springclean

What is a Packing Party?

If you’re unsure what to keep and what to donate/toss try having a Packing Party!

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What is a Packing Party, you say? Well, keep reading.

The basic idea is to invite some friends over, have some snacks, listen to music, maybe drink a little wine (this is the party part) and pack everything you own into boxes. Obviously, this isn’t for those not ready to jump in completely because it will take some time and effort. However, this is perfect for those who have already downsized and bit and want to declutter even more but do not know how to do so.

You should probably warn you friends beforehand that they will be helping pack your entire life into boxes during the party, but most good friends won’t mind giving you a hand.

Once everything you own is packed (organize and label these boxes- it will make your life much easier) over the next 3 to 4 weeks (or longer, depending how quick you want to do this) you will take out things as you use them. For example, the very first night you will probably pull out your toothbrush, bed, couch, bedding, pajamas, etc. Once you have taken something out of the box and used it, place it where it belongs in your home.

The Minimalists created the idea of a Packing Party. Here is an excerpt from their blog on the topic:

“You see, I didn’t want to spend months slowly paring down my possessions like Josh had. That was fine for him, but I needed faster results. So we came up with a crazy idea: let’s throw a Packing Party. (Everything is more fun when you put “party” at the end.) We decided to pack all my belongings as if I were moving. And then I would unpack only the items I needed over the next three weeks.

Josh came over and helped me box up everything: my clothes, my kitchenware, my towels, my electronics, my TVs, my framed photographs and paintings, my toiletries, even my furniture. Everything. We literally pretended I was moving.

After nine hours and a couple pizza deliveries, everything was packed. There we were, sitting in my second living room, feeling exhausted, staring at boxes stacked halfway to my twelve-foot ceiling. My condo was empty and everything smelled like cardboard. Everything I owned—every single thing I had worked for over the past decade—was there in that room. Boxes stacked on top of boxes stacked on top of boxes.

Each box was labeled so I’d know where to go when I needed a particular item. Labels like, “living room,” “junk drawer #1,” “kitchen utensils,” “bedroom closet,” “junk drawer #7.” So forth and so on.

I spent the next twenty-one days unpacking only the items I needed. My toothbrush. My bed and bedsheets. Clothes for work. The furniture I actually used. Kitchenware. A tool set. Just the things that added value to my life.

After three weeks, 80% of my stuff was still in those boxes. Just sitting there. Unaccessed. I looked at those boxes and couldn’t even remember what was in most of them. All those things that were supposed to make me happy weren’t doing their job.

So I donated and sold all of it.

And you know what? I started to feel rich for the first time in my life. I felt rich once I got everything out of the way, so I could make room for everything that remains.”

You can read the entire article here.

  • If packing up your entire apartment or house seems too overwhelming, which it will to those who have quite a bit they’re wanting to downsize, then I suggest to try doing a packing party with individual rooms. For example, do your bedroom and write on the calendar when it’s been 4 weeks so you’ll know your deadline. You can pack up more rooms within those next few weeks or literally just do one at a time and wait until the 3 or 4 weeks is up before starting on another room. This is the easiest way to do the Packing Party. But, I wanted to give you all the backstory of the Packing Party, especially for those who are ready for that big change and don’t want to wait.

I hope this has inspired you. If you have done something similar to downsize your own items, how did you do it?

 

 

Steps & Tips to Declutter the Bathroom

The bathroom was one of the hardest places to declutter when I first started my journey. With bath & beauty products, I always feel like I may use it one day. “But, what if….” or “But, when I…” It was a never ending cycle of bringing in new things to try, keeping the old, and never purging because of those “buts.” However, I finally allowed myself to get rid of everything except those items I use regularly or know I’ll use within the next 30 days. A good rule of thumb is the 30/30 Rule. “If you haven’t used it in the past 30 days and won’t use it in the next 30 days, then toss it.” It has worked wonders in how I decide what I should keep and what I shouldn’t. Though, if the 30/30 Rule makes you a bit nervous, feel free to expand it to 60/60 or whatever makes you feel a little more comfortable. Just be honest with yourself.

