Category Archives: De Cluttering

New Adventures

It’s been a busy couple of months.  I’ve effectively been out of town for five of the last ten weeks.  And playing catch-up when I was home.  So the blog has taken a back seat.  Don’t want to make that a habit!

Half way through the year and I feel very good about where I am with the de-clutter mission.  Not only have I cleaned out and sold a lot of stuff, but I’ve also changed my philosophy on acquiring more stuff.  A lot more thought goes in to any purchases I make.  Just today I returned a set of cosmetic/toiletry bags that I had ordered.  I looked at them and thought they weren’t any more functional than anything else I already owned.  Maybe not worth the $6.95 in extra shipping but a great lesson and better than having it sit in my closet for 2 years before selling in a garage sale for $5.

So overall, I feel pretty good about where I am in the process.  There are still several areas that need additional attention, but great strides have been made.  Summer weekends are the worst time for me to try and accomplish anything.  I enjoy hanging at the pool too much.  So I will likely resume this in the fall.  Stay tuned for more updates on that.

Now, for the new adventures… Hubby and I were in Cancun a few weeks ago for a little anniversary celebration.  While we were there, we participated in The Newlywed Game at the resort where we were staying.  We won!! Three free nights at the resort (with a seven night stay, but oh well!) After the contest, we met a guy who is a travel agent.  He and I were chatting and he said that I should join their agency.  It’s very egalitarian.  He has hired stay at home mothers who make 6 figures.  So with my knowledge of the travel world, it’s a great fit.  I’m not quitting my day job, but it is something I can do on the side until I build up my client base.

That’s where YOU come in.  If you are reading this, please share my information with anyone who may be interested in a very knowledgeable travel agent.  I will be posting specials that we come across, as well as travel tips.  Let me know if you have any special interests.  I’ll be glad to research any destination that appeals to you.

My travel agency contact is jennifer@imaginetravelvacations.com.  Be on the lookout for specials!  I hope to be able to help you escape soon!!

Garage Sale Success!!

Garage Sale Setup

Garage Sale Setup

Last Friday and Saturday was our neighborhood garage sale.  We do this once a year and it was a great opportunity for me to get rid of a lot of the things I’ve been purging.  It gave me a deadline and a goal to accomplish the 60 day challenge that I had set for myself.

I spent a good deal of time over the past month or so gathering items to sell, and at the last minute, remembered that I had not gone into my storage area.  I quickly pulled a few items out of there on Friday morning and this bolstered my inventory. Forgot about the twin bed frame that was there (left over from when I redecorated my niece’s room). We also decided to get rid of most of our yard equipment, since we are hiring a lawn service this year.  And finally we decided to clear out some of the basement furniture to prepare for hopefully replacing our living room furniture and moving the current furniture down there.

I had read a few blogs and discussed some pricing strategies with friends who held regular garage sales and spent Thursday evening setting the items up on tables inside the garage and putting on price stickers.  We borrowed a clothing rack from a friend and I had another rack.  I put all those clothes that the consignment shop wouldn’t take on these racks and priced them all at $2 each or 3 for $5.  My goal was to make a little money, but more importantly GET RID OF STUFF!! I had a basket full of shoes also at $2 each.  I didn’t really set up a store front, but I did try to group items by category… sporting goods on one table,  household/kitchen items on another, etc.  It seemed to work because I had several comments on how organized it looked. I also decided (great advice from a friend) to hold my prices pretty firm on Friday on the good stuff, since I still had Saturday also to sell it at a lower price. This worked out very well.  And I even had one lady who offered a lower price on the twin bed and said if I didn’t get a better offer to call her and she would come back for it – I didn’t and she did!

Friday was a better day than Saturday.  The professionals come on Fridays to buy our trash and turn it into someone else’s treasures.  We also benefitted from 2 other neighborhoods nearby having their sales the same weekend.  We sold a LOT of stuff, but still had a lot left over.  Luckily for us, our neighborhood organizers arrange for a charity to come through the neighborhood on Saturday afternoon.  If you sign up, they will stop at your address and pick up anything that is left over that you still want to get rid of AND give you a receipt for your donation.  We ended up making around $700, but spent $150 on new bar stools that a neighbor was selling.  It was a lot of work, but I felt so great after purging all of this stuff!!  I met my 60 day challenge (well, most of it), made enough money to buy a new desk for the office and can actually see what a difference has been made.  I don’t enjoy holding a garage sale, but it was a pretty good experience over all.

Leftovers donated to charity

Leftovers donated to charity

Bonus – since we weren’t very busy on Saturday, I used the time to sweep out and sort of organize the garage.  That felt great too!

