Target: Storage & Organization Items 20% Off Extra 10% Off WYB $50

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If you’re feeling the need to organize, then you’ll want to check out Target. Right now they are offering up to 20% off on storage and organization items. Plus, get an extra 10% off when you spend $50. Use your Redcard to save another 5%. If you order online you get free same day store pickup too. Choose from storage items and baskets and bins.

A few noteworthy deals:

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 9.17.15 AMSterilite® 20 Gal Latch Tote – Blue, $5 (reg. $11.99)

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Sterilite® 66 Qt Clearview Latching Tote – Blue
, $5 (reg. $11.99)

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Smith & Hawken™ Woven Wall Organizer Decorative Basket with Chalkboard
, $19.99 (reg. $24.99)

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Room Essentials™ 8-Cube Organizer – Espresso or White
, $39.99 (reg. $44.99)

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Room Essentials™ Fabric Cube
, $5.99 (reg. $6.99)

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

DIY Kitchen Cleaning Solutions


Spring is here. Time to clean! I am attacking my neglected kitchen. When we bought our house a couple of years ago, we were fortunate that it came with things like a stove and a dishwasher. What was unfortunate was that they were pretty dirty. Cleaning up someone else’s old leftover kitchen goo is not a task one looks forward to, which is probably why I put it off for so long. I also hate cleaning with strong chemicals like oven cleaners, which is another reason why it didn’t get done. Let me rephrase that, I did sorta, kinda clean it, but a deep clean never took place. When this Northwest Bloggers Spring Cleaning Bash came along, I knew what needed to be done. I must clean my kitchen using DIY Cleaning Solutions . So off I went to Pinterest to learn everything I needed to know about cleaning with baking soda, vinegar, lemon and other things…

The Sink

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions

The first and least threatening of the tasks in my kitchen was the sink. Everyone loves to have a nice, clean, shiny sink. Right? Mine was pretty dull looking and had some rust stains. After looking through a few pins on Pinterest, it looked as though baking soda, vinegar, lemon and elbow grease were the way to go. I was inspired by this post with the method I was going to try.

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions

Well, if your sink is already pretty clean to begin with I would agree that these items will work, but I had some old rust stains on mine like the one pictured above. I tried the baking soda and vinegar first, but the rust wouldn’t come off. It was time to call in the big guns.

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions

So yes, I almost immediately turned from natural products and went for the Bar Keepers Friend. What can I say, it works! And, it doesn’t cost a whole lot for a bottle at Lowe’s. It was less than $3, if I remember right.

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions

As you can see, it took the rust right off. No problem. Now I can use baking soda, vinegar and lemon from here on out to keep it nice and shiny.

Thrifty tip: Make your own Drano to cut the grease and keep your pipes flowing smoothly. I do this once a month.

The Dishwasher

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions

It’s kind of ironic that dishwashers, that clean your dishes get dirty, but they do. Anytime you have water going through something repeatedly you risk the chance of getting mold, like in your shower. Dishwashers are prime targets for attracting mildew and mold. You also want to keep them clean so they will run properly.

I know what you’re thinking right now. The before and after pictures don’t look much different. Don’t let the image fool you, there is a huge difference between these two pictures. I think the bottom rack in the before picture is hiding alot of the problem area. I was inspired by this post to clean the dishwasher and I followed her instructions as closely as possible.

Here are the steps to follow:

  •  The dishwasher should be totally empty at this point. Take out the bottom rack and feel around the bottom for bits of plastic, or other things that may be lurking. Wear gloves as there might be glass or other sharp objects down there. If your filter comes out, you can take it out and check it to see if it needs cleaned. Mine wouldn’t come out, or at least I couldn’t figure out how to get it out. Put the bottom rack back in when you are done.

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions

  • Fill a dishwasher safe cup with white vinegar and put it in the top rack. Run the dishwasher through a full cycle.
  • Sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the bottom and run again on the short cycle on the hottest setting. If you have mildew problems, you can add 1/2 cup – 1 cup of bleach to the bottom. That’s what I did. NOTE: DO NOT USE BLEACH IN YOUR DISHWASHER IF YOU HAVE A STAINLESS STEEL INTERIOR).
  • You may be done at this point, if it looks clean, but if you have remaining gunk after both cycles have ended, you can scrub the problem areas with a scrubber or an old toothbrush. It should come right off. Run a rinse cycle and you should be good to go.

Thrifty tip: Fill your Rinse Aid holder with white vinegar. It works better than actual rinse aid, in my opinion and it’s cheaper too.

