Eliminate 1,000 Things: Join the 5-Week Fling

Eliminate 1,000 Things: Join the 5-Week Fling

eliminate 1,000 things

We’ve been flinging clutter left and right this year. Between our Clutter Free Bible Study during Lent and the Spring Fling we just wrapped up in May, I’ve noticed a few things.

First, you are all a bunch of rock stars. Fling 200 things in 10 days? Piece of cake. Our Facebook group is overflowing with the most astonishing before-and-after photos of your successes. I’m thrilled to see not just what you’ve done in your homes, but also the freedom you gained from flinging the stuff that no longer brings you joy.

Here’s what else I’ve noticed. Life doesn’t stop just because you’ve decided to gain control over this area of your life. Stuff keeps coming in the house – sometimes faster than you can release it – and it doesn’t always belong to you. If other people live in your home, their stuff can pose an even bigger challenge than your own.

How to eliminate 1,000 things in 5-weeks!

So here’s the deal. We are Clutter Free because we love a good challenge, and we work best when we’re under the gun. Starting June 12 and ending July 14, we’re hosting a Five-Week Fling to help you eliminate 1,000 things from your home. Gone for good.

Here’s how it works:

1. Over five weeks (weekends off to rest or catch up), we’re going to work together to eliminate 40 things a day from various parts of your home.

2. In our private Facebook group, you’ll share your victories and progress photos, and get accountability, encouragement and support every step of the way.

3. To participate, just make sure you are signed up to receive our blog, and then join our Facebook group.

So let’s see, only five weeks and 1,000 things out of your house? What a great way to launch your summer.

Won’t you join our Five-Week Fling? Your house will thank you.

Join the Spring Fling Now!
How to Hold a Clutter-Free Garage Sale

How to Hold a Clutter-Free Garage Sale

clutter-free garage sale

Many of us who struggle with clutter are reluctant to part with certain items because of the money we spent on them. The problem is, we won’t recoup even a fraction of what we paid for those items.

And that’s OK.

There is no better deterrent from bringing new items into your home than seeing that candle you bought for $24.95 re-sell for only $2.50. This is the Clutter Tax we all pay for excess stuff.  If you’re ready to face the music and rid yourself of the surplus items in your home, a garage sale is a great de-cluttering option.

Hold a clutter-free garage sale

Here’s a no-fail, step-by-step strategy to make it work.

  1. Strategize. First, sit down with your family and talk about the possibility of a yard sale. Are they willing to participate? Do they have old clothes, toys, or books to donate to the sale? I’ve found it’s easier to get buy-in from the whole family if you have a common goal in mind. Perhaps you’re looking to save for a family vacation or a play set for the backyard. Get your kids excited about contributing to the family goal.
  1. Plan. Next, put a “Garage Sale” date on the calendar. Make sure it’s at least a month out. This gives you and your family time to go through closets, drawers, basements, and garages and come up with the items you’ll sell. (What a great goal in decluttering!)
  1. Organize. Start off with some empty boxes in an out-of-the-way place in your home (the garage, the laundry room.) Then as you come across items you no longer need, add them to the boxes.

Plan a day to work with your kids in their rooms. If they waffle about whether to sell an item, encourage them to put it in the garage sale box. If they want to retrieve it and play with it, great. If they never think about it again, then it’s probably safe to sell. I can’t guarantee there won’t be a change of heart on the day of the sale, but often the excitement of selling something makes letting it go much easier.

As you start to gather more and more items, sort them by type (kids’ clothes, kids’ shoes, toys, books, household gadgets, DVDs). Items will be easier to price and display if similar objects are grouped together.

I encourage you to start pricing items a few weeks before the sale. It’s easy to print price stickers on your computer’s printer. Younger kids will have a great time putting stickers on things.

If your kids part with some toys that have a lot of little parts, gather up everything in a resealable plastic bag to keep things together.

Start collecting paper bags for shoppers to use to take home their treasures.

  1. Advertise. There are several ways to get the word out for successful clutter-free garage sales.

On the web. The best way to know where to advertise is to google “garage sales” or “yard sales” (whichever is the common terminology in your area) and the name of your city. You’ll see where most people look for the information and then announce your sale there. But don’t spend a lot of money doing this. Most of your traffic will likely be of the drive-by variety. Be sure to highlight the kinds of things you’re selling (tools, kids’ clothes, furniture, etc.) so you attract the right buyers.

