Welcome to a more organised life! I talked last week about how I always feel that September is the perfect time for fresh starts and putting new plans or resolutions into place.
As I’ve been gradually chipping away at clutter and mess, I’m amazed at how much better I feel. Hence the inspiration to start what I’m calling Project Organised Life – a place for everything, and everything in it’s place and proper systems to keep my life and home clean and clutter free without having to sacrifice hours of free time to it.
For September, I’m challenging myself to de-clutter one small area each day – and I’ve love for you to join in!
All of the area I’ve picked are small enough to be completed in 30 minutes or less (some much less!) and I’ve deliberately picked out areas that are less likely to have any sentimental items that are harder to get rid of, as a way to ease into de-cluttering gently to maximise the changes of success!
Trying to create order from chaos in our homes can be totally overwhelming but I’ve found that tackling smaller organising tasks firstly really DOES start to make a noticeable difference both in how your home looks but also how you feel and secondly helps keep you motivated to continue tackling areas of clutter and disorganisation.
So, for the month of September these are the areas I’ll be de-cluttering each day.
DAY 1: underwear drawer – anything that doesn’t fit properly or is past it’s best goes.
DAY 2: socks & tights – anything with holes or ladders goes. Also, there’s only SO many pairs you actually need!
DAY 3: nightwear – again, there’s only so many pairs of PJ’s you need. I change into fresh nightwear every night before bed but I still don’t realistically need more than 7-8 options.
DAY 4: medicine cabinet – out of date? Bin it! That cough mixture you’ve kept that probably doesn’t even have one full dose left, bin it!
DAY 5: tupperware – I’m pretty sure most of us have way too many plastic containers hanging around. Take everything out, match up with lids (anything without a lid goes straight into recycling) and then take stock of how much you have and how much you actually need.
DAY 6: condiments & spices – if it’s out of date, throw it out. Equally – if you bought it and used it once and never have again then get rid of it.
DAY 7: tinned food – check expiry dates and bin anything that’s out of date. Group like with like before putting back and make sure the items with the soonest expiry dates are to the front of the cupboard.
DAY 8: winter scarves, gloves & hats – if you live in the UK, or anywhere with a generally colder climate, the chances are you have way too many of these. They’re an easy gift option and I find nearly every Christmas I end up getting one of these three as a gift. If you know you only reach for the same half a dozen options then pop the rest in a bag and take them to your nearest charity shop or homeless shelter so someone in need can make use of them.
DAY 9: towels – without a doubt I have too many towels. Even if I took into account every possible scenario where I might need towels all in one day I still have an excess. Any that look threadbare or have make-up stains etc on can easily be given away – if you have an animal shelter nearby they’d probably be delighted to take them off your hands.
DAY 10: tea towels & oven mitts – shamefully, I have an entire drawer in my kitchen filled with tea towels and there’s really no need for it! Take them out and get rid of any with stains.
DAY 11: handbags – probably a little tougher than previous days but how many handbags do you actually need or use? I’ve guess a lot less than you actually have. Be ruthless! Think about selling bags that are in good condition to make some extra money, it can make it easier to part with an expensive purchase that never gets used if you can get some of that money back.
DAY 12: kids craft supplies (or your own) – I don’t have children, but I have friends that do and visit often so I have a drawer filled with paper, crayons etc. A good sort out is needed. Broken crayons, dried out felt tip pens can all go in the bin.
DAY 13: car glove box – most people have at least some junk in their glove box (fast food restaurant napkins, CD’s you no longer listen to). Have a clear out and put everything that actually belongs back in neatly.
DAY 14: freezer – if there’s anything that’s been in there longer than you can remember then you really should think about getting rid of this. As for everything else, make a note of what it in there and make an effort to start using up some freezer supplies – especially if your fridge is still jam-packed.
DAY 15: computer files (documents) – self explanatory. Take some time to go through your computer and see what’s actually saved on it. What can be deleted? Consider getting an external hard drive and storing older, but important, documents on there.
DAY 16: computer files (photos) – as above! If these are your only copies of photos you’d hate to lose then definitely don’t make backing these up optional! If you’d prefer not to use an external hard drive then consider using an online option like iCloud.
DAY 17: nail varnish – how much nail varnish do you actually need? Probably a lot less than you have. Whilst it might be nice to have every colour of the rainbow, do you actually use them? I know I have a drawer full of shades I have never even touched and it’s time for them to go!
DAY 18: board games – missing pieces? Into the bin! If there are games that just no longer get used – maybe you didn’t enjoy it, or your kids have outgrown them, bag these up and take them to a charity shop or to a friend who might want them.
