February FlyLady Zone Decluttering

Hello again friends,

Last week I delved in to my experimenting with the FlyLady system and how I started to declutter by FlyLady zones in January. Today I’m going to quickly go over my decluttering results from February. (Spoiler alert – it’s nothing too impressive…)

Zone 1: front porch, entry & hallway, back stairs, downstairs hall, & garage

In the first week of February, I only managed to spend a couple minutes going through the shoe rack in the front hall, and 1 pair of slippers left the house. (And zero photos of the process or item.)

Zone 2: kitchen & dining room, and my “pantry” storage in the basement

For zone 2, I only went through one drawer this month, but I got rid of 4 items from our pots and pans drawer.

Zone 3: main floor bathroom, basement bathroom, & laundry room

I don’t know that I did any targeted worked in this zone in February, but as I’ve said before, that’s okay because we will get to this zone again next month.

Zone 4: master bedroom & closet, kid bedroom, office, & the hall linen closet

Last month I felt a bit like I was cheating because I was using my kid’s items as my decluttering for this zone, and I am doing the same thing again this month, but at this stage in his life, I am the one managing his stuff inventory, so his clutter is really my clutter… And once again, I didn’t take any photos of the process either.

From my kid’s room we decluttered 3 sets of pajamas (6 pieces) + 2 individual pajama pieces + 3 pairs of shorts + 7 shirts + 6 random toys.

I also decluttered 1 basket from my office, making a total of 25 items from zone 4 this month.

Zone 5: living room & basement rec room

In the living room, I went through our basket of puzzles. I had a friend who was starting a new role working with young kids, so she had asked if I had any puzzles that we could part with, so that was the motivation for this declutter…

We (I did work with my kid on this one to get his opinion on what could stay or go) managed to get rid of 4 puzzles to my friend, and then found another puzzle that is missing a piece and a few pieces that didn’t have puzzles to go with them. (most of these puzzles came as hand-me-downs, and some were even the puzzles that I played with as a kid, so missing pieces and/or puzzles makes sense…) Grand total out the door: 5 puzzles + 3 random pieces = 8.

February Decluttering Total: 1 + 4 + 0 + 25 + 8 = 38

Decluttering Total for 2023: 74 + 38 = 112


My FlyLady Experiment

In the last year or two, I have not been reading many blog posts, instead, I seem to be consuming YouTube videos…

I don’t even remember how I got to the Secret Slob channel on YouTube, but I think it was probably a random decluttering search (I often procrastinate my own decluttering by watching others do it). Anyway, watching her videos led me down a rabbit hole, and also introduced me to Diane in Denmark. I love both of them. Both of them use and promote the FlyLady system of keeping your house clean and your life in general in order. I like that both of them have altered the FlyLady system to match their own needs. (If you don’t know about the FlyLady system, keeping it really really simple, it’s a method and schedule for keeping up with cleaning your house for those of us that struggle with it.)

Since going down that rabbit hole of FlyLady content on YouTube (there is lots!), I did start working on the baby-steps of the morning and evening routines. I took the advice of the Secret Slob and Diane in Denmark and created my own version of the routines. I can’t say that I’ve been perfect, or even really successful or consistent, but I seem to be doing enough often enough to be making a bit of a difference. My stepdaughter even mentioned that things seemed to be cleaner… So that was nice!

Now that I’ve been working on those routines for a while, I want to progress to the next stage, which is the FlyLady zone cleaning. I have been sort of working on this off and on since last spring some time, but I wanted to start in earnest with the beginning of the new year. Of course, the FlyLady does say that you don’t start with the cleaning, you actually start with zone decluttering because “you can’t clean clutter”… So I will really be zone decluttering, not really cleaning…

My Zones

The Secret Slob has reorganized her zones because the original FlyLady zones didn’t cover all the rooms in her house. I decided to follow suit and this is how I have organized my zones:

  • Zone 1: front porch, entry & hallway, back stairs, downstairs hall, & garage
  • Zone 2: kitchen & dining room, and my “pantry” storage in the basement
  • Zone 3: main floor bathroom, basement bathroom, & laundry room
  • Zone 4: master bedroom & closet, kid bedroom, office, & the hall linen closet
  • Zone 5: living room & basement rec room

So, of course, I had to put that in my bullet journal for easy reference…

And just to quickly explain how the 5 zones work each month, they are done during the partial weeks that occur at the beginning and end of the month, so then zone 2, 3 & 4 get the full weeks in the middle of the month. The idea is that zone 1 and zone 5 are spaces that are either smaller, less cluttered, less dirty, or are cleaned during your regular daily tidy or weekly home reset.

