Simple Declutter Challenge – Decluttering the Office and Living Room
Let’s continue getting the clutter out of our homes. This week we are focusing on decluttering the office and living room!
Welcome to the second week of the Simple Declutter Challenge! This week we will be decluttering the office and living room. Last week we started decluttering our office desks and paperwork. And now it’s time to set in place a storage filing system that will help us maintain our new clutter-free desk area.
Now in case you missed the first week of the declutter challenge, I recommend starting there because there’s a ton of information packed into that first post. So, you can find the first week of the declutter challenge by clicking HERE. Then come back here to complete week two!
A Couple of Reminders Before We Start Decluttering
If you haven’t downloaded and printed the Simple Declutter Challenge calendar, I suggest you do so now. Simply click on the image below to get your FREE calendar. 🙂
And don’t forget to grab your helpful tools! You’ll need a cardboard box (or two), a couple of large trash bags, a large basket and a timer. The boxes are for items you want to donate. The trash bags are for anything you want to throw out. And the basket is for items that don’t belong in this room and need to be moved to a new location. Your goal is to stay in the one location you are decluttering and stay focused on this space, uninterrupted, for as long as you can.
Once you’re ready to start decluttering, remember to set that timer and work in a systematic pattern moving quickly to see what clutter you can remove from the space. Putting that timer on, will create a little bit of urgency and help you make gut decisions rather than debating with yourself about the item. If you don’t immediately say “I use this” or “I love this”, just let it go. 🙂
And remember to keep these fours questions in mind to help you make fast decisions and keep you on task of decluttering all the things!
Do I use it? If yes, move on to next question. If no, there’s your answer. (And no, the question is not ‘WILL I USE THIS ONE DAY’.) 😉
Do I have more than one? If no, move on to next question. If yes, extra items are just that – extra. Donate for others!
Would I buy this today? If yes, move on to next question. If no, there’s your answer. Maybe your style has changed. So if you don’t love it, you don’t need it. Donate or trash.
Does this help to make my life easier? If yes, keep it. If no, then most likely this item is adding to the clutter in your life. Donate or trash.
So now that those decluttering reminders are out of the way. Let’s start actually removing the clutter from our homes, by returning back to our home offices.
Let’s Continue Decluttering the Office
The office is an area that can quickly start drowning in paper clutter. Bills, junk mail and kids schoolwork can take over in a blink! So since we have spent the past two days* getting this area clutter free, let’s keep it that way by creating a paper filing system for our homes.
*If you happened to miss DAY 6 (decluttering our office desk) and DAY 7 (decluttering all bills, junk mail, receipts, etc.), you can find both by clicking HERE.
DAY 8: Today we will create a storage filing system for mail.
Have you heard of this saying? “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” It’s so true! That’s why when it comes to paper clutter, we need to know immediately what to do with each paper item. The ‘decision’ needs to be quick and almost a no-brainer. That’s what a good storage filing system can do for you!
I feel like right here, I need to address sentimental papers – like old love letters or journals/diaries. These type of paper items are treasured so I suggest getting a pretty box or basket (some special container) to store them in. If they are indeed treasured, protect them and store them as such. So now having said that, know when I talk about paper clutter, sentimental items are excluded.
Now, this storage filing system is going to be super easy because as I mentioned before – I try to remove all paper from my home! But I realize not everyone lives like me. So obviously I will not encourage you to keep a ton of paperwork and instead create a filing system with only two categories: NEEDS MY ATTENTION and MUST SAVE.
And here’s my number #1 tip when it comes to the mail: as soon as you receive your mail, sort it! It will either be trash or can go into the two filing categories.
Tips to Keep in Mind:
For the NEEDS MY ATTENTION file, keep papers that must be signed for school, bills that need to be paid, receipts to file, etc. But remember, the goal here is to keep this file empty. So if you see items in this file – you need to address them right away!
For the MUST SAVE file, keep papers such as insurance polices, financial documents, vehicle titles, etc. These are papers you may need someday for some reason, but will not frequently be accessed.
Organizing Tip for Mail:
To help you stay on top of paper clutter, I suggest using a vertical organizer so your papers can be seen. And definitely, create a designated area for your filing system! Make sure to keep all your papers in this designated area and don’t let them spread all over the house. 🙂
Mail and paper organizers to consider: (click on image to shop)
DAY 9: Today we will declutter the office of books and magazines.
Next up on the decluttering calendar are books and magazines, a common source of clutter in both the office and living room. (The living room is where we start decluttering tomorrow.) So start today by tossing outdated magazines and consider looking at online versions instead. Go through your office (and living room if you want) and collect all the books you have into one place. Then we will divide and take action!
