Seven Minute (Paper) Declutter Challenge – 5 March 2012

Gosh, is it Monday already?  Time for another update on my latest Seven Minute Declutter Challenge – battling my evil arch enemy…paper!

I had a couple of interesting clutter ‘a-ha’ moments when we went off on winter break.  (Just for the record, we spent a week on the beautiful island of Madeira.  And, by the way, thanks to the Flyladypacking and organising for trips gets easier and easier, yay!)

Going away on a trip is a great excuse for decluttering.  We always take the kids’ ‘getting-to-the-too-small-stage’ pyjamas and old ‘almost-at-the-holey-stage’ socks.  Plus any ‘getting-to-the-too-embarrasing-to-be-see-in-public’ underwear.  Magazines, old beach towels, half-finished bottles of shampoo and tubes of toothpaste.  They’re all on a one-way ticket…  A great way to ensure that there’s plenty of room in the suitcase for souvenirs on the return journey! 🙂

Well, I figured that I wouldn’t have anything to post here on the blog about decluttering paper.  Because we weren’t at home.  Well, that’s where I was wrong.  Because every time I got any kind of paper in my hand during the holiday – a plethora of leaflets about tourist attractions, maps of Funchal, copies of our hotel booking, flight tickets, baggage tags, receipts, etc, etc – I actually thought about whether it was something I needed to keep.  To pack in the suitcase.  To bring home.  To file.  (Or, to be completely honest, leave sitting on my desk for a couple of week’s while I procrastinate.)

You see, normally I end up bringing home a plastic bag full of papers.  Goodness knows what I’m keeping them for, because most of the information can either be found on-line or is something I’ll never need again.  Duh!  So I basically chucked the lot.  Then and there on Madeira.  (Which was fast becoming a dustbin for all our rubbish.  Oops!)  Anyway.  Not only did I come home with a lighter suitcase, but I also unpacked and was back to normal in double quick time.  No pile of papers sitting on the right hand side of my desk, eating away at my conscience.  Ha!  The battle against paper continues – and I’m definitely on the winning side.

Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂

Seven Minute (Paper) Declutter Challenge – 27 February 2012

Hello, readers!  I’m back from the winter break – refreshed, revived and ready to fling! 😀  Here’s the first update on my Seven Minute (Paper) Declutter Challenge.  The Flylady habit for the month of February is decluttering and – as my achilles heel is paper – I’ve decided to focus my energy on battling the paper tiger. 

Forgive me for repeating myself but I don’t know why I am always so amazed when I declutter the Flylady way.  I mean, for goodness sake, I’ve been doing this for six years now.  But at the end of every declutter session – whether it be 2 minutes tidying out the kitchen drawer, 5 minutes hanging up things in my wardrobe or 30 minutes clearing shelves in the basement – I get that renewed feeling of hope.  That there is light at the end of the tunnel!  And that it gets easier and easier (well, for the most part) to throw things away.  Things that, six years ago, I could not let go of…

And that – dear readers – is why the Flylady’s system is so dang good.  You declutter in small chunks – or babysteps as the Flylady calls them – working your way round the whole house.  Until you are back at Start.  Happy with the results you can see, and ready for another round with the clutter that is still there, able to look at it with fresh eyes.  And on those moments when that awful overwhelmed feeling rears it’s ugly head (yep, there are still rare flashbacks like that) I need to give myself a jolly good slap on the head and remind myself that it will never be as bad as it was when I first started.  Yep, this baby has come a long way! ;D

Anyway, back to those pesky papers…  I set my timer and only allowed myself to do seven minutes at a time.  When the timer rang, I went off to do something else, then came back to the job.  I decided to start with our financial papers.  I’ve always filed them in separate ring binder files, e,g, one folder for DH, one for me, one for the Mastercard account, kids accounts etc, etc.  Eight ring binders in all.  Plus two cardboard boxes which contain our financial records from the last six years.  I suddenly realised that – duh – it would make much more sense to keep ALL of this year’s bank papers in ONE file.  Using dividers. Voilà, I’ve instantly been able to get rid of seven (count ’em) ring binders.  Woo hoo!

