February 2021 Organizing & No Spend Challenge

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, All Things Home, Balance, Organizing100 Comments

I know I’m not the only one who felt like things got a little out of control in 2020.  Not only did we have the big, global things going on, but I had a lot of significant events happen in my business…selling a part of my business and writing a book to name the two biggies.  When big, overwhelming things are happening, I find that I start to slip in the little day-to-day things.  I’m not quite as on top of daily habits that keep the house organized.  I’ve tackled a few organizing projects over the year, but small things like getting rid of the boys’ shoes they outgrew or cleaning out a linen closet, or purging the freezer start to feel simultaneously too small and too big to worry about.

But I’m feeling ready to deal with all of the things that have been forgotten and neglected.  I’m ready to go through the house and do another cabinet by cabinet, drawer by drawer, closet by closet purging and organizing.  And February seems like a good month to get that done (or at least make a good dent in it!)

drawer organization | silver flatware | miss mustard seed

In addition to organizing and purging, I am committing to a no-spend February.  I did this back in 2018 and it was a great exercise. (I actually did buy an awesome old bookcase off of craigslist and had to confess it here on the blog, but I stuck to it otherwise!)  I committed to it in 2018 because I realized I was ordering things online regularly and if I didn’t need anything, I’d browse around, almost looking for something to “need.”

I feel like I’ve gotten into that rut again, especially when online shopping became the only way to shop last spring during stay-at-home orders, and getting mail was a big pick-me-up.  I’m not spending outside of my budget, but I can still tighten up and say no to myself more often.  There is a lot to be said for practicing contentment and resourcefulness.

As with my last no-spend February, I’m saying “I” because I’m referring to my business budget and all of the supplies, materials, and tools I buy for the business.  I will carry over the no-spend February to my personal spending in our family budget, though.  So, if you join me, this is more about restricting your personal spending money on the fun extras, not skipping grocery store trips for the month!

Here’s how the no-spend February works (and I think this originated with or was made popular by Dave Ramsey)…

  • I can obviously pay bills and any necessary recurring expenses.
  • I’ll still contribute to retirement savings.
  • I can buy something if I legitimately need it for a project or work.  I have such a healthy stash of supplies and materials that it is unlikely I’ll need anything, but if I genuinely need something, I can buy it.
  • Otherwise, all spending is frozen.

I’ve realized with a relatively steady stream of art supplies, yarn, books, fun art classes, materials, tools, etc., I feel a little distracted.  I think cutting myself off will help me focus on the things I already have and the projects already in the works.  Sometimes having more to work with doesn’t help with productivity, effectiveness, or creativity.  It’s just more.  More to organize, more to take care of, more to wait around until you can get to it.

art studio organization | miss mustard seed

I am actually looking forward to it!  I think it’ll feel so good to get to the end of the month having spent less, purged more, and getting more corners of my home organized.  It’s a good way to spend a short, cold month.

sewing room organization | antique pine wardrobe | miss mustard seed

Are you interested in joining me for one or both challenges?

If so, just share in the comments and we’ll do this together.  I’ll be posting about it through February here on the blog and on social media (mostly my Instagram Stories if you want to follow me there.)

If you’re joining me on organizing, I’m not putting a monthly plan together because I like to work at my own pace and on the things I’m feeling pulled to work on that particular day, but I do have a list of spaces to tackle.  If it’s helpful to anyone, here is my list…