The Oven

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions

While I was immensely grateful that our house came with a stove, I was afraid to clean what was lurking inside. I don’t know what year it was purchased, but it had caked on, baked on crust that I have not been in the mood to deal with. The pictures don’t quite do it justice. It was gnarly!  I did not want to use oven cleaner, so I looked for another way. I was inspired by this post to try baking soda and some other items to make a concoction that was supposed to cut through the nasty stuff with ease.

But before I started on that, I took out the oven racks, placed them in a garbage bag and poured about 1/2 cup of ammonia in it. I tied it up and took it outside to brew overnight. (Plan to use the stove top burners for dinner or get takeout if you do this.) Ammonia does stink like pee, so just be warned. And never, ever, ever mix ammonia and bleach together! The ammonia doesn’t need to soak the racks, but it somehow works to de-junk the racks without touching them. It must be the smell. Blah. I took them out the next day and washed them in the tub. I held my breath and used a scrubby sponge on it and the gunk just fell right off.

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
Next came the inside of the oven. For this you will want to mix up  5 T baking soda, 5 drops of Dawn and 4 T vinegar. Then mix into a paste. The vinegar will make it foam a little. Spread all around the inside of your oven and on the door. Then prepare to scrub your arms off. You can let it sit for a few minutes, but really, I don’t think this does a whole lot. The power is in the scrubbing. I had to use this mixture twice over and probably could have done another round, but eh. My arms and fingers were hurting after two times.
Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
You can use half a lemon with a few drops of Dawn soap on it for some extra cleaning power. After you’ve scrubbed it to the best of your ability, it’s time to clean up. Wipe up all the junk with a cloth and water. I kept a water bucket nearby so I could easily rinse it. The baking soda may leave some white streaks when it dries, but just go over it with a wet cloth and it should go away.

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
As you can see, this mixture did work pretty well. There was still a bit of baked on stuff, but it’s nothing I can’t live with. The gunk you see on the glass is actually on the inside. Some of you might be able to use this trick to get the inside of the glass clean, but my stove isn’t made that way.
Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
All in all, I was pretty happy with this method. The only harsh smell was the ammonia and that was for a very miniscule amount of time. I do believe I will keep doing it this way for the rest of my life.

The Oven Vent Filter and Stove Hood

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
The underside of the stove hood is some place you don’t look at very often and that’s probably good because it’s one of the grossest places. All the grease from the stove top gets sucked up into a little fan and it just kind of coats the area. I had never attempted to clean the oven vent filter because I didn’t know how easy it was, until I saw this post. This method is so simple and effective, I dare say it will change your life. No more greasy oven vent filters for you. This is the most exciting to me of everything I cleaned because it was the easiest thing in the world. There was no effort required on my part and that makes me happy. Here’s what you need to do:

    • Get the biggest pot you have and fill it with water. Turn it up to high heat and bring it to a boil.

Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions

      • Once the water is boiling, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda. It will make the water fizz, so pour very slowly.
      • Take your vent filter and put as much of it as you can in the boiling water. Let it boil for a few minutes.

    Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions

          • Next, use some sort of tongs to lift the filter out to turn it to the other side. The filter will be hot, so make sure you don’t touch it. At this point, you should be amazed by the half clean, half dirty filter.
          • After a few more minutes of boiling, you should be set to take out the filter. You can rinse it under the sink for another minute until the water runs clear.
          • Stand the filter up somewhere while it dries.
          • Once you’re done with that, the underside of your stove hood should have alot of condensation built up from the boiling water. Wipe this down with a rag until it’s clean. It should all just wipe right off.

        Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
        Ok, so this is totally gross, but this was the water that was left in the pot after I washed the filter. If your water looks like this, you will want to dump it outside, not down the sink. The pot should come clean with Dawn soap and water.

        The Stove Top

        Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
        Next came the top of the stove. The biggest problem I was facing here were the metal rings. Ugh.

        Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
        I decided to go the ammonia route again, since it worked so well with the oven racks. This time I just used a large ziploc (one ring per bag) and poured a bit of ammonia in. Once they were sealed they went outside overnight.
        Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
        Next, I wiped down the whole top of the stove and then lifted up the hood and cleaned under the burner area. It’s kind of like working on a car, huh? Just use the same baking soda concoction you used inside the oven. It’s the same type of surface.
        Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
        Then I decided to get the top of the stove clean, the knobs and such. I had never taken them off before and it was obvious that no one probably ever had. It was all so greasy. At this point, I had used up two boxes of baking soda from the previous tasks, so I was fresh out. I didn’t want to run to the store, so I used plain ol’ white vinegar. I rubbed it on each knob and the length of the stove where the knobs were and lo and behold the grease came off. It was actually pretty sparkly when I was done.

        Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
        The next day, when I pulled out the rings and scrubbed them slightly, they came pretty clean. They probably could have sat longer to get cleaner, but I wanted to cook with the stove top. I decided they were clean enough since the part of the ring that is exposed looks new.

        Kitchen DIY Cleaning Solutions
        Here is the finished stove in all of it’s glory. It was so clean I could see my reflection. Yeah! I did a bit more than I could show you in this post, seeing as how it’s already so long, but that should be enough to get you started on a week long kitchen cleaning rampage. Don’t forget to check out the other posts in the NW Bloggers Spring Cleaning Bash. These will help motivate you to get cleaning in other areas of your house too. Happy cleaning!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

21 Day Declutter Challenge: The Living Room (Day 16)

declutter

I am now on day 16 in the 21 day Declutter Challenge. To get your own printable checklist, go here. To view the challenges from previous days, go here. Today’s challenge was to declutter the jewelry box, but since I don’t really have much jewelry, I skipped ahead to the living room.

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Most of us use the living room to, well, to live in. This rule applies at our house. We all spend alot of time living in the living room. Adults, kids, the dog. We all live here. That is why it is looking so lived in.

I kind of wish I took some better pictures of the real problem area of the room. The left side by the TV cabinet off to the left was pretty bad. I was using a little shelf to hold the DVD’s and video games, but the kids would take them out and then pile them on top. It was getting to be a major pain, so I took all of the DVD’s and games out of the cases and put them in a big binder. The cases went away. GASP! This left me with a shelf that wasn’t being used, so I moved it to the bedroom to use as a bookshelf. It worked out really well, since my books were in a box on the floor. Win.

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Since I took out the little shelf, it left an empty section and I was able to push the TV cabinet over to the left a bit to center it more. It looks good.

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Lastly, I cleared out behind and around the TV cabinet. There were a ridiculous amount of dust bunnies to clear out. Then I arranged the cords behind the tv nicely and removed the “extra” ones I found. Oh yeah, and I found a Guitar Hero disc hiding in the dust bunnies. Once the room was finished, it was time to fire up the Xbox.

 

Tomorrow’s challenge: Attic/basement. I don’t have either of those, so I will skip ahead to the car. It REALLY needs it too.

Print this checklist to keep yourself motivated. Click on the picture to make it bigger.

declutter list

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

21 Day Declutter Challenge: Drawer Organization

declutter challenge

I am now on day 15 in the 21 day Declutter Challenge. To get your own printable checklist, go here. To view the challenges from previous days, go here. Today’s challenge was to conquer clutter in the bedroom drawers by making my own Drawer Organization system. The system that most of us have for organizing bedroom drawers is flawed. Folding and stacking is good and it looks nice for awhile, but when you have to go digging through the piles to find what you want, you end up with a big mess in no time.

Drawer Organization

Take my little boys drawer, for instance. He dresses himself and he picks out his clothes. His drawers look something like this…

Drawer Organization

and this….  So I did some research and I think I have found a better way to organize the drawers.

Drawer Organization

I made a quick run to Target this morning to find something to sort the undies and socks. I found this bin at Target. It was in the $9 range. Its very sturdy though. Drawer Organization

Are you kidding me? The drawer is twice as big as it was before. The kid can find his undies and socks and I am a happy mama!

Drawer Organization

Next to check off of the list were the other drawers. This boy has so many shirts, I was having a hard time closing the drawer before. Instead of my normal folding job, I folded them in half, long way and kind of rolled them up flatly, if that makes sense. Then you can put them in the drawer in line, upright. Kind of like little shirt envelopes. Again, there is so much more room in there than I thought I had. He should be able to just grab the shirt he wants without rifling through the whole drawer, in theory.

Drawer Organization

The same went for his drawers of pants and pajamas. Roll it up flat. That is the idea here. I love the outcome. I am so happy with this system, I am going to change all of the drawers over as soon as I can.

Drawer Organization

I really want to find something like this for the dressers in my bedroom. I am going to wait until I can find a better deal though. Maybe even something like this would work, but I really like the look of the honeycomb.

Like I normally do, I got sidetracked after I finished his drawers and started on another project. I’m really excited to share it with you, but I will save it for another post. It involves a bunk bed and an oversized playhut…. Be on the lookout.


Print this checklist to keep yourself motivated. Click on the picture to make it bigger.

