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Clutter Free: Master Bathroom

BUTTONThis post is Day 10 of my 31 Days to Clutter Free series.

(Although this is the tenth post of my series, today’s topic is the master bathroom, which is actually Day 15 in the Clutter Free Challenge I started following. I’ve fallen behind so I’m just sort of choosing which areas of the house to catch up with!)

Our master bathroom has storage under the sinks plus this cabinet with several shelves:


As you can see, it had gotten out of control (of course).

My nail polish box in particular was majorly overflowing:


Here are the steps I followed to tidy up this space:

  • Throw out old nail polish (if the liquid is separated and weird looking, toss it) & pare down to your very favorites.
  • Throw away old toiletries or ones you probably aren’t going to use (do I really need 3 types of bubble bath when I hardly ever take bubble baths? No.)
  • Consolidate travel-sized toiletries to one container for easy access when packing.
  • Put regularly used items in easy to reach places (I put my nail grooming supplies in one basket so it’s easy to grab all together).

Here’s the after:


I got the white lattice bins from Target several months back – they were the perfect size to hold my smaller nail polish collection (bottom left), as well as travel-sized items (top right) and extra toiletries (top left).


 Any other bathroom organizing tips? 

Clutter Free: Whoops (and an update)

I kinda sorta fell a wee bit whole lot behind with this blogging challenge, whoops!

We won’t be around much this weekend, but it’ll be back to regular programming next Monday with a post about de-cluttering the nursery!

In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite quotes that always comes to mind when I think about getting rid of stuff:




Clutter Free: Dining Area

BUTTONThis post is Day 9 of my 31 Days to Clutter Free series. 

Today’s de-cluttering focus (according to this plan I’m following) is our dining area.

We don’t typically use our formal dining room. We’ve maybe eaten in there once since we’ve lived in this house – that’s kind of sad now that I think about it! But the seats are more comfortable at our kitchen table, and it’s just more convenient since it’s right there in the kitchen. And now that we have Weston, it works out better anyways since his highchair is about the same level as the kitchen table (the dining room table is much taller).

We eat all of our meals in the kitchen and walk past this table every time we enter the house, so clutter does pile up. We try to clear it off every night before bed so it doesn’t get too disastrous.

Here’s a “before” photo of how it looked at the end of the day today, but it usually looks much worse!



As you can see, shoes pile up on the floor beside the table. And random stuff that belongs other places usually ends up in a stack at the far end.

After Weston goes to bed every night, Will and I spend about 15 minutes tidying up before we hang out and relax – that includes putting up the toys spread everywhere in the living room, cleaning up any dinner mess, and putting away whatever has built up throughout the day on the kitchen table.

I love starting each day off with a tidied up living room/kitchen. If I wake up to clutter everywhere, it’s much harder for me to be productive throughout the day.

After about five minutes of cleaning up this area and putting stuff where it belonged (new packages of baby wipes in the nursery, shoes in the closet, receipts in the office to shred), it was back to normal:


And now I can sleep easier knowing there’s not a huge mess out here waiting for me tomorrow morning!


Clutter Free: Junk Drawer

BUTTONThis post is Day 8 in my 31 Days to Clutter Free series.

I actually cleaned out our kitchen junk drawer a while back – you can read about it here – but it’s been a few months, and of course it hasn’t stayed perfectly organized.

So today I took a few minutes to clear out the random stuff that’s accumulated in there and make things a little easier to find. Here’s the before picture:


I threw away some outdated coupons, an empty match box, and a few bits of trash that had made their way in here. Most of what was in the drawer does actually belong here, it just took a few minutes of rearranging to get things looking nice and orderly again.

Here’s the “after:”



These dividers (from Target) are the best thing about this drawer and what make it so much more functional!




Clutter Free: Toys



This post is Day 7 of my 31 Days to Clutter Free series.

After last night’s DVD de-cluttering frenzy, I was sort of out of organizing steam today.

Add that to the fact that we had a busier-than-usual day today, and tonight’s post is ending up more like “goals for toy de-cluttering” rather than explaining what I’ve already cleaned out.

We’re only a little over a year into this parenting gig, but we’ve already experienced how toys can add up and get overwhelming. Not only to us, but for Weston, too. I’ve noticed that it’s harder for him to sit and play with one toy when there are too many options surrounding him. And if we take out all of the same toys day after day, he’s quicker to get bored with them.

