The Decluttering Bug

It never fails that I get the decluttering bug between the Fall and Winter semesters. You know, the sudden urge to wander around your house and get rid of the JUNK! I’m afraid that even with an 8-month sabbatical earlier this year, I did not manage to get around to decluttering the house (too busy) but now I just can’t stand it anymore.

Here’s the busynessgirl-style solution. First, make a list of every place in the house that needs decluttering. Each item on the list can take no more than one hour, so if there are particularly bad spots, you’ll have to break them down into “bite-sized” chunks. For example “declutter loft” would take 4-6 hours. This got broken down into:

  1. Loft clothes closet
  2. Loft linen closet
  3. Dresser drawers in loft bedroom
  4. Surfaces and shelves in loft bedroom
  5. Bathroom closet in loft
  6. Desk drawers in loft

Walk through every room of your house until you’re sure you’ve listed EVERYTHING (even the drawers of that incredibly daunting file cabinet, one at a time).

Write each item on the list on a scrap of paper (or print the list and cut each item out separately). Put all the paper scraps in a jar, hat, or box.


Every day Joel and I pull out ONE item and deal with it (no matter how bad it is). We approach the offending location with a garbage bag and a box for Goodwill. So far we’ve decluttered the couch in Joel’s office, a strange little room in our garage, the bathroom closets, and the bedroom closet. It’s a great feeling to just deal with the clutter in a manageable and systematic way. It’s also really interesting to see what you find! For example, I found all the Christmas presents I bought in India earlier this year that I had forgotten about.

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Basement Home Stretch

I think we’ve been trying to do this basement project for two years now. With the completion of the siding, we may finally be in the home stretch. The siding still needs to be stained, but it is up on the wall now – which was the major work.


I know it’s me (or Joel) posing in all these home improvement pictures, but it was really Fred that did all the work. Yay Fred!

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Halley’s Steps

Halley is getting a little stiffer as she gets older (she’s 10 now) and does not like to go down the front steps very much. We think that they are just steeper than some of the other steps.

We needed to have the back steps (off the screened-in porch) rebuilt with a landing, because the existing steps were a little dangerous. As long as we were rebuilding steps, it seemed like a good idea to make them with a nice gradual slope for Halley. I’d like to say we built these ourselves (we did rebuild the front steps ourselves), but again, we paid to have someone else do the work. They do still need to be stained, but here are Halley’s new steps!

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Garage Progress

On Saturday night (very muggy), while Joel was still at work, I got it into my head to take the dogs for a walk to get some exercise. Unfortunately, right around the time I was ready to head out, it started raining again. But I wanted to get some exercise, so I set the timer for 20 minutes and started tackling all the boxes of junk in the garage. Eight 20-minute timer’s later, I was drenched in sweat, dust, and sawdust, and had a pile of cardboard to be recycled.


If you’ve ever seen the garage, you’ll know that these pictures indicate serious progress. Simply the fact that there is now bare floor visible is progress. Notice that the shelves are starting to fill – Fred’s idea for building the last shelf as an easy-to-access triangular shape was a very good one.

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Do the new shelves = volume of current mess?

I’ve been looking at a cluttered garage for three years now, and although I do get enough space cleared out for my car every winter, it’s really ridiculous that the garage is this disorganized.

Having finally discovered how to get these little house projects done (hire someone), we have some new garage shelves.


What do you think, can the mess be reorganized into the shelves?

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