Friday, December 9, 2016

December Decluttering Progress

I've been decluttering a little nearly every day this month. My goal, since I have completed my Christmas shopping, is to make sure more items go out of our house this month than come in. I'm not counting consumables, or gifts that will be going right back out to the recipient.

I've made myself a simple tally sheet showing the day of the month on the left of the paper in a column. Then two more columns to the right. One for the number of items that come in. And another for the items that leave. I like seeing how much is going out compared to coming in.

I've completed decluttering our guest room, the dining room and the kitchen. I've started on the bathrooms and two hallway closets. I've also found some random items in other areas of the home as well.

Here's some pictures of things that need to go. And yes, some of it is trash or recycling, but it all counts!

Extra cups, nearly empty food items, old food coloring, mini cupcake pan, measuring cup
(never used), strainer, towels, knives, disposable baking pan and a plastic cutting board. 

Pillows, gift bags, hanger, workout shorts, specialty tape, hair curlers, an ornament,
two Christmas decorations, plastic shelf, CDs for recycling, plastic bags, and a body wash sample.

Gift wrap, packing for recycling, old conditioner, plastic bin, plastic box, expired items (lotion, eye drops, suntan
lotion, lip balm), ornament, head massager, wax melts, battery votives (saved the batteries!),  and miniature figurine.
Here is my tally as of December 8.
Items In: 21
Items Out: 75

I can say that I am on track so far. I have more items leaving my home than are coming in. And that feels especially good to me. I'm noticing it also helps me appreciate what I do have as well. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

December Decluttering Goal: More Out Than In

I can see the light at the end of the Christmas preparations! The list is getting very small now, which means I'm starting to think what I really want for December. I really want time to relax and step away from the  outside world (umm...Facebook primarily).

In addition to making time for celebration and relaxation, I'm also making a December decluttering goal. I want to have less stuff in our home at the end of December than we had at the beginning. I think I may actually track this on a sheet of paper to keep my motivation up and know that I have really done it. Feel free to join me! I'll cheer for you.

I do know that December is a very busy time for so many of us. Decluttering seems like the last thing that needs to be done. But have you noticed that clutter is more noticeable in December? All the extra piles that need to be moved just so you can decorate. Or maybe you are having guests and the guest rooms needs to be cleared of clutter before they arrive!

Anything. I mean anything, you can declutter now in December will be well worth the effort. I'm making sure to get my donation space set aside, since the last box I used became full and has been donated! I usually make a final year donation in the last days of the year, so I already have a plan on when these new discards will leave.

A few ideas for decluttering in December:

  • Christmas decorations! You likely have some you won't put out, that have broken or you no longer like. Don't forget the lights that have burnt out. Those can be recycled at major home improvement stores. 
  • Gift wrap! I have a few gift bags that are my last resort gift bags and they never get used, so I think those will be high on my list to donate. Or maybe even you have been keeping too many gift boxes. Those can go, too. 
  • Extra cards! Or maybe you have last years cards that you received. It's okay to let them go, the sentiment was received and enjoyed for those moments. You don't need to save them long term. 
  • Toys!! I should have put this one first on the list. So many toys come in for children this time of year. If the children are very young, you can do this on your own. If they are older, you need to discuss the idea of the new coming in and the need to let some items go to make space for them. It doesn't hurt to mention other children don't always get that many gifts and would love a new to them toy. I honestly did a better job of decluttering toys with my girls AFTER the holiday. I think this was because the new items were visible and clearly better in their minds than the old! Just a guess, but it worked. 
  • Clothes! Get rid of any clothing you think you are saving for the holiday pictures or events that you know you don't want to wear. Why guilt yourself into wearing something again if it doesn't please you to wear it. 
Do you have plans to declutter in December? What is your motivation? 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas Progress

I thought you all might want an update on some of my Christmas preparations as the month comes to an end. I have been able to get a lot accomplished because I have been doing a little bit everyday. Some sessions are as short as twenty minutes. Others take an hour at the most.

I have purchased 80% of the gifts I need to buy. A majority of these items have been purchased online. I did buy a few things at brick and mortar retailers.

I have only wrapped two gifts. However, I do have a stash of gifts that are ready to be wrapped and I have more arriving in the mail this week. I plan to wrap on Friday's, but if I see I have time I may wrap more often.