So here’s my plan for cutting down on the toy clutter and storing them in more functional ways. (I’ve mentioned that I’m following Ruth Soukup’s 31 Days to Clutter Free plan for this series, so most of these tips are borrowed from her).

  • Store any “infant” toys that aren’t age-appropriate anymore in the attic, out of sight
  • Make a donation pile of toys Weston doesn’t especially like
  • Throw away any broken toys
  • Divide toys into smaller baskets that can be rotated throughout the house, offering more variety during play time
  • Place a basket for toys in the car (right now toys just get lost and scattered everywhere in there)

When I make progress on this list, I’ll for sure share some “after” shots. :)

Any genius ideas for toy storage? I’m sure this is an issue we’ll have to keep addressing as our tot gets bigger and the toys change and increase.


Clutter Free: DVDs and Video Games


This post is Day 6 in my 31 Days to Clutter Free series. 

Today’s post is about paring down our DVDs and video games. And how we made almost 80 bucks in the process!

This bookshelf in our living room is where most of our DVDs live:




I enlisted my hubby’s help to sort through and decide which ones we really want to keep.

Honestly, we hardly ever pick a DVD from here to watch — we usually watch movies streaming through our TV (Netflix, OnDemand, etc.). But we do want to keep a collection of movies we really love and think we’ll watch again, and the process was fairly easy once we set that standard.

Of course we didn’t always agree on what should make the cut (my life would go on just fine without all the Rocky movies, and Will isn’t exactly a raving fan of Pride & Prejudice), but if a movie was important to one of us, we let it stay.

We also had some stacks of movies in the garage, so we sorted through those, too. I can’t believe we’ve held on to so many movies!

Will also sorted through his video games.

De-cluttering is great, but it’s even better when you can make some money off what you don’t want! We usually donate stuff, but Will found an app named Decluttr which lets you scan each item to see how much they’ll pay you for it.

Here’s our “to sell” pile:


For 94 movies and 10 video games, we’ll get $79.63! What!

(They’re sending us a label to use for shipping them off).

Now our DVD cabinet looks like this:


We had them loosely categorized before, but with more room, we were able to make the categories more distinct. They’re divided into Action, Drama, Comedy, Romantic Comedy/Chick Flicks, Horror/Suspense, and the bottom left is both Old Classics & Christmas movies.

Now our DVD collection is much more efficiently organized (with movies we actually like), and we made almost 80 bucks. Win!

Clutter Free: Living Room & Books/Magazines


This post is Days 4 & 5 of my 31 Days to Clutter Free series. 

I’ll be honest – I haven’t done a whole lotta de-cluttering this weekend.

We played outside a lot, hung out with family, went to a pumpkin patch, and all took a long Sunday nap. It was a great weekend, I just fell a wee bit behind with this blogging challenge. And that’s okay. Progress not perfection, right?

So tonight I’m combining yesterday’s and today’s de-cluttering tasks: living room and books/magazines. And lucky that these two areas ended up on the same day because I have stacks of books and magazines in the living room that could use some attention.

We typically do a pretty good job keeping our living room clutter-free, because this is where we spend most of our time. But sometimes stuff does pile up.

I focused on a basket of too many magazines underneath the coffee table and an end table that’s overflowing with books.

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The coffee table was easy – I got rid of all the magazines because they were several months old, and I’d read most of them. I’m also now subscribed to less than I have been in the past, so hopefully they won’t pile up as fast.

I can’t believe this basket was holding so many…lots to recycle!


Next was the end table.

I am terrible at starting about 12 books at the same time and leaving them stacked all around. At least with non-fiction it’s like that – I only ever read one fiction book at a time. Anyways, book clutter ends up being a problem around here. I read some books on my Kindle app, but for most, I like to have the physical copy. (I like to see and feel and smell my books… I’m just weird like that).

I started by moving the “sort of in the middle of reading” books to a basket by my bedside table. That way, they’re set apart and easy to reach but not randomly strewn about.

Some stuff on this table needed to be put away in the office, and the newer magazines got put into the (now empty) basket under the coffee table.

Here’s what that basket looks like now:


And the end table:


I left out Outlander, which I’m reading now, and my planner.

Tomorrow I’ll still be working in the living room, on video games and DVDs!


Weekend Links

Some links I enjoyed reading this week:

Mean Girls and the Fear of Rejection

How to Find Wonder in the Midst of Wash and Rinse and Repeat Days

If My Child Marries Yours

One Important Pursuit to Find Greater Happiness


Happy weekend!

