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How To Maintain A Clutter Free Home

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Over the past 30 days I have shared with you how I de-cluttered my whole house and my whole life. That was the easy part. Well, not easy but easier than maintaining it! In 60 days I went through every single bin, bucket, basket, drawer, cabinet, and closet in this house. I got rid of about 60% of the stuff we had accumulated over the years. Stuff we didn’t even know we had! It feels great…but now I have to maintain the clutter-free environment.

 

5 Easy Steps To Keep The House Decluttered

 

1. Clean out the fridge, pantry, and cabinets every time you grocery shop. I do this before I go to the grocery store so I can make note of what I need to replace. I throw out anything that’s expired or almost empty. I also get rid of any excess of those grocery store plastic bags and take them with me to recycle them. I always know exactly what is in my pantry and fridge/freezer. It makes meal planning so much easier!

 

2. Keep a running list of the clothes and shoes the kids need. When I cleaned out Maia’s closet I found 6 plain white long sleeve tees. 6 in the same size. 3 had tags still attached. So now I keep a list in an app on my phone of what each kid needs and every time I buy something off the list I delete that item. My kids have clothes that match and their closets stay organized

 

3. Set a time limit on magazines and newspapers. I’m working towards getting rid of all my subscriptions that are not e-subs but for now, I still have a bunch of magazines coming in the mail each month. I give myself that month to read them and then they have to go. So all of the magazines I get in August will be tossed by September 1st. Anything I want to save I tear out and file in my Magazine Reference Binder

 

4. Go through the mail immediately. I am notoriously bad for letting the mail stack up on the counters and I’ve had to make a real effort to break that habit. Now I open the mail over the trash can so junk mail and excess paper gets thrown away immediately. Bills get entered in the Bill Paying section of my Household Management Binder. Anything that requires action gets done within 24 hours. I still have a hard time with this one but I’ll tell you- I’ve noticed such a huge difference in my kitchen since I’ve started doing this. My counters are clear and clean. It feels great.

 

5. Find a home for everything. If it doesn’t have a home, it doesn’t get to stay. It’s that simple. You’d be amazed at how much stuff you will get rid of if you adopt that philosophy. I had a great serving platter that was really too big to fit in my kitchen. It floated around the house being stashed in different locations until one day I decided if I could not find a real home to store it then it had to go. After looking around and really thinking about it I decided to give it to my sister. I had no room to store it, the platter only got used once or twice a year, and I truly didn’t need it. So off it went. 

 

De-cluttering the house doesn’t happen overnight. For me it was a long process that left me frustrated and annoyed on many occasions. The end result however? Worth all the hassle and now that I know how good it feels to live in a de-cluttered space I am committed to never going back!

 

Thanks for joining me on my 31 Day Journey to an Organized Life. If you missed a post you can see all of them right HERE

 

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Creating A Locker Style Mud Room In A Closet

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About a year and a half ago I decided to redo the front hall closet in our foyer. We do not have a mud room- yet another thing I would change about this house- so I had to create a storage area to serve as a drop zone in our house. Because let’s face it- 5 kids and a husband and a dog….there’s a lot of stuff that gets dropped by the front door. The system worked well for awhile but soon I found myself shoving and tossing things in the closet just to hide them whenever someone knocked on the door. Pretty soon, we were back to square one.

 

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I made a few tweaks in the hopes it would help keep us organized and avoid the last minute “mom, I can’t find my other shoe” disaster that seemed to happening every other morning. Seriously, why is it only the mornings when we are running late? This is the closet before I hauled everything out and started all over again.

 

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Eek. I know. It was bad. I started by adding 2 new command hooks on the inside of the door to hold jackets for Matt and myself. That freed up all the hooks on the wall for the kids stuff. I took all the off season items out of the closet- the winter coats are now in each kid’s closet until it gets colder outside. The gloves and hats are stored in one bucket instead of separated into multiple buckets. All the sandals were removed and only the shoes worn on a regular basis were put back in the closet. I also gave the kids their own shoe space this time instead of having them share. They just have too many pairs of shoes now to share space. They still have one hook for their jacket and one hook for their book bag plus some open space on the shelf below the hooks for things they need to remember to take- like library books or projects. 

 

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It functions so much better now. No more piles of shoes cluttering up the floor and spilling out into the foyer. Hopefully we can maintain this level of organization for awhile!

 

You can see all the posts in my 31 Day Series HERE. New posts are added daily. 

