How to Organize Your Home: A Place for Every Item Part 2
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As I explained in Part 1 of How to Organize Your Home: A Place for Every Item; every single item in your home needs a resting place. Without a home within your home for your items clutter will start to gather and become overwhelming and home organization will be harder to maintain. Of course some of that clutter may need to go before you get started organizing. For suggestions on how to declutter and purge the unnecessary items in your home check out the 8 week garbage bag decluttering challenge or 12 items you should purge before you move. If you’re ready to start organizing, keep reading!
So I counted once. If you combined comforters, bedspreads, blankets, and throws we have 33 total. We are a 4 person family; I can admit 33 is probably a few too many. Some of them are currently folded and sitting in a chair in our TV room for when we want to cuddle up and watch a movie. I have a light weight and heavy weight one for each bed with the off-season ones stored in the linen closets. Plus we have about 10 that go in our 5th wheel trailer. I’m going to need a place to store them all in our dream home. Currently I’m considering different organization options including: linen closets, trunks, cabinets, and dressers. A nice decorative basket or blanket ladder might work well in the right setting such as a guest bedroom or living room.
Here are a few DIY ideas:
I love this painted cabinet from Fred and Bessie’s
The DIY blanket storage chest below is perfect for a guest room from A Touch of Beautiful
For smaller spaces or budgets try this DIY blanket ladder from Remodelaholic instead
If you are less of a DIY and more of an online shopper. Check out these options from Amazon:
Simple storage baskets can give a homey and decorative touch while also providing function
A nice coffee table with storage underneath or in the middle would also work great.
A great way to keep blankets handy in the living room without feeling cluttered or them ending up on the floor.
For larger spaces and that farmhouse feel consider a cabinet with a sliding barn door for blanket storage
Whats your preferred blanket storage system? How many blankets and other similar items do you have around your house? I will probably purge a few of these blankets before we move since there isn’t a need to have 33 for our small family. Getting rid of excess items is one of my tips for decluttering items you don’t need prior to moving. I will be following my own advice!
Craft Supply Organization
I’m honestly not that crafty. But every now and then I get a wild hair up my bum and decide to make something like this (below) for everyone in my family. I needed wood, paint, nails, string of different colors, and a whole lot of other supplies and tools for this endeavor. I’ll admit I was not very organized during the project.
(Find the round-up from Sugar Bee Crafts here with links to the how-to posts)
During the project and after completion the supplies were strewn haphazardly all over the living room, kitchen table, and back porch for a few months. Leftover supplies got shoved into a drawer or placed on a shelf until my next project comes around and joins them. I don’t think I need some fancy craft organization system but a cabinet dedicated to crafting supplies in the utility room would be helpful. Plus this kids have their paints and play-doh and such that also needs a home to rest. Here’s a great round up of craft supply organizing ideas from Heart Handmade.
Check out this extremely organized crafting closet by Designed Improvised:
If you have room, you might consider a crafting table/storage system in one. You can always build one yourself. But if you prefer a simpler approach Amazon has these as well:
There are all kinds of little boxes for beads, pom-poms, pipe-cleaners, etc. Depending on the types of crafts you enjoy doing you may need a variety of storage containers. Here are a few options to choose as needed.
Holiday Decor Organization
I have an entire post dedicated to organizing holiday decor. Head on over and check it out when you’re ready. There was so much to say and so many ideas I couldn’t just write a paragraph and post a couple of suggestions.
With electronic photos this is easier than ever! Some people prefer to organize electronically and just print a few of their favorite photos out for viewing. If that’s more your style check out these awesome posts for organizing digital photographs: Spring Cleaning 365 Declutter and Organize Digital Photos, The Organized Mama How to Organize Pictures on Your Computer, Simple Scrapper Easy Digital Photo Organization for Non-Techie People. I enjoy using Walgreen’s website for photos. It’s easy to upload and create picture books for different vacations we’ve been on. I also really enjoy their photo collages. If you have old printed photos around consider electronically filing them by scanning them to your computer for better photograph organization.
For already printed photos or if you prefer to print pictures on a regular basis there are some great options for keeping them organized below. Utilized picture frames or photo books and toss those old shoe-boxes! This is definitely an area I need to work on in my own life. Tune my Heart Blog has great advice for How to Organize Your Photos: A System that Works. If you have a photo organizing and displaying system I would love to hear about it in the comments!
One Crazy House 14 Simple Tips and Tricks to Organize Your Photos
There 100s of adorable photo albums to choose from to display your photos. You can also take up scrap booking if you’re crafty and can find the time!
Don’t forget to get some amazing picture frames to display your favorite photos. Here are some options for creating some eye popping photo walls: The Todd and Erin Favorite Five have an awesome picture hanging guide and the Just the Jensen Family has a great DIY gallery wall (see below).
Grab your own frames via the Amazon links below!
Books shelves are obviously the most common and reasonable storage and organization system for books. However, just piling all your books on a shelf in no particular order isn’t very helpful. Consider making each shelf its own category, alphabetizing each row, and donating or re-gifting any books you (or the kids) are never going to read again. I’d like to get a little more creative in my dream home for book organization. I plan to separate children’s books and my books. I really love these organization strategies for children’s books:
Simply Kierste Design collaborated with Oopsey Daisy for this color coded kid’s book organization system
It’s Overflowing has the plans to make this awesome Wall Mount Bookshelf for kid’s books storage
For more sophisticated spaces and those of you that have just as many books as your kids check out these options for organizing and storing your favorite books:
Painted by Prestige turned this unused closet into a reading nook
Up to Date Interiors has some awesome advice for decorating and styling your bookshelves so they are cute and functional!
For additional bookshelf storage, styling, and organizing ideas check out this round up by I am Baker and this one on Gurl. For home library inspiration or eye candy here’s a great round up of 15 Stunning Home Library Decor Ideas To Inspire You and another 50 jaw dropping home library design ideas here. If you’re getting the itch to start decorating, styling, and organizing see below for some shelving to help you get started!
