Project Eliminate | clearing out the excess

Project Eliminate // simplifying + minimizing challenge
It's time for a second year of Project Eliminate! Last year's Project Eliminate was a whirlwind of exhausting minimizing and moving excitement! This year without all the unanswered questions (where will we live? will we find jobs?).

What is Project Eliminate?

Project Eliminate was my attempt in 2011 to reduce our possessions in a short amount of time in preparation for our big move from Florida back to the Midwest, to where we would temporarily be homeless and jobless. I broke down the daunting task into four weeks by writing down each and every closet, shelf, drawer, and cupboard that needed to be sorted. I then continued area-by-area, checking off the list, taking pictures, and eventually throwing the list out the window when the rush of moving swarmed my focus.

Thankfully, we were so blessed to have family to stay with on the other end, just enough savings to fund our move and provide our needs until Daniel found the perfect job for him. None of it would have been possible without eliminating our possessions to:
1. earn money to fund our move,
2. fit in a small affordable moving truck,
3. then fit in a tiny 10x10 storage unit while we looked for jobs and a home, and
4. finally fit into our 2-bedroom 1,000 Sq. Ft. apartment.

Last year's endeavor was exhausting in the magnitude of what lay ahead, the negative connotations of preparing to be homeless and jobless, and the couple weeks of sickness that settled with the kids and I until we left Florida.This year, I return for a lighter four weeks, with the simple motivation to once again eliminate the excess.

How-to Project Eliminate

Of course, you can do your own decluttering project however works best for you. Here are the basics of how I did Project Eliminate last year, and how I'm moving forward with it this year.

1. Make a plan.

Go through each room of your home and write down each area of those rooms that contain stuff that may need sorted. (closets, bookshelves, cupboards, tubs, drawers, shelves, cabinets, hutches, buffets, desks, dressers, bins, kids room)

I assign one day to no more than 1-3 small areas (one closet or 2-3 small shelves or bins or one cupboard or 2-3 small drawers or 1 full junk drawer). Basically, I want to be able to go through said area in less than an hour and preferably less than 30 minutes.

2. Get to work, one area at a time.

Go through each day's areas of belongings, first pulling everything out. Clean the shelf/drawer/cabinet.

I make quick decisions putting in a designated outbox anything that hasn't been used in 3-6+ months, anything I don't love, or anything that otherwise makes me think too long about it.

I put any items that belong elsewhere away in their proper locations. And I return remaining belongings (those that are currently used and loved) to the area being worked on.

3. Empty outbox, and enjoy the results.

Periodically, I go through outbox belongings to decide if items need to be kept and stored elsewhere, sold, donated or trashed.

The key is to go through everything as quickly as possibly, not putting too much thought toward each particular item. If you've never done this before, you may want to spend the entire four weeks on a specific room or section of your home. Think of the bigger picture of what you're trying to accomplish. Take breaks to be inspired or refreshed. And keep at it knowing that in a few short weeks/days, you'll have your life back and it will be much cleaner and simpler.

Project Eliminate Posts

Here are this year's Project Eliminate posts:
Week 1 // 5 Steps to Getting Started
Week 2 // Joys of Simplifying
Bonus // How I Declutter in Under 30 Minutes
Week 3 // Key Qs, 1-In 1-Out, Style Tray
Week 4 // Love the Place You Live
Week 5 // Dealing with Nostalgia
Wrap-Up // Before + After Photos

Now, on to clearing out the excess so we can focus on what really matters!


also see:
new? start here...
simplifying home series
simplify + refocus