Sunday, January 11, 2009

Our Mission: Declutter and Organize!




Welcome to the party ladies! I think I'm most excited about this one. Decluttering makes me giddy. Organizing makes me blissful. I heart them both, very, very much.


If you decide to take on this mission, you will find out what I did last year --
1. YOU HAVE WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.

2. There is nothing quite as satisfying as throwing out trash bags filled with junk and taking weekly trips to Goodwill to drop off junk.


3. You have WAY too much stuff.


4. Decluttering feels BETTER than spending money/shopping. I swear to you.


5. You know...you have way TOO MUCH STUFF.

Last year about this time, we had been in our home for almost four years, and I realized I had never really gone through the entire house. I thought it would be easy because I didn't feel like we had a lot of "stuff." (I was wrong-O!) But there was a pile in the basement that was growing and growing and GROWING. So I realized I had to do something.

My plan was to go through every. single. nook and cranny of every. single. space of our home. I went through EVERYTHING. Closets, baskets, under the beds, in junk drawers, in cabinets, jewelry, linens.

I mean EVERY. THING.

I did it room by room and did NOT start one room until I was done with another. I tossed whatever I knew we didn't need anymore. The rest I took to the basement. It was my landing zone for everything I was going to donate or that I knew needed to stay down there. I think this is very important -- having a spot to put everything while you are in the process.

Next step was to reorganize it all, or organize it better. I labeled A LOT. I bought lots of bins, baskets and storage containers.

Third step was to deep clean each room as I finished with it. I made a list for each room (it was mostly the same for every room, but I'm a list girl and love to cross things off.) I moved furniture to vacuum, cleaned baseboards, got on ladders to clean above eye level...have you ever seen the top of your refrigerator??

YUCK.

The final step was to work on the basement, to sort through everything and bag it all up. I had a MASSIVE garage sale pile sitting down there for months, waiting for the warm weather, and it just about killed me, but I was determined to make some money from it.

We donated ten LAWN trash bags of clothes to Goodwill. (Not exaggerating.) We took another three to a clothing consignment shop. Another four loads to the home decor consignment shop. You CAN make money from your old stuff -- do some research in your area.

Our home functions so much better now. When I open our linen closet in the bathroom, I don't stand there for five minutes searching. I grab what I need and am done. I know where all of my kitchen gadgets are and USE all of them. Our unfinished basement is functional now...I'll show you that soon.

It feels like a breath of fresh air.

But it's time to do it again! So here we are. Share your tips for decluttering. How you determine what to get rid of? How often do you do it? Show us how you organize:

tools
kitchen stuff
jewelry
clothes
toiletries
junk
mail
shoes
wrapping supplies
crafts
toys
kid clutter
DVDs/tapes
office supplies
food

The list is endless! Just show us! Also, show us how you make your organization look GOOOOD...like tags, pretty boxes, benches, chests, open cabinets...whatever! I want to see it all!!

To kick us off, here's some of mine...there will much more to follow!

I LOVE cigar boxes. I got these for a buck each in NYC and use them for office supplies:


I found photo boxes that matched my family room perfectly, so these stay out...I printed out the labels on the computer...


The Bub's step stool is storage for the power room. (Reading materials mostly. Shhh!)


I wanted a mail sorter for the mud room and couldn't find what I wanted for less than $40. This was less than ten...I drilled holes into the back to hang it. I also added the tags to the front:

Pottery Barn bins for my son's bathroom hold everything in the open so I can just grab it, but is still CAUUTE!


I love chests, I have them all over my house. This one holds magazines:




This one used to be just for baby stuff -- diapers, wipes, blankets -- so I didn't have to run upstairs all day long. Now it just holds random stuff we use but I don't want out. And still a few diapers. ;)

Extra blankets and pillows in our loft:

I needed a spot for the decorative pillows on our bed, and these were a DEAL on clearance at Target:

Because I only make our bed five times a year, the pretty pillows don't see the light of day much:

I'll be back to show you more! Now show us yours. If you have an organization tab on your blog, just link to that. Feel free to link to old posts as well! Have fun!