This pleased me very much.  Go on, feel the space left behind on the shelf!  ;D  Not to mention that it has made life so much easier when I’m filing new papers that come in.  One file.  No searching.  And at the end of the year I can take out the whole dang lot of them, bundle them up with an elastic band and drop them in the cardboard storage box.

After my success with the financial papers, I moved on to seven-minute stints of weeding out old receipts and instruction manuals for items we no longer own.  All in all, a great start!

Tune in next Monday to see how – even if I didn’t fling paper for a week (when we were away on holiday in Madeira) – the Flylady clutter busting techniques are constantly helping me to win the battle against paper…

Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂

Seven Minute (Paper) Declutter Challenge

The Flylady‘s latest Super Fling Boogie finished last week (see The Super Fling Boogie continues – again! Again, again!) and for the month of February we’re working on decluttering on a daily basis.  I have – hooray! – made great strides since I discovered the Flylady’s system back in 2006.  But my battle with paper – my achilles heel – continues.  So although I’m usually on the winning team these days, I’m planning to use February to kick ass (if you pardon my French).

I’m pretty good at filing.  And, when the post comes into the house, I’ve got into the (fantastic) habit of filing things straight away.  Instead of leaving it to fester and multiply when my back is turned ;D  So filing isn’t the problem.

Just a small selection of files…I have around 40 of them – eeeeek! 

No, my problem is simply hanging on to too many pieces of paper.  Because (and fellow flybabies know what’s coming next) I think I might ‘need’ them.  Call me sentimental.  Or call me a paper hoarder! ;D

So I’m turning the Flylady‘s February habit into my new Seven Minute Declutter Challenge.  Decluttering paper for 7 minutes, Monday to Friday for the rest of the month.  Weekends are free.  I shall post my progress along the way – because otherwise I might be tempted to bail out halfway! 

Come fling with me?

Hope you have a marvelous Monday! 🙂

Seven Minute Declutter Challenge – Update, zone 5, bedroom

The last time I posted about my Seven Minute Declutter Challenge, I was going ‘gung ho’ in my office. That was at the end of January.  I had a blog break for the Danish school winter week, so it’s high time to bring you up to date and – sniff – bring this particular challenge to a close… 🙂

Every day in January I did (at least one, usually they snowballed…) a 7 minute stint of decluttering – focusing each week on a different area in the house, according theFlylady zones. The final zone for the month was zone 5, the Master Bedroom. If you follow the Flylady, you’ll know that she also did a ‘Clean out the Closet’ challenge – so the two things tied in nicely together.

First of all, perhaps I should point out that, here in Denmark, we don’t physically have closets. You store your clothes in a wardrobe and maybe a chest of drawers. So I only have clothes in my bedroom. No bowling balls, luggage or old books. But I still have a lot of clutter! 😀

I started off by sorting through one shelf at a time. Seven minutes at a time. This Flylady lark must be working because one shelf used to take me a whole fifteen minutes… Seems like I’ve also become more ruthless – I was able to toss out grotty t-shirts without blinking. And if I found anything that wasn’t quite the right colour or fit – bing – into a bag for the charity shop or my friend’s teenage daughter! ;D

I did the same thing with my ‘hanging’ wardrobe. My blouses, dresses, skirts and trousers are already all on hangers, sorted by colour. I only needed to go through them, from left to right, and get rid of stuff I really hadn’t worn in a while because – surprise, surprise – I didn’t actually like it!