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I have come up with a few steps to get you started on purging those items you no longer need or use and a couple tips of how you can store the items you decide to keep.

  1. Remove items: First things, first. Each section of your bathroom will be done individually, or if you’re feeling extra motivated you can do the entire bathroom all at once. You are going to take out EVERYTHING from that section of your bathroom. For example, medicine cabinet, under sink, makeup, nail polish, closet, shower, etc. I do this one at a time, but feel free to completely clear your bathroom if it’ll help keep you on task.
  2. Clean, clean, clean: When you have that space emptied out – scrub! You have no idea how much better your bathroom will look if instead of just throwing stuff out, you literally take everything out and clean the space it will be placed back into. Also, everything you are deciding to keep – clean those too. Bathroom items get hair spray, water spots, tooth paste, makeup, and all sorts of things on the containers. I suggest picking up some of those generic cleansing wipes and wiping them down before placing them back into the freshly cleaned space. Or, to save even more money just fill a bowl with some soapy water and use a wash cloth!
  3. Throw away ALL expired items: Don’t try to convince yourself it’s still good, just toss it. If you need it again one day then you can go out and buy it. More than likely if you have items that are expired, you don’t use them much. This includes, medicines, lotions, creams, face wash, anything that has an expiration date. They put that date on there for a reason. This also includes just items you know to be really old. Doesn’t have to have a date. If it’s been there for a couple of years or more, go ahead and get rid of it.
  4. Separate what is left in four piles: Trash, Donate, Sell, Keep. You will use these four piles in every room in your house. Bathrooms may, or may not, have a lot to put in the sell pile so I typically stick to the remaining three. The donate pile can be separated as well. I usually make one charity pile (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Homeless Shelters, etc) and another pile is a donation to friends/family whom I know would find joy in the items. If you’re planning to donate the items to charity, be sure they are unused (if it’s an item that shouldn’t be shared) or mostly full.
  5. Only keep the items you actually use: Remember to think back to that 30/30 Rule. Clean off the items you’re planning to keep and start putting them back in an organized fashion– like items with like items, used most, etc. You can find your own unique way to organize your items. Also, a good idea is to go to a Dollar Tree near you and grab a couple organizational bins/trays that you can keep certain items in to make it look nice and be more efficient. Loose items, like bobby pins, hair things, etc should all be placed in a container for easy access and to keep the clutter from forming elsewhere in the bathroom.

 

A FEW TIPS: 

  • Keep bathroom decorations to a minimum. You already are placing quite a bit in a small area. Decoration will just make that space seem cluttered.
  • Try to keep countertops and flat surfaces clear of items. If you want to put something on there, I suggest putting something on there that is used daily– handsoap, toothbrushes, etc. I’ve been to so many bathrooms where they have some sort of decorations on the sink/counter just to have something there. Believe me, your bathroom will look much neater and clean without it there.
  • Do NOT purchase more of an item that you already have. Use the item you already have until it is completely gone. This will not only save you money, but it will save your bathroom from getting cluttered again.
  • When in doubt of whether or not to purge an item, ask yourself these three questions. 1. Do I like this? 2. Do I use this? 3. Do I need this? If you answer no to any of those questions, you should consider parting with it.
  • If an item is discolored, separating, or has a foul odor – dispose of it, regardless of time kept. Bath, body, and beauty items stay good for a while, but not forever.
  • If you need to organize a bathroom drawer, consider purchasing a cheap silverware or other drawer organizer.
  • Spice racks work great within cabinets or on wall for those with very limited space.

 

I hope you have found this information beneficial in some way! Consider doing this in the bathroom at least a few times per year to keep it clean, organized, and clutter free.

 

Saturday is EARTH DAY! (4/22)

This Saturday, April 22, is Earth Day! What a perfect opportunity to share how, and why, we recycle with your children! Make it a fun game for them!

It is also a great opportunity for all of us beginning our Spring Cleaning to gather all of our recyclables to take them to the recycling center. Not only will you be doing Mother Nature a favor, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor by ridding your house of some clutter!

WHAT CAN BE RECYCLED? 

