Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Spring Cleaning Carnival: Get the Clutter Out!

May 17th, 2010 · 14 Comments · Uncategorized

Since I am clearly not qualified to say a word about anything in the organizing realm, I’m very happy to introduce Mandi of Organizing Your Way to take the reins for this week’s theme.  You can find all the past topics and hostesses here.SPRING CLEANING BUTTON

My Story

I’ve always been a very organized person, but for me that just meant organizing all of the stuff around me.

In the first five years of our marriage, my husband and I moved four times. The first two times we moved, I didn’t really even think much of the gazillion boxes I was packing for the move. To me, it just seemed like a normal thing to do.

Our third “home” was really a little basement apartment in my parent’s home, and most of our stuff remained in boxes divided between their house and my in-laws’.

And then, on the day we moved to our fourth home, a funny thing happened (well, it wasn’t funny at the time, but it is now). As we drove down the highway, two boxes went flying off the back of the pickup truck my mother-in-law was driving, their contents smashed on the side of the road.

Looking back, that was really a turning point for me.

We went ahead and unpacked most of our boxes in our new home, resulting in cabinets, closets and drawers that were overflowing with stuff. The idea of limiting the number of kitchen gadgets I owned had never occurred to me before because I was just waiting for that moment when I would be magically transformed from kitchen dunce to world class chef (I’m still waiting, by the way…).organized moving boxes

But the only thing that I had lost in those two boxes that was actually a necessity was our paper towel holder, and realizing that made me take a hard look at how much stuff we really had.

A year-and-a-half later we began packing to move to the home we had built on a little slice of heaven – our dream home, really. I was seven months pregnant and it probably would have been easier to just ask some friends to come over and help me box everything up for the move, but I was determined to eliminate as much unnecessary stuff as I could. I began with my kitchen and ended up with dozens of boxes full of extra dishes, Pampered Chef gadgets and small appliances.

That felt so good (figuratively speaking, because the reality is my body ached by the time I was done!), that I moved on to our clothes, linen closet, toys and storage, weeding through each and every item before packing it for the move.

I made half a dozen trips to the Salvation Army during the 6 weeks I spent decluttering and packing, and the result was that it only took my husband and a couple of friends about two hours to load up all of our belongings when moving day arrived.

But do you know what the most surprising thing has been? Here we are three years after that big move, and I’ve taken several more large loads to the Salvation Army and community yard sales. Over time, my home is still becoming less and less cluttered because every time I go through a drawer or cabinet, I am able to see even more clearly which items I use and which I’m holding onto “just in case”.

Benefits of Decluttering

organized desk To put it simply, eliminating clutter brings a whole new level of freedom to your life. The benefits are many:

· When you have less stuff, you’ll spend less time dealing with it – cleaning it, moving it, thinking about it – and more time living life.

· The less stuff you have, the easier it is to get – and stay – organized.

· You’ll be more productive and accomplish more when you don’t waste time dealing with clutter.

· The more you declutter, the more thoughtful you’ll become about the purchases you make, which is better for the environment and your wallet.

· You’ll more easily be able to find the things that are important to you.

· Having company over will be much less stressful because you won’t have to spend hours clearing surface clutter before they arrive.

It’s never easy to get started, but over time decluttering becomes second nature!

To Be Continued…

Mandiiiiiii!  Helllllllllp!!!! Is anyone else wondering “how???”  I’ve read these sentiments before, but having them at my very own blog…oh, dear.  It’s like finding $100 in my underwear drawer and not knowing how it got there.  I have no idea what to do with this information, and it seems really personal.

I strongly desire to declutter and have that freedom of anti-imagematerialism and less “stuff”.  When push comes to shove, though, I’m a saver.  I see myself very clearly in the line above: holding onto “just in case”.

Please head over to Organizing Your Way, quickly, without passing Go, without opening any new windows, and without getting distracted by something else.  (What? Was that a new @reply coming in?  Go on without me, kitchen stewards, I’ll be right there…)


Don’t worry friends, there’s a giveaway to go with today’s carnival, which you can see here.  If you’re a blogger, be sure to link up any organizing posts, including laments that you’re not organized, at Mandi’s linky.

Next week is the very last week in the Spring Cleaning Carnival, when we’ll talk about Getting Out the Debt with Claire at Saving Money Plan.  I’ve got FOUR items to give away next week, so be sure to mosey on back…if you don’t get distracted by an open Internet window, that is.  ;)

Something you don’t want to miss: If you’re already a subscriber, be sure to leave a comment for a bonus chance to win a Nutrimill grain mill before Tuesday at midnight!  If you’re not a subscriber, what are you waiting for?  I’ve got an Excalibur dehydrator to give away this summer, too.  Keep up on what’s going on,and sign up for a free email subscription or grab my reader feed. You can also follow me on Twitter, get KS for Kindle, or see my Facebook Fan Page.