During the week of each zone, the idea is that you spend 15 minutes a day decluttering or cleaning in the zone. It’s nothing crazy, and you won’t be able to tackle everything in the zone, but if you get some things done this month, when zone 1 comes around the following month, you’ll be able to work on the things you didn’t get the month before, and eventually, if you are consistent with it every month, the spaces slowly but surely get cleaner.

(If you are confused, I’m not really going in to detailed explanation right now, it does take a bit of time to wrap your head around all the ideas of the FlyLady system, but it does eventually make sense… I promise that I’ll explain more as we go along…)

January Decluttering Results

Zone 1

With the chaos of the new year, and the fact that we also had a bit of a holiday over the new year’s day weekend, I didn’t get any work done in Zone 1 in January… moving on…

Zone 2

I definitely didn’t do 15 minutes every day, but I did probably spend the equivalent total time over the course of a few days going through drawers in the kitchen.

First, I tackled the plastic wrap/aluminum foil drawer. I did not get an exact count of how much I decluttered, but it was mostly a large quantity of elastic bands and plastic bag ties that left the house…

The second drawer was the drawer where we keep placemats, napkins and candles. And a few other random things…

I managed to declutter over 30 items from this drawer. I also made the conscious decision to start using our candles regularly and we have been doing that quite a bit since this declutter. The candle collection has definitely decreased.

The third and final drawer that I tackled during this round was the tupperware or storage container drawer.

I forgot to take a proper before picture, but it’s hard to do because these are all used so often, it is rare for them to all be clean and put away at the same time… Regardless of my lack of documentation, I did to a big declutter and took 26 items out of the drawer to be either recycled or donated, depending on their state.

Zone 3

I spent some time going through two bathroom drawers, but I don’t know that I actually decluttered anything, but I rearranged some things and organized things (like moved pens and notebooks out of the bathroom and in to the office). So I don’t have a count to add to my decluttering total for this zone.

Zone 4

I feel a bit like I cheated in this zone in January. I went in to my son’s bedroom and went through his drawers (don’t have any pictures of it though). In total I took out 12 pairs of boxers that were too small, and 6 pairs of pants that were too small or worn out. So that’s a total of 18 items to add to the decluttering total.

Zone 5

I abandoned decluttering for the time that was assigned to zone 5 this month. It’s okay, I’ll get to it eventually. (the zone comes back every month!)

January Decluttering Total: 30 + 26 + 18 = 74

Decluttering Total for 2023: 74

Mins Game – Days 13 to 19

Well… I guess that month is done… And I fell off the Mins Game wagon again… And the blogging wagon… But I’m not gone for good. I really do want to get in to consistent posting, and also really want to get through this Mins Game.

So now I’m just assigning random days when I find time to do the decluttering… Let’s see where we got to lately…

Day 13

As we get in to bigger numbers of items, I am finding it harder to take a single picture of the items, as I find things in various places around the house, it is better to take the picture and put them in the donation box right away. If I wait… then it gets messy… and then I might lose motivation or forget which items are leaving… So there will probably be multiple photos for each of the “days” going forward…

Day 13 items consist of 2 old yearbooks (don’t worry, I kept my copy – these were spares because I was involved in the creation of the book), a tray, a bag of bath goodies, 4 gift bags, a photo frame, a cutting board, a drink tray, a box and a wire shelf. 13 items. Done.

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Mins Game Days 6-12

I’m continuing on with the mins game… still working on getting things out of the house… Today I’ll quickly go over the things that I’ve gotten rid of over the last week…

Day 6

Found a box of random kitchen stuff that we don’t use in the garage. 2 cutting boards, 2 plates, and 2 cups.