A drop zone or command center (check out these ideas or these) is a great place for incoming/outgoing mail, bills that need to be paid, and magazine subscriptions that need to be kept neat. Our dream home is going to have a command center/mail sorter built in to make mail and paper organization easier. Our current home doesn’t have an ideal space for this and we end up using the kitchen counter. I’m really horrible at keeping paper clutter organized and at bay. Hopefully you find these ideas as inspiring and necessary as I do.
One Creative Housewife has a great tutorial for this functional command center.
Jenna Burger Design created this family command center and also has some free printables if you’re interested
These command centers will work amazing for the daily ins and outs. But what about the papers you need to keep? Filing cabinet work great but they need some organizing. Do you know which papers you actually need to keep? And for how long? Modern Homemakers Society has a great post on organizing paperwork. Looking for different ideas? Check out A Cultivated Nest’s post for different tips for organizing personal papers. Make sure to have a plan for decluttering the filing cabinet yearly so it doesn’t over fill. Check out The Federal Trade Commission’s Infographic for when to shred and when to keep personal papers.
Here are some great options if you’re looking to DIY command center style. Don’t forget to look for filing cabinets and other needs while you’re shopping!
Do you love to cook? Do you have several cookbooks that barely get opened? If you’re like me you answered yes to both questions! With the internet and ease of carrying a smart phone around, old fashioned cookbooks just don’t much sense in the modern world. This is a great post by The No Pressure Life on how to create a digital cookbook of all your favorite recipes. Right now I like my current system, but I might try something like that for organizing my favorites in the future.
I find tons of recipes on Pinterest and usually once a year I sit down and pull them into my Pepperplate account. I love Pepperplate because it’s FREE and its both a website and app. The program allows you to load recipes and meal plan, create a grocery list, and organize it all in one place. The recipes will automatically populate your grocery list if you want! It’s super simple to use. Highly recommend it; definitely the best recipe organization system I’ve ever used. If you prefer to print your recipes check out this Printable Recipe Binder from The Pioneer Woman.
I get a new cookbook every year from my mom for Christmas. It’s a tradition that I imagine will continue for a while. I plan to keep these cookbooks and few of my other favorites. I just can’t seem to part with them. Since I won’t be purging these items I’ll need a good system to organize them and the recipes inside when we move to our dream home! I plan on adding the recipe name and ingredients to my Pepperplate account and noting which page the recipe is on and which book its in. That way I can have the ingredient list handy but don’t have to add the directions to the app. If I want to make that meal I can just quickly look up which book and page I need to find the recipe. Here are some great ideas for storing cookbooks in your home:
The 2 Seasons
Deeply Southern Home/Paper Daisy Design DIY Custom Shelving
Board Game Organization
We love board games at our house! They’re super fun to play and make for some great family quality time. I scoured Pinterest for some storage ideas for you because our games currently sit on the top shelf of our playroom closet. The kids can’t even see them much less reach them when they want to play. I need a more kid friendly storage solution. In our previous house we stored them in a hall closet. That wasn’t particularly ideal either because they didn’t fit well and we were constantly moving and shuffling them around to get the ones we want. I added my 2 favorite ideas below but if you need more inspiration check out the Money Saving Sisters round up for starting board games. Because board game boxes are all different shapes and sizes these 2 board game organization ideas made the most sense to me:
Hometalk repurposed ladder
Joyful Homemaking Board Game Storage Tips
Between my first How to Organize Your Home Post and this one I’ve covered 13 different topics. What am I missing? I’m sure they’re are more items that need to be organized. Leave a comment below with your best home organization tips or let me know what items are giving you trouble!
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Organizing and Decluttering Your Home: Holiday Decor Edition
The fall holiday season tends to be a time of year that most people accumulate more items. This makes it the perfect time to evaluate the items you already have! It’s also a very sentimental and emotional time of year for many. I have designed this post to help you see your excess holiday decor for what it is: clutter. Also, I’ve provided for you a step-by-step guide on how to evaluate your items, how to get rid of what you don’t need, and how to utilize and store what you love.
*This post may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase from the links provided.
I am going to share 6 steps for decluttering, storing, and utilizing your decor. The idea is to keep the best items and purge the rest. This process may be difficult for some of you, but I believe in you and I know you can come out feeling free on the other side. I will be brutally honest with you but for this to work, you will have to be honest with yourself.
You will consider how some items might bring joy to other people’s homes and re-gift or donate some of your decor. This might be a great gift for people who lost many of their possessions in the hurricanes or fires recently. As they rebuild their lives they may be wanting to have some type of normalcy for their kids this Christmas. You can also consider giving old decorations to a senior center, homeless shelter, or other non-profit facility to brighten up their holiday season.
Is Your Holiday Decor Out of Hand?
Many of you have way more holiday decorations than you need. Honestly only so many ornaments can hang on one tree. What’s that? You have multiple trees?! *face palm*
When I started working on this post I searched Pinterest for helpful links I could share with you like I always do. I was saddened by how many decor storage posts there are with people having 10-20 (or more) totes of holiday decor they’re storing. How many memories could have been made with the money spent on those decor items? Could the family have had more fun together instead of shopping for holiday decor? How much time is wasted sorting, finding, re-boxing, etc every year that could have been spent being more productive or making more memories?
It can easily get out of hand. For example, I once knew a lady who had 7 Christmas trees each with their own theme and set of ornaments. She lived in a small condo that had limited storage. She literally rented a storage unit so she could store her Christmas themed decor for 11 months a year to enjoy it for 1 month. That’s $1200 a year to STORE items for 30 days?!? That doesn’t include the initial cost of the decor either. I know a lot of other things I would rather spend $1200 on each year than buying or storing Christmas decor.