  • Clothes
    • Try on, sort, purge, or pack away for later (for pieces that are a little too small, but will most likely fit again)
    • Get rid of anything that’s pilly, stained, doesn’t look flattering, or that I don’t wear
  • Cleaning supplies
    • gather all of the cleaning supplies in one place to sort, organize, simplify, and put back into their place.  (I have cleaning supplies all over the place and I’m losing track of what I have!  I only need specific cleaners in each bathroom, so I can simplify.)
  • Coat closet, laundry room & garage hooks, garage shelf
    • Sort out coats, hats, gloves, shoes, snow gear, and boots
    • donate ones that are too small
  • Puzzles & games
    • Sort, organize and store like games/puzzles together
    • Get rid of ones that are missing pieces or are too “young” for the boys
  • Storage room
    • Sort and purge Christmas & holiday bins
    • Sort & sell unused decor
  • Laundry room closet
    • organize and redo shelves?  (Maybe design custom built-in shelves to utilize the space better.)
  • Art supplies
    • Sort & organize – figure out what I need accessible and what can be in drawers & cabinets
    • Purge things I don’t use and sell or donate (Have a giveaway for some new/lightly used supplies?)
  • Dressers & cabinets throughout the house
    • sort drawers and cabinets
    • put like things together
    • donate/pitch things we don’t use
  • Linen closets & kitchen cabinets
    • Clean out and donate unused items
  • Food
    • Clean out and organize the freezer (the fridge & pantry are already in good shape)

Alright, let’s do this thing!

February 2021 Organizing & No Spend Challenge

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100 Comments on “February 2021 Organizing & No Spend Challenge”

  1. Sounds great to me, I’m in! I have been working on this slowly over the past 3 months, but need to devote myself to it a little more, like daily. Cleaning, sorting, and organizing make me feel fantastic!

  2. I had already made the decision to have a no spend February, so it’s nice to have some accountability.

  3. Sounds good! We’re having our pantry enlarged in February, so I’ve been reorganizing for the past month.
    I go through my art supplies every so often and I have a lot! So tempting when Blick or Jerry’s run a good sale. I will “try” to resist and use up what I have instead.

  4. Beginning last year, I started “shopping at home” finding jeans and sweaters I can wear, forgotten items tucked away in closets and the basement I can put to good use and fabric I can use for quilting. We are overloaded with stuff and short on extra room. In her later years my Mom’s goal was to get rid of something every day, either donating or tossing. She reminded me that in a year’s time that it amounts to 365 items. Your’s are great goals I will continue to work on

    1. I’m in the same boat and have been thinking of a no spend February too. Will be nice to have some company…

  5. Sounds good I have needed to do this for a long time. I think I will make a list like you had to concentrate on specific areas to organize / purge. No spending sound good to right now.

    1. I’m in! I did a little bit last year (linen closet, medicine cabinet). Every time I put up Christmas, I purge. Need to do coat closet, my closet, kitchen, pantry, and basement. Also, I need to work on pictures. Do I make books or purge?

  6. I’m in, I bought way too much on Ebay this past year. Also, excited to clean, purge & Donate. I will be looking forward to your posts on what you’re accomplishing! Kimberly

    1. Oh yes, eBay was a thing for me this year, too. I miss going to antique shops, so it was a way to browse for things. It’s time for a break, though!

  7. Sounds good. What the heck, I will give it a go, definitely need to organize my cleaning supplies since this covid thing, was buying so many products . Thank goodness this is not a leap year!

    1. Yes, I have found that, too! I had a hard time finding toilet cleaner, so when I could find it, I bought several bottles. Same with paper towels, TP, and other cleaners and paper goods. It’s time to get it all organized a bit better, so I know what I have!

      1. I had found a “recipe” online awhile back for an after-shower spray, that I also found works well for cleaning toilets. It’s a mix of distilled water, white vinegar, isopropyl alcohol (40% or whatever) and a tsp of liquid dish soap. It works great, and I don’t have to keep buying the name brands. I buy the distilled water and vinegar in gallon jugs, and the alcohol at the dollar store. I’m trying to rid my home of chemicals I can’t pronounce as well.

  8. I did the organize & purge last March & April, or so I thought! Now I realize I need to go back & do it again as I held on to many things I should have let go of. I will do it again during February & March. Thanks for energizing me to get at it again.

    1. I find that it takes me a few rounds and then there is always maintenance and upkeep. The spaces I alone use are better, but with three other people adding things to the mix, not putting things away, etc. it takes regular work.