 

**Last chance to enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card by telling me how you define a family! Msg for 21+

**Have you tried out my super easy Baked Ziti recipe yet? 

**Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a pair of Monster N-Tune headphones!

 

TDC Before and After

 
Shared with Craft-o-Maniac Monday, Motivate Me Monday, Monday Funday, Made By You Monday, Make the Scene Monday, Give Me The Goods, Project Inspired, Mix It Up Monday, Show Me What Ya Got, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, From Dream to Reality, One Project At A Time, Tutorials and Tips, Tuesday Treasures, Whatever Goes Wednesday, The Inspiration Exchange, Thursdays Are Your Days, The Party Bunch, Link Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, That DIY Party, Inspire Me Please, Work It Wednesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Take a Look Tuesday, Live Laugh Linky, The Weekly Creative, Wow Us Wednesday

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The Organizing Of My Garage

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Oh the garage. There just are not words to describe the way our garage was before the big clean out. Horrifying. Disgusting. Appalling. None of those even come close. I don’t even have a full before picture because I couldn’t fit all the clutter into the frame of the camera. It was that bad, y’all. See, the garage door broke at the end of 2011 and we couldn’t get it fixed until February of this year. That’s over a year of not being able to open the door. So what do you think happened once we weren’t putting our cars in their anymore? Yep. We filled it with clutter overflow from the house instead. 

 

This was the job I was dreading the most. These photos show you just one half of the garage while we were in the process of cleaning it out. Matt had a 4 day weekend and we spent the entire weekend working on the garage. Every single thing was sorted and organized. Just imagine, these are the photos when we were half way done with the garage so can you picture what it looked like before we started? I hope y’all appreciate the difficulty I have sharing these before pictures. It’s totally embarrassing and these aren’t even the full extent of the mess!

 

The Before:

 

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 Did you cringe? I’m still cringing right now and it’s my house. You know the worst part? We didn’t even really know what was in that garage. We hadn’t needed anything in there for over a year. So clearly it was just all clutter that we had allowed to pile up until the job became so big that it seemed impossible to clean out. 

 

Over the 4 day weekend we sorted through it all. We made 2 huge piles: donate and large trash. We cleared out one side of the garage first by moving everything to the driveway and used that side of the garage for our 2 piles. Also, I must mention, we gave ourselves a deadline. We set up a large trash pick up through our city for the Friday after our 4 day weekend and also set an appointment for the National Kidney Foundation to come pick up our donate pile on the same day. So we had to get it finished, no putting it off!

 

We went through everything in that garage. I could not believe the amount of stuff in our 2 piles when were finished. I forgot to take a picture of the 2 piles when we were done but oh my gosh….unreal. The few things that were left in the garage were sorted and organized into the white cabinets we have along one wall. And there’s hardly anything in there- tools and some art supplies, that’s about it. I can’t tell you how nice it is to walk in the garage and find the hammer without having to search through piles of junk! 

 

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Zoey looks so little sitting in the middle of all that open space! You can see in the left corner the start of our donate pile. It covered almost the whole side of the garage! It felt great to donate all that stuff to a worthy cause. The National Kidney Foundation is near and dear to my heart. My dad is a kidney transplant recipient and we give thanks every day for the gift he was given- for the gift we were given. 

 

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Look at all that space. Oh it felt so good to get it all cleaned out! The first thing I did after the donate truck left was park my minivan inside the garage for the first time in over a year. One thing I am so looking forward to is not scraping the snow and ice off my windshield in the morning so I can take the kids to school. Nothing worse than 20 minutes of work for a 5 minute round trip drive to the school. 

 

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The minivan looks happy, doesn’t she? I think she might be smiling. I know I am! This was the last big project of my huge whole house clean out and I sure did save the biggest for last! I can’t believe my 31 Day Series is almost over! Tomorrow I’m sharing my last project- the update of my front closet locker system and on Thursday I have a wrap up post with tips on how to maintain the organization after doing all this work! Then it’s back to regular scheduled programming!

 

You can see all the posts in my 31 Day Series HERE. New posts are added daily. 

 

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How To Organize A Small Master Closet

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I am cursed with a very small master closet in this house. Seriously, it’s so small it’s almost laughable. Except I’m not laughing. I love clothes and I have a whole lot of them. I also have quite the love affair with shoes…and scarves….and bags. See my problem?

 

A few years ago we had to redo our master closet system when the old one fell off the wall. Literally, it just fell off the wall. So we took the “opportunity” to install a closet organizer that allowed us to change the configuration whenever we needed to. I think I’ve re-configured the closet at least 25 times now, trying my best to pack as much stuff in there as I can! When we did the big house clean out this summer I purged the master closet with a vengeance. 