This topic hits home for me because growing up my family had too many boxes of Christmas ornaments to count. It always felt a bit overwhelming each year. I remember wondering as a child why we had so many ornaments and only one tree to hang them on. We could only use about a quarter of the ornaments in our home each year. We used our favorites like the Hallmark Crayola Ornament series and some handmade items and passed over many others. I understand not using glass/breakable ornaments with young children in the house but if you have cats or dogs that tend to rummage through the Christmas tree and you’ve spent years avoiding your glass ornaments – it’s time to get rid of them.
The Joy of Christmas Decor
There is a Christmas movie about an ornament named Noel. Noel has a special Joy to spread each Christmas. As the years past and Noel’s owners grow old he gets put away and forgotten for many years. I remember the story as Noel getting sadder and sadder every Christmas as he and the other ornaments stored with him start to lose their shine and luster. He actually never loses his hope or joy. But this made me sad as a child for all our extra ornaments that sat in boxes year after year. I thought they probably felt like sad and forgotten and that would tug at my heart. The movie has a happy ending but most of my family’s ornaments did not. In fact, nearly every single ornament from my parent’s stash and my grandmother’s stash are still in their boxes and haven’t seen the light of day in about 10 years.
I want you to become determined not to buy items that will not be used for their full potential. I realize inanimate objects don’t actually have feelings but if you take the approach of “is this item serving its intended purpose or not” it can help you when trying to declutter your home. Don’t just consider its overall usefulness, consider its usefulness to you. As in, do you actually use it? If not, it’s time to get rid of it! Let it be useful to someone who will actually use it.
I also understand the sentiment behind many Christmas (or other holiday) items. Maybe it was your first set of ornaments (I gave mine away because I bought them with an ex) or your child made it when they were 5 (but now they’re 35 and it hasn’t been placed on your tree in 10 years). How precious can an item be to you if you never enjoy it? We’ve all heard the stories of saving something for a special occasion that never comes. Let’s aim to make every holiday special and joyful.
Use the China, hang up the precious ornaments, and put out the antique decor. If something gets broken and least it lived its last days serving a purpose instead of collecting dust. Live by this:
Your home is a living space, not a storage space. – Francine Jay
I know I’ve mentioned Christmas a lot because that’s the biggest holiday for our family. For others its Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, or even Fourth of July. I’m not trying to convince you not to decorate. Of course putting up the tree or having the annual Easter egg hunt is important and creates many amazing family memories. All I’m asking is for you to not let the things become more important than your family or the reason the Holidays even exist in the first place.
We have some family friends who have a patriotic themed sitting room. I love the idea! Take your favorite Holiday and enjoy it all year. Put up your American flags and red, white, and blue decor up and keep it up. There’s no need to stop enjoying it just because July 4th has passed (or Memorial Day, or Labor Day). This could work for any holiday if you have a parlor, sitting room, or formal living room to decorate.
Time to get down to business.
First of all, it’s time to get honest with yourself and purge your excess holiday decor. What does having all of those items bring you? Frustration? Difficulty? Clutter? They’re supposed to bring you joy. Items are meant to be used, looked at, or loved. They can’t do any of those things sitting in a box.
Declutter Decor Step 1: Gather
Bring out your entire stash of holiday decor. ALL OF IT. For each holiday. Put it all in one place so you can see how much you have accumulated over the years. You can organize by holiday but all decor items need to be viewed during this process. Don’t skip anything because you “know you use it every year” or what not. Include things like:
- Christmas ornaments
- Stocking hangers
- Indoor and outdoor holiday lights
- Christmas tree skirt
- Holiday themed blankets, pillows, or other bedding items
- Centerpieces for each occasion
- Easter baskets
- Easter eggs
- Other Easter Decor
- Wall decor
- Table top decor
- Floor decor
- Door hangers, wreaths, etc
- Yard Decor
- Display items
- Front porch decor
- Linens, potholders, hand towels
- Soap dispensers
- Plates, serving trays, glassware, etc
- Candles, potpourri, vases
- Flags, banners
Declutter Decor Step 2: Contemplate
Now that everything is out in the open it’s time to go through it and actually declutter. Make sure to lay eyes on each items. Don’t put an entire box of ornaments in the keep box without checking for broken ones first. For additional decluttering Ideas check out this post from Overwhelmed to Organized Blog on decluttering holiday decorations. Although I love the KonMari method of decluttering, I believe with Holiday decor we have to be a little more hardcore with our decision-making. There will be many items that bring you joy that you will need to remove from your stash. A sentimental attachment to a holiday decor item is not a good enough reason alone to keep it. Here are 11 questions to ask yourself when deciding which items to purge:
Declutter Decor Step 3: Sort
Step 2 and 3 go together. As you contemplate your items and make your decisions sort your items into their respective boxes. You will need a box to: keep, donate, re-gift, or trash boxes. Here are some tips on which items should go in what box. If it is…
- Sentimental, brings you joy, and you use it every year – keep! If it’s sentimental but you NEVER use it – Get rid of it!
- No longer your style or doesn’t fit your overall home theme or current life but can still achieve its purpose – donate or re-gift!
- Still functional and can still serve its original purpose but you don’t like it or have a use for it: Re-gift to grown children, a friend you know would love it, or person in need.
- Broken, damaged, no longer in working order, or otherwise useless – Throw it out!
Declutter Decor Step 4: Take Action
After you’ve given you’ve done the first 3 steps, you actually have to follow through with your decisions! Take the trash box(es) out immediately. No going back for second looks. Move the donation boxes to the trunk of the car and schedule a time within the next week to drop them off to their specified places. Consider donating holiday decor to local nursing homes, hospitals, churches, non-profits, schools, or homeless shelters. Always check with locations in your area before dropping items off. Of course you can always donate to places like Goodwill or Salvation Army as well.
