Tenner Week June 2014: Day 3: Declutter day

This week is just flying by – can’t believe it’s Day Three of Tenner Week already! How are you getting on so far? Today we’re doing a quick home declutter to make life simpler and easier.

For my declutter I’m tidying up the bathroom and bathroom-related linens. That includes bath towels, hand towels, bath mats etc. It’s designed to be relatively painless, and I usually give the bathroom a quick clean on a Wednesday anyway so it’s a good use of the time.

Most of us tend to have more products than we need in the bathroom, and things like towels can start piling up too. For example, you might, like me, buy new bath sheets in the sales because the old ones are not in good condition any more, but end up hanging on to the old ones ‘just in case’. Well, it’s fine to keep one or two in case of an emergency, but soon that cupboard or drawer is bursting at the seams, and you can’t find what you need when you’re in a hurry….

Today is all about that – letting go of things that are duplicated and no longer useful, then making it easier and nicer to get ready in the morning.

As it’s easy to get bogged down in any declutter, start by setting a time limit – it helps to use a kitchen timer or smartphone alert. For example, I’m tackling the bathroom in 30 minutes or less. Try this exercise to get through it painlessly and quickly:

  1. Set your timer and keep it nearby.
  2. Set out a bin, and three boxes for ‘keep’, ‘give away’ and ‘recycle’.
  3. Working quickly, take an item at a time from the bathroom cabinet, shelves, around the shower etc, and decide quickly whether it goes in the bin or one of the three boxes.
  4. If you have trouble deciding, have you used this item in the last two years? If not, you can probably let it go. The same goes for products that are partly-used but that have been open for a long time and are gathering dust. If a product is a bit rubbish and you don’t really like it, get rid of it.
  5. Once this is done, divide your ‘keep’ pile into everyday/useful items, and things that should be in storage or a stockpile. Are you keeping anything for ‘special’ and not actually using it at all? Put it somewhere it will start getting used before it goes off. Do you have a lot of things you use mostly in winter? Put them away and get the summer items out.
  6. Clean and dry the empty areas that  you have decluttered.
  7. Add storage or organisation (a temporary cardboard box will do).
  8. Put your everyday/useful items away in sensible spots that you can get to easily – ideally they shouldn’t be far away from where they’ll be used. For example, put the shower gel next to the shower, the mouthwash next to the sink, makeup remover near the mirror etc (it sounds obvious but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t do this).
  9. Put your stockpile and unseasonal items away, preferably out of sight somewhere, or on a high shelf.
  10. Take the contents of the bin to the dustbin right away, and complete the recycling straight after that.
  11. Box up your ‘give away’ items and make a plan donate them before the end of the week. Do you have anything that could be sold, like half a bottle of fragrance? Get it on an auction site before the end of the week.
  12. Make a list of anything new you need that will make your life easier or nicer: toothbrush mug, nail clippers, candle/artwork/ornament, net for kids’ toys, boxes or other storage, etc. Commit to buying this within the next seven days.

For a towel declutter, allow up to 10 minutes:

  1. Set the timer and work quickly.
  2. Go through all the towels, face cloths etc and decide whether they’re ‘keep’, ‘keep for emergency’ or ‘get rid of’.
  3. Clean and dry your storage area. Are you still going to keep your towels etc in this spot?
  4. Whichever storage area you decide on, now fold ‘keep’ items and put them away with the most used ones at the front or top of the shelf / drawer / box.
  5. It’s OK to keep two less-than-nice items for emergencies, but don’t hang on to more than that. Put them where they’d be of most use in an emergency – eg. with pet things in case of muddy or messy pets, at the bottom of the towel drawer for home hair dyeing, etc.
  6. Add any extra organisation you need.
  7. Put the ‘get rid of’ old towels out for recycling, or donate them (for example to a local animal shelter) by the end of the week. My local council recycles worn out old fabrics from our general recycling box, but most charity shops can take clean ancient towels as they tend to have recycling arrangements with rag merchants etc.

What’s happening here?

I have been gadding about a bit in the last couple of days, and was lucky enough to spend Monday and Tuesday evening at TV and film previews. That meant eating late, but I still managed to have some quick pasta one night and a reheated dall curry and some salad on the other, so no chips were purchased… Meanwhile we have run out of bread, so I’ll be making some later. It’s so quick and easy if you have easybake yeast to hand, and make something simple like rolls.

The TV diet is going quite well – I’ve watched an episode of Fargo on catch up with one of my precious hours. Makes you very selective, if you only have four hours for the week. My big plan for the week is to paint the kitchen, so that will probably keep me away from the gogglebox in the evenings too. It’s good to keep busy during a Tenner Week, and the paint’s been sitting here for a while… Anyway, I’m hoping there will be a nice sense of achievement once that’s all done.

The only thing I’ve bought this week is some stationery to help with filing and sorting out financial paperwork, so I suppose that’s a fitting purchase. It was the princely sum of 85p, and I’m hoping it’ll give me the momentum to get in there and sort out business expenses and the like. Sometimes you have to buy one or two new things when you’re decluttering, to stop new clutter building up. Weird but true.

So far it’s:

Total TV watched: 1 hour

Total cash spent: £0.85

How is your menu and budget this week? Going OK? Come up with any good improvisations or clever lifehacks?

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