Our home is decorated! We decorated over the course of three different sessions. The first session was the set up of our outdoor tree and lights. That one was quick and finished in about 20 minutes. The next session was the set up of our secondary tree in our bonus room. That was also pretty quick, clocking in under 45 minutes. And the third stage of decorating involved the setting up of our main tree in our living room. I had two helpers, so it was another quick set up, but probably closer to an hour. I also put out our Nutcracker, hung stockings, and put out pine cones and antique ornaments out for display.

I've done some baking! Thus far I have made mint chocolate chip cookie bars and peanut butter fudge. All of it is in the freezer. I finished buying the remainder of my baking ingredients at the store on Sunday. I have scheduled time on my calendar to make two other types of cookies. One of those I have planned for tomorrow. And the final one will be done this weekend when my daughter has time to help.

I decided not to send Christmas cards this year. I did eCards last year and that was a little less work, but I'm not sure I liked it well enough to do it again. This year I feel fine skipping the cards, as I see it as one way to reduce stress during a busy time.

I do have two gifts that will be need to be mailed in December. I have already put that task on my calendar for mailing on Friday, December 16. That date does mean the gift will arrive a little early, but I want it off my plate. I can only imagine the post office will be very busy the following week. I will be at the post office later today to mail something I sold online, I'm making sure to pick up the box I will need for the gifts then, so I save myself a trip.

The reality is I've done a lot of the work and can start thinking about what I want to do to enjoy the season outside of our home. That will take some planning with family, so I will put that on the calendar to discuss this weekend.

Have you started your Christmas tasks? If you started, what have you accomplished?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Mission: Another Tree Decorated

We were traveling over Thanksgiving. I had hoped to have our main tree set up with lights before leaving. That didn't happen.  We did get it up yesterday, just a day after arriving back from our trip. 

I'm going to guess the tree set up was just about an hour, maybe less! There were three of us adding all the ornaments, so it doesn't take too long. We also set out some scented pine cones, our nativity, the stockings on the mantle and some table top decorations.

There were some things I didn't set out this year: Christmas themed picture books, small tree and ornaments, and two Royal Doulton figurines. My husband put them back in the garage. I may pull them out later if I feel we need more in other areas of our home. I'm really liking the simple decorations! I just don't need decorations everywhere. 

Have you decorated your home for the holidays? 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday Decluttering

I personally do not expect to be in the stores shopping on Friday. I have in the past, when I really wanted the deals. This year our gift list is small and the items I'm purchasing aren't going to be on sale in most cases. The sales are definitely designed for you to want more and more. Those items will fill your home for the holiday, but will you want or need those items six months from now?

I challenge you to declutter on this national day of shopping instead. The feeling of letting go of the excess that fills your home will be long lasting, and rewarding. Most likely it will be visible. And it will also curb the desire to go out and shop.

I did my Black Friday decluttering early, so I would have some pictures to share of our excess.

An extra pan that we found we didn't like and stopped using.

A blanket that hasn't been used in a few years.

Shoes that have been worn out.

And a couple shirts I don't expect to wear again.

What can you find to declutter today?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Christmas Mission: A Tree Decorated

I posted on the Organized Friends Facebook page on Saturday night that we had put up our 'second' tree! This is a first for us to decorate before Thanksgiving just so you know. I feel like I have a good reason though. We are traveling for Thanksgiving. I expect we will be exhausted when we return on the weekend, which means the likelihood of decorating that weekend is slim. 

In the past we have decorated the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving and I liked that! It was very festive getting the house trimmed. Last year, we were also traveling, and we didn't get the tree up until the following weekend after Thanksgiving. It felt really late.

So this year, as part of my Christmas Missions, many of which take 20 minutes or less, I'm adding decorating to the list. The tree above is our second tree that we set up in our bonus room. This tree has coordinated ribbon and ornaments. It's not nearly as sentimental as our main tree. And because it is not sentimental it is super fast to put up. I'm guessing my husband and I got it done in about 30 minutes. (I now wish I set a timer! )

By the time you read, this I expect we will have our main tree at least set up in our living room with lights on, so when we return from Thanksgiving we can enjoy adding the ornaments that have stories attached to them. 

Does anyone else decorate their home before Thanksgiving? If so, why do you do it? Are you traveling or celebrating Christmas with out of town family over Thanksgiving? What Christmas Mission can you accomplish today?