Decluttering: Living Room Shelves

Decluttering: Living Room Shelves

          Step-by-step I’m moving from the bedroom and starting decluttering in the living room! The first things I’m going to put hands on is this shelving cupboard:

Decluttering: Living Room Shelves

     This cupboard is at the most prominent area of the living room. This is what we see the first thing we enter the house. So I want to check all it’s content, discard unnecessary and properly arrange those things which we will remain and use.

     As usual I take out all the things and place them to the floor, and then check every single item whether we still need it. We used to keep different papers and documents here, so the cupboard was overloaded with papers. After me and my husband checked them all, we found a lot are outdated and pointless to keep any further. They are the perfect candidates for discarding, what actually we have done gladly.

     After throwing unnecessary papers I see cupboard is not so full anymore! It has a lot of room for storing remaining items.

    Next step is all the things are being sorted out into categories. I check whether they already have assigned storages for their category in other places in the house. If yes, then just relocate relevant items to their assigned storage. If storage place isn’t assigned yet, I will continue keep them in this cupboard. To make cupboard look neater, each category gets an individual storage box. I try avoiding mixing different category items in one storage box just for convenience.

     Once I sorted out all the things into the boxes, put them back into the shelf and see the result:

Decluttering: Living Room Shelves

     Cupboard looks much neater, and after a several days after I have decluttered this cupboard I can say it’s very convenient when you know where each item is kept. I don’t have to look for things because I know in which exactly storage box and which area it’s located.

     I added an artificial flower to the top of the cupboard to add some color to the interior and make cupboard area look more cosy. That’s it! And now it’s time of my favorite part of decluttering works – enjoy the result:-)

 

Decluttering & House Organizing: Increasing Life Success Chances?

Decluttering & House Organizing: Increasing Life Success Chances?

     For me it’s looks that ability to organize your own house is a sign that person is probably successful in life or has high potential to it. There are a few reasons what make me think like this, and I will be very happy to know your ideas about it.

     Thing is to have your house organized on a regular basis requires a number of qualities. Qualities I’m talking about are typically also required for building successful career, profitable business and even are very helpful in home and family life.

     None of the skills we have – especially professional skills – are given, we have to learn and practice them to achieve the result. That’s why I believe that whatever helps us to practice relevant skills will help us to get success in other areas where those skills are required as well.

     House organizing is a skill which being practiced by housewives for years. And I noticed there are a few qualities necessary for successful running the house, not different from running successful career.

  • Organizing house requires self-discipline

     One of the major things I realized needed for the house to be organized is to keep everything in its proper place. And firstly, everything must have it’s assigned place. I used not to care about this previously and ended up having a really messy house with things scattered in various storages. After realizing this housekeeping mistake, I started to group all things into categories and assigning dedicated places for storing each category and sticking to returning things to their dedicated places after use. This arrangement was one of the hardest in my house works as required proper planning to find the most appropriate location for each item. I’m still in progress with making this arrangement and can say it does require a lot of self-discipline for the novice to stick to that until it becomes a habit.

  • Ability to take decisions

     Particularly talking about house decluttering (since this is the subject of my blog and this blog post), I have to take a lot of decisions what things I need and intend to use, and what I do not have to keep any longer. Sometimes it takes for me a few rounds to confirm if I’m going to discard one or another thing being kept with no use sometimes for years.

     Running the house in general requires many-many more decision taking which I do not discuss in this blog post just to stick to the subject. But I’m sure each housewife can come up with her own long list how many decisions she has to take every day starting from planning meals to planning big purchases and family events.

  • Readiness for learning and experimenting

     Organizing the house requires lots of learning and experimenting. There are lots of hacks and tricks which each housewife has in her arsenal (learnt and tested on her own experience or from other sources) to run the house successfully.

  • Ability to find decisions that work

     Purpose of all the learning and experimenting is actually to find solutions which give the best results, allow to save time or budget and etc., in other words to find a way to organize the house the most effectively.

     In fact all these qualities are necessary for career, business and family life. If organizing the house allows to develop these qualities, I believe it will help in other aspects too.

     So this is the relation which I see between seemingly unrelated items. And in your turn please let me know your opinion. Does ability to run a house help you in other life aspects? Please feel free to comment below!

Decluttering: Unexpected Benefit

Decluttering: Unexpected Benefit

     I just recently started decluttering of the house, and noticed one unexpected benefit (tidier house does not count as it was the purpose of the decluttering). Unexpected was that my money spendings significantly reduced with no effort.

     How is it related?