Declutter Challenge checklist

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

21 Day Declutter Challenge: Day 13

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I am now on day 13 in the 21 day declutter challenge. To get your own printable checklist, go here. To view the challenges from previous days, go here. 

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Oh, and just so you don’t think I was cheating, here is the after shot from the day 12 challenge. The desk is clean!

Today’s task was to declutter the linen closet. The funny thing about our linen closet is that I really didn’t have any linen in it, except for the towels and a couple of blankets.

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I had all sorts of other types of things in there though, just not much in the way of linen. Where is the linen, you ask? Well, it was kind of in my bedroom in storage totes. They were stacked up in the corner, taking up too much room, so I decided this would be the day to empty to the totes and fill the closet. The Huggies box in the picture, is where I was throwing all the free samples and other goodies that I get in the mail that I don’t know what to do with. I decided to take care of that first.

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I found a cute bin and some other storage bags and sorted through it. I put the flat samples, like shampoos, lotions, etc. and put them in one bag. Big samples like deodorants went in another and another bag for the bigger shampoo and body wash samples. Everything else was kind of arranged to fit around those. It looks nicer for sure and I can find things alot easier this way.

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Next I went through the bins of sheets, putting them into sets. I had read somewhere (can’t remember where) that if you take your sheet sets and put them into a matching pillowcase, you will be able to get the set you need out faster. I really like this idea, although I had a hard time stacking it neatly. I think it’s because we have a few flannel type sets, which are bulky. I also added a few more random blankets. As you can see, the end result is very lineny… I suppose it probably looks more cluttered than it did before, but everything is in it’s place and not cluttering up my bedroom, which is nice.

Tomorrow’s task: The backyard. I don’t know… It’s supposed to be raining all day tomorrow, I might skip ahead and wait for a dry day to do this one.

Print this checklist to keep yourself motivated. Click on the picture to make it bigger.

declutter list

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

21 Day Declutter Challenge: Recycling Crayons

Declutter Challenge

I am now on day 12 in the 21 day declutter challenge. To get your own printable checklist, go here.  To view the challenges from previous days, go here.  Today’s task was to declutter my craft supplies. It seems that some days these challenges are cut and dry and other days they take on a life of their own. I started working on the “craft supplies” yesterday and ended up veering off in another direction. Let me explain.

declutter 2 desk

I am not very crafty, therefore I don’t have many craft supplies. This is my box of craft supplies. See! I’m not kidding. Should have taken me 5 seconds to get it done, right?

declutter1desk

Here is the problem. The box of craft supplies is located on the shelf on the computer desk. Maybe you can’t tell, but the desk is a mess. It is a hot spot of clutter actually. The craft supplies were the least of my problems. I was hoping to get everything on the desk and in the drawer organized.

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Another thing that was bothering me is that this desk has been badly abused by the kids. It has been scratched up, inked and sharpie markered in a bad way. That’s where things went way off course. “I bet I can get some of that marker out”, I thought. So I tried a few things and nope, still there. I asked for your help on my Facebook page and alot of you chimed in with great ideas. I tried magic eraser, pencil eraser, bleach water, toothpaste, nail polish remover, lysol, hand sanitizer and a number of other things that I can’t remember right now.

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Because I had let it sit this way for so long I was really asking for it to not come out I suppose. However, it is lighter.  The desk was a Craigslist freebie that I got about 7 years ago, so it really wasn’t bothering me that it was used and abused, that is, until I started cleaning it. As you can see, I think I made the problem worse.  I figure I can refinish it sometime during the warmer months, or if nothing else, it might make a nice potting bench outside if I get a new computer desk.

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Once I gave up on the desk, it was time to get back to the craft supplies. It really was very simple once I did it. Funny how the small things can lead to something much bigger.

Recycling Crayons

As I went through the box, I found a whole bunch of unattractive and broken crayons. I remembered seeing on Pinterest that you could recycle these and make them into new crayons. I decided it would be a good day to try Recycling Crayons.

Recycling Crayons

Out came the muffin pan. I put the crayons in the muffin pans. My kids had a good time helping to remove the paper. I put them in the oven at about 300 degrees for maybe 30 minutes. Just long enough to be totally melted.

Recycling Crayons

Just so you know, the plain white cupcake liners were not so great. The crayon kind of leaked out.

Recycling Crayons

The silver cupcake liners were perfect though. No leaks.

Recycling Crayons

This is how they came out. They kind of remind me of bottle caps. They are stackable too. My daughter then went on to create a masterpiece with them. So fun.

After all of that, I feel the need to finish cleaning the rest of the desk before moving on in the challenge. Hope it doesn’t take me too dreadfully long!