Oh, and YOU HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF.


88 comments:

  1. I love this idea - I can't wait to see everyone's organizational ideas. I love all your baskets. The step stool in the powder room is priceless - I definitely need one of those!

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  2. I love the old briefcase. I would never have thought of using that but it is very attractive, especially for an office environment. Thanks for hosting. Can't wait to see everyone's ideas.

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  3. Oh wow - I wish I had found this earlier! I'll be participating very late. I do, however, have a picture of the before on my blog. I'll hopefully have an after by the end of the week!

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  4. can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. I'm doing it!

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  5. you are sooooo right. last year i was blog-obsessed and seeing everyones darling makeover projects i started hoarding all the freebies others were giving away in the hope of turning them all into something refurbished and fabulous.

    instead, i have a house full of stuff i don't need, don't like, and can't decide on anything to do with.

    this year is the year of responding "no" when asked "do you want this?" unless perchance i really really do.

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  6. I love this! Cout me in!
    I am spending 2009 decluttering my home for an anticipated move in the late spring. I started decluttering already and have taken 5 laundry baskets full of stuff to my moms consignment shop. I already made money on stuff that is just sitting here taking up space. I am all for consigning, craigslisting or donating what doesn't bring joy!

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  7. Girl, YOU are truely an inspiration! I just love-love-love your blog :-) Okokok, I tried my hand at "declutting & organizing" I'm not as good as you, but I would like to aspire to be LOL Maybe if I had started with a room that didn't require I keep most of the things I would have had better results LOL
    ~Cheryl

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  8. I am a new commer to your lovely blog, but I am in LOVE! This is absolutely fantastic. We just moved to a new house and I'm really craving some fresh ideas. Thank you so much, you truely are aMaZiNg!!!

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  9. Sarah, your so funny about making your bed. My bizziollion pillows arent making it on my bed either because Ive been BLOGGING! :)

    I hope someone posts something that organizies keys. I need a place to organize keys so my DH and I dont play that "Wheres my keys?" game three to four times a week. Sigh.

    Cant wait to see everyones ideas!

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  10. I know I have too much stuff in my house! How did you know? Have you been here?

    I'm really impressed with all you did last year! That just sounds exhausting to me right now. Do you want to come and help me out? :-)

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  11. You know me sooo well....I DO have way too much stuff! Over the past few months I have really started to declutter my home & you have totally inspired me to continue!

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  12. You have some beautiful organizational tools. I can't wait to get my home clutter free and organized!

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  13. You know, my house is so out of hand that I thought I could never be one of those "organized people", but why can't it be me? I feel very inspired by this post. It really helps me that you laid out your method. And you're right... we have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF!!! Right now, our kids are sharing a bedroom because the third room is stacked with boxes! Thank you for your help!

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  14. Sarah, Thanks for hosting! You have so many awesome ideas. I'm inspired. I think I could spend a few days out of every week organizing, but then I wouldn't do much else. Can't wait for more inspiration from all your readers!
    xoxo!

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  15. Great idea! I've posted one on the makeover of my daughter's storage from late last year. As all children do her stuff had multiplied and I had Christmas coming and I knew it was just going to get worse.

    I look forward to reading other reader's ideas! :)

    Liz x

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  16. I've been very slowly doing this in my home since summer. I'm looking forward to having you tell me what to do and when. I need a good ole fashioned kick in the butt. I mentioned you on my blog today so hopefully more will head on over.

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  17. This was totally fun and my peeps got in on the action! Great way to start 2009!

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  18. Thanks for hosting. Love all your items, but the step stool with storage is so clever.

    Renee

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  19. I need help in this area! All that stuff that piles up on the table! how do you get rid of it!?!?!
    We are moving in May too so this is Perfect timing for me! I am so excited!

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  20. Thanks for the inspiration! I"m showing a few before and afters, too. My organization isn't that creative or "pretty" but is organized and that's what's most important!!

    You've done a great job!!
    Blessings, Becky

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  21. This is such a great idea! What great tips I am getting from these fun ladies!

