Day 18: 30 Day Challenge

Day 18: Magazines & Catalogs

This stack may not look impressive but, trust me, there are 18 magazines & catalogs here, following the Minimalist Game. What bothers me is that they all came within the past few months and it feels like they arrive faster than I can throw them out. Don’t get me wrong, I <3 magazines and read them all the time. Catalogs? Not so much. They used to be fun to go through every once in a while for some inspiration but they breed like rabbits! I don’t order things from catalogs so I don’t know why I keep getting them but that’s another conversation.

day 18Catalogs go quickly and decisively to the recycle bin. I do recommend trying to unsubscribe to catalogs by going to their website and searching under their Customer Service menu to see if that’s possible. I’ve got a 50% success rate with that so it may not be worth your time. I’m ALL EARS to hear what suggestions you have for not receiving catalogs.

Magazines can be hard to wean off. We always WANT to read them but making TIME can be something different. Those bright, shiny covers are very tempting. You can recycle them but a lot of people share them with others instead by taking them to nail salons or retirement homes for others to read. I would just take off your mailing label first.

If you get a new magazine before you’ve even had the chance to read the previous issue, you need to think about limiting your subscriptions.

Even if you’re not participating in the challenge, I’m willing to bet all of you have extra magazines and catalogs you could get rid of today. Check your home and let me know how many you were able to recycle or give away!

Happy organizing!

Days 15, 16, & 17: 30 Day Challenge

Days 15, 16, & 17: Pens, Pencils, & Markers, oh my! Crayons, too!

You may think I’m cheating by combining 3 days into 1 but I’ve got some busy days ahead of me and wanted to plan ahead a little. I did my math and I should be discarding 48 things in the next 3 days. That’s a lot, folks; I don’t care how you slice it.

Day 15 16 17I found this container of pens, colored pencils, and markers that hasn’t been used in a really, really long time. Like never. Or maybe a couple of times over the past few years but not enough to warrant keeping it, especially since we have other markers and tools for expressing creativity in the house.

That means it’s time to give it to someone who has a more pressing need for creative, art supplies. These are the types of things that are great to give to relatives, friends, or neighbors with kids. They can also be donated.

“But, Neatsmart,what if I need this again?”

The chances that you will are slim but I always ask my clients, “what is the worse that could happen?” Are you going to have a pressing art project that will require these pencils, pens, markers, and crayons? If that were to happen, would it be a hardship to purchase some new supplies? Could you borrow them from someone else? Is there another alternative?

Sometimes you have to weigh the possibility of maybe needing something at some undetermined time in the future with the cost of of replacing. Most often the risk of getting rid of it is minor compared to the cost of replacing or borrowing it.

It cost $10 per square foot to store something in your house. Make sure it’s worthwhile stuff you’re keeping!

Happy organizing! Are you enjoying this challenge?

Day 14: 30 Day Challenge

Day 14: More Clothing Donations

Happy Bastille Day! I certainly feel like I’m part of a revolution as I’m storming through our home tossing trash, setting aside donations, piling up recycling, and keeping up with my 30 Day Challenge.

day 14Today is a lot like yesterday in that I’ve got more clothes to donate. Fortunately I’ve been able to raid other family member’s closets to add to my donation pile. Again, if you don’t love it, haven’t worn it, it doesn’t fit, or make you feel fabulous then don’t keep it. Someone else will need and treasure it so stop overstuffing your closets with clothes you don’t wear.

So where can you donate clothing? There are a lot of options but I’ll list a few here for future reference. You can click the hyperlinks for finding local drop off facilities or to schedule a pickup for some of them.

The Salvation Army

Goodwill which services Vietnam Veterans of America

Lupus Foundation

Kidney Foundation

Donating to others in need is so important and makes you feel better in addition to helping others. When in doubt, donate it. If you really needed it, you wouldn’t have questioned it at all.

Happy organizing!

Day 13: 30 Day Challenge

Unlucky 13? I think not! I’m starting to get the hang of things here with this 30 Day Challenge and am looking at everything in my house with a new perspective.

Do I need it?

Do I use it?

Do I love it?

Does it have special meaning to me?

day 13Today’s challenge was actually pretty easy for me because it involved going through drawers of clothes and asking if the item fit, had it been worn, and was it liked. If those 3 questions were answered “yes” then it stayed. Otherwise it went in the donation bag.

Some other criteria for inclusion were if a t-shirt were old and stained. Although some people in this house insist that a stained t-shirt can still be worn during activities like running or working in the yard, you can only acquire so many t-shirts of this caliber. Eventually, they can get donated. What’s great is places like Goodwill and The Salvation Army will see that clothes they can’t sell are recycled. Win and win.

