Thursday, June 19, 2014

40 Bags :: Kitchen Chaos

We are two weeks into our summer edition of the 40 Bags challenge and I'm ready to share some spaces! 

I started in my kitchen because it was literally right in front of me. And because kitchens are the heart of the home, or something like that. Right??

I love every mug I kept and they finally all fit!
I broke my kitchen up into quite a few spaces / days so it wouldn't seem so overwhelming. I also took the time to wipe everything down really well, inside and out. 

(Side note: there is an amazing cleaner found at most dollar stores called LA's Totally Awesome cleaner. I am quite sure there are many horrible chemicals involved but this stuff works. Desperate times -- such as the icky plastic shelves in my corner lazy susan -- call for desperate measures.)

Totally Awesome.
For those of you keeping track at home, my kitchen spaces included our upper cabinets, lower cabinets, drawers, spice cabinet, under the kitchen sink, the desk area, pantries, fridge, and freezer for a total of nine spaces.

The kitchen is an area that I do try to keep pared down -- we have a nice sized kitchen but it's not huge, so I have to make good use of the space we have -- but it seems like I can always find some things we just aren't using. Purge items included sippy cups (Mady is 4 1/2), baby silverware, coffee mugs (I bet the average American family owns at least 37 and uses three), and some pretty dishes that are nice (mostly very thoughtful gifts) but never get used.

Desk area | Happy spatulas | Shiny silverware | A place for everything
In the pantry / fridge / freezer areas, I ended up with a couple small bags of toss items and a grocery bag full to donate. The main thing I took out of those spaces, however, was packaging. So. Many. Empty. Boxes.

Our recycling bin is a happy camper these days.

The fridge after | My new favorite tee | Boxes, boxes boxes | A full pantry is a blessing indeed
As I worked through the kitchen, I thought a lot about what a blessing it is to open up a full refrigerator or strain to find the back of a cupboard. In addition, our pantry and fridge are filled to the brim with (mostly) good, healthy food. We don't know what it means to go hungry or to have to choose between cheap, unhealthy options and the more expensive, wholesome ones.

Working through our stockpiles of food also helps me to be a more informed meal planner, smarter shopper, and better steward of our resources (no more buying too much of something we don't really need). It's a good way to re-ground myself and practice gratitude.

Can't go wrong with color in the kitchen.
And lastly, my favorite consequence of the kitchen purge? Emptying the dishwasher (into clutter-free cabinets!) has never been so much fun.

Monday, June 16, 2014

40 Bags :: Progress & Printables!

It's only Week One and bags are already flying out the door.

I started in our kitchen, and I've worked through most of our cabinets and drawers. Pantry and fridge/freezer (and pictures!) coming soon.

If you're not someone who loves to clean and declutter, this might not sound like much fun to you, but even for the reluctant, once you get started, you just want to keep going. (Hello, snowball effect.)

Enthusiasm is contagious and I am loving the 40 Bags gang who is joining me this time around. Here's a quick peek into the spaces (and bags) they've been sharing in our Facebook group. Each picture below shows the amount of stuff leaving just ONE space. Can you imagine the end result after 40 spaces?!

And some of their lovely, uncluttered spaces...

One of the things I love about the 40 Bags challenge is that it's not about fancy organization or perfect looking spaces. It's simply your house without all the extra stuff. Peering inside a cleared out closet or spacious cupboard just feels better. Less stuff = less stress.

Whether you're working on your 40 Bags list this summer or waiting until a different season to tackle it, here are some lovely {free} printables courtesy of Missie @ LostBumblebee. I am a big fan of Missie and her work (I first stumbled upon her Advent calendar last December) and I am thrilled she put these together for us.

These would be lovely to display in your home as a daily reminder to keep it simple and live with less. If you pop over to Missie's blog, you can grab all the simply-themed printables in all the sizes (8x10, 5x7, 4x6). 

Enjoy! (And check out the rest of Missie's work while you're there!)

{Printable credit: LostBumblebee}

{Printable credit: LostBumblebee}

{Printable credit: LostBumblebee}

{Printable credit: LostBumblebee}

Sunday, June 8, 2014

40 Bags in 40 Days {Summer Edition}

It's been awhile, friends.

School's out, summer's here, and a new season is ahead.

It's been over two years since my last 40 Bags journey. I loved the entire experience -- the simplicity, the freedom, the community. I think our family is better than we were in the past -- better at not buying so much or holding on to so much -- but still we accumulate. 

I'm reminded that less is more and that I have better things to do with my time and energy than manage, store, organize, and clean unnecessary stuff.

Printable Credit: The Polka Dot Posie
I posted my plan on Facebook last week and 22 friends responded with 22 I'm in's! I was blown away with the response and I'm encouraged that I'm not alone in this.

The plan is to work steadily through this list in the coming 12 weeks, but not at the same space-a-day pace we did last time, during the Lenten season. This time we're leaving plenty of time in our schedules to ride bikes, run through the sprinklers, hit the beach, and visit the ice cream shop. (Because, seriously, we survived The Worst Winter Ever and now it's time to play.)

This will be a more relaxed, more flexible challenge, a summer edition after all, but the goal is the same: clear out the clutter, the junk, the excess. Rediscover simplicity, clarity, freedom.

My list is made and I'm ready (starting tomorrow!) to pull out the junk drawers, swing open the closet doors, and send some stuff packing, one bag at a time.

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