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  22. This is exactly what I'm doing now! Where did you find the labels for the front of your mail sorter? I've been looking for them everywhere!

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  23. Yay for cleaning!!! lol! I am so excited to find some new tricks! ;)

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  24. I also love cigar boxes! Never thought of using it for storage. Good idea! I also have that stool but older version (a drawer at the bottom). It was great holding my daughter's baby toys inside. I need to find tall chest. I can't find one in the price I want but I want to do the same thing like you. Put blankets and all. Great ideas! Thanks for hosting this!

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  25. Hoping to get some good ideas! It takes a lot of energy to get all that done, but I know how good it feels when you're done! Thanks!

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  26. Alison, I got the tags from the scrapbooking section at the craft store. I used a very small drill bit to drill holes in for the brads and printed my own labels. Good luck!!

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  27. Awesome. I love this post! And yes, I have too much stuff...thanks for the inspiration!

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  28. I can't wait to see what everyone has to say!

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  29. Loving your site! I am all about getting rid of stuff this year and maybe even more importantly - not letting too much inside in the first place.

    I posted a link on how I organize my scrapbook closet. It's a closet, but I can fit a LOT of stuff in there (and more importantly I can find it fast when I need it and put it away easily).

    Tracy

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  30. Emily in CharlotteJanuary 12, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    Funny, we just hung three shelves in our playroom closet to put away all the toys! My little boy did not like this. He said we were trying to hide his things and he would forget he had them!!! I can't wait to get all the tubs and baskets up with the kids toys. Next stop, the office (and Craigslist/Ebay)! Happy Organizing!

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  31. Very cool! I love all the organizational ideas. Believe it or not we really don't have excess of anything. Even our garage is extra clean and decluttered.
    Don't hate me.... :)

    Did you say you don't make you bed? Huh?
    All the cleaning you do? I'm surprised at you. LOL!

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  32. Hi,
    Getting organized seems to be the thing to do in January! I'm linking an old post, but have a couple of projects I'm working on that I may link later!

    Thanks for hosting...this is fun!

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  33. What a fun party! I'm always looking for organizing ideas & you have some fabulous ones!

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  34. Where O Where did you get the lovely black mail sorter?! I need two of them and refuse to pay $40 a piece for them! Thanks!

    I'm decluttering/organizing too, and will be back with pics soon. Gotta work on a few other major projects that need finished before my hubby gets home next week first!

    Thanks!

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  35. Thank you for doing this! I wish I had some pictures of what I've done but I'm in the need of organization help! It's one of my resolutions for the new year and as I sit in my TV room, I look at my two huge book shelves and see the need to do something with them. Now if only I had some money to buy baskets or something else... this helps so much! Thanks again! :)

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  36. I just adore your storage options-- cigar boxes and trunks, so cute! I linked to my bedroom cleanup/closet overhaul-- I live at home so that's the best I can manage! :) Great post though, I like this!

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  37. This is at the top of my 09 to do list! If I can get my first project done soon, I'll link it up.

    Is there a time limit? Should we just keep linking back here? Am I a dork?

    (I know the answer to that last one, and now so do you...)

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  38. Sarah, I love that you're sharing organization ideas. I really don't have a problem with being organized. It's just something I've always done. I do love the cigar boxes!! I'm with Melissa even my garage is neat and orderly. Once you get use to it, it's just a way of life.
    Hugs, Terrie

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  39. This is a great party!

    I'll see what I can do.

    But I hope you leave the link up a bit...I need to get to work.

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  40. Another great idea! I can't wait to see what everyone has to say. I don't have a post about this in particular, but was hoping you'd stop by my blog and give me some decorating advice... It's the current post.
    Thanks!

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  41. Hey Sarah, finally added my post! Fashionably late, I'd say! :)

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  42. Ok, mine is a cleaning tip....house doesn't feel organized unless wood stove glass is clean. I guess it is sort of like the flylady's shiny sink...lol.

    Great ideas.....love reading them.