  • Metal (cans, foil, bakeware, appliances)
  • Paper/Cardboard (paper, magazines, cardboard, newspaper, phonebooks)
  • Glass
  • Plastics (make sure it’s clean)
  • Batteries/Bulbs (car batteries, household batteries, rechargeable, LED bulbs)
  • Electronics (computers, office equipment, TVs, consumer electronics, phones)

For more information on what can be recycled and how to recycle it, check out the Waste Management website here.

If decluttering your home isn’t on your to-do list, there are some ways you can enjoy Earth Day without spending a dime!

Life is about experiences, not purchases. Remember that.

My favorite thing to do on Earth Day is to take a hike or walk outside. There are plenty of areas you can do this. You can take a walk in your neighborhood or walk with some friends on a hiking trail. If you Google your area along with “hiking trails,” I’m sure you’ll find some great places to go.

Another great way to enjoy Earth Day is by visiting a lake, ocean, or river. Anywhere that brings you closer to Mother Nature. Breathe in the fresh air and just enjoy being outside. We find ourselves bustling about and never truly stop and “smell the roses.” Try to do that this Earth Day. You’ll enjoy it, I promise.

BONUS EARTH DAY FREEBIE: 

If you’re lucky enough to live close to a National Park–

Earth Day is FREE admission to National Parks!

See a list of National Parks participating in the FREE admission here.

 

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Try to find something positive to do this weekend that will benefit our planet.

 

Where to Begin?

It can be extremely overwhelming to begin the journey of decluttering your home. Believe me, I know. One look in that bedroom closet or living room and — nope, no way. Maybe next week. I’ve been there, done that. But, after researching online I found a great way to start the process. This can take as much or as little time each day as you’d like. It’s called…. 30 Bags in 30 Days Challenge. I did this challenge after already having downsized by at least 50% and still managed to find 30 bags worth of junk in 30 days.

The 30 Bags in 30 Days Challenge was created by the YouTube Channel My Great Challenge. That link will send you straight to her playlist of her decluttering her home for the 30 day challenge. I binged watched the entire playlist in just a few days. If she doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know who will.

The rules are simple:

  • Go through your home filling at least ONE bag per day of things to get rid of. These things can go into one of four categories – Trash, Donate, Recycle, or Sell.
  • The bigger the bags, the better. However, you can choose whatever size bag you would like for the challenge.

WORDS OF ADVICE

  1. My advice for the first day is to go from room to room gathering all the visible trash or things you know you want to throw away. That is a great way to get the actual trash out of the way so you can start purging other items later.
  2. Another piece of advice is to put your bags of donation items in the trunk of your car immediately after filling it. This will help keep the temptation of going back through it to a minimum and will also keep you from forgetting it at home. That way when you’re in town close to wherever you choose to donate, you can drop it off quickly and on your way to your next destination.
  3. As for the recycling pile– be honest with yourself. If you don’t think you will ever make it out to that recycling center then just trash the items and maybe start incorporating recycling into your routine later. The main purpose of this challenge is to rid your house and living space of the clutter, not just move it to another part of the house.
  4. That being said, same goes for your Sell pile. If you don’t think you will ever get to listing those items online or having that yardsale, then donate the items or find someone who may be willing to help sell them for you. If you are able and willing to actually sell your items, you can sell them on your town’s Yardsale pages on Facebook, eBay, or even at an actual garage sale.
  5. As for makeup, bath, and body items — if it’s expired, toss it. No question. However, if it something that was maybe given to you or you’ve had a while that you never use, try checking out your local women’s shelter or homeless shelters. A lot of times, they are more than happy to take them off your hands and the people at the shelters will be ecstatic about getting some new items they can use.

 

I will be writing more blog posts with my advice and some tips and tricks for decluttering your home. This is just to give you some of the basics that I’ve learned and help you find a starting point.

Here are a few more YouTube Channels that decided to do the 30 Bags in 30 Days Challenge, in case you need a bit more inspiration:

deelovelylife

Transforming Melody

Living With Less

If you have started your decluttering or minimalist journey, how did you start? How did you get past that sense of being overwhelmed?

Good luck, everyone! Happy decluttering! Believe me, you’ll feel so much better after this challenge. Like a breath of fresh air!