Three uncluttered activities you can do on a lazy Saturday

All along the east coast of the U.S. today, we’re getting blanketed with snow. As a result, I’ve declared that I’m not leaving the house unless it catches on fire. I’m spending the day in my pajamas, nursing this awful fever-cough-runny-nose ick I’ve caught from my son, and taking care of some unfinished items on my home’s to-do list.

Three of these to-do items are great tasks to complete on a day you’ve decided to stay at home. From my home to yours, I bring you three uncluttered activities you can do on a lazy Saturday:

  1. Sort through your magazines and catalogs. Curl up on a comfy corner of the couch, pull out your giant stack of reading materials, and take an hour to read and then recycle all of these materials. Any articles you want to keep, rip out of the magazine and then scan them to your computer. Farewell, July issue of Vanity Fair!
  2. Backup your home computer. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — There are two types of hard drives: those that have failed, and those that have yet to fail. If you’re not regularly backing up your hard drive, you’re tempting fate. Open up an account at and securely upload all of your important data. In my opinion, a non-backed up hard drive is clutter because it’s a distraction to your life the same way dirty socks are in the middle of your living room floor.
  3. Clear the clutter from your laundry room. I’m not really sure how it happens, but laundry rooms are clutter magnets. There are piles of loose change, random receipts and pony tail holders pulled out of pockets, errant socks, used fabric softener sheets, and three bottles of partially used detergent haphazardly strewn about the room. Go through the items in this area and create a more organized system. The more you enjoy being in this space, the more likely you will be to keep up with your laundry chores. A nice drawer organizer can be repurposed to hold buttons, safety pins, and change. And, a large plastic shoe box can become the permanent home for your detergents and fabric softeners.

Now you all know how I’ll be spending my Saturday at home. What uncluttered items are on your to-do list for the day?

Weekend Project: Your closet floors

This weekend’s project idea is more of a cleaning project than an uncluttering project, but you’ll likely end up doing a bit of uncluttering to be able to do the cleaning. To be able to vacuum and/or sweep the floors of my closets, I have to pull out storage containers and crawl on my hands and knees to reach back into some of the corners. Inevitably, I find something that I didn’t remember was there and I end up clearing a bit of clutter out of my home.

Cleaning the closet floors is not necessarily a fun project, so I only do it once or twice a year (most of my house guests aren’t inspecting the floors of my closets, thankfully). But, it helps to keep dust mites under control and reduce allergens.

If you’re looking for a weekend project that usually takes less than an hour, join me in cleaning your closet floors. They are definitely a forgotten space and can use some attention if it has been a while since you last attended to them. Happy sweeping!

Weekend project idea: Bed-side table cleanup

The small tables we set next to our beds that hold the alarm clock, a lamp, a book, and reading glasses acquire random objects from time to time. This weekend, give your nightstand a little attention and see if it can use some uncluttering love.

Purge the clutter, organize the items that belong, and make any repairs necessary to the piece of furniture. I picked mine up to get a good look at it and discovered three cat toys that had been trapped underneath it for months. I also found a pack of expired Tums that went straight into the trash. Honestly, I was surprised that I didn’t find more clutter, but I was glad to have gone through this easily overlooked space. Maybe a year from now, I’ll remember again.

While we’re talking about bed-side tables, I spotted a Nightstand Charging Dock for iPhones that transforms the phone into a more traditional alarm clock. Check out this review on Apartment Therapy to learn more.

Have a relaxing, uncluttering weekend!

Make those giant speakers into storage

Instructables has a wealth of information and step-by-step instructions on how to make just about anything your heart desires (some things silly and some useful). One interesting item I came across is a way to recycle old floor standing speakers into storage units.

If you have a couple of old-school floor standing speakers taking up space in your basement or attic, you may want to consider retrofitting them into media storage cabinets. The easy to follow steps can be found here.

If you don’t have any speakers of your own to use, you can easily pick up some giant speakers at a consignment shop or gargage sale. The end result is rather unique and a fairly cheap alternative to your run-of-the-mill media storage currently available in stores.

Make your own shoe rack

One of the entries to our house has a rather tight space where we currently keep our shoes. It is very hard to find any sort of storage option that will fit into the small space. I have been searching for something that would do the job and I came across this solution on Apartment Therapy (via Not Martha).

I am one of the least handy people when it comes to household projects, but looking over the directions even I may be able to accomplish an easy installation of this J-Me inspired shoerack. This was exactly what we were looking for and it is also a less expensive alternative to the J-Me product which wouldn’t have fit in the space anyhow.

