By Caroline Bujold
This is the final 10 days of the #31Days2GetOrganized Challenge by Peter Walsh.
If I learned anything from these challenges it’s that just because your stuff is well organized and contained in a cute box doesn’t mean you actually need to keep it. Once in a while, examining the content and discarding the items you were keeping, just in case, is the best way to create more space in your home, in your head and in your life.
Of all the challenges, the bathroom counter (Cupboards for me – Day 12), the Utility Closet (Day 28) and the Extra Space (Day 31 – Toolbox) presented in this post were the most satisfying.
But the hardest part of any challenge is completing the whole thing. So, here we go …
Day 21 – Emails
Task: Eliminate old emails
How many emails do you have waiting for you? In how many accounts? This feels so overwhelming sometimes. So the trick is to take a few minutes to regularly eliminate as many as possible.
In all seriousness, between work, blogging and my personal stuff, I manage:
- 8 email addresses (6 related to my job!);
- 2 websites (including this blog);
- Almost 20 social media accounts / pages / profiles.
Gosh, before I put it down on paper, I didn’t realize how much this was. If I’m not careful it could become really crazy, really fast. I’m in the process of eliminating some work accounts, but here are a few strategies that help me maintain this entire virtual world:
- Turn off email notifications for social media – this saved my sanity;
- All work related emails are redirected to my main email – and I’m only managing some emails temporarily and others are inactive for the most part;
- Take the time to unsubscribe to newsletters you don’t read, it will stop clogging your mailbox.
Day 22 – Bed sheets
Task: Only keep a certain amount of bed sheets
Time: 0 min.
I cleared our linen closet a few months ago and we are in the process of repainting the doors (hence the paint brush). I was surprised at how much I was able to give away (a big garbage bag full).
If you are a super minimalist, you can get away with just one set of sheets per bed. We manage with two sets per bed (one winter fuzzy set and one cotton summer set).
We splurge a little more on towels with six between the two of us. Two beach towels and two sarongs that are light and can be used for travel. We have a few more towels for guests (the red ones).
We do have a few more blankets than I would like, but I can’t seem to be able to part with them and we actually use most of them, but I will have to have a closer look.
Day 23 – Pens and pencils
Task: Corral all of them and discard your extras.
Time: 0 min.
Lots of them, but I do use them, they are organized and the colours make me happy. What can I say :).
Day 24 – Kitchen Utensils
Task: Eliminate the tools you are not using
Time: 5 min.
After going through our supplies, I tossed aside a few we are not using. They will make a good addition to our garage sale pile.
Day 25 – Giftwrapping
Task: Decide on a reasonable amount of supplies
Time: 10 min.
This was been done in last year’s challenge, but I took some time to re-examine and sort. Unless you wrap a lot of presents every year, there is no need to keep more than one or two rolls of wrapping paper.
There is a great city service here in Edmonton that will accept your extra material City of Edmonton Reuse Centre.
Day 26 – One Junk Drawer
Task: Clear out one junk drawer
Alternate task: Clear out one small area of my desk
Time: 10 min.
If like me you’re out of drawers to declutter (it can happen), pick the next best thing. For me, it was a stack of trays that often become the catch all on my desk.
Day 27 – Pantry
Task: Check out the expiry date on your ingredients. Find recipes to cook with the soon to be expired cans.
Time: 30 min.
I found these that were about to expire. Decided on burritos (easy one), green curry by Jamie Oliver and rice pudding for the condensed milk.
Unfortunately, some of the ingredients I have are in plastic containers; so it was impossible for me to know how fresh they were.
From now on, I will cut out the Best Before Date and stick it on the container with some tape.
Day 28 – Utility Closet
Task: Clean out the space where you store your vacuum and brooms.
Time: a couple hours
We don’t have a separate utility closet. Our pantry serves as food storage, utility closet and home supplies storage. It’s one of the corners of the house we have not touched on our long list of renovations. It’s not even painted and a lot of items just get shuffled around on the floor. As you can imagine, it bothers me A LOT.
It took this challenge and a little help from my hubby to finally find a solution. Not the most elegant of solutions, but a practical one. We can now see the floor. It’s so awesome.
Day 29 – Declutter your shoes
Task: Eliminate shoes that no longer fit your life … or your feet
Time: 5 min.
So many shoes, so little time. This is especially true if you have kids. They can outgrow their shoes pretty quickly.
We do this task at the same time as our closet switch in the fall and the spring. It’s been working well for us. Just as winter coats, winter shoes and boots get put away downstairs or in bins when it’s time, letting us have more or what we need for the season.
Day 30 – Batteries
Task: Take stock of your supplies
Time: 5 min.
Corral all the loose batteries in your house; recycle the one that are no longer working at the Eco Station. If you haven’t done so in the fall, change the batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors. We do this every year, when Daylight saving ends (October/November).
Day 31 – One forgotten area
Task: Declutter one area that Peter Walsh forgot to mention (Toolbox)
Time: 45 min.
How many Allen Keys of the same size do you need to assemble your furniture? It sounds like the start of a joke doesn’t it?
My husband has most of his tools in the garage or the shed, but I keep a toolbox for my own use in the house and it needed a good decluttering session (this is the before picture). We had so many hooks, small nails and brackets we have no use for … it was really good to say Bebye!
If you did this challenge, what did you learn?
If not, what prevented you from participating?
Source: Peter Walsh has been putting this challenge together for three years. You can see all the videos of this year’s challenge on his YouTube Channel and also access previous challenges.