Tomorrow’s task: Finish cleaning the desk…

Print this checklist to keep yourself motivated. Click on the picture to make it bigger.

Declutter Challenge Checklist

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

21 Day Declutter Challenge: Day 11

declutter

I am now on day 11 in the 21 day declutter challenge. I started on Friday actually, but it was probably one of the bigger projects I will get after. The day 11 challenge was the garage. This one may need a little explaining. Our “garage” was converted into a family room, so I don’t have a garage, per se. But there is a huge alcove in the room  (with ugly wood paneling) that I use to store garage type items. So this is the area I focused on.

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Here is the before picture. It’s pretty scary, I know. Looks like a safety issue to me. You can’t tell in this picture, but there was a huge tv box in the back of the shelves. Actually, behind the shelves. Yes we added the shelves after we got the tv, so the box stayed back there. Ugh.

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It took a saw to get that sucker out. No joke. The box is now in my garden, hopefully killing off a few weeds.  After that, I tediously went through all the boxes, consolidating and decluttering to the best of my abilities.

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It felt like it took forever, but it came out pretty nicely. It doesn’t look nearly as dangerous and there’s room to spare. So proud of myself for finishing this one.

Tomorrow’s task: Craft Supplies

Print this checklist to keep yourself motivated. Click on the picture to make it bigger. declutter list

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.

21 Day Declutter Challenge: Day 10

declutter

I am now on day 10 in the 21 day declutter challenge. So errr, this challenge will likely be renamed the 30 day declutter challenge by the time I am done, but I am ok with that.  Reason being, some of these projects have proven to take me longer than I thought they would. And to make sure I do a good job, I’ll take as long as I have to.  For  today’s (and yesterday’s) challenge, I decluttered the bedroom closets and I am laughing now because I just realized that I added “bedroom closets” to the checklist twice. I crack myself up sometimes. Now I don’t feel quite as bad for taking two days. To get your own printable checklist, go here.  To view the challenges from previous days, go here.

Our closets in our bedrooms are places where things get shoved in and forgotten about. I use my closet to hide Christmas and birthday presents. I rarely go through it though to see what’s in there, but luckily this challenge came along, because it was seriously getting out of order.

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Here is my side of the closet. It was a jungle in there.

closet11 after

But it’s not quite as bad now. At least I can see what’s in there.

closet21before

I  had alot of fun going through the kids closets. I started with the boys’ room, because they seem to have more clothes stored up between the two of them. I like to keep my oldest sons clothes for my younger son and I also like to keep some bigger sizes ready for my oldest. That’s what’s in all the boxes. I had to sort through all of it and get out the clothes that we could use now. I was giddy with excitement.

closet2after

I also needed to weed through the stockpile of coats there that were too small or not being used. How many coats do two boys need? Well, I’m pretty sure they don’t need this many, but it’s a start.

closet 2 before

This side of the closet is where my oldest’s dresser is kept. Am I the only one who puts dressers in closets? He likes to pile things on top of it. Mainly, the things that he wants to keep safe from his younger siblings. Can’t say I blame him. But it was in a state of disarray.

closet 21 after

I went through and had them pick the hats and backpacks they wanted to keep and kept his important stuff on the dresser. He was really happy with how it came out. I am happy too.

closetbefore3

Last but not least, my little girl’s closet needed some attention. She really doesn’t have that much in there, but there were boxes and bags of clothes in bigger sizes that needed to be gone through. I even found some clothes she can wear now. So exciting.

closet3after

After sorting through the clothes, I just kinda cleaned up the stuff from the floor and hung up her dresses and coats.  So glad it’s all done!

Some of you might be wondering what you can do with the clothes that you no longer need. Here are a few ideas for you.

For the kids clothes you can use Thredup. Thredup will send you a bag to put your gently used clothes in to send in for credit. They even pay the shipping. You can also get $10 off your first purchase of practically new kids’ clothes at thredUP. Use code: SAVE10 at checkout.

For the adult clothes, try Twice. You can request a free bag and print a pre-paid mailing label. The free bag should be in your mail within 2-3 days. Twice is also a great place to buy clothes. They give you a $10 credit just for joining. Be sure to check out Twice. I love their site!

Other options for clothing you are done with are more obvious, such as donating, yardsale, pass them on to friends, Freecycle, etc. There are so many options. Just do what works for you.

Friday’s task: The Garage.

Print this checklist to keep yourself motivated. Click on the picture to make it bigger. declutter list

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are helping to support my blog. Thank you.