Decide who you are going to re-gift items to and sort them accordingly. These need to be gifted during the current holiday season/year. No putting them in boxes and storing for another 5-10 years! Go ahead and wrap them and write names on them. Don’t give yourself a chance to change your mind. You can even mail them this week for early presents. There is no reason to wait for the specific holiday. Let your friend or family member know you were thinking of them any time.
Declutter Decor Step 5: Organize and Store
I wanted to focus on helping you let go of the excess instead of sharing storage hacks for holiday decor. There are hundreds of blog posts out there on the matter like this one on Smart ways to store holiday decor and this one about decluttering and organizing holiday decor using the KonMari method. But I realized you will probably need a few tips and tricks to help you prevent a recurrence of an overload of holiday decor.
You will need to create a system for decor storage that works for you. Storage systems should be created with ease of access, organization, and re-storing in mind. I highly recommend clear storage containers or open storage so you can actually see the items you have. This can help prevent bringing duplicates into the home and also makes it easy to find what you are looking for when the time comes to decorate. I also recommend smaller storage containers. Although I currently use full-sized totes/bins I realize now that they’re hard to maneuver. Some get to heavy or break because they have too much weight stored in them.
Here are some options for storing Christmas decor:
Real Simple Holiday 112-Count Ornament Storage Box
Simplify – 500 light storage tote with 5 Cardboard Winders
Simplify Set of Two 24inch Wreath Bags
Give Yourself Decor Limits
Determine and set some guidelines on the amount of holiday decor you think is acceptable to keep in your home. Give yourself a limit of how many bins, totes, baskets, or boxes you will keep with holiday decor. I honestly don’t know a realistic number. You might start with reducing the number your started with by a certain amount if you felt you had too many or you could guesstimate how many would be realistic over the next few years. You may have five totes for one holiday and only half a tote full devoted to another holiday. The distribution doesn’t have to be equal.
Also consider your current storage space. This may determine how many totes you can keep. Review it and check how many totes will fit, you may find that you cannot have more than 10 total. Also consider if you have existing shelving or if boxes/totes will be stacked. You may want to change your current system if you are stacking 5 boxes on top of one another meaning to get to the bottom box it requires a lot of work! Also, you’ll want sturdy storage containers if you’re stacking them instead of placing them on shelves.
How you arrive at your limit will be individual, but you must have a limit! This step is vital because we often buy additional decor items after holidays are over when they go on sale. If you continually bring new items in though you’ll just have more to store and will run out of space. Don’t fall victim to this! If you’re bringing more in; some must go out! Make a plan to review your decor items every year as you decorate and re-ask the questions above to determine if you should keep it or not.
General Storage Options
Sterilite 19849806 18 Quart/17 Liter Ultra Latch Box,
Clear with a White Lid and Black Latches, 6-Pack
IRIS 5 Quart Stack & Pull Box, 10 Pack
Remember, if you replace or get a new turkey platter for thanksgiving, then donate your old one. If you purchase new Halloween door decor this year; consider re-gifting lasts years. No one needs 6 Christmas wreaths when you only have 1 front door!
Pick a Storage System
How are you going to organize for easy access and re-storage? Make sure to keep these tips in mind:
Store like items with each other (table decor with other table decor for example)
Store each holiday’s items together (Halloween items stored with Easter items doesn’t make sense)
Label storage bins by Holiday
List the items in the container
I Heart Organization has a great detailed post on organizing and storing holiday decor. Her post includes a free label printable. You can also easily search pinterest for different ideas like using egg-crates for ornaments and zipper bags for your own handmade storage options.
I didn’t include organizing wrapping paper in this post because it’s not just used for holidays. But if you would like advice on organizing and storing your gift wrap supplies check out my post on organizing your home.
Declutter Decor Step 6: Decorate!
Finally, you will need to create a system for decorating. Decorating systems should be created with a calendar of events in mind. When will you bring out those Easter decorations? Will you put up the fall decor after Labor Day? Make a plan to use it. You can place this plan as a reminder in your phone, write it in a bullet journal, or add it to your wall calendar. Just make sure it’s somewhere you can see it and access it. This may be a good plan for you but feel free to add or delete any Holidays as needed for your family:
Valentines Day: Feb 1st – Feb 28
St. Patrick’s Day: March 1st – Weekend after St. Pat’s Day
Easter: Weekend after St. Patty’s Day – Weekend after Easter
Memorial Day: May 15th – Weekend after Memorial Day
Fourth of July: June 15th – Weekend after July 4th
Labor Day: August 15th – Weekend after Labor Day
Halloween: October 1st – Weekend after Halloween
Thanksgiving: Weekend after Halloween – Friday after Thanksgiving
Christmas: Friday after Thanksgiving – Jan 1st
If you don’t have a plan, it will sit in the box for another year without being able to bring anyone joy or serve its purpose. Trust me, my Easter decor never made it out this year. Mark it on your calendar and make a family event out of it. If you notice that you constantly forget to decorate for a certain holiday it may be time to part with those particular decorations.
What other holiday decor decluttering, organizing, or storage advice do you have? I would love your feedback in the comments below.
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For more home organization tips check out: How to Organize Your Home: A Place for Every Item Part 1 and Part 2
Get rid of clutter one trash bag at a time
Americans have too much stuff. The LA Times reported the average American household has 300,000 items in it! This post from Becoming Minimalist has some other eye-opening clutter statistics. If you are anything like me, you would rather spend your free time doing things you enjoy rather than organizing and decluttering your home. I decided to challenge myself to eliminating clutter. We are building our dream home and I don’t want to take things with me that won’t add to our dream. I’ve started a list of items to purge before we move that you might find helpful as well. To get started with a decluttering project it can help to have a goal. Feel free to edit your goal as needed.
*Post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase off the links I’ll make a small commission at no extra charge to you.