Day 7

More random kitchen stuff that we don’t use. 4 bowls, a knife, a can opener, and a cup.

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Mins Game Revisited

I have recently discovered a blog called Living with Less by Brittany who feels a bit like a kindred spirit when I read her posts. For the month of April she is doing the minimalism game. I have done this before, though it took me longer than a month… But I’ve been slowly decluttering stuff as we recover from the mass relocation of all our basement stuff for the basement renovation that I mentioned in my last post, so I thought it would be fun to join her.

In case you need a quick refresher, the minimalism game (or mins game for short) was created by the minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus) and basically entails getting rid of one thing on the first day of the month, two things on the second day, three things on the third day, etc. By the end of the month you have removed nearly 500 items from your house!

Brittany is planning on doing her challenge backwards, starting with the 30 things, and working downwards, but I am sticking with the traditional increasing count.

The other catch is that you are technically supposed to get it out of your house by midnight of that day… I am not sticking to that because that would mean a trip to the donation center or transfer station or whatever EVERY DAY! I do not have time for a special trip every day, but I will be sure to get the items out of the house before the end of the month. I may be selling some of these items too, so it might take a bit of time to get a buyer…

Anyway, I realize I am posting this after the beginning of April, but maybe you can join us with your version of the mins game challenge? Let’s get started going over the things I have gotten rid of so far…

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2020 – Decluttering Goals

So… Thursday is the same as Tuesday, right? I guess my blogging goal is still a work in progress… Anyway…

One of the four themes for goals that I mentioned in my first post of 2020 was decluttering…

A couple of years ago now, I had a goal of getting 1000 items out of our house.  I stopped keeping track part way through the year, and while I know I got further along than my last update in May of 2018, I did not make the 1000 goal.

So what are my 2020 decluttering goals?

  • 2020 Decluttering Goal #1: Track the number of items leaving the house & work toward a total of 500 items for the year.

Not quite as ambitious as the 1000 items from 2018, but figure that 500 is a bit more realistic (especially since I am starting mid March)… And of course, what do I do when I have something I need to keep track of?  Create a bullet journal spread!!

With this spread I will colour in a block for each item that leaves the house. Since I started tracking last week, I have got rid of 4 items:

  • 2 pairs of toddler shoes (could maybe count this as 4 items?)
  • 1 baby carrier backpack
  • 1 baby bathtub

So here’s the updated spread:

In order to help myself with meeting that 500 item goal, my second decluttering goal is a bit more task oriented goal:

  • 2020 Decluttering Goal #2: Pick and complete 1 small decluttering task each week.

The idea being, I will use this blog to give myself accountability for a small task each week to work on organizing and cleaning up my house, and in doing so, work toward my 500 item goal.

Of course, this means another bullet journal spread!

This week (we will call this week 1), I am picking the computer desk area. Obviously my spread only goes until July, not for the whole year, but I am not sure that this particular notebook will actually last that long, so I will deal with that when I get there…

I chose that spot for this week because with all this craziness with the COVID-19 pandemic, I will likely be working from home as much as possible going forward, so I need to get myself a nice tidy spot to set up my computer. I could use the kitchen table, but if I use this desk, then I can keep my computer set up and also close off from the little monster who is also home right now…

For the goal going forward, I will try to do an update with some before and afters every few weeks. I personally LOVE before and after photos…

So there you have it… My decluttering goals for 2020.

Do you have any decluttering goals for 2020?

1000 items in 2018… May Update

One of my goals for this year is to get rid of 1000 items from our house. The last time I did an update on this goal, back in February, I had parted with 54 items. Since then I haven’t really been putting any effort in to removing things from our house… in fact, we have probably brought in more than 54 new items while preparing for the new arrival.

When I pulled out my record sheet to see where I was at, there did appear to be 1 more X on the sheet, so we were sitting at 55… so, sometime in February or March, I got rid of 1 thing…

In any case, after a few weeks of maternity leave, I started to have enough energy to tackle some projects around the house… which means I’ve started to go through things that have been down in the basement for months and months with our renovations. And things started to leave the house… it helped that my husband was also motivated to get things out of the house!