Tips to Keep in Mind:
As you sort through your books divide them into four categories: general books ( read for pleasure), practical books (reference, cookbooks), visual books (photographs), and magazines. Then pick them up, one by one, and decide to keep or donate. Just remember, if you say I might read this book again, might often leads to never. So if it’s a might – donate!
Now you may be asking, ‘What about books I haven’t finished? Or books I have not started to read yet?’ To answer those questions, I’m going to quote Marie Kondo, “If you missed your chance to read a particular book, even if it was recommended to you or is one you have been intending to read for ages, this is your chance to let it go. You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it by now, the book’s purpose was to teach you that you didn’t need it!” The exclamation point is from me – because those words are mind blowing. You simply did not need the book to begin with so pass it on to someone else for them to enjoy.
Organizing Tip for Books and Magazines:
When it comes to organizing your books and magazines, I suggest you store them all in one location for two reasons. One, they are easy to find and put back. And two, if you have a designated area, books and magazines don’t start to spread throughout the home.
A fun way to arrange and organize your books may be according to color and size for a stylish look. 🙂
Book and magazine organizers that work wonders: (click on image to shop)
Next, Let’s Declutter The Living Room
The main purpose for any family room or living room is to relax. If the area is cluttered with toys, books, wires, blankets, old magazines, clothes and more, it can be difficult to truly unwind. Did you know that after bedrooms, the living room ranks as the second most cluttered space in the home? Yikes!
Like many homes, your living room is probably in need of a refresh. So I have some decluttering tips to help you take back your relaxing family space over the span of just a few days!
DAY 10: Today we will declutter the living room tech accessories.
Let’s start by sorting through items like TV remotes, earbuds and headphones, video game controllers, charging cords, and any other tech accessories. First, make sure they are in good working order. And then secondly, find a creative way to store these items in the living room.
Tips to Keep in Mind:
Worried you might throw out a cord you’ll need? Don’t be. Mysterious cords will always remain just that – a mystery! In the end, it’s just easier to go buy a new cord. Keep only the cords, remotes, controllers, you can identify and toss the rest. And since cords are unavoidable, try you best to hide them with furniture, under rugs or best – go wireless whenever possible! 🙂
Organizing Tip for Living Room Tech Products:
For our family, our media console has been great for storing all the boys gaming equipment along with our internet router and all the cords that come with those things. Cords drive me absolutely insane so I try to hide them or conceal them as best as I can. (Just ask my husband how bad I hate them! Cord have been a cause for a few minor fights in our marriage, more than once!)
For smaller items like remotes, I like to store them in decorative boxes on the coffee table. Out of sight, but still super easy to access!
Tech organizing essentials: (click on image to shop)
DAY 11: Today we will declutter the living room decorative pillows.
My love of decorative pillows runs deep! So this is an area that will be so good for me to declutter. Sometimes having too many pillows in one area can make the room feel cluttered. So it’s time to tackle those pillows. Another great thing about today’s task, it will only take you a few minutes to complete!
Tips to Keep in Mind:
When it comes to decluttering pillows, make sure you only keep what you love. Yes, you can keep seasonal pillow covers, just designate a place to store them when not using.
Organizing Tip for Pillows:
When organizing my pillow/pillow covers, I try to keep my seasonal ones with seasonal decorating items. So for example, my Christmas pillows are stored with my Christmas decor, fall with fall decor etc. It’s a system that works for me. But you may want to store all yours in one collective place. Whatever works – and you find easy to maintain – should be your choice.
DAY 12: Today we will declutter our living room decor, nick-knacks and wall art.
It’s possible you simply have too many things in your living room, which is making it feel overcrowded. Those little nick-knacks can add up and without realizing it, start to make our living rooms look so cluttered. So today, we are going to stop and really evaluate all of our living room decor.
Tips to Keep in Mind:
A lot of items can find their way into this frequently used space over time. So after you have quickly removed all the obvious trash from the room, next remove any items that have lost their way and belong in another room. Look for toys that belong in kids’ rooms, mail or magazines that belong in the office and glasses or dishware that needs to go back to the kitchen.
Now with those items gone, let’s take a look at any nick-knacks and wall art you have displayed. The two questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to these items is: Would I buy this again today? Is this still my style? If not, donate.
Now, Let’s Start Decluttering The Closets
Closets can get crazy fast, can’t they?! We jam ’em, pack ’em , overfill ’em and then get so frustrated when we can’t find anything in them. And there’s a ton of closets in our homes too when you stop to think about it. We got entryway coat closets, linen closets, and bedroom closets.
So we will be tackling all the closets over the next three days. And when we get done – your closets are gonna look so good – you won’t wanna shut those doors! 😉
DAY 13: Today we will declutter the linen closet.