 

De-Clutter Mission Continues

Well, yesterday was a “comp” day from work, since I worked all weekend out of town.  I  spent most of it cleaning out my home office.  This was one of my three main goals to get done before I go away for two weeks in May.  The other two were the kitchen/pantry (done read my post about it) and our master bedroom (closet has had a major purge, but wouldn’t call it “done”).

My main goal was to move around the furniture and make room for a desk for me, since my hubby has pretty much taken over the other desk.  I don’t work from home very often, but when I do, it’s nice to have a place to put my laptop and what ever else I’m working on.  A couple of months ago, my mom was here and helped me purge a lot of paperwork from the large file cabinet that is kept in a closet.  Still have to shred a bunch of papers, but recently discovered that we have a commercial shredder at work! At least those papers are contained in one spot.  Yesterday, I moved enough stuff around to move the book shelves and make room for my new (soon to be purchased) desk.  It feels so great to recycle two bags of papers that are just trash!

Today’s mission is to take the clothes that I purged from my closet (and shoes…and purses) to a consignment shop Clothes Mentor and see what I can get for them.  What doesn’t sell will go in our garage sale in two weeks.  Between consignment and the garage sale, I hope to be able to earn enough extra money to purchase a desk from Ballard Designs (or really Ballard’s Backroom  – their outlet in Roswell) that will match the other desk that I already own from there. The outlet has much of the same stuff from the catalog, but usually scratched or damaged.  The desk I have now has some scratches on the top, but I sanded them and painted it and just refer to it as “distressed”.  For about 20% of the original price, I can live with distressed!!

Anyone else doing some spring cleaning?

Lent

I’m not Catholic, nor am I religious at all, but each year I try to give up something for Lent.  I started this when one of my friends was joining a church and was giving up chocolate for Lent.  I joined in to support her.  Now each year I look for some way to test myself by imposing this 40 day ritual.

Since I’m in the de-clutter mode, I decided to give up shopping this year.  Nothing coming into the house that isn’t essential to make it through the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.  Boy, does email and social media make this hard!  I’m a regular email subscriber to several stores and flash sale sites.  It’s very hard not to click on Rue La La to see what is on sale today. (If you want an invite, click http://www.ruelala.com/invite/jenscape) “Only 3 days left in the Old Navy jeans sale!”  But I’m not shopping… The list goes on and on.

The only downside to this is that I didn’t purchase some of the organizing tools I was eyeing  before imposing this restriction.  Technically a pot lid rack isn’t essential.  It can wait.  But it sure would make my cabinet look more organized!  I guess I’ll have to keep a list of the things that would be nice to have and see if I still want them after Easter.

I’m hoping this will also help with my debt control.  Along with de cluttering, I’m also working on reducing my debt this year.  Consolidation and low or no interest offers are my method right now.  Anyone have a story about becoming debt free?  I’m open to suggestions!

Week 1 in the bag!

This week’s de-clutter challenge for me was the pantry.  I got rid of 2 huge garbage bags of expired food and stuff we will never eat.  I even made room for my Kitchen Aid mixer and juicer, so they could come off of the kitchen counters.  You can actually see the floor of the pantry now!!!

Before

Jennifer Lanier Asbell's photo.

After

Jennifer Lanier Asbell's photo.

Next I started on kitchen cabinets.  I am getting rid of my china, since a) I never use it, b) it was from my previous marriage, c) I don’t really even like it anymore, and d) it is taking up too much cabinet space!!!  I have 3 upper cabinets still to go, but that’s a jump on this weekend.

I’ve read a few other blogs on clutter and organizing and I think one of the trending themes is gifts.  I feel guilty if I give away something that was a gift, especially if it was from someone close to me.  I’m trying to get over this and wrote a FaceBook status about this very subject at the beginning of the year.  Here it is:

Dear Friends and Family, As we approach the end of 2013, it’s time to reflect on what I want to accomplish in 2014.  BK (Before Kevin), I accumulated a lot of “stuff”.  I think I was trying to fill the hole in my life with this “stuff” that I didn’t necessarily need.  I now find that all of these “things” are keeping me bogged down and it’s time to purge.  So my new year’s resolution is to spend 2014 paring down to a normal amount of things.  If you see me getting rid of something that you have given me, please don’t be offended.  Your gesture was received with all of the love that was intended.  And I don’t need any of these things to remind me of you – my loved ones.  And in the future, I would much rather have experiences with you than any trinkets or tokens of your friendship.  PS.  Yes, my infamous shoe and purse collection is going on sale.  So, if there are any that you had your eye on, please let me know before they go to eBay or consignment.  I will be keeping a few special ones, but will let go of the majority very soon. 
Hopefully this will help me continue to purge without guilt.  How do you handle getting rid of gifts that you no longer need or want? I would love to hear your feedback.