 

 

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I gave myself a few rules when going through the closet:

 

1. If I hadn’t worn it in a year, it went to the donate pile. 

 

2. If it doesn’t fit me now, it went to the donate pile. 

 

3. If I don’t have anything it matches, it went to the donate pile.

 

You wouldn’t believe how much that I purged just by following those 3 simple rules. I had to be realistic. If I haven’t worn it in a year then it probably is not going to get worn again. The exception to that rule were a few party dresses that I need for fundraisers and things. They cost too much to replace! I also got rid of almost everything that doesn’t fit me right now. No more hanging on to clothes that are either 2 sizes too small or 2 sizes too big. I kept a small stack of jeans that I love even though I’m not wearing them right now. But all those skinny clothes? Gone. All the fat clothes? Gone. Also gone are all those items that I bought on sale but have never found anything that matches them. If I loved it enough I would have found something to wear with it by now. 

 

I was shocked at how much space those items in the donate pile were taking up in my closet. I even found a brand new pair of boots that I bought last year on sale at the end of the season. They were hidden by piles of stuff I never wear. It was like Christmas, y’all. After I purged I sorted and organized everything. I’m not one of those people who organize their closets by color. I organize in order of what I wear on a regular basis. I’m not a morning person so being able to grab something to wear quickly without hassle is what matters to me. 

 

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I brought the cube organizer that used to be in Mase’s bedroom into the closet and used it for accessories, shoes, jeans, etc. It made such a difference. Things are lying all over the floor and I can find what I need without a search party. I was able to get the majority of my fall/winter and spring/summer clothes and accessories into the closet this time. Normally I have tubs of off season clothes stored under the bed. 

 

In an effort to try and maintain this organization I have made myself a new rule. For every one thing I buy I have to get rid of at least one item. I’ve been pretty good so far about sticking to it. As I get older I realize I don’t need 14 pairs of the same style jeans or 9 white tees. I’d rather wait and spend my money on a few good, quality, items that will last awhile than grab the trendy sale items that will out of style next year. Oh geez….I sound like my mother. I feel the need to buy something inappropriate right now. Ha!

 

You can see all the posts in my 31 Day Series HERE. New posts are added daily.

 

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Monthly Menu Planning Made Easy

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 Awhile back I made the decision to switch to a monthly meal planning system. Planning a different menu every week was starting to stress me out. I would find myself scrambling on Tuesday night at 11pm to plan a week’s worth of meals so I could make a shopping list to use first thing the next morning during my weekly shopping trip. I was spending way too much money on groceries because I wasn’t taking the time to plan properly. 

I have been meaning to start a monthly menu plan for awhile but it really seemed like so much work. I kept putting it off and moving it down my to-do list. But honestly it doesn’t have to be a lot of work. It doesn’t have to be complicated or have 20 steps to complete. I needed a simple, easy to use, monthly menu planning system. Once I identified what I wanted to get out of my system I was able to make one that fit me and my family. 

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 After I organized all my recipes and worked out what I wanted to accomplish with my monthly menu plan, it was easy to create a system that would help me plan a monthly menu while still staying on budget. The first thing I did was make a spreadsheet where I separated all my dinner recipes into lists: Crockpot, Chicken, Pork, Beef, Seafood, and Pasta. I also made a list of our family favorite recipes that I make every single month. After separating the recipes on my spreadsheet I listed the total cost to make the dinner next to it. I have a strict monthly grocery budget and I have to plan my menu around that budget. 

 As part of my menu planning I found a monthly menu printable to put in my Household Management Binder. Once a month I pull up my spreadsheet to plan our menu. The first thing I do is enter our family favorite recipes onto the monthly menu sheet.  Next I go over what I have on hand in the fridge, freezer, and pantry and see what meals I can plan around those items.  Then I check out my Pinterest recipes to try board and the recipes saved in my Magazine Reference Binder to find 2-3 new recipes to try that month. Finally I fill in the other days using my spreadsheet lists. I have a set weekly total for dinners so as I add a dinner I subtract the cost from that budget. This method makes sure we don’t end up eating 5 Chicken based dinners in a row or going over budget by $20 one week. 

Since starting my monthly menu planning I haven’t gone over my weekly grocery budget once and we have had a home-cooked meal almost every night. In our house, that’s a huge win! 

You can see all the posts in my 31 Day Series HERE. New posts are added daily. 

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