I Challenged myself to declutter a garbage bag worth of items every week for 8 weeks
The challenge literally consisted of 1 rule: Purge one 13 gallon trash sack worth of items each week. I’ve written this post over the past 8 weeks as I went through this project. I wanted to track progress as I went. My hope is that you will find items to declutter in your own house by using my examples. Please leave a comment with items you were able to declutter at the bottom of this post. Best wishes on your decluttering journey.
Declutter Week 1: Magazines
I’ve moved an entire tote full of old magazines 3 times. I finally recycled all of them my first week. I cannot tell you how liberating this was. Silly reasons I was holding on to them: maybe I would finally go through them and use the recipes I marked, I might want to use an article from the nutrition journals, or other ridiculous lies I told myself. I’ve decided I will NOT be ordering any more paper magazine subscriptions in the near future. Are you holding on to old magazines in your house?
Total trash sacks to date: 1
Decluttering Week 2: Trash and Recycling
I filled 2 garbage sacks with trash and recycling just by doing a 30 minute sweep of my house. Items that I said goodbye to: tote full of scraps from a reupholstery project. From last year… Why this wasn’t tossed sooner, don’t ask. Packing materials from a delivery received a while back. Way too many empty toilet rolls to count (note to self: put a trash can in the toilet room!!). Junk mail, magazines, old receipts, empty water bottles. This list continues. Don’t judge. Consider doing a quick sweep of your own house and look for items that belong in the trash.
Also found these random items my sister had left behind when she moved (3 months ago). I ended up giving her two of my cookbooks as well. Win!
Total trash sacks to date: 3.5
Decluttering Week 3: Garage Scraps
Unexpectedly my husband lost something in the garage so we spent an hour decluttering construction materials. I asked when the last time he used any of the scraps he was holding on to. He said probably never. We filled a trailer bed full of Sheetrock, wood scraps, and even some Styrofoam. I wasn’t expecting this but I’m very happy this is out of the garage. I can actually get to all the shelving now. If most people are honest, there are probably several things in their garages or storage areas that just need to be tossed. Are you holding on to items that you “might use some day”? I recommend purging them.
Total trash sacks to date: 3.5 +scraps
Decluttering Week 4: Office Supplies and Old Papers
Office supplies were my next items to sort through. I emptied the dresser I’d been storing them inside. What’s that saying about out of sight out of mind? Yeah. Anyway, I tested all the pens and put the usable ones in our office, stuck the outdated stationary (from 2009 when I graduated college…) in the recycle, and threw away the 3 extra remotes we had accumulated. Then organized the random items I came across. After everything was either purged or organized I only had that little pink box left of items without a home or place. P.S. anyone need an almost full box of resume paper?
Since I didn’t get rid of any large items in this clean out I also went thru a box of old school projects, work materials, and random paperwork. I filled the bottom half a garbage sack with recyclable papers. Woot woot! Are you keeping excess office supplies, craft materials, or items that you once used but really aren’t useful to you anymore?
Total trash sacks to date: 4 +scraps
Decluttering Week 5: My Clothing
Closet clean outs are daunting tasks. To make it easier I implement the hanger trick every year. I sell gently used clothing on poshmark (my closet on Poshmark). So far I’ve only made a whopping $80 but I’m optimistic. I reviewed my closet and any of the nice items I haven’t worn in a year (minus my favorite cocktail dresses) got put into my “sell tote”.
The hubs took pictures for me and I uploaded pics and specs to the poshmark app. I ended up adding a total of 7 dresses and 2 tops to the mix. I’m giving the items until next Summer. If they haven’t sold by then I’ll be taking them to a resale shop because my “sell tote” won’t be going with me to the new house. Most resale shops donate if your items don’t sell within 6 months so they won’t be coming back home with me.
Other clothing that has a lower resale value went into a bag for donations – filled the bottom half of a trash sack. Maybe 1 week I can convince the hubs to clean out his side of the closet. Easy 2 trash bags in there!
I also gave a coworker some toddler toys that my girls outgrew. Technically they’ve been in my trunk for a couple months now so I didn’t actually “declutter” them this weekend. But apparently I wasn’t going to remember to stop at goodwill any time soon! It’s still decluttering. Just from my car instead of my house.
All in all though with the clothing to donate, the items I’m selling, and the toys gone I am over a full trash sack this week! I forgot to take pictures of the clothing and toys I purged. Whoops. I highly recommended going through your clothing at least once per year if not every season. If you haven’t worn it in the past year it’s probably time to part with it. If you haven’t been weeding out your unused clothing this would make a great first decluttering project.
Total trash sacks to date: 5.5 +scraps
Decluttering Week 6: Textbooks and Kids Clothing
I am a nerd. I do not like getting rid of textbooks. It’s ridiculous. I bought all of my college and grad school texts. I only sold back ones that weren’t relative to my degree. That was a mistake. I realize selling your books back gets you less than what you paid for them.
But waiting too long gets you $0. Yes I ran the numbers trying to sell them online. No one wants 15+ year old texts. I gathered 6 textbooks I’m ready to part with. I haven’t opened them in… 5 years? Are you holding on to textbooks or other books you don’t read anymore? What about CDs, DVDs, or other often stored items that are rarely used?
I also went through my daughters’ clothing to determine things the littlest has outgrown. I have a friend at work with a daughter 1 year younger so I filled up a grocery sack full of tiny pants and shirts to give to her.
Total = half bag books plus a third with kids clothes. Close enough to a full sack!
Total trash sacks to date: 6.25 +scraps
Decluttering Week 7: Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry
It was past time to clean out the fridge. I filled up our 13 gallon trash can with expired items such as salad dressing and deli meat, a few half empty cartons of soy milk, broth, and the like that had been sitting in there for at least 2 months, leftovers that may or may not have started to grow mold, a yogurt that had fallen behind a shelf and gotten stuck, and few other random items.