And then… Barb over at Decluttering the Stuff put out a challenge to get rid of 100 things before May 1st… I joined the challenge thinking it would be motivation to catch up on my decluttering… Continue reading

Personal Goals for 2018

This post took a bit longer to get written and posted than I had anticipated… I kept getting distracted reading everyone else’s posts on their goals for 2018… I posted my financial goals for 2018 already, and now I want to go over my personal goals for 2018.

Personal Goals for 2018

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

As I mentioned when I wrote about my financial goals, it is very hard to predict what this year will hold for me, or know how everything will play out with baby-to-be, and so it is very hard to think up personal goals that will be applicable for the whole year.  I was considering only doing monthly goals, but I think I can find a few goals that I can work on all year.  If you followed along with my personal goals from 2017, some of these might seem a little familiar… Continue reading

Tidying, Instead of Decluttering…

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  I enjoyed a very relaxing day with family, and am now attempting to get myself organized for the new year… 

A couple weeks ago now, Anne Lene over at Minimalist Sometimes finished up a 7 day decluttering and blogging challenge.  I was inspired to declutter, until I went home and looked around my messy mid-renovation chaos of a house, and then sat down on the couch completely discouraged to pout…

But, instead of a decluttering challenge, I decided to just try and reign in some of the chaos of my house… Each day I would try to do at least 20 minutes of tidying.  Some sort of tidying…

I recently finished reading the book “Unf*ck your habitat : you’re better than your mess” by Rachel Hoffman.  It wasn’t anything ground breaking or mind blowing, but it was a funny read and it was refreshing because she understands that we are human and have lives and might not actually enjoy the act of cleaning… She also has a website.  The book and the website have all sorts of challenges to help get you going on the road to a nice clean home.  Maybe some day I’ll go through her challenges, but for now… 20 minutes…

One of the mainstays of Rachel’s method is the 20/10.  20 minutes of cleaning or tidying, then 10 minutes of rest.  The idea is that 20 minutes isn’t a very long commitment, so it should be easy enough to get enough motivation to get off the couch and *do something* for 20 minutes, and then you reward yourself with a full 10 minutes of rest or fun…

I decided that for the month of December, I would try my hardest to complete 1 x 20 minute tidy each day.  In a hopes that it will at least keep some of the renovation chaos at bay, and allow me to feel somewhat relaxed in my renovation-chaos-ridden house.

Well… How have I done, you ask?  We are currently 27 days in to December, and I’ve completed my daily 20 minute tidy only 12 times… Not exactly a resounding success… Especially when a lot of those tidying times were repeating something that was “tidied” the time before…  But I still have a few days in December to improve…

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my before and after shots of my 20 minute tidy sessions… Continue reading

Oh Emails… You Multiply like Rabbits!

I have written about my emails a few times before… Back in 2015, I had grand ambitions of a weekly decluttering goal and one of the weeks was my email inboxes.  I made progress, but didn’t get the job completely done…

It was about this time last year that I felt the need to revisit my email clutter… I did pretty well, emptying out 4 of my 5 email inboxes.  But… I have let it all slide…

At the end of the last round of email decluttering my inbox totals were looking like this:

December 1, 2016 Total: 6452 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 6452

And today, my total is looking a bit more like this:

Current Inbox Total: 7487 + 8 + 22 + 7 + 3 = 7527

So, that’s actually not that bad… But what that doesn’t show is the emails that I have “sorted” in to my GTD folders (as I explained in that last post – and for those that aren’t following what GTD is, it stands for “Getting Things Done” and is the acronym for a methodology from David Allen’s book of the same name.) and haven’t done anything about… That’s not really the point of those GTD folders… They are supposed to help you “Get Things Done”…

Anyway, since I’m waiting for renovations to be completed before I can do any more traditional decluttering, I figured I could spend some time sorting through these email inboxes and GTD folders, and either do stuff, or delete stuff…

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