  9. I’m looking forward to joining the clean out and get organized challenge! I definitely need the encouragement and accountability. I’ll join in on the No-Spend February as well. I don’t buy much, but I’ll make sure to think twice about spending for anything extra this February. (Dave Ramsey helped me kick most of my spending habits a while back 😉) Please don’t tempt us until March with any art sales 🙏🏼😁

  10. Would love to be able to focus on purging and organizing. I’ll try, but have a lot of other family stuff going on. Not sure how it will go. I do like getting that kind of work done before spring, so that would be really great.

  11. Purge time. It will feel good to organize again for 2021. My problem is material overload. Most donation places are not interested in boxes of material.

    1. Hi Gail: If you can do a wonderful deed for quilters of the Navajo Nations, please donate your extra materials at: notions@frenchgeneral. They’re based in Los Angeles and work with Navajo women who don’t have easy accessibility to fabric stores so they always need fabrics that they quilt for the elderly, newborn babies, etc. Many thanks!

  12. As a shorter month, February will be a great time to limit spending – and, decluttering and rediscovering all we have can be just as satisfying as shopping for something new. Great inspiration, Marian!

  13. I am in. I can’t commit to an entire no spend, as we are remodeling our master bedroom and bathroom, so I will need to buy the materials for that project, but I can definitely rein in my candle obsession 🙂 I can also skip buying any clothes, shoes, and misc. items I seem to buy online when I am “looking” for something to buy as well. It is a good time to do this! Thanks for the push. Sorry, Target!

    1. Yeah, I would count that as a necessary expense for a project that is in the works. Clearly, you need to keep those moving! 🙂

  14. Gail – I send my stashes of fabric to the Navajo Quilt Project – they gather fabric and quilting supplies to send to quilters that live on the Navajo Nation – You can go to Frenchgeneral.com and they have a list of different addresses to send fabric to – some are individuals, some community centers and some senior centers – Right now the list is much smaller due to Covid and the senior centers are not taking donations currently as they are being used to distribute food and necessities – They also take donations of cash to buy scissors, pins, etc for the quilters

  15. No spend February is out the door for us as it’s my birth month plus our oldest. However organizing the art supplies, diving into art/cooking classes I’ve paid for but never taken, and actually finishing some decorating in our home are high priorities! I just might have some MMS glass glitter that I’ve never used so it’s time to figure out how or where to resell it. Our eldest graduates from college in Hawaii and I’m trying to raise the funds without taking anything from the budget. Credit card points paid for the tickets. Woo hoo!

  16. I’m in! Recently separated so it’s time to get rid of bad memories and make new ones based on what I love!

  17. I am going to try that also, since I find myself browsing online for hours, wasting time, when I could be using all of the supplies I already have. On a side note, I ADORE THAT WALLPAPER!! Could you kindly share where you got it? Pretty please?

    1. this comment, and the original post reminded me of this post:
      http://thecraftsessions.com/blog/2014/10/21/stash-less-why-we-stash
      I really resonated with this quote (in regard to shopping/buying supplies/”stashing” as she calls it)
      “Purchasing was a way of getting the thrill of making, without having the time to actually do the making.”
      I check myself more often now — when I want to browse sites, sales, etc. and have started asking myself what I need to do to carve out more time for making.

  18. Love this idea. I’ve organized a few months ago, but what is left is the overload of makeup, mascara, etc., that has to be sorted and shown away and organized. Then there’s the tool shelf in the basement. It’s a mess. So February will be a good time to work on that. But I’ve been trying to have a no spend couple of months and so far not doing too bad. 🙂 Thanks very much for this idea!

  19. I’m in! At least for the no spending in February. I’ve been doing my own cleaning out in January and have found I’ve needed to purchase a few organizing items as well as a shelf (inspired by the shelf you have in your closet). Looking forward to the challenge!

  20. You must be a mind reader. I’m a card maker, I love the process of making them and customizing them to individual peoples interest. This morning I started pulling out supplies and started to feel overwhelmed. I told myself I didn’t need to buy one more thing. It’s time to start getting real by cleaning out and stop the buying. I have more than enough. Now I feel like I have a support system with your posting. All of my friend are shoppers so I have to be strong! Thanks for the incentive.

