Week 4 - Post-Holiday and Storage {Net Zero Clutter Challenge 2017} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Week 4 - Post-Holiday and Storage {Net Zero Clutter Challenge 2017}

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Week 4 - Post-Holiday and Storage {Net Zero Clutter Challenge 2017}

Happy day after Christmas! We're almost at the end of the month... just one week left in the Net Zero Clutter challenge for this year. And it's a big one this week! Today I'm sharing tips for decluttering your post-holiday items and your storage areas.

For many of us, yesterday was a big day for items coming into our homes. You might be feeling a little (or a lot!) overwhelmed today as you step over and around all the new gifts and empty boxes. If you've been decluttering all month, you should have space to put those items away into their new "homes". But even if you haven't decluttered earlier in the month, there's still time to do some decluttering to make room for all the new stuff :)

Each week I've been sharing decluttering tips and ideas to help you declutter a different area of your home.  The idea is that you'll end the month with the same number of items in your home (or maybe even less!) than what you started the month with. If you're just joining in, work on decluttering the same number of items as you just received!

Decluttering Post-Holiday Items

First off, let's talk about post-holiday items.  Here are some tips to help you declutter that will make a big difference in the amount of stuff in your home:

  • Gather up all the empty gift bags, gift boxes, bows, etc. and toss any that are unusable.
  • If you have more usable gift wrap items than you think you'll need next year, give some of them away now rather than storing them all year.
  • Recycle all the boxes and packaging your gifts came in (other than items that may need to be returned).
  • Identify any gifts you or a family member received that you KNOW you will not use, and either return them, donate them or set them aside to be re-gifted (organizing tip: put a sticky note on each item stating who it was from so you don't re-gift it to the same person).
  • Follow the one-in-one-out rule (or more if you have a lot of clutter in your home). For every type of item you received, find a similar item that you no longer need, use, or love. A new book means you let go of an old one you won't likely read again. A new sweater means you donate one you haven't worn in awhile or that doesn't fit you well. An upgraded electronic device means you let go of an older one. New toys mean your kids give away a few they don't play with any more. You get the idea! 
  • When you're putting away your Christmas items or taking down your tree, give away any ornaments, decorations, or items you didn't use this year or no longer enjoy or that you have more than enough of.
  • Follow the one-in-one-out rule for Christmas items as well - if you received 3 new ornaments this year, let go of 3 old ones that you don't love as much.

Here are a few posts with more tips that you can check out:

Decluttering Storage Areas

The other decluttering I recommend you focus on this week is your storage areas. Especially wherever you normally store your holiday decorations. Since everything is out right now you can move around your storage room, crawl space, basement, or attic a little easier, making it the perfect time to declutter whatever else you're storing in the same area!

Here are a few tips:

  • Pull everything out (literally touch every item!) and decide if it still fits your lifestyle, interests, and home. Be honest about whether you will ever use things again.  Let go of any items that you no longer use or love.
  • Give away or sell any sporting equipment that is too small or no longer being used.
  • Sort through other seasonal decorations and give away any that you don't think you'll use in the upcoming year or that you no longer love as much as you used to.
  • Declutter household items that you never look at or use (bits and pieces of old hardware, tools, extra paint, leftover items from the original build or previous renovations, etc.). 
  • Let go of overflow kitchen items that have been collecting dust. Or if you forgot some of the items were there and you're sure you will use that breadmaker, specialty baking pan, or giant platter this year (we do tend to have lofty visions of what we will do in the coming year!), then mark some reminders on your calendar so you don't forget. And set a reminder in your calendar for 6 months from now to donate those items if they still haven't been used :)
  • If you have sentimental items stored in your storage areas, make sure they are stored in containers that will protect them (see this post for my recommendations for storage bins).
  • After you've decluttered all the items you no longer need, use, love or have the space to store, then take a few minutes to organize your storage area so it's easier to find what you need, and it won't become a dumping ground!  Group like items together, put them in containers, label those containers, and then put all the containers back in an organized way. 

So, two main things to focus on this week for decluttering! Post-Christmas stuff and storage areas. Both will yield high results, and neither one needs to take a lot of time.

The storage areas will likely take a little longer, especially if you haven't decluttered your storage room in a long time. But if it's been awhile, then it will likely give you HUGE results. If it feels overwhelming to tackle the whole storage area, just start in one corner and work your way around the room. Take breaks if you need to. You'll get there!

Every time I help a client declutter their storage room, crawl space, attic, or basement, they are amazed at how much stuff they were holding onto that they never use. And they LOVE the extra space they find after we finish. It's very common to hear clients say they can't believe they put it off as long as they did because in the end it wasn't nearly as overwhelming as they always thought it would be. So don't be afraid to tackle yours... it's really worth it!