On the street. Signs most likely are your best means of getting people to your sale. While it’s tempting to let your kids create the signs, you should manage this project. Cute is not your objective—readability is.

My favorite kind of sign is made of neon poster board (think hot pink or neon green) cut in the shape of an arrow. Clearly label your cross streets. Kids can definitely be part of the sign-hanging process the night before. Make sure you bring copious amounts of clear packing tape, scissors, string, and even some balloons to attach to each sign.

Your friends. Tell your friends about your sale and even the goal you have in mind. Your kids will have a lot more fun if they know some of the people who stop by. Be sure to let your Facebook friends know as well.

Newspaper. Running a cheap ad in your local newspaper or an online classified service will bring you more shoppers.

  1. Merchandise. Before I was an author I worked as a sales rep in the gift industry, and now as a speaker, I have a book table wherever I go. One thing I’ve learned in both these roles is the power of merchandising—staging items for sale.

Clothes. You are going to sell a lot more clothes for much better prices if you have a garment rack to hang them on. Even a shower rod hung from your roof or garage door is a big help. The next best option is to fold clothes neatly on a table (this is a great option especially for kids’ clothes). Unless you have a stash of wire hangers you’re dying to get rid of, be sure to put up a sign that says “Hangers Not Included.”

Books, CDs, DVDs. Drag a bookshelf out of your house as a temporary display. If you have enough shelf space, place the front covers face out. To keep the shelves looking full, put one of your kids in charge of moving items from the bottom rows to the top as books begin to sell.

Put the wows up front. You want items up front that literally stop traffic. Furniture, tools, and electronics are your best bet for getting hubby to pull the car to the curb.

Group items. It’s helpful to have similarly priced items on one table. You can have a dollar table, a fifty-cent table, and so on.

  1. Capitalize. When the kids were little I would help them set up a lemonade stand to serve those thirsty shoppers in the summer heat (and for my kids to make a little extra cash). This was great for the kids when they were young. They could still be a part of the action, but they didn’t have to negotiate with hagglers. Who is going to dicker over a fifty-cent lemonade?

The only problem was that running a lemonade stand is as much work as the actual garage sale. Finally, I wised up. For our next garage sale, I went to Costco early in the week and bought sodas and bottled waters. All we had to do was ice the drinks and replenish the supply throughout the day, both of which my kids could do without my help.

The kids were thrilled to see their bank grow, and many of the adults were just as excited to get a cheap soda in the middle of a July day.

  1. Improvise. Garage sales aren’t rigid. You aren’t working for Sam Walton, so things don’t have to go a certain way. So if something isn’t working, improvise!
  • Tired of sorting through piles of trinkets that are really worth nothing? Give them away for free with a purchase. Or set out a free box for people to sort through. Better them than you, right?
  • Play music to encourage people to stay a while.
  • Put out a plate of cookies or some lemonade.
  1. Have a plan for the end of the day. The objective is to get rid of everything–do not, under any circumstances, let it back into the house.

At the end of the day, figure out what you are going to do with the leftovers.

Last Call: In the last hour or two, let people know that you will be selling everything for a dollar. Your objective is not to make money, it’s to get rid of stuff. Bringing it back in defeats the purpose of having a clutter free garage sale.

Make Arrangements: At the end of the day, have a plan to make everything go away. Load up the van and take everything to the donation center. Don’t let it come back into the home!

Don’t be fooled. Having a garage sale is a lot of work. But if you are looking for a way to recoup some of your Clutter Tax, this is a great way to spend a day. Pad your bank account and clean out your house at the same time.

Now it’s your turn–tell us your best tips for clutter-free garage sales!

Spring Fling #10: It’s Time to Get the Garage in Order

Spring Fling #10: It’s Time to Get the Garage in Order

garage

Day 10 and it’s time to get out of the house … and declutter the garage.

For years, my garage has been the dumping ground for everything. My business, my kids’ stuff, tools, craft projects, out of season clothes, out of season decorations, mid-project projects, suitcases, gardening supplies, games, puzzles, and the bike that never, ever gets ridden.

It Gets Better in your Garage

I’ll be honest with you: my garage is still a huge work in progress. The good news? There IS progress. When I went to go work on my 20 items today, I knew the corner I had to tackle: the “Camping Corner.”

garage

Roger and I love to go day camping, so we keep a lot of supplies. But this corner has been overrun by one too many “dump and runs.” There were out of season clothes, decorations (apparently, I’m obsessed with giant fall pumpkins), wrapping paper, books, and the results of too many Costco runs. We’re good on toilet paper for the rest of our lives.