Pondering “stuff”

I am enjoying a (finally) sunny weekend, so haven’t done a lot of work on my de-clutter mission. But I’ve spent a little time thinking about how to break this down into smaller tasks. I’ve read a couple of other blogs on organization and I actually cleaned out the fridge. (step 1)

A little background… In my many years of being single, I acquired a lot of things. Retail Therapy was my middle name. I have a pretty large house for one person, so it wasn’t an issue if I filled it up with 3 different sets of martini glasses. But now, I am married and have a sixteen year old step son (full time). They moved in about 2 years ago, but the house still pretty much feels like MY house. I want them to feel at home here. And I want them to take ownership and pride in the house. Neither of them are naturally neat, but I think that it could be better if they have more of an influence on the home. This is going to be really hard for me, because I like a lot of my “stuff”. But I know that I don’t really need it and it is just taking up space. Getting to a place where we are organized and everything has a place will make life much easier for me and make it easier to enlist their help (when I can be specific about where things go, etc.)

Kitchen and Pantry first…
I want to get to a place where I have nothing on my counters that isn’t used daily. I want the cabinets to have room for the items in them. I want the pantry to be organized so I can quickly determine what is missing (what goes on the grocery list). I want to make a place for SS to put his snacks, etc. since we are about to start giving him more responsibility with money and purchases. (more about that later). I want a place where I can hide my few items that I want, for when I want them. (Hubby doesn’t understand that just because I didn’t eat all the cookies when I got them, doesn’t mean I don’t want – no NEED – one at a certain time.)

I think the Pantry has to go first. That way I can make room for some of the countertop stuff. I cleaned it out a couple of years ago, and added shelf covers (hate the wire shelving!) But I think the time has come again for a complete unload-and-reload-only-what-is-used type of clean out. So that will be next weekend’s mission.

Kitchen – a couple of weeks ago I cleaned the oven. SS had turned it on to cook pizza rolls, or some other snack food, and when he opened the oven door, so much smoke came out that the alarm went off. When I was single, I rarely cooked at home. So the oven didn’t get much use. But now, we cook at home most nights. So the oven needed to be cleaned pretty badly. Whew! Scratch that off the list! But this mission isn’t necessarily about cleaning. It’s about decluttering. Still have lots of cabinets that need a thorough purge. I know I have china (from a previous marriage) that I want to get rid of. I also have lots of duplicates of things like vases, platters, etc. This is going to be the hardest one for me. Getting rid of things that have sentimental value has always been tough for me. But I am determined.

The Butler’s Pantry will be next. I may need to enlist some help on this one. We keep the wine and liquor in this area. So we will probably need to throw some sort of alcohol-heavy party to use up all the extras in here. Hubby drinks mainly vodka or bourbon. I drink mainly Chardonnay. So why do we need 18 different types of liquor? Sure, it’s fun to be the neighbor that everyone calls when they need just a bit of blackberry brandy, but really?? I could use that space so much better. So I guess a shot party is needed! Anyone with a lot of great drink recipes?

Ok… so for a schedule:
Week of March 1
Pantry

Week of March 8
Kitchen cabinets

Week of March 15
Butler’s pantry

I will try to take before and after pics to share. Wish me luck! (I’m going to need an escape after this!)

Jen

Just getting started

My new year’s resolution this year was to de-clutter my life.  It is going pretty well.  I started with my Shoe and Purse closet (yes, I am one of THOSE people who has a closet just for my purses and shoes.)  I have a large pile of things to get rid of and have started eBaying some of them.  I’ve netted around $600 so far, but still have lots to sell, donate or just plain get rid of.

I need some additional accountability to keep motivated.  My good friend Kelli, who knows me very well, knows this and has issued a de-clutter challenge.  (Thanks KP!) I have decided to start a blog to help keep me accountable and hopefully inspire others to stay motivated in their goals.

So, here’s what I’m going to do.  There are three main areas in our home that need attention:

1. Kitchen/Pantry

2. Office (especially now that I share it with my husband)

3. Master bedroom (see #2)

The original challenge KP sent was for 91 days.  I have a very busy May coming up, plus we have a neighborhood garage sale at the end of April.  So I am revising this to a 60 day challenge for these three areas.  I’m going to take a few days to break down the tasks, so the full challenge will start March 1st.

Stay tuned for updates on my progress!