Decluttering Living Areas {NetZero Decluttering Challenge 2018} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Decluttering Living Areas {NetZero Decluttering Challenge 2018}

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Decluttering Living Areas {NetZero Decluttering Challenge 2018}

Do you feel overwhelmed during the month of December with all the stuff that enters your home? It makes it hard to enjoy this festive time of year.

I've found that when I declutter throughout the month it really helps me feel less overwhelmed and I can enjoy Christmas much more.  Will you join me in the Net Zero Decluttering Challenge this year?

If you're entertaining at all over the holidays you'll want your main living areas to be clutter-free so you have space for your guests to enjoy themselves. Rooms like your living room, family room, dining room, and entry / hallway.  If you're having guests stay with you during the holidays, this would be a good time to declutter the guest room too.

Today I'm sharing tips for decluttering your living areas!

A reminder or quick summary if you're new: each week I'm sharing decluttering tips to help you declutter a different area of your home.  You don't have to declutter those specific items though... you can declutter anything you want to! If you do that all month, you can end December with the same number of items in your home (or maybe even less!) than what you started the month with! You can see the previous posts in the series as well as previous years' posts here.

This Week's Decluttering Focus - Living Areas

Our living areas tend to become cluttered quickly and easily, even if we're pretty diligent about tidying up regularly. It's easy to dump things and not pick them up because these are the rooms we spend most of our time in. And once there are a few items on a table or surface, it's easy to just add a few more and then a few more and before you know it... you've got a cluttered room.

One of the good things about clutter in living areas is that often it's actually items that belong somewhere else in our homes. So it's not "clutter" in the true definition of the word (things we don't need, use, love, or have the space to store). It's more like piles of stuff we were too lazy to bother putting away before. Or that other family members didn't put away. It shouldn't take a long time to put all these items back where they belong.

But, in the midst of those kinds of items, there is also likely some actual clutter. Items we actually don't use, or need, or love. And since our living areas are not intended to be storage areas, if the items have landed there, we likely don't have the space to store them elsewhere.

Those are the kinds of items I want you to focus on this week. We want items to leave our homes as part of the #NetZeroClutter challenge!

Here are a few tips to help you declutter your living areas:
  • Relocate items that you still need, use, and love (I recommend putting them in a pile or box or basket as you go through each room and then put them all away at the end, rather than putting each individual item away as you come cross it - you'll stay focused and finish quicker this way).
  • Throw away any garbage or recycling that has accumulated in your living areas (likely lots of unnecessary paperwork and food wrappers).
  • Go through your magazines and newspapers and only keep the last 1-2 of each (as long as you still plan to read them).
  • Declutter any coats, jackets, shoes, or boots that don't fit or that haven't been worn in over a year and put off-season outerwear somewhere else in your home (spare room closet, wardrobe in the basement, storage bins, etc.) so there's plenty of room for your guests' items when they visit.
  • Add a basket on or under coffee tables or end tables for small items like remotes, charging cords, pens, notepads, coasters, etc. so your surfaces look nice and can remain uncluttered.
  • Add a basket or tray near the entry for small items like keys, glasses, wallets, spare change, etc. so they don't make the entry area appear cluttered when guests arrive.
  • If your guest room has become a dumping ground and you need it to be an oasis, start in one corner and work your way through the room, focusing on surfaces and the floor especially - pick up every single thing and either relocate items that don't belong there, declutter items you don't need/use/love, or create "homes" for items that do belong there. It may take a little while but your guests will appreciate it and you will feel lighter without all that clutter :)

Other posts with related tips

Once you declutter your living areas, spend 10-15 minutes each evening with everyone in the family working together to put items away where they belong so your rooms stay clutter-free.

Decluttering My Living Areas

I generally stay pretty on top of tidying our living room, dining room, and hallway because they're all fairly small and it drives me crazy if there's stuff everywhere.  Especially right now because all our Christmas decorations are out.

We decorated our tree last night (very late compared to normal because I couldn't deal with our kitten getting into everything for a whole month LOL). My daughter decluttered 2 ornaments that were too princess-y for her 12-year-old self. She still kept a few because someday she may want to look back fondly on her princess-loving childhood :)

I donated a collapsible cubby-hole / shoe rack that we used in our old house for the kids' shoes, hats, mitts, etc. But it doesn't fit well in our new entry and I initially held onto it in case I found a better place to use it. But I haven't and our new system seems to be working fairly well so it's time to finally let this go.

    Decluttering My Kitchen (Last Week's Focus)

    I did a fairly thorough decluttering of our kitchen last month so there wasn't much to declutter this past week. But I did find 2 Graty blades and the instruction booklet. I'm pretty sure I gave the Graty away already awhile ago so I will donate these too.

    And I haven't used my Thunderstick Pro 8 in 1 blender since we moved (and not for awhile before that). I loved it for making homemade baby food when my kids were babies and I've used it for other things over the years, but I think I can do everything I need to with my Nutri Ninja so I'm decluttering the Thunderstick. One less appliance taking up space in my kitchen :)

    I also found 6 bottles of expired meds and vitamins so I'm dropping them off at the drugstore.

    Other Decluttering This Week

    I had been saving up some decluttered clothing items that weren't good enough to donate or give away (torn, stained, worn out, etc.). I've got 3 bags of them and will be marking them as "Textiles" and donating them to a local thrift store that is able to send them for textile recycling. It's a great way to keep clothing out of landfills (big environmental problem in our fast-fashion society).

    And my kids went through their DVD's and video games and decluttered 29 of them!

    Here are a few more decluttered items this week:

    • 1 fridge rack I was given awhile back but never really found a good use for
    • 2 pairs of outgrown pants
    • 1 school project from years ago that my son was willing to let go now (might have been partly due to the kitten getting into it)
    • 1 plant that died
    • 1 big desk I've used for years but we weren't really using it anymore and it was taking up a lot of space and turning into a dumping ground
    • 1 more pair of broken headphones
    • 1 toddler princess table and chairs set that my daughter outgrew years ago but still liked having in her room

    Feels great to have things leaving our house before Christmas!

    My Progress in the #NetZeroClutter challenge

    I'm so glad I'm doing this challenge, because it's such a busy time of year and I normally wouldn't devote much time to decluttering. But because I know I need to write a weekly update, I'm intentionally going through areas that I wouldn't otherwise tackle right now. And it feels GREAT! It just reminds me how little time it takes to really make a big difference in our homes :)
    This week only 1 item entered our home (a ski machine that a fellow 365'r was decluttering but that I can actually use!).   And 47 items left our home. So that puts me at -46 items this week in the #NetZeroClutter challenge and -87 overall.  I may  not reach my target of 150, but I do have some items in my garage that I need to go through after Christmas so hopefully that will help. I will have LOTS of items coming in before my next update between my 50th birthday and Christmas, so I'm curious to see what my total is then!

    What's Next For You?

    Take some time this week to declutter your living 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 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 living areas this week?  How about your kitchen items last week?  How are your overall in / out numbers?

    Happy organizing decluttering!