I also cleared out the pantry. Just a couple of bags of stale chips, some hot-dog buns leftover from our last camping trip 1 month ago, and an empty box of cereal (someone must have been sleepy when they put it back!).
No pictures of the trash can. I know you’re disappointed! But I also finally decided to toss our broken laundry hamper. Two of the bars have snapped so I could no longer prop it up. It’s almost the size of a garbage bag itself! I only counted it as half a bag though. When was the last time you cleaned out your fridge and pantry?
Total trash sacks to date: 7.75 +scraps
Decluttering Week 8: Miscellaneous
This week was a hodgepodge week. I got the idea to sort through my summer shoes after reading this awesome list of things to purge in the fall. I have about 8 pair I didn’t wear. Ended up donating 4 of them. The others are more special occasion wear/heels that I won’t wear for work but do wear for weddings or other special events.
I also decided to sort through my plastic containers in the kitchen. I’ve got way more lids than I do containers. I’m giving myself a week to find the missing parts and then the rest will get tossed. These are often used as snack containers for my kids and they’ll wander off with the “bowl” part and leave the lid.
I also found 4 more clothing items to sell (2 dresses and 2 shirts) as I was removing my summer clothes from the closet and adding the fall/winter clothes. I also realized I was pretty happy with my winter wardrobe. It all fits in 1 tote! I’ve really paired it down over the last 4 years of living in Arizona. Due to having family who lives out of state and enjoying camping in northern Arizona I can’t have zero winter clothing. But I definitely didn’t need as much as I had 4 years ago (2-3 totes worth). If you live in a particular climate, consider only keeping the basics for other climates.
Hopefully some of these random items sparked action in your decluttering journey. I’m sure there are many other items that I need to purge. Decluttering is definitely a process. But getting rid of a lot of easy items first has motivated me to continue the journey and hopefully a year from now when we move into our dream home I won’t have anything left that I don’t want to take with me. If you would like to learn more about our dream home journey check out this post on our first set of revisions. Considering buying or building your own dream home? Here are some questions to ask yourself first!
Total trash sacks to date: 8.5 +scraps
8 weeks and over 8 trash sacks full of items to either sell, donate, recycle, or trash!
The challenge was a success! Now that I’ve sorted through a lot of larger items and random items the next project will be focused on decluttering smaller areas in the house. We have a couple of bookcases to tackle and the kids toys need a good sorting. Of course I’ll share the outcome of that challenge as well.
What items were you able to declutter or what are you planning to declutter during your garbage bag challenge?
Mudrooms are all the rage! And why shouldn’t they be? We love adorable ways to organize and declutter our homes! Every dream home needs a mudroom.
Whether you have a large family or a small family, a large space for your mudroom or a small space this is the post for you!
*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from a link I’ll get a small commission without any additional charge to you. I have not personally used all of the products in this post.
First we will start with the essentials for your mudroom. Even with these essentials the possibilities are endless! You can arrange them in a multitude of ways. Next we will look at how to add a special, personal touch, then I’ll walk you through some special considerations, and finally you can choose the design best for your space.
5 essentials for any mudroom:
Hooks are great for jackets, beach towels, backpacks, hats, purses, or diaper bags. They are versatile and simple to use for young kids. They can be arranged at multiple heights and offer a quick view of the items you need for the day.
You can purchase hooks on a bar, ready to hang. Add some creative hooks like these wooden birds. You can also install your own hooks at your desired spacing with individual hooks. Consider these awesome design ideas below for even more creativity for your mudroom.
Antique for a unique charm:
Rustic option for the farmhouse:
Musical for the band nerds:
Personalized for everyone in the family:
With the hooks alone there are so many options!
2) Shoe Space
No matter how you design it, every mudroom needs a space for shoes! There are a lot of creative options such as shelving of different heights, cubbies, baskets, hooks, and drying mats. Pick the best option for you based off your family’s needs. You might even want more than one option!
These two double as a benches:
Some people prefer using baskets to hold shoes. Check out this DIY post from Shanty-2-Chic for this lovely mudroom option and notice the cute baskets!
Baskets are perfect for smaller items such as keys and wallets. They can also be used for sport equipment, shoes, or library books that need returning. They come in many shapes and sizes to fit your family’s lifestyle. You might choose multiple sizes or keep them all the same for simplicity’s sake. Now matter what they’ll be used for baskets are a must have for your mudroom.
Check out this post on the anatomy of a great mudroom for tips and info on creating this adorable mudroom space:
4) Storage Space: Cabinets, Lockers, Open shelves
Some items can’t be hung up easily and will need alternative storage space. Typically each person has multiple jackets/coats and those not used for daily wear can be hung in a cabinet.
We have a bag we take on long car trips that holds CDs, games, and coloring supplies for the kids that will sit in our future mudroom cabinet.
Larger sporting equipment likes baseball bats can fit here as well. You prefer open spaces and visible shelving? That can work in a mudroom too. Making it easy to find what you’re looking for as you usher the kids out the door.
Cabinets: Great for hiding items and for a nice clean look
Lockers: More functional for a family with kids
Open Shelving: Best for adults who won’t fight over their space!
5) A Seat
Enough room for 1 or a family of 6. Anyway you please, there must be a seat or a bench in your mudroom. You can use Plain wood or a custom cushion and throw pillows. This is a nice way to put personal flair in your mudroom. You can even use a stand alone chair if your mudroom will be in your entry way.
This entry way is adorable! All the essentials are present and the bench doubles as extra storage.
This bench comes in several designs/colors and could be added next to a single locker like above or placed between two lockers if you have the space
Built in seating: Probably the most popular type of seating for a mudroom
Once you’ve determined your needs for the essential items. Next it’s time to consider what personal touches you might add.
Here are 6 mudroom design and decor ideas to help you create your perfect mudroom:
1) Personalize it!