     I started decluttering by second half of last month, and that month I discovered I managed to save around twice than I usually did in earlier months. My shopping trips almost gone except for groceries. I’m not keen anymore to buy some new clothing, accessories or make up. Previously I would buy some every week!

     And reason is quite simple: I realized how much stuff I have at home and how much I used to overspend. I spent a lot on items I don’t need or have substitutes at home.

    During undercutting I take out all the things from the place I’m going to tidy up, sort them out by categories and locate in dedicated storage places. When all the items of a category are stored together, I have a clear overview what exactly I have and how many items. What I noticed I have many repetitive items in my skincare, accessories, clothing category which I might not buy at all. Looking at my skincare storage boxes, I see many of them are actually redundant. I haven’t reached my makeup storage yet, but I can imagine home many repetitive lipsticks and eyeshadows I have there. And when I think that I have paid money for all the stuff I’m going to discard, I really become terrified. Many things were obviously bought impulsively, how much I could have saved!

     So no wonder after having a few decluttering session in the house for now (and still many-many more upcoming) and realizing how much money were spent unnecessarily, I absolutely do not feel shopping.

     Maybe I’m a little shocked with my discoveries but it’s definitely good for my budget to realize that and restrain from unnecessary shopping. First few weeks had brought so noticeable budget-saving results so I’m looking forward to see even better results this month.

     Am I going to stop shopping at all? Sure not. But I believe it will be of different quality now. I’m looking forward to continue my unexpected decluttering vs. savings experiment and see what good results it will be able to bring. And surely I continue getting rid of the things I do not need in the house!

Decluttering: Bathroom Storage

Decluttering: Bathroom Storage

     Finally I reached it! Bathroom storage is the one I was looking forward to declutter. We have very little available space in the bathroom, and most of it was occupied with my beauty and haircare products. I was sure many of them are not needed, but still wanted to have a closer look for taking decision.

     To make decluttering moving (because I really want to tidy up the house so much!), I split different areas into parts and declutter them when I’m able to find some time, mainly in the evenings after work and weekends. When I split a big job into smaller pieces, it allows me to move in baby steps and finally have a job done rather than keep delaying it. So I will start my bathroom decluttering from this bathroom shelf filled with different stuff.

Decluttering: Bathroom Storage

     As usual, I start sorting out all the things into categories. Here it’s cloth mask packs, liquid facial products (toners/creams/lotions/serums etc.), and haircare items.

     Ideally I prefer to keep each category in one spot in its dedicated container. So I got 3 containers assigned to these items. Mask packs fitted into one, for liquid facial products I had to use a bigger container to fit them all. And haircare products I put in another storage tray assigned to them. Many of the items from the shelf belong to other categories, so I relocated them to dedicated places assigned earlier. And since I assinged these 3 categories to be located at this shelf, I find all other related products stored in other spots and place them here too.

     There are some items which I have to discard. Mostly those are free trial skincare kits and samples. I will throw those which I do not plan to use. Flowers will not be thrown!:-)

Decluttering: Bathroom Storage

     And here it is, the final result!

Decluttering: Bathroom Storage

     Now it looks so much better in the bathroom.

     It’s actually not the final arrangement, I will have to return to the bathroom to declutter other areas and might change the places where I keep one or another category items. But moving forward step-by-step, I’m satisfied with this arrangement for now and will keep until next declutter session.

     I would like to add a few words how I feel about decluttering. I can say this is my favorite housework because of the dramatic results I see after each session. It’s not only that previously cluttered and messy space becomes tidier, but also it gives me some kind of relief feeling. I see and feel more space around, what makes me feel so good about it!

    And also I noticed some unexpected benefit from decluttering, which I’m going to discuss further.

 

How to Find Time for Housework When You Work Full-Time?

How to Find Time for Housework When You Work Full-Time?

     This is the question I’m trying to figure out an answer. Main difficulty I face with combining full-time working and taking care of the house is not just limited time, but being tired by the end of the day when I reach home after work.

     On weekdays I usually reach the house around 7pm, while cooking and having dinner takes another hour. I become free only by 8pm, and this time I’m usually so tired that I hardly have energy or wish to do any housework. So I end up putting it off to the weekend and either spend the weekend with housework or delay it further.

     Surely house will not look nice and well maintained with this approach. So I decided I must focus on learning how to make my house life and work life get along.

     There are a few little tips I worked out to care of the house at working days:

  • Trying to attend small issue immediately

I call small issues the one which required not more than 5-10 mins to do. Usually it’s short cleaning works which arise daily.