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  43. Thank you so much for this inspiring post! I also got on a mission to clean up the basement storage room. It was piled up so high in boxes from previous moves that we had not opened for many years... today I hope to open the last box and organize it . It is a great feeling!

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  44. Thanks for allowing us to link to older posts. I posted mine Saturday and then saw your blog today. I used a canvas covered bin and a photo box for organizing pictures and show before and after pictures of my newly organized coat closet.

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  45. I finally made it to the party...sorry I'm late. Yesterday was my daughter's birthday so I took the day off from blogging. Glad Mr. Linky is still up. Thanks for hosting, Sarah. I can't wait to check out all the other links!

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  46. I love to de-clutter! I did this so much that last year at this time I did a decluttering of the entire house and then SURPRISE- we moved and nothing I had went in my new to me house- now I wish I had gone a little easier on the getting rid of stuff! especially as I sit in a bare home.

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  47. I love to de-clutter and organize too! And I love your motivating blog! I have been using the 15 minute rule from FlyLady- love her ideas too! I set the timer for 15 minutes and work on a spot or a mess. I actually can see my counter now- because last night I attacked the paper clutter in the kitchen that was making my crazy! It is AMAZING how much better you feel when you have empty clear and clean organized spaces! love it:0

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  48. Hey I withdrew my post, and thought you might want to delete my name. Have a great day.
    Becky

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  49. Sarah, great party! I didn't have time to participate, but I'm sure you will all get some great ideas. and you are right about one thing....

    I have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF!!

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  50. I love organizing too, and your blog certainly caught my attention. Yesterday when I was in the dentist's chair waiting for him to fix my cracked tooth, my reading material I took along was an Emilie Barnes book on organizing. I think I have three written by her and the Dummies one about organizing. I have been itching to get started on EVERYTHING in my house, just as you described in your post. (I always get the cleaning bug after Christmas.) So finding your blog was very timely. Thanks...I've added myself as a follower and I'll be reading along.

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  51. Used to be we moved every 2 years or so and that certainly keeps the stuff down when you know it has to fit in a Uhaul. Good friends who lived in NYC in a very small place lived by the 6 month rule-- if it didn't get used in 6 months it had to go. Some time caused funny things to happen -- like listening to old recoreds every 5 and a half months. But its a great habit to get into. Love all the chests

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  52. K. I've linked my ongoing organizational tags.

    I have another orgaizational post coming up on Thursday!

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  53. Love your ideas. Thanks for doing this. Great ideas!

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  54. Thank you for hosting this organization party. I have enjoyed going through each post and pictures. Great ideas out there!
    Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

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  55. You put it perfect.."a breath of fresh air"..that is what organizing is to me!
    -sandy toe

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  56. Love your trunks & storage stools. I almost bought the ones you found at Target, but they clearanced them out before I got one. :O(

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  57. I didn't really need an excuse to purge and organize. It's in my blood. But how fun to do it with "friends"! :) Thanks for that!

    P.S. The top of my fridge is super clean :) I have a 6'7" brother-in-law who isn't afraid to write his name in the dust. So there usually isn't any!

    Thanks for your great ideas and for your willingness to share them!!

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  58. Oh, I'm so impressed. Truly. I'm going to go through each of the links, but you better believe I'm printing your post. What an amazing feeling to have every inch of your house in order!

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  59. So many talented bloggers out there and so many great ideas. Nothing makes me happier than de-cluttering and organizing! I'm posting a link to my magazine organizing post from last year. I got a lot of great feedback about it and I just overhauled it last week during some post christmas de-cluttering!

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  60. I love this idea! Thank you so much for inviting us all in for the organizing party (I heard about you from lovely Manuela's The Pleasures of Homekeeping)! Your blog is so inspiring, I will be back often (I"ve already subscribed).
    Warmly,
    Tracey

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  61. Hey, where did Mr. Linky go. I need organization inspiration.

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  62. I have a slow and steady approach. I've been working on taking an average of six items a day out of my house for ten months now. I have decluttered an enormous amount of stuff.

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  63. I've been planning on doing this for a long time. My biggest issue with organization is paperwork. Somebody show me a fantastic idea to not get overwhelmed with PAPER!