Make your own collapsible fabric box

Over at Associated Content, they have step-by-step directions on how to make your own collapsible fabric boxes. From the AC article:

Home storage is always in short supply. Often, people resort to using cardboard boxes or plastic cartons to store their items in closets, the attic, or cellars. But many items have to be stored out in the open. A great way of creating quick and attractive storage solutions is by crafting collapsible fabric boxes.

Rather than running out and buying some run-of-the-mill plastic storage bins, you can customize the look by picking out some fabric you may already have. If you are happy with the look of your creation, you can keep the storage box in the open rather than hiding it away in a closet.

Five spring organizing activities

Five quick things you can do now that the weather is warmer:

  1. Take your sweaters and winter coats to the dry cleaner for an end of season cleaning. Then, put them in moth proof storage at the back of your closet.
  2. Soak scarves, gloves and mittens and then lay them in the sun to dry. Afterward, put them in moth proof storage at the back of your coat closet.
  3. Check the expiration date on your sunscreen and replace it if it’s past its prime. If you have more than one bottle of sunscreen in your cabinet, line them up by emptiest to fullest and plan on using up the least-full bottles first.
  4. Check bulletin boards and note centers throughout your home and office and get rid of outdated memos, calendars, and fliers.
  5. Now is also the perfect time for a sock purge. Also go through your underwear and t-shirt drawers and get rid of any items that have seen better days. Replace as necessary.

If you’re looking for even more warmer weather activities, be sure to check out our spring cleaning guide.

Weekend Project: Knick knack round up

I will confess that I have a few knick knacks decorating my home. They don’t serve a great deal of purpose except to bring me happiness when I see them — but I think that’s okay. Surrounding yourself with beautiful things is fine, especially when it helps to set the mood of your home as a place of sanctuary and relaxation.

However, some knick knacks have a way of sticking around past their prime. They can stop representing who you are and what you want for your space. Sometimes, they just seem to appear without anyone remembering how they came to be on that table top or in the corner of the bookshelf.

This weekend, I want you to round up all of your knick knacks and evaluate them. Heck, while you’re processing them, you may even want to give them a good dusting. And, as you’re holding them, I want you to ask yourself the following questions about each item:

  1. Why do I own this and choose to display it?
  2. Does it represent who I am right now and the mood I want to create in my home?
  3. Do I care for this object the best way I can care for it, or is it really just clutter?
  4. Will my place be a better sanctuary or place of relaxation without this object in it?

After asking these questions about each of your knick knacks, make the final decision as to if it should stay and live in your home, or if it should find a new home. Also, if you decide to keep the item, make sure that the place it lives in your home is the best place for it. At the end of my knick knack round up, I chose to keep about 15 items, which meant 1 or 2 per room. Things like our cookie monster cookie jar, an olivetti typewriter, and two vases we received as wedding gifts were allowed to stay, but most objects weren’t right for our space any longer and were donated to charity or freecycled. (I didn’t include picture frames, by the way, but you could definitely include them in your evaluation of knick knacks.)

I’m interested in hearing if you were surprised by the number of knick knacks in your home and if you decided to get rid of anything. Have a great weekend!

Weekend project

I want you to imagine your dining room table right now. Is it covered in paperwork? Piled high with homework? Stacked with mail or dirty dishes?

If you can’t see the top of your dining room table, what do you need to do to be able to see it?

Whatever it is, do it now. Clean the clutter off of your table and make it a place where you can sit down and eat your meal tonight (and tomorrow and the next …).

If your table is clear, are there other horizontal surfaces in your home cluttered to the point that they aren’t serving their functions? If this is the case, clean the clutter off of those surfaces instead for your weekend task.

When clearing the clutter, don’t just move stacks around, actually take the time to do the job right. Do the work, then enjoy the benefits of your effort!

Pictured is my dining room. The table is by sculptor Michael Sirvet.

Make your own earbud caddy

cable tidyWalking around with an earbud cord that is too long can hinder your range of motion and get in the way. People come in different shapes and sizes, but earbud wires are all one size, which is usually super long. Why not take some time and easily make yourself a little earbud caddy to neatly wrap up that extra wire?

Over at wikiHow, you can easily follow the steps and have yourself a cheap do-it-yourself solution made from material you may have around your house already. Or, if you’re not feeling handy, you can just purchase the one pictured with this article for $2.

DIY designer knife block

Rather than spend $125 on an unbelievably sexy Schaschlik knife block, Chris DiClerico went the DIY route and saved himself a benjamin in the process. After looking at the Flickr photos of his completed project, we can’t tell the difference.

If you’re going to try this, just make sure you buy skewers that are long enough to be suited to the task. They need to be at least the length of the blade of your longest knife.

Chris DiClerico, we salute you.