Maybe Mandi will want to take Nourished Kitchen’s eCourse to help her become a gourmet (or at least functional) real food chef.  Want to try your hand? See the 12-week course description here.

If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.

Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money.  If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

Photos from Mpopp, tomas carrillo.  I am an affiliate of Nourished Kitchen’s eCourse.

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14 Comments so far ↓

  • Karen P.

    Oh, I needed to hear this. My husband just asked why we have so many totes of stuff in the basement. Like would we ever miss it if we just got rid of it? I really need to go thru this stuff. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Condo Blues

    I did a big basement clean out when I was renting and it’s so true. I felt like I had more stuff because I could see the useful, pretty, and newer items I had and use them regularly!
    .-= Condo Blues´s last blog ..7 Areas for Easy Kitchen Spring Cleaning and Clutter Busting =-.

  • Ashley

    I need help too!!! We recently moved across the country for my husband’s work, and the new employer paid for packers. Talk about eye-opening – I’d never had anyone come and evaluate how much stuff we had! One of the best and worst days of my life… Before we moved, we took a couple of SUV-loads to Goodwill, and I’ve lost track of how many donations we’ve made as we unpacked. I’m not overwhelmed by our stuff anymore, but I need help getting to the next part…
    .-= Ashley´s last blog ..Old friends =-.

  • Marcia

    I definitely need help with this! We recently moved from a large 5 bedroom house to a 3 bedroom townhouse. I obviously downsized, getting rid of tons of stuff, but I am still amazed by the amount of “just in case” junk we have!

  • Rachel

    That’s all not to mention that clutter is bad for your health.

    1. It collects dust–aka allergens
    2. It prevents sunlight from reaching larger surfaces (carpet, desktop, couch, etc.), and sunlight is the BEST disinfectant.

  • Amanda

    I think my biggest problem with organizing is how much of a certain thing do I need and for how long should I keep it. Example, are 4 sets of sheets really necessary for my queen sized bed? These towels are now 3 years old, are they past the point of their prime and now more bacteria laden?

  • Kate

    I have so much crap in my house. It’s really awful. I’m looking at the top of the filing cabinet and the desk I sit at now and they’re both covered with papers and computer gadgets. The sad part is, I actually went through it all a week ago! Some requires my husband’s attention. But really, I need to go through my house with big bags and boxes and just get stuff out! Ugh! Thanks. :)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Do Your Research!: Antibiotics =-.

  • Shannon

    We will be moving soon and we have sooo much “stuff” that needs to be gone through and gotten rid of! Most of it is in our office/craft room. Paper, paper and more paper (oh and lots of fabric). I, too, am a “I might need this later” type of person ~ so it’s really hard to let go of stuff. But one thing that really is helping me is I ask myself, “What good is this doing sitting in a cupboard or the garage when I can donate it and it might truly bless someone else?” This especially helped when wanting to save A LOT of my last child’s clothing (my only girl)…….
    Thanks for more inspiration!

  • MomOfFour

    Very inspirational. I have boxes from our move __ years ago (I’m embarrassed to say). I will definitely go through them – I’m hoping this summer will be the time to declutter. Thanks for the great post.

  • Simple in France

    Oh, I completely agree. Getting rid of clutter is so important. We’ve made several transatlantic moves in recent years, so that’s helped us prioritize quite a bit. I find it funny when people come to visit and balk as I roll out my pie crusts with an old wine bottle–but it’s actually one of the better rolling pins I’ve ever owned. . .kitchen gadgets or any gadgets really can be such a trap. There is always some other thing out there.
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..Where would you pinch pennies if you had to? =-.

  • Jessica

    Thanks for more motivation – spring and fall are always BIG clothes-cleanouts for us – with 5 kids, it’s always toss, keep or pass-down!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Organizing: in the kitchen =-.

  • How Organization Eased A Bad Day « tan/green

    [...] Organization Eased A Bad Day ShareAs you may have seen I have been following along with the Kitchen Stewardship Blog Carnival and contributing as topics inspire me…and this week the topic is de-cluttering and organizing.  [...]

  • Carmen

    We are just starting the discussion on possibly moving this year so we can drop to one income after the baby is born. I have a LOT of decluttering to do! Hubby says we should have an estate sale so we can get rid of a lot of the furniture – we have way too much. And if we get rid of furniture, we’ll have to get rid of the stuff stored in it, right?

  • Tammy

    We are moving tomorrow and for my 15 minute break from packing boxes I came on your site. We have been married for six years and moved seven times. I have a three year old and 6 month old. Thanks for this post because I had a “not sure” box going, and now it is a “giveaway” box. I think of when my grandparents grew up and how they had a few wooden toys, and some old pie tins to play outside in the dirt. My kids don’t “need” any of this stuff. And I don’t need to keep dragging it around with us.

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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