  • Do one big thing a day

So “big thing” for me is anything taking over 10 mins. Those are more major cleaning and decluttering works I have to do regularly. If thing is really “too big” and will take too long, I try to spilt into smaller 10-30mins sessions if possible (for example, decluttering shelf by shelf in the wardrobe at different days instead of single longer declutter session). At the moment I’m doing a big decluttering in the house, so I try to declutter or arrange a least something s day to let my works progress.

  • Schedule house works

This is further to a “big thing a day” rule, I have to schedule what day I’m going to do what. Today I’m going to arrange my skincare shelf, tomorrow will do some shoe cleaning, next day is laundry day. I noticed that when I schedule house works, I do not procrastinate those which I do not like to do. When I do not have any schedule, I give preference to house work which either I like more or will be easier to do, leaving more difficult work suspended.

  • Do not exhaust yourself

     After a long working day I’m already pretty tired, so if I really do not feel doing anything but rest, I just do so. Forcing myself doing something and becoming exhausted only gives bad association with house work, and this is definitely not encouraging to love home life.

     After all said, I have to accept my house is far not perfect. But sticking to regular schedule on working days allows me to free up some time on weekends, and I can enjoy my spare time rather than spending all the weekend at home with no rest.

 

Why Would I Like to Run a House Like Hotel

Why Would I Like to Run a House Like Hotel

     The idea of running home like hotel I just heard from one of my favorite bloggers Jennifer Scott. Jennifer is experienced mother, housewife, she is blogging about fine living and has written a series of best-selling books from “Madam Chic” collection. Idea she has shared resonated with my own thinking and I’m pondering how it can be developed further and applied to life.

     Both me and my husband really do like hotels when we stay there during vacation. I personally enjoy hotel rooms being tidy, organised, looking simple yet nice. For me even inexpensive neat hotel rooms are charming.

     My interesting experience that recently I changed our home beddings to quality beautiful new set. My husband’s first exclamation was: “Wow, like in hotel!” It was the first time when I made connection of a good looking house with good hotel.

     Good hotel room is tidy, clean, smells fresh, and surely there is no clutter there (at least when we just check in:-)). I really would like my house to be like that. But wonder how to achieve it? Simply need to understand what exactly you like in hotel arrangements. There are a few features attractive for me:

  • Hotels are not cluttered

     Hotel room has limited number of storage, usually built-in or furniture drawers.

     What I realized is tidy house is not the one neatly packing all (including unnecessary) stuff but the one which does not have it. Cluttered house, does not matter how clean it is, does not look tidy. Keeping too much stuff makes taking care of the house more difficult, cleaning takes longer time, arranging things becomes challenging. Decluttering is the first thing I find necessary to focus on to make home look neat like good hotel room.

  • Hotels get everything scheduled

     You know exact timing when hotel serves meal, what exactly will be served, what is the cleaning time and so on. I find scheduling is important not only at work but also in regular home life. Scheduled weekly menus, fixed meal time, cleaning time – all that things will help to stay organised and save time while having everything ready. I realise the need to practice it in the house and would like to develop it into a habit.

  • Good hotel rooms look stylish

     Not necessarily they have expensive furniture but all is well-chosen, planned out and looks like a complete picture without unnecessary furniture items. Dominating design color, matching room accessories like paintings or flowers. Nothing redundant or overdone.

  • Feeling of ease

     This is the main reason why we like hotels. Surely, we come for vacation and have rest in hotels, no wonder it makes us relaxed. But at home we also have a rest from work and running errands, so it’s not less important to make a feel of ease at home. Everyone has different ways to become relaxed – for some it’s relaxing music, for some – particular fragrances, for some – particular colors. For me personally rest is associated with light color room design complemented with colourful flowers, and natural silence with no music or no working TV/radio. All together it gives me feel of tranquility. And yes, this is what I usually experience and enjoy in hotels.

     Those are my favorite hotel room features what I would like to implement in the house. What are your favorite ones and do you manage to establish them in the house? Please let me know in the comments section, I will be very interested to read!

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

     This is another Shelf Cabinet I was keen to declutter. This cabinet is one of the most cluttered spots in the house, where my shame starts. It was filled with numerous plastic trays, each of them containing items we don’t really use and don’t need. Whenever I get any thing I didn’t know where to keep, I used to put it there. Ended up it became an accumulation of unnecessary stuff, and I hardly could say what’s exactly inside that trays. I seldom get anything from there, so even before decluttering it was clear I can get along without most of those items.

Why I didn’t declutter it earlier?     

 

     Previously I already tried to declutter this shelf, but every time most of the things were returned because “I might use it some day”. This is the thought that always catches me!

     But now I’m going to approach this storage very decisively and make drastic changes. I even asked my husband to avail some of his time as some of the items might be his so I needed his decision.