Get some chalkboard paint. Add painted letters. Decorate with photographs. Or try something else to have a cute and creative way to determine each family member spot. It really makes a mudroom feel homey.
Chalk board Lockers:
Full name option:
2) Try a theme
Are you thinking farmhouse or modern? Minimalistic or decorative? How will the mudroom compliment the rest of your house? You want to make sure your overall design flows and is consistent.
Coastal and Beach:
Add a cute sign or a family photo across the top. Consider placing Greenery nearby. It’s a great idea to add a rug or mat so dirt doesn’t get tracked in as well. Mats can be cute and functional for mudroom needs.
Mats: Functional option for rainy or snowy areas
Pillows: Great for a decorative flare and to pull in a theme
4) Counter Space
Have a space to place items that just need to be dropped for the moment. Maybe you’re carrying groceries in and you’re about to drop something or you’ve got a stack of books from the library that need to be dispersed to the kids. A functional place to set items and then organize can be just the thing to complete the perfect mudroom.
We all appreciate having one last look before we head out the door. Mirrors can also help make spaces appear bigger. You could add floor length or just head height mirrors to your mudroom. You could add several for a decorative flare of just keep it minimalistic and clean.
6) Focal Wall
Having the wall of the mudroom as a design feature can give it an added flare and help separate the mudroom from joint spaces. Ship-lap, chevron, bright paint, or other fun designs can be used on the walls.
Decluttering is the first step to an organized home. If you’re feeling a little stuck on decluttering you can signup for the Triple 10 declutter Challenge. To learn more check out the info here. If you’re ready to get started sign-up below!
Special Notes for Dog Lovers:
Do you need a place to wash the mud off of Fido? Place for their kennel? Food and water bowls, toys, and leashes need a spot too. Dog owners should keep these in mind when designing their mudroom.
What type of space are you working with?
1) Long Wall Mudroom
Any long hallway in your home could work for this. Especially one that has the kids’ rooms off of it. Most people prefer it to be right inside the door. But you can definitely get creative. This is probably the most common type of mudroom.
2) Corner Space Mudroom
Have a spare corner that’s just empty space? Why not make it functional with a mini mudroom? Check out these great ideas.
3) Garage Mudroom
Don’t even bring the “mud” into the house. Leave it in the garage where it belongs! These simple garage additions could be the perfect solution if your house is short on space inside. Check out this post for more ideas on garage mudrooms.
4) Mini Mudroom
Mudroom don’t have to be huge to be functional. A single seat and a couple hooks can do the trick!
5) Foyer Mudroom
No place to add built ins? A cute foyer can double as a “mudroom” with a few simple touches such as a basket for shoes that you can slide under a bench. Add a table for your wallet and keys and you’re all set
Source: Dixie Delights Online
Consider these for new builds where you can plan the mudroom from the beginning or if you have a large space to work with:
1) Opposing walls in an extra wide hallway
This can work wonders coming in from a garage. You can double your storage space or make one side a “drop zone” for sorting mail, stashing coupons, and organizing your life. You can never have too much storage in the mudroom.
2) An Actual Mud Room
Having a door to separate the junk and grime from the rest of the home can help you feel calm and clean. It’s a great way to leave work, school, and the outside world behind you when you get home at the end of the day so you can relax and focus on your family.
3) Combined Mudroom and Drop Zone
Drop zones are nearly as useful, if not more somin their own way as a mudroom. Why not combine the two for a 100% functional and organized space.
4) Large Family Mudroom
Would you like each of your 6 kids plus you and your spouse to have your own space in the mudroom? You can make that happen.
5) Small Family Mudroom
If your needs are smaller there are mudroom options for you as well. This space would work great for 1, 2, or 3 people!
6) L Shaped
I find this mudroom design very clever. It’s a great use of awkward spaces and allows for all the essentials with more storage.
7) Combined Laundry and Mudroom
Having your mudroom and laundry room all in one can be optimal for organization. Many times the laundry is close to the garage and can make a perfect detour to drop items to keep contained from the rest of the house. This can double the size of your laundry room and really give you space to work.
Still need some more ideas for your mudroom?
Check out this post from Mom of 6 or this one from the Turquoise Home. Need organization ideas? Check out these posts: Find a place for every item part 1, find a place for every item part 2, organizing holiday decor. Ready to declutter your home but don’t know how to begin? Click here for a 10 day decluttering challenge.
Prefer to just purchase a kit for your mudroom?
Check out these options from Amazon (I swear they have everything!). Listed in price ranges below:
Less than $100
More of a Do-It-Yourself type?
This post from Farm Fresh Vintage Finds is a great one for a large mudroom pictured below:
Obviously a mudroom is a must have for any dream home. Check out this list of other “Must Haves” so you can design the ultimate dream home. If you’re working on organizing your existing home check out How to Organize Your Home: A Place for Every Item Part 1, Part 2, and Holiday Decor Edition.
Can you think of anything else that’s essential for a mudroom? What about other design or decor ideas? Drop them in the comments below.
Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get even more fabulous home design ideas delivered to your inbox! Plus, you won’t want to miss the exclusive content and freebies from time to time.
Declutter Before Moving
*This post contains affiliate links. If you chose to purchase items I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
In approximately 18 months we will move into a home that has an additional 1500 sq feet than what we have now. We already live in a rather large house. I am going to have so much space! Our house will probably look and feel empty for a while because we want to only bring things into our new home that we love. So why am I talking about purging? Why purge when I have more space to fill?
I’m not bringing anything in to my dream home that I don’t love, need, or find useful. I hope you feel the same. If so, this list will help you find ways to declutter your current home and only fill your dream home with things you really love and use.
Which brings me to a goal I have for the next few months: I want to get ride of a trash bag of junk a week. Because I know I have a ridiculous amount of stuff in my house I don’t use or need. It’s cluttered. I refuse to start my new home off as a cluttered mess.