So the bedroom declutter was – dare I say it – pretty easy. Spurred on by this, I decided to grab the bull by the horns and tackle a job that I’ve been avoiding for months. Okay, years. Downstairs in our basement we have some more wardrobes. When we first moved to Copenhagen, I discovered that I wouldn’t have much use for my business suits and formalwear. So I kept them in the basement. It was good stuff, right? Expensive and classic. And there it has been. For over 10 years! Occasionally I’ve actually worn one of those skirts or dresses to a formal do or wedding – so I’d convinced myself that it was necessary to hang on to everything… Eek! I didn’t use my timer this time. I opened the cupboard, pulled out seven items, and tried them on in front of a full mirror…

I managed to throw about half of the things away because the colour wasn’t right or the style didn’t suit me. But the funny thing was discovering that I can actually still wear a lot of the items. I found several pairs of classic black trousers (some bootleg, some with a slight flare) that I had completely forgotten about. (Note to self: do not buy black trousers ever again!). And the incredible thing? That all of the clothes still fit – even after two kids! (Once a skinny minnie, always a skinny minnie?)

I also found a couple of items that I liked but wasn’t wearing. Why? Because the length wasn’t right. So they’re on top of the sewing machine, waiting patiently for next ‘Anti-Procrastination’ Wednesday…

So that’s it. The end of this Seven Minute Declutter Challenge. But – bien sûr – the decluttering continues!

Have a fantastic Friday! 🙂

Seven Minute Declutter Challenge – Update, zone 3

Last time, I was decluttering the kitchen, zone 2.

So how did I get on with Flylady zone 3 – the bathroom and one other room? Truth to tell, there wasn’t much clutter in our bathroom – because we finished a remodel in November – so I’d already been through the towels, washcloths and what not fairly recently. But I did manage to throw out a some old cosmetics and medicine that was past its sell-by date.

The other room? I chose my office. And went gung ho in there! Used my Flylady timer and did seven minutes here and seven minutes there… Why was I keeping these disks from 1995? Because they might ‘come in handy’?! Well, I’ve been moving them from flat to flat,and from Luxembourg to Denmark for 15 years. And they didn’t. Flinging, flinging, flung! 😀

On the other hand, I did decide to hold on to this. (Do not adjust your sets, I can’t turn this picture around, for some strange reason…) A Psion organizer given to me by my boss back in the early 90s. The forerunner of ‘smart phones’ and now a collectors’ item on ebay! I’m keeping my one – not to sell – but to show the grandkids… ;D

 I went through loads and loads of old bank statements etc, manuals for equipment we no longer have, receipts for items we no longer own. Cleared (most) of my desk off. And finally got caught up with accounts. Wow, what a difference. And I’m not just talking about the state of my office but the state of my head…

The office also doubles as my craft room. So I tossed some half-finished projects and sorted through fabric, coloured paper, etc. Another large bag for the After School Club. And the school’s sewing room is getting this little lady…

Where did I go next? Zone 4, the Master Bedroom – tune in next Monday for an update…

Have a magnificent Monday! 🙂

Seven Minute Declutter Challenge – Update, zone 2

Did you see how I got on in zone 1, the living room and hall?

The next Flylady zone to declutter was zone 2, the kitchen. I set my timer for 7 minutes at a time and started work on the kitchen cupboards – didn’t find many dishes or glasses to fling but I did straighten up all the food drawers and got rid of ‘junk’ like empty boxes and wrappers. Much easier to find things! (And it gave me a few ideas for my menuplan.)

One of the strangest finds in the kitchen cupboards was one of my favourite lipsticks…at the bottom of a tupperware tub filled with chocolates. Now how did that get in there? [whistles innocently]

Some days I didn’t set the timer, but used the time waiting for the kettle to boil or coffee to percolate to fling a few bits and pieces from the ‘junk’ drawer. I also went through the tea/coffee/hot chocolate drawer. Found lots of boxes of tea (that I didn’t really fancy) to give away. Kept the little packets that I wanted to try and put them in a tin box and threw away all the cardboard boxes. Loads more space. And have been enjoying more cuppas! 🙂

All in all it was a great week. And I ended up driving twice to the recycling centre with two carloads of junk – hooray!