My Decluttering This Week

This week I decluttered something that I'd been holding on to for over 10 years... my bin of my kids' baby clothes! I kept a few favourite baby outfits, blankets, shoes, etc. for each of my kids, way back when they were little (they're 13 and 11 now). At the time I couldn't part with these favourites. And I thought I'd keep these for when they were older so they could dress their little ones in them. But really... they take up a lot of space and ever since I became a professional organizer I've been feeling like I should go through the bin and declutter most of what was in it.

I planned to do it before we moved this summer (why move a whole bin of baby clothes that I know I want to declutter?). But I didn't... partly because I was feeling a little nostalgic because we were moving out of the house our kids were born in... and partly because my niece was expecting so I thought I could give her some of the baby clothes for her little one.

So this week it was time! Knowing we'd be seeing my new great-nephew on Christmas day definitely helped. And my kids weren't interested in keeping clothes that they don't remember wearing. It was much easier to let go now. I only kept one outfit for each of my kids that they wore when they were newborns. And a dress and a gown that I wore when I was a baby.

Here's what I decluttered:

My son't baby items went to my niece for my great nephew.

I was also able to give a few of my daughter's 18-24 month dresses (the biggest sizes I kept) to a cousin for their little girl.

And there were a few items I donated that were too small for either of them.

That ended up being 54 baby clothing items decluttered! All on all, I felt really good about giving away these baby clothes. I have no idea why it took me so long. I've helped lots of clients let go of baby clothes (pressure free... because I know how hard it is!). But it was the right time for me. You'll know when it's time for you too. For anything you've been holding onto that you haven't been able to let go of yet.

Aside from baby clothes, I also decluttered some kitchen items and random things.

Some expired or unwanted foods, a few tiny bottles of alcohol (I'm giving those away), and a box of family discussion cards that we aren't using any more. 16 items pictured here (counting the bag of gums as 1 item).

Here are a few more kitchen items I decluttered: 1 microwave potato cooker we never used, 1 water bottle (we have too many), and 7 cloths (we don't use these any more). I'm also donating 1 Wii game (it's a duplicate).

And I decluttered a few Christmas items: 4 advent activity books (we haven't used these ones for a couple of years) and 4 kids' Christmas cards (we don't have many kids to give cards to anymore). I also decluttered 2 recipes (we found better ones online).

And not pictured, I decluttered 1 pair of socks and 1 reusable bag.

All totaled I decluttered 38 random items plus the 54 baby items, making 92 items decluttered this week!

I'll be tackling more of my post-holiday items in the new year when we put away our Christmas decorations. The baby clothes were the biggest thing I needed to declutter from our storage room, but I will also take a peek and see what else I may be able to let go of that we haven't used since we moved.

My Progress In The Net Zero Clutter Challenge

We celebrated my birthday this week and I counted 22 new items in (gifts and cards).

I decided this year not to count consumable gifts. Some of them may stick around for a little while since there are so many all at once between my birthday and Christmas, but most of them will be consumed soon enough that it's not worth it to me to take the time to count them.

That's all that entered our home last week except for our Christmas gifts. I haven't counted all of those yet since we are still celebrating today. I will give a total later this week when I finish the series.
In total this week we brought in 22 items and decluttered 92.   So that puts me at a total of 46 items in and 151 items out. So that puts me -70 items this week in the #NetZeroClutter challenge and -105 overall.  My goal for the month was 175 items out so I'm almost there! 

What's Next For You?

Take some time this week to declutter your post-holiday items and storage areas. Or anything you'd like to declutter!  Take some pictures and share your progress on social media using the hashtag #NetZeroClutter.  Let me know how you're doing in the challenge so I can cheer you on!

Sign up to receive my blog posts by email so you get each week's post in your email inbox.  You can unsubscribe after the challenge is over if you don't want to continue receiving my blog posts by email.

I'd also love for you to join our 365 Items in 365 Days Facebook group as you do this challenge!  You'll be able to share with others what you're decluttering and feel encouraged and inspired by everyone else who is also decluttering!

If you'd like more decluttering ideas, you can check out my Decluttering/Purging Tips & Ideas board on Pinterest.

So that's this week's post in the Net Zero Decluttering Challenge!  I'm really enjoying doing this challenge and I'm excited to have you join me.  I love hearing all the stories of how much more you're enjoying your holidays because you're not overwhelmed by all the stuff in your home!

How much did you declutter from your home this week?  How about from your living areas last week?  How are your overall in / out numbers?  Did this challenge help you enjoy your Christmas more because you had less clutter in your home?  I'd love to hear your #NetZeroClutter stories!

Happy organizing decluttering!