Do you know what day it is? It’s kickoff day for our annual 21-day organizing challenge! This week, I’ll be sharing my own cleaning and organizing challenges, as well as showing you my progress….and offering a few tips along the way.
Remember, you don’t have to do an entire room or an entire dresser, closet or cabinet. You can focus on a small part of a room or closet, or even one shelf or some drawer. It’s completely up to you.
I really need to tidy up our entry way and I’ll be sharing that tomorrow.
I also need to pay some serious attention to the cabinets underneath our kitchen sink and the girls’ bathroom sink cabinet.
Our pantry needs some work as well.
The playroom just got purged and organized after Christmas, so it just needs to be straightened up.
And lastly, our linen closet. It used to be so neat and now it’s in need of a serious straightening up.
So, now you know what I’ll be sharing on the blog this week. Happy organizing, and don’t forget to share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #ons21daychallenge.
My pantry is a hot mess right now. I’m almost lost when it comes to deciding how to handle it, which is out of character for me. I did what any self-respecting working mama would do…I hit up Pinterest! The ideas I gathered on Pinterest were so awesome, I knew I had to share with you all.
This is a smaller pantry. My pantry is a walk-in, but there are so many ideas from this picture I can use. I love those baskets the fruit is stored in, and I really like those jar labels. This person really made a great use of the space, too. There’s a lot of stuff in this pantry, but it doesn’t look cluttered.
I like all of the same things about this pantry, but I especially like how this pantry is organized using materials you can find in any store. You wouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to do this, either.
Here’s another small spaces pantry. I liked this one because I liked those leather-look tags and aged labels. Aren’t they cute?
They say our Pinterest boards are a good indication of what we want our own home to be like. Based on my Pinterest roundup, it seems my pantry needs a little more organization, a more cohesive look and I need to make better use of the space. Stay tuned: next week I’ll show my pantry…in all of its chaotic, messy glory.
School has now started back for both my oldest daughter AND me. If you glance around our kitchen and living room right now, it’s evident we’ve gone back to school. How? The piles of paper.
Paper, paper everywhere and none of it spendable. In all seriousness, the paper piles were getting on my nerves and I knew I had to get rid of them.
1. Start with your existing paper piles
The first step to managing those paper piles is to sort through them.
Go through those papers and get rid of any that aren’t needed, and put away what you need to keep. We utilize several folders in our house: one for school papers, one for bills, and one for work related items. Anything else is shredded or thrown away.
2. File your bills
We have two places in which we file bills: one for bills to pay and one for bills that have been paid. We keep our paid bill stubs in a binder for a year and then we shred them.
3. Go paperless, when possible
Manage other paper clutter by stopping it at the source. Switch to paperless billing when possible, and remove yourself from junk mailing lists.
4. Dispose of junk as soon as possible
Don’t keep unwanted junk paper around…just shred or throw away that unwanted paper as soon as it shows up.
Our fridge was pretty well organized, but like most organized spaces in our home, it was starting to get a little out of hand. This happens to the best of us, but I have good news. With these tips, you can get your fridge organized quickly and easily.
1. Group like items together
I grouped these dairy items together in an acrylic container because not only are similar, but because their containers are also similar.
Our bottom drawer is used to store sandwich items, such as cheeses and lunch meats.
Kid snacks are all stashed together.
As are salad items
And dairy/ condiments.
2. Put items in clear containers so you can see them.
How many times have you forgotten about perishable food items and only rediscovered them when they were expired? Clear containers help you see what’s in your fridge. I am the world’s worst for forgetting about fruit and veggies in the crisper drawer, so having these things on eye level helps as well.
3. An unused crisper drawer is a space-saving place to stash canned drinks.
They still roll around a bit, but not as much than if they were loose in the fridge. Plus, you have more room in the fridge for other things.
4. Stash things you use the most in the front, and things you use the least in the back.
No one likes knocking over everything when they’re trying to reach something else.
5. Use place mats or Fridge Coasters to catch spills or stickiness
See those handy dandy flowered mats in my fridge? They’re cheap shelf liner. It grips the fridge and doesn’t slide around, and it wipes clean with a wet cloth. Plus, it’s cute. Win, win, win.
6. Take a moment each time you grocery shop to clean out any expired items.
When you are restocking your fridge with fresh groceries, this is the perfect time to do a quick check for any expired or spoiled items. I also like to take this time to wipe down the inside of the fridge with a wet, soapy cloth.
These tips help us keep our fridge clean, functional and organized, which makes cooking a lot easier. Plus, you spend less money on grocery day, because you aren’t spending on items you already have.
We have been actively purging our home for a few weeks now. We’ve cleaned out closets, we’ve donated items, we’ve given things away and we’ve thrown away or repurposed other things. It’s easy to get rid of some things, but others, it’s more difficult. How do you decide what to purge and what to keep?
1. Take a tour of your home and note everything you use regularly. It’s easier to do this room by room. If you don’t use it regularly, how long has it been since you last used it? If it’s been more than one year, don’t keep it. If it’s clothing that no longer fits, don’t keep it. If it’s broken, stained, or damaged, throw it away. If it’s something you don’t need, but may need someday, don’t keep it. If it’s something sentimental, keep it or take a picture of it to keep.
2. Living with less creates a sense of calm. Cluttered living stresses you out and keeps you from being able to relax. It’s also true that living with clutter distracts you from being able to enjoy items you truly love. After all, the secret to happiness isn’t having what you want, but appreciating what you have, right?
3. Don’t buy material items for your family but invest in experiences together.
We have been trying to both reduce our number of things in our home, but also to save money. This can be hard when you have kids. When Christmas or birthdays roll around, you may potentially receive a lot of “things.” What if families put money toward experiences, such as a zoo trip, or a paint your own pottery class? Our kids have college fund accounts that their grandparents contribute to for holidays and birthdays. Another popular idea is to have party guests bring an item to donate to a local charity, such as pet food to be donated to an animal shelter. I think in today’s society so much emphasis is placed on having “stuff” and I think it’s important to teach our kids to value one another instead.
4. You get what you pay for
There was a time when if I needed something, I’d just go buy it for as cheaply as possible. I ended up having to replace a lot of things. If you’re purchasing something you’ll use a lot, buy quality. It may seem like you’re spending more money up front, but items of a higher quality last longer and don’t need to be replaced as often. This actually saves you money. I have even found this to be true of clothing: higher quality fabrics wear better and look nice for much longer than cheap clothing. It’s worth the higher purchase price to be able to use it longer. Spending more means you’ll be less likely to purchase duplicate items, too.
5. Make it a point to purchase only what you need
I’m not saying you should never buy things you want. You can, but you must do it sparingly, or you’ll end up spending a lot of money on things that sit around taking up space. Make it a point to buy only what you need and splurge on your wants occasionally. Your home will be lighter but your wallet will not.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my tips for simplified living. Have a wonderful day.