So, I gave myself an afternoon to go through the corner, get my 20 items, and make sense of all of the stuff.

I was done in 30 minutes.

Why did it take so little time? Because after all my flings in the past, there really wasn’t that much to declutter—it just needed to be put away properly.

I know that as a clutterer, I tend to be overwhelmed by projects and think they’re going to take more time than they actually do. Starting off with only 15 minutes is going to help you break things down and get them into doable chunks. You can do this!

Instructions

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Pick one area to work on. One shelf. One corner. Don’t get overwhelmed. Start sorting and revel in the space that you are reclaiming!
– Set a timer and go for it. 15 minutes usually can do it, but if you need to put another 15 minutes on the timer, go for it.

Bonus

Some bonus things you can do in the basement or garage:

  1. Label storage areas. Make a big sign so everyone in the family knows where things go.
  2. Boy, can my garage get dusty. If there are items you care about, dust them or store them in a storage box.
  3. Speaking of storage boxes, can you get rid of a few now that you’ve flung so much stuff?

garage

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #9: Tackle the Extra Room That’s Driving You Crazy

Spring Fling Day #9: Tackle the Extra Room That’s Driving You Crazy

extra room

Day 9 and it’s time to earn some bonus points … by dealing with that extra room.

Got a kids’ room, linen closet, or a space under the stairs filled with clutter? If so, today is the day to tackle the room that’s making you crazy and get 20 things out of there, stat!

It Gets Better in the Extra Room

Oh, this can be so overwhelming. Even those tiny spaces, like the coat closet, can have you slamming the door and praying all the things will magically go away.

And if you are decluttering a child’s room? Well, may God have mercy on your soul.

But I promise you, peace is possible, and the only way you are going to get there is by digging in.

Instructions

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Pick one area to work on. One shelf. One corner. Don’t get overwhelmed.
– Start sorting and revel in the space you’re reclaiming!

Set a timer and go for it. 10 minutes usually can do it, but if you need to put another 10 minutes on the timer to fling your 20 things, by all means.

Bonus

Some bonus things you can do in that extra space:

  1. Label storage areas. Make it look like the aisles of Target where everyone knows where everything goes.
  2. Do an inventory. Do you need new Band-Aids in the linen closet? Or vacuum cleaner bags? A fresh supply of allergy meds in the medicine cabinet? Make a list so you can get it next time you’re at the store.
  3. Would bins be helpful in this space? The Dollar Store has some great bins and baskets for only $1, but make sure they work for your space. (Otherwise, those too become clutter.)

extra room

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #8: It’s Time to Reclaim Your Bedroom

Spring Fling Day #8: It’s Time to Reclaim Your Bedroom

Day 8 of the Spring Fling and it’s time to get some rest and reclaim your bedroom!

Is your bedroom where all your “stuff” goes to hide? Is this the place where the stash and dash gets “stashed”? If so, it’s time to reclaim your bedroom so you can relax.

I KNOW that I sleep better in a room free from clutter. I’m not distracted by all the things that need to be put away and dealt with. (And bonus! I have a lot smaller chance of tripping and dying if I need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.)

 It Gets Better: Reclaim your Bedroom

It does get better, the more you work on it. And you deserve better in your bedroom. You deserve a place to rest and restore without having to look at bags of Goodwill donations every single morning.

reclaim your bedroom

Make this room a priority. I want you to have a retreat — a place where you can close off the door and just be, in peace.

Instructions

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Make your bed so you have a clear space to work off.
– Set a timer for 10 minutes and FLING!

Anything that doesn’t belong in the bedroom, get it out of the bedroom. Don’t use your closet to store your kid’s hockey equipment. I want what’s in there to bring you peace. If you don’t use it, don’t love it, and wouldn’t buy it again, get it out of there!

Bonus

Bring some life into your bedroom.

We share a fence with a neighbor. About once a month, we have to cut back their hedges on our property. This has always been a source of frustration. (We have a hard time gardening for ourselves, much less our neighbors.) But now, I’m turning that frustration into an opportunity. I’m taking the blooms from those hedges and filling up mason jars around my house. Having fresh flowers in my room gives me a sense of peace.

Can you bring something new into your room? A new pillow, a picture frame, fresh flowers?

If you are really going great guns, I would suggest cleaning out your nightstand as well and stocking it with essentials: cough drops, Tylenol, lavender oil, a reading light and a good book.

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.