Clutter Free: Mail


This post is Day 3 of my 31 Days to Clutter Free series.

Today’s de-cluttering focus is mail. We already have a fairly good system in place for dealing with incoming mail. The problem is that we don’t always use the system routinely enough to really control the paper clutter.

It usually takes about a week of mail piling up on the kitchen table or counter for us to finally sort it to where it belongs. And since yesterday was the day this week that I took care of our pile, I don’t have a before picture!

But here’s where the mail goes when it’s sorted:

  • my magazines into a basket in the living room
  • Will’s magazines into the office
  • bills into a bin on Will’s desk (he’s in charge of these)
  • coupons into a drawer in the kitchen
  • other important mail that needs to be read/dealt with in the chalkboard tray in the kitchen (see below)


Since the chalkboard tray was included in yesterday’s Entryway de-cluttering, it looks pretty tidy right now. But our second problem with mail is that all too often, we leave it in this tray way too long and stuff gets pushed to the back and forgotten. RSVPs get missed, letters go unread. So one of my goals is to sort the mail as soon as I bring it in – it really only takes about two minutes, so I’m not sure why I always put it off.

Also, having a certain day of the week to take mail out of this tray and read/respond to/toss each item will ensure it doesn’t overflow. I hereby declare Mondays to be mail days – adding it to my weekly cleaning schedule.

Here are some other tips for dealing with mail clutter:

  • When paper invitations arrive, put the event on your calendar right away and toss the invite. I write any reminders like “buy gift” or “wear something casual” in my planner so I don’t forget any details that I might not remember without the invite visible.
  • On the walk back from the mailbox each day, stop at the trash can to throw away junk mail. It’s much easier to corral when it doesn’t even make it into the house.
  • RSVP as soon as you get an invite. I struggle with this one…but I know how annoying it is to not get RSVPs, so I’m trying to do better!
  • Unsubscribe from catalogs you don’t want to receive. I’ve done this for a few but have a ways to go.
  • Use online billing as much as you can. Less paper bills=less clutter.

Do you have any other tips for handling mail? I’d love to hear.

Okay, it’s Friday night – time to couch it up with the hubs and Netflix. Happy weekend!



Clutter Free: Entryway


This post is Day 2 of my 31 Days to Clutter Free series. 

(Please excuse the less than stellar photos in today’s post – all were taken on my iPhone and in poor light, since I worked on this project after the kiddo went to bed).

Today’s task, according to Ruth Soukup’s month-long decluttering plan, was to de-clutter our home’s entryway. Our formal entryway has exactly nothing in it except a mirror and a rug:


Pretty boring. So instead, I chose the entryway we actually use the most – the door from the garage into the kitchen. This is the place where our keys, my purse, the mail, shoes, and the diaper bag end up everyday. Here’s the “before” picture:


Doesn’t look too bad, right? The inside of the cabinet was another story.


This cabinet was the main focus of today’s de-cluttering mission. And whoo-wee did I find some ancient artifacts in here.

We’ve been in our house for about three and a half years, and in this cabinet I found to-do lists from the weekend we moved in. Also, some plastic grocery bags left from the previous owners, multiple years-old phone books, a weird looking “beside the fire christmas carols” CD that looks like it was bought at a gas station, and a bunch of other crap.


Like usual when I’m organizing, I divided things into piles: Trash, Donate, Reorganize in Same Space, or Belongs Somewhere Else. Most of the stuff ended up in either the trash or donation pile.

One of my ground rules for this month-long challenge is to not buy any new organizing tools like baskets, boxes, or bins. I managed to find some bins that I bought from the Target dollar section a while back, and they were the perfect size.

Here’s what it looks like now: several cookbooks (bottom left) and a few special greeting cards we want to keep, plus baby announcements we’ve received…I always like keeping those (bottom right bin).


Although the top two bins are empty right now, I’ll use one of them for bibs (couldn’t grab them right now since they’re in a room with a sleeping baby). I’m not quite sure what I’ll put in the other bin, but I’m trying to think of something that’ll be convenient to have near the door/near the kitchen table. (Maybe extra diapers…I always realize right when we’re almost out the door that the diaper bag needs restocking).

And the view with the cabinet doors closed:

IMG_1496 IMG_1497

Ahh, much better. I took off a cookbook and a vase that was on top, and I also switched out the leaf-shaped container that held our keys/sunglasses with a bowl from Target.

Overall it took right at an hour to de-clutter this entryway. Now it’s much more functional and easier on the eyes – hooray!