Here we go…

January 6, 2010

Uncluttering… New Starts… Throw that Junk Away…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 3:35 pm

I am not  pack rat.  I would never put myself into that category.  There are very few things I save just for the sake of wanting to keep them or not wanting to let go.  I do, however, end up being very cluttered and overwhelmed with too much stuff at times!  I blame this on time management rather than any emotional attachement to things.  In other words, if i had a week off work to just stay home and clean/decutter my house, I’d probably throw away or donate half of what we own… dishes, clothes, books (well maybe i have a hard time getting rid of books!).  I just have a hard time making the time to do this.  Moving is the PERFECT time to declutter, but for the 99% of you who are not in the middle of a move, January is the perfect time to declutter!!!  Here are some tips to “editing” your home and getting rid of things you dont own.  I’ll focus on some main things but i’m sure there are a bazillion more!

1.  Junk Mail/Paperwork/Old Magazines/Catalogues–  Okay, as far as old bills, etc. I shred them ALL and throw them away.  All this “keep it for a year” business, i just think that was more of our parents’ generation.  Because most (all) of our bills are automated, there is no way you need to keep 12 months of cox cable bills when every single one of them is the same thing.  Even better- its usually an option to set it all up via email so that you dont even get a paper bill to your home.  I have one of those file boxes that holds 2-3 old bills for each account I have, so that i can reference account numbers, etc.  MAGAZINES are one of life’s little pleasures that I cannot get enough of.  Because in 2-3 months i’ll end up with a pile up to my waist, I have developed a little system for keeping my magazines.  Domino is in a category of its own… so is Real Living.  I kept every single Domino i ever received so now that they tanked, they are organized in those little magazine storage boxes and i look at them often.  Shape, Women’s Health, etc.  I usually purge every couple of months.  Just resist the urge of “i’m going to go back and read that article again!”  because chances are, it will end up sitting there for 12 months and gathering dust and taking away from the feng shui of your home 🙂  If there is an article that was especially wonderful, just cut it out and keep it in a file that is set aside for this.  Catalogues- i chunk them after i read them (into the recycle bin, that is.  haha).

Some paperwork just HAS to be kept… I am contemplating getting a fireproof safe for things like our marriage license, birth certificates, etc.  It also is not a bad idea to scan those important documents (original loan forms, etc.) and save them to a CD in a different location (safety deposit box at the bank?) so that you have a digital and paper version.  Half of those things are legal size so keep that in mind when selecting a file box, etc.

DISCLAIMER FROM MY LAWYER HUSBAND:  Keep your tax documents for 10 years.  That is it.

2.  Pantry!!! – Okay, before Kyle calls my bluff, i have a confession.  I HOLD ON TO FOOD FOR WAY TOO LONG!!!  This is the truth.  I will eat expired things, and just even if i have no intention of eating it, I keep ridiculous stuff.  Our fridge is usually the most cluttered thing in our home, followed closely by the pantry.  Like i said earlier… what better time to turn over a new leaf than when you move??  I’m trying!  The food bank will take any non-perishables, and then some can be composted (love our compost pile), and some can just be thrown out and the container recycled (flour, etc).  Spices, etc. can often been combined, b/c I dont know about you, but I probably had THREE containers of garlic salt.  Put them all in one and recycle those little containers.  So, take my advice and dont follow my actions- throw that junk out!  There is no way a family of 2 should take up more than 1 refrigerator (we have 2)!  Granted, Kyle is a hunter/fisherman, so we have a good bit of frozen stuff, which is how i justify the 2nd fridge/freezer in the storage shed.  So, even if your pantry does not end up looking as neat as the picture below, life will  just be more simple if you get rid of some stuff.

3.  Dishes – Since we’re in the kitchen, lets take a look in the cabinets.  Is there any reason to keep 75 tuperware LIDS??  Oh, yes, i have done that.  i admit.  So, i’m in the process of purging all the storage containers.  No reason to keep that many.  If they have matches, give them to goodwill, and if they dont, most can be recycled.  When i feel like i’m running low on storage containers, its usually b/c so many are in the refrigerator with moldy food 🙂  haha.  seriously, throw that junk away!  I have also gotten rid of (goodwill) alot of mismatched coffee cups so that i have an actual set.  The set is all white, and I have a set that is clear glass.  This just makes things a little simpler.  There are a few coffee cups that have special meaning so we held on to those, but I dont really need those old ones with brown stains in the inside and a 1980’s logo of some random lumber company.  Chunk ’em!

4.  Utensils – I have somehow gathered quite the assortment of forks/spoons/knives/spatulas.  I’m not really sure how this happened!  A set of matching utensils is pretty inexpensive, for example, these at Target are just $19.99!  Spatulas, serving spoons, etc. just get torn up after 10-12 years, and it is TOTALLY worth dropping 10-20 dollars to buy some new ones.  Another thing that I recently discovered is the BLISS that comes from a new fork/knives/spoon drawer organizer!  I have always had the $2 plastic ones that show all kinds of crumbs and things.  Speaking of- how in the WORLD do so many crumbs get in there with my clean utensils??  Anyone else have this problem???  I always just ignore it!  haha.  Now, however, I have a bamboo Martha Stewart designed utensil holder that is expandable to fit the drawer.  Its so great!  Kyle has no opinion on this kind of thing, and even he opened the door and said “oh cool!  it fits the drawer!”  haha.  Yes, it does, my friend 🙂

Okay, enough for now… I”ll move to the bathroom, bedroom, and closet next time!  Much love for your cleaning adventures!



  1. Girl, you don’t even know how much I needed to read this right now! It’s such great advice/motivation because Chris and I are in the process of cleaning our places to combine into mine when we get married in a few weeks!

    Comment by Michelle — January 6, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

  2. This was just what I needed. I’m pretty good at getting rid of crap but it’s amazing what you “forget” to get rid of. I’ve been on a kick since we got back for the new year — I’ve already ordered $100 of boxes from! I hope my mom comes for a week soon so I can really get it done …

    Comment by Katherine — January 6, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

  3. My husband is a pack rat, so our recent marriage/merge has been a process of like, epic proportion for me…the one who once wanted to throw away my 5th grade yearbook because I was in the 6th grade. Not kidding, my mom was furious.

    So, it was funny when I saw hubby in our kitchen recently purging the crap tupperware with the 75 non matching lids that I’d been too busy for. His brilliant idea was to just keep the best ones, so we ended up with like 6 different sized containers. We haven’t missed the other one’s and I haven’t missed the 75 unmatched lids either. And, as far as the moldy food sitting in the tupperware, it helps with that because we actually need to go thru the fridge to find the few containers that we kept.

    I cannot believe I just wrote that much about tupperware. Anyway, I’m just agreeing with your great post and how organization can make you happier. And I’m glad that my man (who is a self proclaimed pack rat) was able to make a break thru and help our kitchen be more organized.

    Comment by christina — January 6, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

    • I don’t know if I can wait that long…can you please get to the next post, ASAP? Much needed in my house.

      Comment by Ashley — January 6, 2010 @ 11:25 pm

  4. Give your stuff to Red Cross, Salvation Army, a school or church that wants to do a yard sale………..DO NOT give it to Goodwill… you realize how much money they make? The owner is worth MILLIONS!!!!

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