DAY 19: spirits / liquor – take everything out of your booze stash and only put back those spirits that are the most popular and you know you reach for on a regular basis – for most people this would probably mean having vodka, gin, whiskey, rum and maybe one other spirit in the house. If you have hoardes of half drunk bottles and random liquors left over from parties then why not invite some friends over at the weekend to make up some cocktails from the collection of oddities. That way you can de-clutter AND have some fun at the same time!
DAY 20: cooking utensils – fallen into the trap of buying a gadget that really isn’t needed? Been there – turns out an avocado tool is utterly pointless if you own a knife and spoon in your house! Getting rid of never used gadgets is a quick and easy way to free up valuable kitchen space. If you have utensils that are in poor shape, consider replacing them – it won’t create any extra space but it will make you feel better when you open that drawer!
DAY 21: coffee mugs – another one of those how many do you really need? Unless you have an absolutely massive family or multiple friends visiting your home per day 6-8 mugs should be more than enough.
DAY 22: cook books – never used it? Used it once? Charity shop them. If you have a book you’ve kept for only one or two recipes then why not take a picture of that page, or scan it in. Then you still have the recipes you want, without lots of barely used books taking up space.
DAY 23: wires & cables – are you even an adult if you don’t have a bag or box of mysterious wires lurking somewhere in your house? Wires that we probably don’t even know what they do! If you have no idea what their function is, or have since got rid of the appliance / gadget those spare cables belonged to then get rid of these. Most recycling centres at your local tip have an area wires can be left at.
DAY 24 – photos / videos / apps on your phone – if they’re important to you then back these up on your computer, hard drive or the cloud and then delete them to free up space on your phone. If there are apps you hardly ever use then delete them – if it turns out you DO need or want them in the future you can download them again.
DAY 25: hair products – that conditioner that just made your hair look greasy, the stuff that came as a gift with purchase but isn’t even suited to your hair type… this can all go. Offer them to a friend that they may be suitable for or, if they haven’t been opened, check out options for donating toiletries to women’s refuges.
DAY 26: travel toiletries – travel toiletries are a great thing and I totally recommend keeping a stash of mini products to hand if you’re even a somewhat regular traveller but… those travel sized bottles that only have a tiny amount of product in or toothpaste with enough for one brushing left? Put them in your bathroom and use them up to get rid of them.
DAY 27: gift wrap – who doesn’t save gift bags to recycle them the next time you have a gift to give? But how many of us hardly ever end up using them and find ourselves buying a new one instead. Make a note of what you have and keep it to hand so you know next time you’re gift giving what you already have in to start using these up. If you’ve kept hold of lots of remnants of rolls of wrapping paper check how much is actually left on these rolls. If there isn’t actually enough to wrap a gift (a good rule of thumb is if you couldn’t wrap a book in it then there isn’t really enough to be useful!) then pop these straight into recycling. Alternatively, if you know you give a lot of small gifts take these leftovers off the roll and consider folding them and storing them in a small storage box.
DAY 28: bedding – now this might just be me but I have a ridiculous amount of bedding and no way of ever needing it all. Add up however many beds you have in your home, times it by two and that’s the maximum number of bedding sets you need (if you have very young children and bed-wetting is a problem then feel free to add some extras to this!). Again, animal shelters are usually grateful to receive items like this.
DAY 29: old home decor – if you’ve been hanging onto decorative items like cushion covers, curtains, throws from previous versions of your home decor that no longer match your colour scheme etc then these can all go. Bag these up for the charity shop.
DAY 30: recorded TV shows – I currently have on my Sky+ box shows from two years ago that I haven’t got around to watching! If you have a bunch of stuff cluttering up your device then make this a day to either be ruthless and delete them or, better yet, settle in for a day of binge watching! Being able to say you spent the day de-cluttering when you’ve been sat watching TV has to be a good thing!
Some people may want to add all these tasks up and do them over a couple of days but I personally prefer to do one per day because it feels like I am getting a lot accomplished without sacrificing, for example, whole weekends to cleaning and organising (although obviously you can tackle this De-Clutter Challenge however suits you and your family best). Tackling one task per day also helps stop that guilty feeling when you stop for a break mid clean and then can’t face getting back to it. By doing a small task each day that takes 30 minutes or less, you’re giving yourself guilt free permission to stop there and spend the rest of the day however you want – whether that’s curling up to watch a favourite TV show or heading out to the park with your kids.
I’ll be checking in on the blog throughout September with my progress and also some free printables to help with your own de-cluttering but there’ll be daily progress updates on my Instagram page so, if you’re not already following head over there and keep an eye out for the #BAMdeclutterchallenge hashtag.
How do you feel about de-cluttering? Do you feel like you need to get more organised and de-clutter your home? Or are you super organised? If so… any top tips?!