One Shelf at a Time: It’s Time to Declutter

There’s nothing quite like that period of time right after Christmas to remind you how much shit stuff you really have. Our house is overflowing with everything from toys and shoes to mason jars and craft supplies. And quick frankly, something’s got to give here. My last post was all about opting for annual goal-setting instead of a single new year’s resolution. What better way to kick off 2016 than with a full-blown, cathartic decluttering.

messy house 1


If you’re anything like me you are busy enough as it is. You’ve got a pile of kids and commitments that make cleaning and organizing the house look like the least of your concerns. So unless you plan on sending your kids away for the weekend with Grandma so you can have a romantic weekend alone cleaning the house with your other half, give my one shelf at a time a try.


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the #yegminimalist movement that happened last month and how awesome it was that people were getting rid of unnecessary stuff every day.  But I want something even more intense that will really dig deep into every corner of my house and enable me to reorganize the things that I do need to keep. So I’m going to start my own #oneshelf movement, even it’s just me.

Here’s how it works. Start by choosing a room, the kitchen for example, and on the first day clean out one cupboard or shelf. That’s it. Then on day two clean out another cupboard or shelf, and so on. I would strongly encourage you to resist trying to declutter the entire kitchen at once or even the entire fridge. Just stick with one shelf. That means one shelf or bin of the fridge at a time. Now that’s not to say that you can’t declutter more than one shelf or cupboard or even declutter an entire closet if your schedule, motivation, and mental state allow you to do so. It just means to avoid taking on too much at once, getting frustrated and giving up altogether. Maybe some days you’ll declutter three different times a day. Maybe others you won’t have time to declutter any at all.

Remember. This is not one closet at a time. Or one room at a time. This is one shelf at a time. A realistic way to declutter and organize your house.

messy closetAs you declutter and start getting rid of things you don’t need anymore, I encourage you to put things into one of three piles: sell, donate, or trash. Remember there are so many amazing local non-profits who rely on donations of items. For furniture and household goods a great place to donate is FIND Furniture, an awesome local organization that helps furnish homes of families or individuals transitioning out of homelessness. A great place to donate men’s and women’s clothing is YESS, Youth Empowerment and Support Services. And the Bissell Centre is always a great place to donate items, especially outerwear, toiletries and other personal items. For gently used baby and kids’ clothing, toys and accessories, donate to WeeHelp, a local non-profit organization that benefits the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Now if you can hire an awesome person to clean your house every few weeks or month, that’s amazing. But that won’t get rid of your clutter. It won’t be a purge. On the surface it will be clean but once you open that closet, cupboard or room, shit’s going to get real. Trust me.


2016 journalEvery 1st of January millions of people make new year’s resolutions. To lose weight. To save money. To travel. And these are great. The problem so many of us face is a lack of planning, a naive belief that by simply stating aloud to friends or in writing on Facebook what the resolution is, that it will be reached. Sadly, very few “resolutions” are ever attained this way.

A very creative, insightful, entrepreneurial friend of mine and one of the brilliant minds behind Neat Rentals, shared with me that every new year she and her husband sit down together and create their goals for the year. Goals. Not resolutions. They aren’t limited to one improvement or change in their lives. There is intention, foresight and planning together and individually.

This lovely friend of mine got me thinking. New year’s resolutions for the most part are hollow and unattainable. How can any of us ever truly grow and evolve without looking at our lives as a whole and deciding where we want to be next financially, emotionally, physically, etc., ?

After all, isn’t growth essential to humanity?

When setting goals, they should be realistic, reachable, possible. They should reflect where you want to see yourself and your family. Many of your goals – like clean eating and fitness – will likely intertwine with one another. They should involve strategies, plans and steps that will enable you to reach them. Your goals, ideas and plans should be ever-changing. Do not be afraid to erase and start again.

gel pensAll you need to get started is a journal and a pen. Although I’d recommend buying yourself some colourful gel pens just to jazz it all up. The key here is that you must write down your goals. Hold yourself accountable. Revisit them monthly, weekly, daily.

One of my goals in 2016 is consistent, realistic exercise. I’ve had to step back and realize that I’m not a workout-at-home person and I’m no longer a gym person. The reality is that the type of exercise that my body needs and that my mind craves is constantly changing, especially since having my second baby this past April. Did I mention that making the time to exercise is even tougher? The magic combination for me seems to be yoga and barre classes. So my goal is two morning barre classes and two evening yoga classes per week. I’ve registered for a Tuesday barre with baby class and a Saturday barre class both with FitCommunity. You should definitely check out their classes in central and SW Edmonton as you wear baby during the workout and your older children can come along as well and play in the room.

new wall calendarOne new strategy that I’m just starting to implement to stay focused and on the same page with my other half is a Sunday evening meeting. We sit down and make a plan for the week. What we are going to make for dinner. When he has hockey. When I’m going to yoga. Then we put it on our chalkboard calendar. We also use Sunday evenings for our weekly house cleaning – ok well we haven’t started doing this yet, but it’s one of my goals.

I have many other goals including saving money, decreasing debt, improving communication in our relationship, and more!

Here’s to an amazing year of growth, happiness, and health to you and yours!

What are your goals for 2016?


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