Tenner Week Jan 2019: Day 1 – Under the sink


Hello! It’s Day One of a brand new Tenner Week budgeting challenge. Are you ready to cut your spending right back for the next few days? It can have an amazingly good effect on your finances in the week before payday during a freezing cold January. Perfect timing for most of us, right?

If you haven’t had time to do the optional Sunday Stocktake from yesterday, don’t worry. However, it might be a good idea to set ten minutes or so aside to have a quick look around our fridge, freezer and cupboards to see what food you already have in stock – so that you can plan a quick menu to use things up before they go out of date.

It’s also helpful to keep busy, so there’s a new (and speedy) activity to try every day this week, all based around the the theme of reducing clutter and generally streamlining your life. Who knows, you might find a few things you don’t want any more that you could sell, and end up making yourself some welcome January cash.


Today’s declutter: Under the sink

The cupboard under the kitchen sink is a part of our homes that’s generally meant to be a practical space, but over time it can become messy, dirty and disorganised. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was clean, tidy, and easier to use?

In our house this area is used for bins, recycling and cleaning products, but it can get a bit out of hand at times. We have too much of some stuff in there, and sometimes not enough of what we really need. It could do with a check through and a few changes, and I’m sure we’re not the only household like this – hence the declutter.

Here’s a nice and easy, practical declutter that you can do in just a few minutes.

  • Decide exactly what you want to use this space for (could be cleaning products, could be DIY stuff or something else).
  • Get everything out of the cupboard. Wear gloves if you’re likely to be handling strong chemicals.
  • Give the cupboard a good wipe clean, then dry it well.
  • Go through your cupboard contents and sort it into piles of ‘Keep here’, ‘Keep but should live somewhere else’, ‘Throw away’, ‘Recycle’ and ‘Give away or sell’.
  • Put the ‘Keep here’ stuff back into the cupboard, using boxes or baskets as dividers to group things together (use a makeshift bag or box for the time being if you don’t already own something suitable). Make it easy to get to the most commonly used items.
  • Put the ‘Keep but should live somewhere else’ stuff away where it should really live.
  • Throw away the ‘Throw away’ stuff if it’s safe to do so (check with your local council about disposing of potentially harmful chemicals safely).
  • Bag up anything that’s in the ‘Give away or sell’ pile.
  • Recycle everything in the recycling pile – get it straight into a recycling bin, preferably outside your home.
  • Make a shopping list of things you need for this area: baskets, boxes, dusters, cleaning products etc. The real problem may not be clutter, it might be what’s missing.
  • Aim to donate or list for sale whatever’s in the ‘Give away or sell’ bag within one week.

The best thing to do is set a timer and power through it, or you can easily become sidetracked. This declutter really shouldn’t take long at all, not least because you’re very unlikely to find too many sentimental items in this spot.


What’s happening here

Confession time: I generally keep the cupboard under the sink here quite neat and tidy, but due to illness at the end of last year I let that part of the house go completely by the wayside for a few months. It’s a bit of a mess compared to how I usually like to keep it, but at least there are some baskets in there already so that should help with the tidying and I won’t need to add that to my shopping list. Look at the state of it (excuse the grainy image, the light was pretty poor).

mess under the sink

I also think we’ll find a few useful items missing, out of stock or in general need of replacement, and they probably will have to go on the list to be picked up at some point after our budgeting challenge has finished. That’s how it often goes with decluttering if you’re doing it to make things work more efficiently; it’s slightly more complicated than simply chucking a load of stuff out (although chucking a lot of stuff out can be very therapeutic under many circumstances).

The other thing I’ll be trying to do here, and maybe tomorrow too, is to have a ‘no spend day‘ today. Having done so many budgeting challenges and money saving techniques over the last few years, I know this is going to make my Tenner Week a lot easier. It means there should hopefully be some cash left at the weekend in case there’s a mini emergency of some sort – and if there’s no emergency then I could treat myself to a coffee or a glass of wine.


What’s lurking underneath your kitchen sink? What does it need to make it more fit for purpose and practical?


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