True confession: our linen closets used to be so unorganized! So a couple years ago, I decided to get them in line! I’m happy to say, they have stayed rather organized for years. Although I’m still going to pop in there and declutter a few items along with you!
I will tell you, taking the time over a few days to really declutter, beautify, and reorganize my linen closets was sooooo worth it. It’s space I love to see (I still adore that wallpaper!) and everyone in the family has learned where everything is stored. Our linen closet is convenient and so efficient, as a linen closet should be. So let’s get yours this way too!
Tips to Keep in Mind:
When it comes to decluttering and sorting the linen closet, I suggest to remove all the items. Take everything out of the closet and sort into three piles as you go; trash, keep and donate. Then all you’re left with is the items that will go back into the closet.
Now before you put those items back, I have something for you to consider. Since this is a task assigned on the weekend, you may have extra time to beautify your closets as well. If you do, and you want too, I say go for it. It’s such a fun little way to give you closet some extra joy! I simply used some wallpaper to add some style to the back walls of our linen closet. But if wallpaper is not for you, even a few coats of some paint could give any of your closets a whole new look. 🙂
Organizing Tip for Linen Closets:
When reorganizing your linen closet, group like items together by room. For example, stack sheets for your master suite in one pile, your kids’ sheets in another and create a separate pile for guest room sheets. Repeat this process with bath towels as well. Try to limit yourself to 3 sets of sheets and towels per bedroom. Guest rooms should have 2 sets of sheets, towels, extra pillows and a couple extra blankets.
And I suggest arranging items most frequently used in the front. It saves time and makes it easier to find what you need. If you would like to see more visual tips, you can see how I organized my linen closet HERE.
Great organizing tools for the linen closet: (click on image to shop)
DAY 14: Today we will sort through the front entry closet.
Our front entry entry closet is super tiny and rather cluttered – way more than it should be. This one closet really gets neglected in our home. Season after season, we fill it with new coats, mitten/gloves, hats and snow boots. And the biggest problem – nothing ever leaves! I’m thinking this may be a problem in your home as well. So today, the front entry closet is going to get cleaned out!
Tips to Keep in Mind:
Just like the linen closet, I recommend starting with a clean slate and removing everything in the closet. While you’re removing, sort all items into the three categories; keep, donate, and trash. Sort any remaining items into categories (grouping similar items together) for more functional storage space. And be sure to prioritize your most important items if you’re short on space. Once this is done, you’ll have a much clearer picture of your storage needs.
Organizing Tip for Entry Closet:
If you have a small entry closet like us, it’s so important to maximize all of the vertical storage you can. Store items up as high as you can go and look for any wall spaces where extra storage can be added. Keep less used items or off season items up higher and keep those daily items easily within reach. Wall hooks are a great way to add a little extra storage for non-bulky items. And clear bins are you best friends so you can see every item quickly when hurrying out the door!
Keep your entry closet organized with these: (click on image to shop)
Preparing For Next Week:
Here’s what you may need for next weeks decluttering tasks as we continue with closets, bedrooms and start towards the basement.
We will continue to focus on closets by sorting through the messiest closet of them all – our bedroom closet! And then we will continue decluttering in the bedroom by going through the dressers and nightstands. Clothes can be super hard to declutter because of ‘sentimental reasons’ or ‘saving for one day’ so I just want to prepare you so you can dig deep and find the courage to let those items go that NEED to go. 🙂
So if you found this weeks tips on decluttering the office and living room helpful, be sure to PIN IT so others might find them as well!
I hate to declutter, but it felt good when I finally decluttered the storage room where my Christmas decorations are stored! Thanks for the encouragement
That’s great, Doris! Way to go on decluttering those Christmas decorations!
Hard at work on my work from home office. Paper clutter, cords, books and office supplies are behind corralled!
That’s great, Renee! Sounds like you are conquering all the clutter! 🙂
I think the thing I am most proud of is my paperwork clutter, I got it all organized into one file container, along with decluttering I found the time to get some of my insurance and house paperwork updated! This has been on the to do list since my separation two years ago, so a feeling of relief for getting that overwhelming task off my list.
Thanks so much for this challenge!
Oh – that’s great to hear, Shelley! Paperwork clutter is so hard to stay on top of – but you even went above and beyond that task. So good! 🙂 (clapping!!!!)
My office is where I both work and create from, so it’s a disaster lol. I LOVE cookbooks, and am most proud of going through and getting ride of A LOT of them this week!
That’s fantastic, Rachel! Cookbooks can really add up quickly so I’m super happy you were able to get them all decluttered and organized. 🙂