Need It or Weed It?

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At the end of my post The Plan, I set a goal for myself to ‘need or weed’ the flat surfaces in the master bedroom in preparation for the School Year Challenge I’ve set for myself to make changes to this room during the month of September.

Do I need it? Should I get rid of it? Those were the two questions I asked myself over and over as I cleaned my nightstand, the dresser, shelves, and Alvin’s trunk. (Read the post The Beginning to find out more about these areas of the master bedroom.)

Usually, when I begin the process of cleaning up messy areas, it isn’t uncommon for me to get side tracked and get very little done.

Today, I had the opportunity to try some tips I learned from Dana K. White, blogger of A Slob Comes Clean. My sister follows her blog and invited me to see Dana speak when she was a guest speaker at one of the branches of the San Antonio public library in early August.

During her entertaining speech, Dana provided pointers for implementing real changes at home for what she calls ‘deslobification‘. I wouldn’t describe myself as a slob but there were definite take-aways from her presentation that I applied as I began the process of cleaning my bedroom. (Note: Any variations from Dana’s personal process are my interpretations from her speech.)

  • Start with a visible space.
  • As you pick up each item decide if it is trash, to be donated, or to be kept.
  • If you know you are going to keep the item, ask yourself, “Where would I look for it first?” Then put it there right at that moment.
  • If you are only keeping the item because you think you might use it later, ask yourself, “If I remember I had this, where would I look for it?” If there is a chance you won’t remember you have it, throw it away or donate it. Chances are if you don’t remember you have it, you’ll go buy another one when you need it.

I decided to time myself to see how long it would take me to clean off my nightstand. I turned on some music and began to determine if I would ‘need or weed’ each item.

Though I did get a little sidetracked by participating in a group text, it took me 22 minutes to get my nightstand cleaned off and dusted. As I picked up each item on my nightstand and decided what to do with it, Dana’s questions for where to put things helped me make overall progress more quickly than when I would make piles of things and attempt to put them away all at once.


The next area I focused on was the dresser and the shelves above it. This eyesore has been on my to-do list for a while!


(The framed print in the ‘After’ picture of the dresser was mentioned in The Beginning post. It has been sitting behind the chair for a few years…can you see the protective coverings on the corners?)

While I was working on this area, there were several items I put in a donate box. It was just a few items but something is better than nothing! Another tip Dana gave was to put stuff you want to donate in a box that you can donate as well. That way you can take the box to the donation station as soon as it is full.

Most of the dresser was covered in books…I love to read! Most of the books needed to be put away and that isn’t my favorite thing to do. Let me explain: My favorite genre is romance, especially action/adventure suspense and para-normal. I have several authors that I really, really, really like and buy all their books because I like to reread them. Fortunately, I have a very large walk-in closet. (That is only half of it in the picture below.)

I used to keep all my books in book-size moving boxes but over the last 25 years there were way too many. So, I went through all my books and kept only my most favorite stories. I purchased some large clear containers to store them all in and used a label maker to label each container with the authors so it would be easy to find the book(s) when I wanted to reread them. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about how heavy the containers would be when they were full. It isn’t a lot of fun to get the books out or put them up. So they tend to get piled up over time (like on the dresser).

After putting up most of the books from the dresser, there were still a handful that I wanted to have easy access for reading. So, while I was working on the shelves and dresser, I also cleaned the surface of Alvin’s trunk. Sitting on top of it is a fun book display that I picked up at a local flea market years ago. I placed all the books I might read over the next few weeks in its baskets.


I put up my phone during the daunting task of cleaning these areas but it still took 1 hour and 40 minutes for me to get everything done.

My husband, Douglas, was so impressed with the progress I had made in our room, that he did his nightstand on his own. When we compared the before and after pictures, we had a good laugh! I told him it just looked like he moved stuff around. He replied that was pretty much what he did but it allowed him to get it all dusted!


In addition to ‘needing or weeding’ all the flat surfaces in the master bedroom, there were five considerations I wrote at the bottom of my planning page that should have some type of answer before I decide on exactly what I want to iccomplish* in September:

  • Decide on colors
  • Vision for room – articles, web sites
  • Immediate/long term vision – what’s doable, what needs to be learned?
  • Budget
  • Plan of action – chalkboard method

While I don’t have a definitive answer for all of these matters, many possible scenarios were going through my mind as I’ccomplished* all the decluttering and cleaning today.

Thankfully, the School Year Challenge doesn’t officially start until September 1, so I still have a few days to gain more clarity related to the above issues and exactly what tasks to iccomplish* next month.

Read the previous post in the School Year Challenge.

Read the next post in the School Year Challenge.

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