Clean Sweep: Overview

Simplify your life by getting rid of clutter. “Getting rid of” means just that—you need it out of your house.

The next six weeks, I’ll share with you what worked and what didn’t work for me as I eliminate lots of stuff, organize, rearrange, and pack up my entire house to move across country.

Ready to embark on Operation: Clean Sweep with me?

Step One: Make a plan.

I don’t know about you, but I get overwhelmed really easily. At least when it comes to cleaning and organizing. If you are as much of a clutterbug as I am, then you know things have to get worse before they can get better. Making a plan will help you tackle things in smaller pieces.

My Plan

  • Decide themes/color schemes for each room. Here’s an idea of my colors (Warning: Pinterest Board!). This post on Young House Love is a great read about picking colors that create a sense of continuity in your home.
  • One room at a time—wall to wall—separate EVERYTHING into toss, recycle, give/sell, keep, store. If you want to make the process simpler, make three distinctions: Keep, toss, sell.
  • Gather books and separate by hardcover (for display), paperback, business/professional books, research, non-fiction, inspirational, etc. See if any paperback books are free for e-readers.
  • Magazines: highlight the good stuff, rip out ads, document/index, put in pretty boxes (tutorial coming in a few days!)
  • Decor: divide into spring, summer, fall, winter. Eliminate anything that doesn’t match each room or isn’t completely loved. I rotate decor between my bedroom and the living room so 75% isn’t in storage all the time.
  • Toys: Give away obnoxious toys, divide by age and season.
  • Photos: Divide by subject (artsy versus personal, family pics), divide by season. Frame.
  • Clothes: Get rid of everything not absolutely loved. Shoes, too. Divide by season, formality, and age (for kids). Recycle old T-shirts into a gigantic quilt. (Tutorials herehere, and here.)
  • Crafts: divide by medium, divide supplies and tools, get rid of crap.
  • Collect all containers/storage: Decide in which room to store them and what to put in each.
  • PAPERS: Recycle, shred, digitalize, or file. Organize notes into binders.
  • Furniture: Decide what to get rid of.

YOU

Next week (or later this week) I’ll update you on how the office Clean Sweep went. Until then, what’s your plan for getting rid of clutter?

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Operation: Clean Sweep

Did you ever watch the TLC show Clean Sweep?

Yes, ladies, it’s the show with Eric Stromer, the carpenter who spreads paint on the wall with his hands.

Ahem. Anyway, it was a show in which a team would visit a cluttered home, choose the two scariest rooms, and declutter them. They’d first remove EVERYTHING from the two rooms. Then they’d bring it all out onto the front lawn, where they would divide the stuff between Keep, Sell, and Toss (or donate). Then the organizer would be brought in and purge everything.

No, Mrs. Paulsen. You cannot keep your porcelain cat lamp. It’s awful. Say goodbye.

Then the husband and wife would have competing garage sales, and whoever sold more stuff would get to choose something from their spouse’s “Keep” pile to get rid of. Drama and hilarity ensue.

Meanwhile, aforementioned carpenter man is building custom built-in storage for the family, and a professional designer is revamping the room. They put all the keep stuff back into the rooms, and then reveal the rooms to the family.

Wow! I can’t believe it! It’s amazing! It looks great!

You get the idea.

Well, it’s time for us to undertake a clean sweep ourselves. LT and I really haven’t accumulated much in our 2.5 years of marriage, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have too much stuff. Last week I found Flonase that had expired.

Expiration date: January 2006.

That was before I graduated high school. Since I graduated high school, I’ve moved TEN TIMES.

Time to purge.

The Plan

In lieu of bringing everything I own in my entire house onto our front lawn (as I’m sure our housing would have an issue with that), I’m going to be playing a crazy musical chairs sort of game.

We are having a party in about 6 weeks. I need to get rid of everything that needs to get rid of, and then put everything back in its place. After the party, then I’ll pack it all up for our move. Why put everything back? Well, to ensure that I have the room for everything I’m keeping. Otherwise I’ll get rid of more stuff. Plus, I’d much rather pack an organized house than a disorganized house, because the last 10 moves I have packed disorganization. Then I unpacked disorganization. Vicious cycle, really.

Operation: Clean Sweep

Want to join me? Stay tuned. I’ll post my plans and the results: successes and failures.

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