How are you doing with the 30 Day Challenge? Have you been able to clear some drawers out? Do you feel good about getting rid of the clutter? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy organizing!

Day 12: 30 Day Challenge

Day 12: Discarding Books

day 12I know some of you are going to have problems with this one but hear me out. I love books. I love reading them and looking at them on my bookcase. I love referring back to them. But I can’t keep them forever. I want other people to have the opportunity to love them as much as I have.

There are lots of places to donate books: libraries, Goodwill, Salvation Army, retirement homes, schools, etc.

I say as long as you’re not adding them to a landfill, just donate them via the easiest method for you. You can also try selling them via’s book buyback program. and Amazon buy text books, too.  Some people have even sold books in bulk to decorators for styling bookcases. There are a lot of options here so scan your bookcase for books you no longer need and let someone else enjoy them.

Happy organizing!


Day 11: 30 Day Challenge

Day 11: No More Wire Hangers

Anyone that has ever worked with me knows my disdain for wire hangers. They leave creases on your clothes that are very hard to iron out plus they aren’t pretty. Empty ones also just take up space in your closet. I prefer either velvet covered or wooden hangers but enough about me.

day 11

Wire hangers can be taken back to the dry cleaners to be reused and recycled. Set up a bag in your closet for your used wire hangers and just take them back where they came from!

See, that was easy.

Happy organizing!



Day 10: 30 Day Challenge

Day 10: Sock Drawer Clean Out

How exciting is cleaning out your sock drawer? Here at Neatsmart we find that pretty exhilarating! 🙂 I hate going to put on a pair of socks and not being able to find a mate. Or on the rare occasion that I have to wear pantyhose, finding the pair I’m putting on has holes. Grrr!

day 10

Why would you keep socks without mates or other footwear that you can’t wear? Because “one day” you’re going to find the mate? I have no explanation for the other. There is no reason to keep these items so put them in the Donate pile.

Why donate these items? Because Goodwill and Salvation Army will recycle fabrics. Even stained or hole-y  t-shirts (although I highly recommend cleaning them before donating) can be recycled and thus keeping more out of our landfills.

Did you know that fabric can be recycled?

How is your 30 Day Challenge going? Have you fallen off the wagon? Keep cleaning out those closets, pantries, drawers, and basements! It feels great to live lighter.

Happy organizing!

Day 9: 30 Day Challenge

Day 9: Random Things from the Office

Here is another post that I think a lot of you can relate to: having random things that need to be disposed of but you just don’t get around to it. Or you don’t know what to do with the items.

day 9

Here are mine:

Pens and markers that don’t work. They are going in the trash.

Old, expired gift cards. These are going in the trash.

Memory card for a camera I no longer have. Recycle this.

Promo materials and notebook I don’t need anymore. Recycle these.

If a pen doesn’t work anymore, don’t put it back where you got it when you grab another. Throw it away!

Ok, this one is a personal pet peeve but if something doesn’t work, get rid of it! 🙂 Don’t keep it in your home. Recycle it or discard it responsibly but don’t keep it.

Happy organizing!

Day 8: 30 Day Challenge

Day 8: More Old Paint

More embarrassing stuff here. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we repainted our house last year and changed some of the colors. Which means we didn’t need to save the paint for touchups. Why is this embarrassing? Because I’m always telling other people to get rid of old paint. Mea culpa!

day 8

As I was going through the garage to find items for this 30 Day Challenge, I came across more paint from our last color scheme plus samples from when I was trying to figure out those colors a few years ago. I don’t need to keep this paint and I don’t have any house hold projects that would require these paint colors so it needs to go.

I’ve opened the lids and am waiting for the paint to dry out before tossing it. You can also type in “paint recycling” or “paint disposal” to your browser to find your local resources. Depending on how much you have, there are services that will come and pick it up for you to dispose of it properly. They charge but I think it’s worth every penny. Small amounts just have to be dried before you can throw them away but check for your local county’s requirements on this.

Happy organizing!

Day 7: 30 Day Challenge

Day 7: Batteries

day 7

Dead batteries drive me crazy. I feel like I’m always having to replace them in my mouse and keyboard and I know it’s bad to just throw them away so they end up rolling around in my desk drawer longer than they should. I just don’t want to make a special trip to recycle 2 of them at a time. I feel better now that I’ve got 7!

Designate a small box in a closet or drawer for dead batteries. When the box is full, or you’re going in the direction of a place to recycle them, take the box with you.

You can type “battery recycling” into your browser to get a list of local resources. I also know that Batteries Plus Bulbs Stores will take them as well. Check locally to see where you can take these for easy and responsible disposal.

Hey, it’s been a week of going minimal and major decluttering. How do you feel? I’d love to hear your comments below about the 30 Day Challenge!

Happy organizing!