February 11, 2013

From clutter to clean in one week. Lets do this.


About a month ago we talked to my mother-in-law about watching our kids for the weekend so we could clean the garage – a two-person, two-day job. She agreed and we picked February 16-17 as THE weekend. I had great plans of getting things organized in the house, so that when THE weekend came around, everything that was going to go to the dump or thrift shop – was out in the garage. I bet you can guess how those  plans have worked out for me – fast forward to today and I haven’t done a thing.

So in the next five days here is my plan to get my house uncluttered so I can purge, sell or giveaway by the end of the week:


  • Pantry
  • Toiletry/linen closet (upstairs)
  • Hall closet (downstairs)
  • Upstairs bathrooms


  • Bedroom closet (huge task)
  • Dressers


  • Kitchen
  • Downstairs bathroom
  • Laundry area (in garage)


  • Kid Room #1
  • Kid Room #2
  • Living Room (mostly books/DVDs)


  • Outside Shed
  • Office area/Desk


  • Install shelves in garage – Rack Shelf Shelving Unit – $34.99 Ace Hardware, free ship to store
  • Organize items in bins
  • Invite friends/family over in the morning to pillage through our donation pile before dropping off at thrift shop
  • Load to dump/thrift shop


I am probably crazy for trying to do this in a week, but I’m kinda an all-or -nothing sorta girl. And I’ve been doing a lot of nothing without a deadline or a list of goals. So I developed this list to get my tush in gear and get ready for a more clutter-free existence after this weekend.

I should add – I’m not suggesting you should do anything this crazy or dramatic. Admittedly, I do a pretty good job of getting rid of extra clutter, so I don’t have piles of stuff like you’d see in Hoarders or anything. I don’t have a big house. I did get rid of an entire cars worth of clutter in January. But I do have many areas where I hope to simplify and clean – so that’s the main goal. Nothing too extreme.

I plan to bring you along for the ride. As long as your nice. You’ll see my closets and my crap and you’ll probably think I’m a slob. But as long as your nice about it – we’ll get along and you can encourage me to get my house a bit more organized – and hopefully I can motivate you to do the same thing!

Gorilla-Shelves-Ace-HardwareI ordered these shelves for the garage – Rack Shelf Shelving Unit – $34.99 Ace Hardware, free ship to store. Seems like a steal, the same ones are going for $70+ over on Amazon – Gorilla Rack GR6-3414-5-PCB 34 by 14 by 72-Inch Shelving Unit with 5-shelf, Black. Part of challenge with the garage is we’ve never installed any good shelves, we have been using our IKEA bookshelves from college all these years – and frankly they don’t hold anything and they are falling apart. So we’re getting serious with some real shelving.

I’ll try to post status updates daily. And if you want to follow along I’d love to hear updates from you!

What about you? Have you been doing any cleaning or organizing lately? Have any tips for me to make it through this week?


    Leave your comments here...


  1. Roxanne Karr says:

    Heather, thank you so much for inspiring me AND giving me the tools I need to do this. Our kids are grown and gone, and my husband and I are going to sell this big ol’ house and move to something smaller. My method so far has been to (1) Walk into a room, or open a closet door; (2) Look around at all the STUFF I need to do something about; (3) Sigh; (4) Walk out of room, or close closet door and decide tomorrow is a MUCH better day to start this! I love your 4-step flowchart (“Here is the process I went through for ALL the stuff I came across”) from Day 1 of 7. I feel more equipped to take on this task, thanks to you!

  2. I’ll be doing the same thing this summer in preparation to get my life organized to start homeschooling in the fall for the first time. What would my house look like without clutter?!

  3. beth johnson says:

    We need to do this too. Our landlord did not see fit to use the rent we paid to make house payments, so the bank now wants us to move. I hate moving!!!

  4. I soo need to finish my house purge. My goal for surviving this deployment was to organize the house and remove as much clutter as possible. Well it’s been since aug and I think I have gone through all of the house at least twice but the kids find stuff in the get rid of pile then move it back to their rooms. Thinking they need a sleepover weekend with friends while I make a HUGE thrift store drop next week.

  5. I’m so jealous. I have the decluttering bug, but still haven’t gotten started. I’ll have to live vicariously through your efforts. I love hearing all the great ideas, too, so thanks for sharing!

  6. On the towel issue – Martha Stewart casualy mentioned this on a show years ago. I implemented when my kids were taking bath/showers on thier own and it works!

    Everyone in the house has two bath towels the same color. Each person has thier own color. Towel on the floor / Towel that didn’t make it into the laundry. Humm . . what color? It eliminated “not my towel” and towel hogs. Hang up your towel and use it twice in one week. Guests get nice white towels. Total bath towels for our family of 4 = eight. Made a huge difference.

    We have a shelf for Beach and guest towels.

  7. I’m in! I asked my hubby for help in the garden this weekend for my Valentine’s gift. We’ll be borrowing a truck to bring home a load of dirt and while we have it, we’ll also be doing a load to the dump and a load to donation, so a week of serious purging is what’s needed here, too!

  8. I’ll join you. I have been slowly cleaning the garage (with my husbands help of course), and talking my 8 yr old into getting rid of some (Ok a lot) of his older toys. Hubby and I were just saying today that we need to clean out our closet tonight (That doesn’t take long for us). Thanks for the inspiration- on a side note we have some shelving kinda like what you bought, and we LOVE it like another poster suggested we have our shelve brackets upside down so bins and such can slide easily over the sides- I worried about my kids trying to drag stuff down.

  9. I think this is a marvelous idea. Every once in awhile, I tell DH :Let’s pretend we are going to move and clean for that” It is amazing how more we get rid off.