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  64. Um, Mr. Linky seems to have disappeared? or is it just me?

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  65. I've got some things to show! I'll be back when Mr. Linky reappears!

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  66. so i'm super new to this blogging stuff...but it is quite addicting, much like facebook & twilight! anyways, i love your blog. i feel like a bit of a stalker always checking to see what cool thing you are up to---but i appreciate all of your wonderful and creative ideas! thanks for the good reads!

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  67. Yeah...where did Mr. Linky go? I'm planning to add mine tomorrow!

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  68. Another Saturday, another project!

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  69. I have enjoyed looking at everyones blog and getting ideas! I love your blog! :) I have posted my ideas, check them out! :)
    Martha

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  70. Thanks for sharing all your great organizing ideas. You are so inspirational!

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  71. I am an organization freak, so I'm loving this party! Thanks so much for hosting this!

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  72. Good inspiration here! Love it and I plan on posting more of my bits of organization on a regular basis to keep me on track. Thanks for the good ideas.

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  73. I'm addicted to organization! I can't wait to check these all out and get a few new ideas! Thanks for hosting!

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  74. So, I am way late to the party, but at least I showed up :)
    http://iris864.blogspot.com/

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  75. Oops, I linked twice, sorry!

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  76. I had the urge to purge (my house) for several months now, but I am overwhelmed and don't know where to start. Hopefully this will be the kick in the clutter I need!

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  77. Okay, I am SO late, but that's just 'typical' me. I am really looking forward to checking out all the other posts here. I sure could use some organizing help.

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  78. Okay, I am SO late, but that's just 'typical' me. I am really looking forward to checking out all the other posts here. I sure could use some organizing help.

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  79. My link is to a post I did on making a little book out of paper scraps to keep track of all the passwords you have for various websites. I find it very helpful ☺

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  80. I have recently de-cluttered (mostly) my living room. I was so tired of it looking like a playroom with all the toys from my 4 and 6 year old. We don't have a playroom so I had to get creative in finding ways to hide them and also relocated a lot of it to their rooms and the basement.
    I look forward to seeing some of your ideas for storage of toys!

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  81. I'm always looking for ways to declutter and organize all my stuff and it's always fun seeing everyone's ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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  82. Hi!!!
    I'm a newcomer (ok, ok... Certifiable blog-stalker, same thing). I have been obsessively reading all of your old posts and I am SO incredibly inspired, you have no idea. I've already gone treasure hunting at my local thrift shops and Goodwills (yeah, you heard me. That was plural).

    Well, as much as I'd loooove to just jump right into my long list of projects, I really, really, re-heeee-ly need to declutter and clean out my landfill of a home. This particular post has gotten me motivated, but I'd LOVE to see all of the links from the "party". Can you repost the linky? I am dying to see what your groupies (ahem, squeezies) came up with!!!!
    PLEASE! With a cherry on top???

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  83. I LOVE organizing and being organized. You HAVE to check out this great website, Power of Moms. They have this great Mind Organization for Moms M.O.M. It is wonderful, go check it out
    http://www.powerofmoms.com/categories/nurture-yourself/mind-organization-for-moms.html
    Enjoy,
    Paula
    P.S. Love your blog

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  84. I am new to your blog, but love, love, love it! I am so inspired! We just moved at the beginning of November from 16x80 single wide to a 2400sf double-wide, and I thought we'd have room to spare and we do, but not as much as I thought!!!! I am so excited to declutter. I did A LOT before the move, but there is much more to go! I'm looking forward to all the ideas! :)

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  85. I am new to your blog and joined your link party. It is somewhat encouraging (distrubing?!) to see that others have some of the same organizational "issues" that I do! I know that I definitely have too much stuff. My word of the year is SIMPLIFY, and I intend to do just that by purging my stuff.

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  86. Yes - TOO much stuff...I like to think that I am on the road to living simply, then I do a purge and end up with 5 -6 bags of "stuff" to go to Goodwill. You are right - decluttering feels so much better than shopping!

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