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

     First I removed all the stuff from the plastic tray and pile them right on the floor. There is a huge amount of small things! Now it’s time to decide which things will still be useful in the house and what has to be discarded.

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

How I decide what to remain and what to discard:

      I check every single item. Usually I ask myself questions trying to understand if I shall keep or discard the thing:

  • Do I need it?

  • Do I intend to use in the nearest future?

  • Can I substitute it with something else I have?

  • Have I used it in the past months or ever? If not, what was the reason (for example, I forgot about it, I was not satisfied with the results of its use, it got broken/expired?)

  • Does the thing have any sentimental value for me or my husband?

What shall I do with those things?

     Asking this questions helped to give a second life to some of the items I took out from the storage. If this is consumable item and still can be used, I make myself use it intentionally unless I really do not need it anymore. Mostly it’s about different beauty products, masks, cleansers.

     Those items which we decide to discard, we will either pass for recycling or will throw if those are small things not needed anymore.

Continuing organizing shelves:

     Once I segregated items which can be discarded, I started arranging remaining things by categories. Here on the photo you can see that there is much less stuff remained!

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

     To say frankly, I enjoy and feel some relief when I manage to remain only the things I intend to use and release so much space. I already imagine in my mind a picture how my house could look like with no unnecessary stuff and no clutter! Step by step I’m trying to move towards that direction.

     Once I reduced a number of stuff and remained only the things we will use, I return them back to the shelves. That’s incredible that now I even got unoccupied shelves and empty storage trays! For the moment I will keep those trays. While I’m still decluttering the house, I may need them to assign for storing some things temporary. Finally, hope I will be able to discard not only plastic storages, but even unnecessary shelves and avail more living space.

 

Decluttering: Shelves Storage

 

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     Among all the stuff in the house I have special relations with clothing:-) I really like clothing and like dealing with it! I like to dress up and have 3 different wardrobes for different purposes: for the office, for weekend and housewear. No wonder it takes space and challenges my creativity how to keep all that stuff.

     This way of clothing folding I learnt from the book “Spark Joy” (by Marie Kondo). For me this method was very useful and helped to save more space inside drawers, so I want to share it here. This is particularly good for the clothing which doesn’t get wrinkled and doesn’t need ironing. If it does, I find it’s still more convenient to store it on hangers.

     Idea of this folding method is to fold clothing into small rectangle which can be stored in upright position. It will help to save the space and allow more convenient arrangement in the drawer. I will show how I folded a short-sleeve top and long sleeve blouse. T-shirts, dresses, skirts and pants can be folded exactly the same way, into rectangles.

  • Folding a Short-Sleeve Top

     
     First I place a top to some surface and smooth it with the palm.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     
     Next, folding edges of the garment towards the centre, this is to achieve rectangle shape. Folding the right side first…

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     
     …and do the same for the left side. Now it pretty looks like rectangle.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     
     Then I fold this rectangle lengthwise, it looks like a long narrow piece now. 

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     
     Fold this piece into half but leave a little gap at the edge (not fully reaching the edge).

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

     
     Folding it again into half or in thirds.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          After folding is done, I make a “stand upright” test. If I intent to keep clothing in upright position, it has to be able to stand without support. If folded garment is able to stand, it will stand in the drawer too without falling and creating mess.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

  • Folding Long-Sleeve Blouse

     The same way I fold long-sleeve garment. I will picture it to show how I dealt with long sleeves.

          
     We start with the same step, smoothing blouse on flat surface.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

         
     First folding the edge from the right to the left (it’s just how I did with my folding, it can start with another side too if convenient).

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
     Long sleeve goes beyond the garment edge, so I just fold it back to the right.

     

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
     Long sleeve is still beyond garment edge so I fold it one more time downwards.

          
     Now do the same to the left side. Fold it towards the right.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
          Fold the sleeve back to the left.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
          Fold the pertruding portion of sleeve one more time, to the right. Now blouse is folded into a rectangle. 

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

    Here I folded the rectangle lengthwise.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
     Folding again into half.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

         
     And folding into thirds.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

          
     Now upright standing test. That’s it, folded tops are able to stand!

     

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

Can all the clothing be folded in this way?

     Here need to add that KonMari folding is suitable not for all types of clothing. If it’s made of a very thin delicate material, it will not keep the shape and will not be able to stand upright. I think it’s better to keep this type of garment on hangers.

     If clothing is made of a thick material, it will be very bulky when folded and also will not be able to stand upright. It will be more convenient to keep that clothing flat.

When folding is done:

 

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

 

     I folded a few more garments and now put them into the drawer to see the effect. I’m really glad that this method of folding allows to see what’s inside the drawer from the first glance. I just find it’s more convenient than when I stored clothing flat and also it looks tidier.