Next time I’ll be giving you an update on zone 3, the bathroom and my office.Want to join in the Seven Minute Declutter Challenge? It’s never too late to get started… Add your blog with the Linky below and let’s have a fling!

Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂

Seven Minute Declutter Challenge – Update, zone 1

I wrote last week that I was going to get rid of as much clutter as possible in order to get the New Year off on the right foot. (If you missed that post, it’s here…Seven Minute Declutter Challenge). Time for an update! Did I actually start? Did I give up after three days? Did I actually manage to throw anything out?

To be completely honest, on Day One I didn’t actually do any decluttering. I shined my sink. With gusto! And did a full-blown Flylady WHB (seven tasks which clean your whole house in 70 minutes). Then I felt that the decks were clean. And ready to be cleared! 🙂

I have to say that the first couple of days went really well because it was Flylady Zone 1, which includes the entrance way, hall and dining room. When I first started doing Flylady, it would take me about four or five 15 minute sessions to organize the hall cupboard. This time it was a breeze! And it took me less than seven minutes to sort out these shoe baskets in the hall. (If you read There’s no business like shoe business… you’ll already know that the Danes take their outdoor shoes off indoors. Say that three times fast…)

The next day I attacked the diningroom. Seven minutes at a time. Old placemats went to the rubbish dump. And the After School Club were delighted to receive a large pile of tablecloths, as they always need material for crafts. Why on earth was I hanging on to cloths which didn’t even fit the tables I had? 😛

I also got DS11 and DD8 in on the act. We started with seven minutes decluttering their Nintendo games. They also have a cupboard in the livingroom which is full of their drawing stuff: papers, pens, etc. And the door doesn’t always shut properly because of stuff spilling out… I set the timer for seven minutes and they threw out as many old drawings as they could. (We keep the best ones in a folder.) Another seven minutes trying out every felt pen and flinging it straight into the bin bag if it wasn’t up to standard. DD8 said to me, “Mum, you know what’s going to happen next, don’t you? I’ll want to do some drawings when we finish, now that we’ve found all the good stuff!” Ahh, so wise for such a young age! ;D

Would you like to join in the Seven Minute Declutter Challenge? Add your blog with the Linky below! And tune in next time to see how the decluttering went in Zone 2, the kitchen.

Have a fabulous Friday! 🙂

Seven Minute Declutter Challenge

I’ve had a wonderful Christmas with my Scottish and Danish family. And a fantastic Hogmanay with my best Danish friends and their families. But – hey – don’t look back, it’s time to look forward to the New Year! ;D

Finally (finally!) the days are getting longer. On sunny mornings I feel like I can do anything. And on (all) the other days, I turn to the Flylady! 🙂

Flylady’s motto this year is “Go for 7 in 2011”. Now, you can play this any way you want. I’ve already got a few ideas of my own: throw away 7 things when I open a drawer, pamper by reading 7 pages of my book before I go to sleep, allow myself 7 minutes to peek on Facebook, do 7 pushups while waiting for the kettle to boil. You get my drift… Other people are planning 7 meals (I already do menu planning, so that’s in the bag), writing a to-do list with 7 things on it. Etc, etc, etc.

But I always love a challenge and have decided to kick-start the year with a big declutter. So every day for the month of January I shall be decluttering for 7 minutes. Or multiples thereof. But I will at least do the basic 7 minutes – and pat myself on the back for doing it! 😉  And you, my dear blog readers, will be my witnesses. Or fellow flingers. Feel free to join in and toss your clutter and cares away! You can add your blog with the Linky below, or leave a comment to commit yourself on cyberpaper 🙂

If you’re not familiar with the Flylady, I suggest you go over to her website right away and sign up for babysteps. It’s all free, so you have nothing to lose. (Except the chaos that reigns in your head and house.)

And with that, I’m setting my timer and am off and running! 😀