open can be hung in the closet. If you have piles on the floor, you are now rewarded with more walking space. Or safety, if you found yourself tripping on these things. If you find yourself moving things around a lot to find other items, you likely will now have extra time since items will be put away and more easily accessible. There are rewards in decluttering!

So what areas do you need to declutter? What do you gain by completing these task? What benefits do you see to doing the work? The work will be work, but the reward will be a blessing to your life.

Focus on positive rewards. You can do this! I'm cheering you on!!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Attempted Decor Update

Laundry rooms came up on the Organized Friends Facebook page recently. I thought I'd share ours. 

It's functional and has just what I need. It's not particularly pretty, which makes me a little sad. But look how there isn't any laundry visible. It's all clean and put away! For the most part you would only see laundry in here at the times we are doing laundry. What a concept huh? 

We hide a broom, the Swiffer and the ironing board behind the door. They are all slim enough to stay put even when the door is fully open.

In an effort to improve my laundry room, I found a picture to put up. The picture was actually in our downstairs living area. I had been meaning to take it out of it's frame because I knew that behind it in the same frame was our family picture! I had covered it up with a landscape picture when our home was on the market (Spring 2015).  Time to show our faces to the world again.

I found an unused frame (technically it is frameless) just the right size for the landscape picture. After cleaning the glass, I installed it on the wall in the laundry room. Here's how it looks now:

I'm not sure I like it, but it may be better than a blank wall. The best part is I did get the photo of our family visible and I tried to make use of something I already had to improve an area of my home. I think I maybe just am no longer a fan of these types of frames. If that ends up being the case, then I know I have two to donate!

What do you use your laundry room for besides laundry? Do you hang art or decorations in your laundry room?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Greeting Cards Planned

I was in a big box store recently. I had specific items I was looking for, which I did not find, so I began leaving the store. As I passed the greeting card section, I remembered that I have a birthday I need to send a card for next month. I figured I might as well get the card while I was thinking of it. As I searched for the right card, I came across a few others that would be good for some birthday's later in the year. In the end, I bought five cards. I'm now done shopping for greeting cards through the end of the year!

I don't actually send that many cards throughout the year, but it does help eliminate extra trips to have the cards and the stamps ready when it's time to send. I have put reminders on my calendar in the past so I remember that I have a card to send.

I have a specific spot on my desk that is out of the way, yet visible, so I am reminded frequently that I have this stash of cards waiting to be sent.

If you stock up on greeting cards and pick the card for a specific person, I advise writing their name in the corner where the stamp goes as a reminder. Or write lightly in pencil, if you expect to deliver it without a stamp.

Another way to save time and money with greeting cards, is to buy boxes of similar cards, such as a box of birthday or a box of sympathy cards. This way you are prepared with necessary cards on hand when needed, without making a special trip.

Do you buy greeting cards in advance? Do you send greeting cards at all?

Monday, August 22, 2016

How Much Glassware Do I Need?

It came to my attention last week that I have a lot of glassware!! AND I don't use it much at all. In fact, I only opened this cupboard earlier this month to get out the blue water jug for my daughter to use during band practice. Each time I put it away or get it out, I look at all those things that I own and don't use or rarely use. 

I decided to pull out everything except the pitcher and jugs, since I knew those had been used recently. I laid it all out on the table, literally!

Same things...just a different angle.

I love canning jars. However, I don't can any foods! I like them to use them as vases for flowers particularly, or just for decorations by themselves. I also seem to like to save ANY glass jars for...for what I don't know!! I just think they are cute, versatile, and practical. But in reality, I don't end up using them. I had to be brutally honest and cull these jars down to the minimum.  And if I prefer canning jars for flowers, I think that means I can be done with vases too. I like one of them a lot, but it never works right. The opening is much to wide, so I never use it. 

This is what I kept:

That's four large canning jars, and one small one (with shells and stones). Three short vases. My sugar bowl and gravy boat that matches our china (we do use these some). And two glass bowls. Oh, and I did keep the large cream colored bowl which isn't pictured.

And I'm letting go of all of these things:

Two canning jars, three vases, a bowl, and two other random jars donated or recycled. The crystal vase was a wedding gift. I'm starting to realize it is not my style, which makes me less likely to use it. I'm not going to keep it out of guilt or just because.

I put everything I'm keeping back into the same cupboard and it now looks like this:

I feel much better about what I have stored in there. I didn't realize I had so much glassware that I didn't use! And that I had added to my collection with other little jars that I though were cute. We should only keep what we really like and will use.

I did tell myself that if the canning jars don't work out as my only flower vase option, that I will allow myself to purchase one I really like. I don't expect that to happen, but at least I have options!

How much glassware do you have? Do you use all of it? If not, why do you keep it?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

22 Easy Items to Declutter

I find some things in our home are actually pretty easy to declutter and let go of if we set aside just a little time to tackle them. Some of these could probably be done in less than a minute!

1. Expired Medications
2. Old magazines
3. Expired Coupons
4. Broken Toys
5. Outgrown clothing
6. Expired Spices
7. Old food
8. Unused cleaning supplies
9. Unknown parts
10. Scratched DVDs
11. Clothing you dislike
12. Unloved decorations
13. Unread books
14. Old cosmetics
15. Old mail
16. Receipts over 90 days old
17. Items without mate (storage containers, socks, earrings)
18. Worn sheets
19. Worn bath rugs and towels
20. Unused tools
21. Old cellphones
22. Excess office supplies

Even if some of these would take you awhile, consider if the topic sparked one or two from that category that you know could be put in the donate pile right now. Decluttering can happen in small fragments of time. Keep making the effort and you will begin to notice the difference.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The List of Decluttering Possibilities

Recently, I found myself thinking about decluttering. A few items came to mind that I should probably let go of. I wasn't really in the mood to dig the items out at the time. Instead, I pulled up a blank Word document and made a list. I came up with 25 items in short period of time. I was impressed with what I could think of without digging around!

I haven't yet pulled all these items out for donation. Some of them I'm still pondering. I figure they are more likely to leave if I put them on the list. The next time I find some free time and the desire to declutter, I'm pulling as many of these items out as possible. I wonder if I will find more while I'm in the process?

Do you ever use lists to get the ideas flowing for decluttering, or cleaning or any other reason that keeps your life organized?