One thing I love about moving (which I’ve done 3 times in the past 4 years and 10 times in 10 years) is purging junk I don’t need. It’s so freeing!
So here’s my list of items to unburden myself with and purge over the next few months
Toss it before you move:
1) Clothes You Don’t Wear
I swear by the hanger trick. I’ve done it every year for the last 3 years and ended up getting rid of 20-40 articles of clothing each year! I still own clothes I owned 10 years ago, but it’s definitely a step forward. I still have the suit I wore to my first job interview, maybe its time to purge that…
If you don’t have time to wait for the hanger trick to work. There’s always options such as the Konmari Method. What tricks do you use to clear out your closet?
2) Old Textbooks
Two years ago I sold some text books and made a couple hundred bucks. I wish I had sold more at the time because now I have about 10 books I can’t make any money on and that I haven’t cracked opened for 2 years. Time to find a place to donate these.
I was… okay I am, a total nerd. I love learning. I’ve had this thought that I would probably need to look something up one day in my textbooks that I’d forgotten and I could save someone’s life or at least wow a colleague. Guess what? I’ve had my masters for 4 years and have not needed them once. Not once!! Take it from me – sell your books while you have the chance. Don’t move them to your dream home – purge them while you have the chance.
I moved an entire tote of magazines 3 times. These included professional journals that I keep for continuing ed purposes, however I don’t need to keep them after I’ve read/used them. New plan: if I don’t use them after 1 year for continue education they get recycled. I’ve already recycled the first batch. But I need to scour my house for more. I’ve seen them lurking on the bookshelf, end tables, and, let’s be honest, the bathroom. Also, in the future I’ll be sticking to electronic subscriptions that way I don’t waste so much paper and I don’t have to continuously purge old magazines from my dream home.
4) Toys Your Kids Have Outgrown
Thankfully my kids are used to this. We do it together. They given away toys to their younger cousins and we donate the rest. With the exception of the amazing rocking horse my mother-in-law made for our oldest; all the baby/toddler toys have been removed. Plus – my kids don’t even play with half of their toys! What about yours? Make it a family affair. Get your kids used to purging items that go unused and unenjoyed.
I had 2 food processors for a while. Does it help that they were 2 different sizes? *insert cheesy grin*. I also had 2 rice cookers for a bit. These got new homes this year. Recently I found that we own 5 calculators… Time to purge them since nowadays we just use our phones for that anyway. I will be keeping my eyes open for other duplicates. Are there any unnecessary duplicates in your house?
6) Old Makeup
I recently went through my makeup drawer. Why did I still have makeup from 2010 in there? Who knows?! I wear 3 things on a daily basis: compact powder, blush, and mascara. Pretty sure I do NOT need 46 types of eye shadow. Even for special occasions I could probably down size to about 10. I might need help with this one. How do I know which ones to keep or which ones to purge? *leaves to go look for makeup guides on pinterest*
7) Old CDs, VHS tapes, and Books
Are you ever going to listen to, watch, or read these again? Be honest. Because I have several I’m not going to use again. I have 2 bookcases to sort through. I need to make room for these collectible book editions on my wish list. Luckily we already purged our VHS tapes and most of our CDs. Most of my books will come from the library (or my mom *wink*) in the future. We use Netflix and Kodi for movies. The internet should suffice all my music needs. Can you do the same?
Before you say “what? I don’t have any trash lying around” hear me out. It’s amazing how much garbage my family accumulates. From receipts, to lidless Tupperware (or if your from the south old sour cream and cool whip containers), to broken crayons, to socks with holes in them, to broken appliances, to, well you get the picture. I walked through my house 2 weeks ago and filled an entire trash bag with random trash I found. Embarrassing but I bet I’m not the only one who could do this. It only took me about an hour – see if you can beat my time!
We are giving my MIL our current bed frame so she can re-purpose the wood. It’s old, broken, and ugly. It has matching night stands and a dresser that will probably end up in our guest room. I have dreams for our new master suite and it doesn’t include our old set (hand me down from MIL initially). Time to make our home more our own style. We re-purpose or reupholster a lot of our furniture but if that’s not possible and it doesn’t fit our style it’s not coming with us.
10) Excess Items
We have 100 blankets. Okay, not really, I’m exaggerating to make a point. We actually have 33 if you combine blankets and comforters into 1 category (yes I counted). Still way more than we need or can use. They aren’t all coming with us to our forever home. Granted about 10 of these are for our 5th wheel camper, but still. We don’t need over 30 blankets.
When we moved to AZ from AR I had about 10 scarves. Guess how many times I’ve worn a scarf since? Not 10. Maybe once when we were on vacation to Chicago 3 years ago. I had lots of cold weather gear when we moved. I’ve been slowly purging these down to 1 tote full. I’d toss it all but we actually do camp and visit our family out-of-state both of which means cooler weather. Also, the longer you live in Arizona the colder you become when its 60 degrees out.
11) Things You Haven’t Used in the Past Year
If you haven’t used it in a year, you probably don’t need it. This might include: appliances like that waffle maker that’s still in the box, that special face cream you got to fight wrinkles and now you have more wrinkles and a still full bottle of face cream but it stinks so you don’t use it, shoes you NEVER wear. Walk around the house and look in drawers and cabinets that hardly get opened, you might be surprised at the things you’ve forgotten you own. If you forgot about it, purge it!
12) Items That Don’t Bring You Joy
I actually own Marie Kondo’s book The Art of Tidying Up. It’s a great read and has a lot of useful advice. It wasn’t 100% applicable to me but I do encourage those trying to downsize or purge to give it a read. I really like her philosophy that everything should have a place. Now if only I could get my kids and husband to read her book…
Please comment with items I’ve forgotten so I can purge them before we move!
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