Declutter the Extra Rooms

What's the Homemaking September ShapeUp! all about?


For everyone just joining in I'll be explicit, for everyone doing this daily with me... well you know the drill.

Monday we decluttered the Kitchen, Tuesday we decluttered the Dining Areas and the Entrances to our home, Wednesday we decluttered the Living Areas, yesterday we decluttered the Bedrooms. We're still decluttering, but this time the extra rooms in the house; office, craft room, studio, sewing room, exercise room, guest room, whatever the spare rooms are used for. Spend an extra day in the kid's rooms if that's what you need. Again, don't dwell on just 1 item, don't get sidetracked.

First, grab a trash bag and the same 2 totes you've been using, again 1 is for donate/sell and 1 for put away items for other rooms. As you are going through the areas and run across items that don't belong, put them in one of the totes. Again, don't leave the areas to put them away yet.

Go through the room(s) quickly and throw all the trash in the trash bag and also everything that is broken or no longer functional, like broken hangers, staplers that always jam, or broken paintbrushes. If you run across an item you no longer need/use/want and it's in good working order, put it in the donate/sell bin. Clear off the surface and furniture items. Quickly go through the drawers and cabinets doing a quick scan for anything that should be thrown or you no longer use.

In the office the biggest challenge is usually paper. Gather all the loose papers, if you can file them as you are gathering them, go ahead and do so. If not, gather them together into a box and make an appointment with yourself to deal with the box sometime in the next week or two. I always start with a quick flip through separating out trash, to be filed, documenting items and action items. Trash is obvious. To be filed items don't need anything done with them, just put them away. Document items are things like scraps of paper with phone numbers, dates or notes that need to be added to your address book or calendar and then thrown. Action items are things like bills and RSVP's, take care of these items or add them to your calendar so you don't forget them.

In craft rooms, resist the urge to run out and buy containers first. Sort through and decide what you really need, use and want to keep. Figure out how you'd like to group and organize items, then by the containers. It doesn't make sense to be buying more things that could end up being clutter, if they aren't well thought out.

Take one last glance around the area and look at the decorations in the area and look at it with new eyes. Do you love it? Does it work? Is it just there because it's always been there? If you decide you don't want to keep it, put it in the donate/sell bin. This isn't the time to do all sorts of rearranging and decorating, just a quick evaluation of what might be visual clutter. Is something sitting on your desk just because it's always been there? If so, consider replacing it for a season, or permanently.

Now, take the bin of items for put away, and put the items in the appropriate rooms.

Now that we've done a basic decluttering go on over to Tamy's for Techniques to Make Weekday Meals Easier.

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  1. The extra rooms are always my biggest downfall and the worst offenders of becoming catch alls for clutter. I'm working on them today - Thanks!

  2. ICK, papers papers everywhere.

    I am so cluttered in this area, it is UNREAL. I've spent many hours sorting and tossing and separating and categorizing. UGH. I wonder if I will ever finish.

    I have every single paper Bailey brought home in kindergarten. Through the years I am better and better about tossing them, but that first year I kept everything.

    The next year I kept only the papers w/ 100% on them ((he's a smarty so there were many)). And now I keep only the papers showing something he is learning that is new. Tests go on the fridge until the next one comes home.

    It probably sounds silly, but I'll have to retrain myself when Brendon starts school.

    As for "life" clutter, I have actually done very well... but just wonder when I will see the end of the papers.

  3. Tamy: Yeah I'm working on the library/office this afternoon. I have a habit of setting things down on the desk or chair to get to later. Well later is today! :)

    Monique: If your mom today handed you a stack of everything you did in kindergarten what would you do? Look through it, then probably pitch most of it.

    It might help to ask Bailey to pick his favorite 10 things from each year put them in plastic protectors in a binder. If any are big projects, take pictures of the project and then have him write a bit about what he did, this is good for science fair projects.

    By having him choose you might be surprised, his favorites might not be 100% papers, but something he got an 92 on but had to work harder for the grade. One thing I chose to keep is a paper I wrote in 8th grade about wanting to be a psychologist when I grew up. I didn't get 100% on it, but it was more important to me.

    Some of the 100% papers like spelling tests can just be scanned or take a picture of them.

    Paperwork is a pain. I'll handle that as a special topic in week 4, if you want. I have guidelines of what to keep and for how long that I've compiled from various sources. My biggest fear was always that I'd throw something that I would need.

  4. G A H!! You are so on top of things... It never even occurred to me to take pictures of school projects. DUH.

    I have had the thought that I should let Bailey pick, but here is my problem - the kid is more of a pack rat than I am. Scary huh?

    When going through my files, tossing manuals for things we no longer have, he got sentimental over toy manuals.

    When tossing out old school papers, he said "I work so hard on those all day in school and you are throwing them away. I want to keep them in a memory box." Notice he didn't say "my" memory box, because he has 3.

    Soooooo the pick your favorite thing, even setting a limit might be a bit overwhelming for him when looking back at the old stuff. I may have to just judge based on what he tells me about school each day and then let him pick from those selections.

    But yes, I am coaching myself on being better about the paper clutter by trying to imagine an adult sitting there looking over every paper. Not gonna happen. Eventually I will put together a nice scrapbook for him to flip through and keep.

  5. Monique: You need to start with Bailey or he'll end up on Clean House one day with Niecy Nash chiding him about his mayhem and foolishness! ;) I remember the problem you had with the 1 bin of toys.

    How about have him pick his favorite 2 each week on Friday? Then his favorite 2-3 each month, then his favorite 5 each semester. Take pictures of all of his favorites, but only keep the final 5. That way the choices aren't as overwhelming. It's hard to pick 10 out of 1000, it's easier to pick 2 out of 10.

  6. My mom is just itching to redecorate and so am I! Declutter first, then add some autumn flair! :)

  7. I'm resisting the urge to decorate as I go, but it's hard. It's really cooling off quickly here. I'd like to get everything decluttered, clean and organized first.

  8. L, yikes.... Do you mean the show w/ the 2 older women? I've seen some of the houses they go into, and yeah, YIKES.

    I like the picture idea a lot. I think this weekend will be a perfect time to go through the old papers, w/out him hovering and questioning each toss.


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