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method)

 

Home Organization: Space Saving Folding

Home Organization: Space Saving Folding

     Mundane things also can be incredible! This is exactly what I feel now. And reason is funnily mundane – I just learnt a space saving way to fold clothing! You know, I’m suffering from limited space in the house, so this finding makes me so happy:-)

     Recently I have done a Bedding Closet organization. At that time I simply folded clothing flat and put one on the top of another in the drawer. You can see previous result on the right photo. This is what I see in the stores, and it looks quite neat there so for me it was a synonym of the top tidiness.

   But today I happened to read a book Spark Joy and found a more convenient way of folding. I recommend this book to those who also feels need in decluttering and home organization. I’m just at the beginning of the book, but already managed to learn useful tips.

Home Organization: Space Saving Folding

 

     Idea is clothing is folded into rectangles and stored in upright position. So I took out all the house clothing from the drawer, refolded them and returned back. This is the photo of result:

Home Organization: Space Saving Folding

I noticed two significant advantages of storing clothing in upright position:

  • Visual convenience

     Once I open a drawer, I see from the first glance what’s inside. It makes it easier to select what I want to take, and easier to take it out. I do not have to dig inside, what I had to do when I stored clothing flat. And when I take one thing, others remain undisturbed and neat in their places.

  • Space saving

     I noticed clothing takes less space when I store them upright. Previously there was no remaining space in the drawer, but now there was some. I even was able to add there a bathrobe previously kept in another drawer. I feel more comfortable to store same category items together, so I happily added a piece not fitted in earlier arrangement.

This is how drawer looks from outside (top drawer):

Home Organization: Space Saving Folding

     I find it’s neater than it was from outside too.

     I still have to practice my folding skills, overtime it will became more tidier and faster, but even now I can see result is better than original so I will stick to storing upright where possible.

     If you have other tips how to fold and store clothing to share, please do so! It will be very interesting to try.

     If someone is interested, I can post a pic how to fold clothing with this method, please let me know! (P.S. already posted, please check the post Home Organization: Clothing Folding (KonMari method))

 

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

     Finally I reached it! At this stage of my house decluttering project I’m finally reaching areas I was scared even to think about. Those which are the most cluttered with different stuff, and I hardly can think how I can rearrange its content.

     My intention for now is to discard really unnecessary items, avail more space and organize the one I decide to keep into different categories. One storage will be dedicated to one category only, otherwise it will confuse me and everything will get messed up again.

     So here it is, rolling my sleeves to work it out.

     So pity that I forgot to take photo of how it looked like before I started decluttering, I will try to do it next time. Anyway, it was really messy, different unrelated items were stored alongside each other.

     First thing I’m looking at is what is necessary and what is not. Happened that lots of things from the shelves are not even needed at home. Most of the items there belong not to me but my husband, mostly electronic items. Very good that he is so supportive to my decluttering and kindly agree to discard some of the items since he does not need them.

Our decluttering works for today:

  • Discarding unused CD disks

     They are not needed at home, but might be quite useful at work. Husband is going to bring them to the office for common use.

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

  • Discarding Monoheadset

     We do not use it but probably someone may do. Hubby will bring it to the office to share with colleague.

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

  • Discarding USB charger

     They are meant for iPod/iPhone/iPad. We used to have them a few years ago but now already using other brands of mobile devices for some time. This charger might have remained since then, so husband will share it at work with someone who can use it.

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

  • Discarding Power Bank

     I remember I won it in lucky draw at work. That’s really useful thing but it’s so big and heavy! Because of that I don’t find it convenient to carry in ladies handbag, it’s rather better to store at home or office in a drawer. But in this case I can use power socket instead of power back. Ended up this power bank was stored on the shelf more than a year, so I prefer to pass it to someone who may need.

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items

  • Discarding Empty boxes

     Some of boxes are from our wedding rings, some from electronic items. Sometimes I keep boxes, especially if it’s from the costy products, probably hoping to keep it inside the box. But so far it never happen, in practice it’s not convenient every time pack the thing back after use, then unpack again. So I just throw the boxes and release the space they occupied.

 

     And this is the final result! Actually I would say it’s temporary as I’m still not very satisfied, want to organize it a bit more. Lower shelf is occupied by unrelated to books items like software CDs and medical devices. At the moment I don’t have yet a dedicated place to store them so will leave here temporary. When I reach this category items and allocate them a particular place, will remove from the lower shelf and instead will put other books or paper items.

 

Decluttering: Book Cabinet and Electronic Items