  10. I found the these: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-4-Tier-Shelving-Unit-Black/19890901
    are really helpful because two 18-gallon tubs can fit on one shelf. Others that I bought weren’t deep enough of wide enough. I found them at the Mount Vernon store for $39.95.
    They can also be “attached” together for added support.

  11. I’ve had the organization bug lately. Nothing makes me happier than getting things organized! I LOVE it! Well, okay, there are some things that make me happier, but this ranks right up there! I’ve been working in my garage a lot lately because I moved my mom in with me a year ago and we are going through her things from storage bit by bit.

    Keep going on your mission…it is worth it in the end. I am definitely along for the ride and mutual encouragement!


  12. Deborah Durkee says:

    Keep the mind set “someone really needs this, I can replace it if needed, probably at a thrift store”.
    It helps to quite that nagging voice voice that says maybe I’ll keep it!

  13. Kassi Belshaw says:

    I’m doing something like that this week too. We have only been in this house about 6 months so things aren’t to bad. Just getting to that cluttered stage so it’s time! Good luck! I will be following along!

  14. I have a designated Goodwill (or other donation place) box in the garage. Whenever something is sitting on the counter or shelf for too long, or I go thru my kid’s toys, everything gets tossed into the box! I go to Goodwill about once every two months, or more if needed. Makes it easy to stay organized!

  15. This is great. I have been decluttering my home for a bit now and have helped many do their own homes. I run a ministry at my church called My Sister’s Closet. We open up our church after we have emptied out our closets/cabinets in our homes and give away everything for free. The kids love to get involved too. We do it in October, I live in MA so it is cold outside and we have helped over 500 families each year. We are a tint church, but if everyone empties out what they aren’t using or wearing anymore we can help a lot of families.

  16. I’ve been dying to purge my home of clutter for at least 6mo. I did a little here & a little there with no real satisfaction. Well fast forward to about 2 weeks ago, we made a huge decision to move out of our house & rent my inlaws home for significantly less than what we pay for our mortgage. With this decision comes prepping our home to be listed in the next 2 weeks. So I decided to go all out & rent a dumpster for a week. It’s $250 for pickup/drop off plus $100 per ton. I’m a stay at home mom with our almost 4 year old & 13 year old & hubby works 6pm-3am & sleeps during the day. So I clean & purge during the day & when he gets home, he has the clean & purge night shift. I’ve never been so happy free’ing myself from all this CRAP!! Now I just have a donation pile that will be dropped off this weekend & we can go head & get our home listed. Can’t wait to see your declutter project!!

  17. I have been sick for what seems like weeks, but need to get going on the same plan…well maybe add an extra week. My Mom is coming to visit on the 26th so I plan to have this all done, and I live in an apartment so no garage. If you can do this, so can I!! Can’t wait to see your updates and I wish you much success!!

  18. I love this idea!

  19. Awesome! I’m more on the “several months clutter to clean” plan. I don’t have enough stamina to get it done fast…maybe that makes me the tortoise of cleaning! 🙂 Go, Heather, go!

  20. If it is useful donations that can be used for women and children you can always donate to shelter for domestic violence and it’s still a tax deduction that way

  21. In every house we’ve ever owned we installed our own shelves, it saves a lot of money and very durable. Basically you need those L-shaped metal shelf holders, some screws, and about 1″ thick wood boards. We usually do 3 rows on every available wall of the garage. Added bonus: When you move out of the house, the new owners really appreciate the storage and it brings perceived value to the home during a sale.

  22. Brenda Smith says:

    We just did our garage. 3 shelving units and a rubbermaid fasttrack system for the bikes. The fasttrack system is awesome! Bikes are off the floor and out of the way. This system would be great for tools too. Still have a few things to go thru and we’ll be clutter free. Its a great accomplishment! Good luck!

  23. We are planning a move to Texas so I have been purging all month! I have been tackling one space at a time since I have a toddler helping. Which, as most know, is like taking two steps forward and one step back.

    What I’ve found so far is that I need to better organize my stock-piles from couponing. The kitchen pantry and freezer are so full I don’t even know what we really have. My plan is to take an inventory and try to use most of it up before our move at the end of March. (I’ve already prepared my husband for this since he would eat out every day of the week if I allowed it.)

    It also hit me one day that we have WAY too many towels. I do laundry every day so we really only rotate the same four. I decided to let go of some (while fighting thoughts like, “What about cleaning the dog after the park” or “going to the beach”). I saved some of course but now I have MUCH more room in my linen closet for other storage.

    Another clutter saver…get rid of DVDs you never watch. We were able to move an entire bookshelf to the garage for better usage.

    Don’t forget to look on Pinterest for storage ideas. A lot of space is wasted under sinks and in cupboards.

    Good luck! I can’t wait to see your progress!

  24. Becky Gembala says:

    I would love to have this done too…my goal is to have *something* done by the time my maternity leave is over March 12th. I like to see other people’s crap…makes me feel normal! 🙂

  25. Oh wow! That is a tall order. I gave myself 21 days and probably should be done by now. Whoops! Good luck to you. You’ll have to let us know how the shelves work out. I am thinking of getting one of those for my husbands manly stuff.

  26. Go Heather go! Those shelves will be nice. If possible, install the shelves upside down, so there is a lip around the edge to hold things in place in case of an earthquake.

  27. I wish you all the luck and energy to accomplish this!!! I’ll try it next!!! I copied your game plan down and will attack it starting March 3rd!!!!

  28. You too?! My gameplan isn’t as quick as yours is laid out…I gave myself 2 weeks! I say, Go Big or Go Home! Will be following along…and sweating from purging too!

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