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Emily Ley's Simplified Declutter Challenge

Monday, March 25, 2019

I was perusing Instagram recently, and stumbled upon Emily Ley's page. (I've had simplified planners in the past, and actually picked up another one since they were super discounted in lue of their next design release! More on that later.) She was kicking off a decluttering challenge, and I was immediately on board. 

If you've been following for the past few years, you already know that I've been on a decluttering mission for some time now. It's really helped me find happiness in my home and saved me some serious cash. When I saw this challenge, I was pretty confident I wouldn't find much more to get rid of. 

Day One - Kitchen
So, I stumbled on this challenge while everyone was doing Day Two. Only a few weeks ago I was able to fill an entire Ikea reusable bag with stuff from my kitchen, so I didn't feel too bad missing day one.

Day Two - Closets and Clothes
This was SO hard. I bit the bullet and pulled out everything from my closet and bins. The first photo shows all of my clothes on hangers, and the second photo shows what I got rid of. The piles are quite a bit bigger than they appear. I was able to get rid of one trash bag full (for a yard sale/donation) and a large rubbermaid full (for resale on Poshmark or Ebay). 

Pleaseeeee let me know if you have a recommendation for selling monogrammed items!

Day Three - Bedrooms
Our guest room was fairly clutter free, but I was able to empty a drawer of craft things, toss a few things, and put what was left in my office with the rest of my supplies. 

In our bedroom I was able to completely empty my bedside table drawer, get rid of a bracelet stand and clear off most of the dresser. I really love how minimal it turned out! 

Day Four - Bathrooms
This was fun! Our guest bath didn't have too much clutter, but I was able to toss a few things and relocate some items. Our master bathroom was a lot more interesting! I neglected to take before photos, but I was very pleased with how our medicine cabinet turned out. I'm happy that I was able to move our toothbrush caddy from the sink counter to inside the cabinet. 

It was also very nice to clear out the shower of products we don't love. It seems like sometimes we try out different products and they aren't what we were expecting. 

Day Five - Living Spaces 
I went around our living spaces and didn't really find anything to get rid of. (I am proud of that.) Because I didn't want to go a whole day without decluttering, I decided to give the kitchen another go even though it wasn't that long ago that I addressed it. 

I was able to toss a ton of spices that were expired or nearly expired. Additionally I was able to conquer the 'junk' drawer. I really prefer to call it a utility drawer so that it doesn't attract junk!

The first two pictures are 'befores' of my junk drawer and the utensil drawer. I found some great drawer organizers from the Dollar Tree for $2 and it made the world of difference!! Last photo is the 'after' of both spaces. 

First step was to address the peeling paint in this drawer. 

One of the drawer organizers perfectly corralled all my chip clips and those were relocated to a different drawer. I got rid of several utensils and took the rolling pin out. So much more space! 

Day 6 - Garage
I don't have a garage, but we do have a pretty decent sized shed which serves the same purpose. This space needs some attention for sure! Unfortunately, I've got SO much stuff in there right now for a yard sale. (Both my mom and sister have/are moving so it's mostly from their houses) After our yard sale I will be able to tackle the inside of the shed. We did quite a bit of organizing out there last year so it's really not that bad. 

What IS bad is what we took care of this past weekend. I'm almost too embarrassed to share!! So, about 3 years ago we did a bathroom renovation. We had quite a bit of construction debris that we intended to take care of after we were finished. That remodel took so much longer than we planned, and by the way our rescued dog had puppies the same month! So needless to say that garbage never made it to the dump. 

Our shed has a hidden carport bay that we threw all of that trash onto. It was hidden from everyone but it was absolutely weighing on us. We were a bit paralyzed because we weren't exactly sure what we should do with it. While visiting my sister's new house that they are building, I saw their glorious dumpster out front and I knew what we could do! The house is almost finished so I knew they'd be hauling it away soon, so we took a Saturday morning to get all that crap out of there! 

It was HEAVY, backbreaking, dirty work! But, I am SO SO pleased that this is taken care of. I never want to see that yellow tile again! 

Gah, it's still disgusting out there. I need to pressure wash. 

Day Seven - Other/Catch Up
I really didn't think I would be decluttering on day 7. I felt like I had conquered most of the main areas of  our house. After almost talking myself out of it, I decided I'd give the house a once over and try to see if there was even one thing I could find to get rid of. 

Jokes on me, because I definitely found more to go through! First, I decluttered our toy stash. As a professional aunt and uncle we have accumulated several toys for our niece and nephews/friend's kids to play with while they are over at our house. Sometimes they leave toys behind and those have been added to the stash. Most of what came out of that bin was trash, but I found a few things to add to the yard sale pile. 

The next area I tackled was my planner stash. I really love my Erin Condren planner, but I've decided to simplify my planning style. Because of that I don't really have the need for tons of stickers and washi. I have a friend who loves EC, so she is going to be receiving most of that. 

And the last place I decluttered was our travel gear. As I was going through it all I realized we had quite a few redundant items. For example, I have a weekend duffel bag that holds an equal amount of our smallest suitcase- so I really don't need both. I also had multiple larger bags that I liked to use for the beach, so I was able to say goodbye to one that has served me well and has seen better days. 

I was thrilled to have a small pile of things to get rid of, especially because I didn't think I'd find much else. It's also such a good feeling to declutter so much, that you end up with an empty storage box! 

Takeaways & Lessons 
- Like most people I really like Marie Kondo's spark joy concept. But, one thing I had a really hard time with was the fact that a lot of things do not make me happy, but I still felt like they were needed. Emily Ley shared the phrase "best, favorite or necessary", which I think is perfect! (I'd really like to add that to this post!) Just keep the things that are your favorite, the best or something you need.

- I thought I was done decluttering. The fact that I still found things to say goodbye to makes the point that this is an ongoing process. You are going to need to do a declutter every few months to make sure clutter isn't accumulating somewhere in secret. 

- One point that Emily makes in the ebook I linked about this challenge stood out to me. She said we should replace the random with the meaningful. I love that so much. There is no need to give valuable real estate to some knick knack, when we could be displaying something inherited or from our childhood. I've got a box under our bed with mementos, and I'd like to go through it and looks for things I can display rather than store. 

- She also recommends not spending any money on cute bins or boxes until you are completely finished. I think that is excellent advice! In my experience you will be relocating items and discovering things you forgot you had. You really do need to wait until the end until you know what you actually need. I only spent $2 for some clear drawer organizers at the dollar tree. But, I've also learned to save little boxes (you know the one your new cell phone came in...or a gift box) and been able to upcycle them into drawers to corral batteries, or pens. 

Let's Chat! How do you feel about clutter? Would you ever participate in a decluttering challenge? What is your favorite method of getting rid of stuff? What is one space you know you need to tackle?

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Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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