    1. I’m a card maker, too, Betsy! I’m looking forward to joining both February challenges. It’s the perfect time to organize inside while my garden is sleeping! Just think how great it will feel to celebrate our accomplishments, inspired by Marian all month long!💗

  21. I am definitely in as I am spending way too much time purchasing items from Amazon Prime and several other sites. I stopped myself just a few minutes ago from buying 2 cute items on sale at Mackenzie Childs . I liked them but don’t need them but what a great sale price!! Thank you for inspiring me !! No spending like that in February for me!! I will also clean out several closets that need some organizing!!

    1. Too late for me—that Mackenzie Childs sale is a great one! I already picked up some seasonal decor for next year and I’m still debating. Oh well, it’s not February yet!

      1. Ha! That’s why I’m giving everyone notice. Buy what you “need” and then cut it off for a few weeks. 🙂

  22. I’m in. I just want to add… to shop my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. There is a lot of savings in using up what I have!

  23. I love this! I started purging my main closet back in December, but then Covid hit our family. We are just now starting to do things around the house again. I had my daughter and daughter-in-laws come shop the donate pile of pillows, decor, etc and a LOT of it left the house! We have several projects to finish up, but I’m committing to not purchasing anything new until all of the projects are wrapped up and the house is organized again! (That may go past February…LOL) I tend to buy “projects” and have multiple projects going at the same time. It’s time to finish those all up!

    1. Yes on the project buying! I have several art courses to start/finish, books to read, yarn to knit/crochet, paint mediums to use, canvases to fill, fabrics to sew…I get distracted easily by something new!

  24. COUNT ME IN! Been considering it for a bit and wanted to do it in Jan but chickened out. So yes I really need to do this because spending out of habit or boredom is not good.

  25. Something that has been on my list for years is to purge files and be sure they are in good shape in case someone else has to deal with them. I have bought disinfectant every time I could lately and need to sort my cleaning supplies too.

  26. This is so timely! I just watched an organizing video and purchased the series–too many piles! Your list will help me make mine!

  27. So I think I will join you on the no spend February. Now you need to help a sister out and not post about cute things that I might then think I need.
    😳😂

  28. I am an organized minimalist. I’m also retired, so I’ve had plenty of time to achieve this. I’ve always had to be organized. I made a list a couple weeks ago of things to address in each room. Things like wash bedroom drapes, wash wood floors in closets, clean top of refrigerator. I love lists and crossing off. I love it when you do this, as they is always a chance I’ll see a better organizing idea. I’ve been isolating since last March and I only shopped online for Grandkids Christmas presents, so I’ve had many no spend months, ugh. We have so much package theft here that when you order something you have to watch all day for the package. Not something I want to do. My husband is not a minimalist and he loves it all whether he uses it or not. Ugh!

  29. I’m in on the “no spending.” I’m not a big shopper but I gave in to the lure of online shopping as a pick-me-up during January and I need to nip it in the bud. We moved last year and did The Great Purge. But there’s always something…

  30. I did no spend January. Was not completely true to it, however I did not spend as much as usual. Lol

  31. I am in on the no spend month. I feel like I spent enough for a year because of back to school expenses this month. I went through most of our cupboards this month because we were on summer break. Makes such a difference to staying organised when life is busy.

  32. I am all in!!!! Especially in the “No Spend February” because I love, love, love, art supplies and the Christmas and New Year’s sales prices made it hard for me to turn away. Now is a wonderful time to organize all our old and new treasures.

  33. I just did a complete purge over the last 3 weeks. Went through every closet, shelf, cupboard, box, and bin. Many, MANY trips to Goodwill! Then I cleared out my phone apps and only kept the ones I really use. Also, organized my computer desktop and made folders to keep everything in order. Cancelled Amazon. Deleted Facebook. And deleted Instagram. Now, I know where EVERYTHING is, and I find sitting down in the afternoon and reading a book is so relaxing. When you purge and declutter you find you have more time, more money, and peace of mind! It’s very empowering! Good luck to all!

  34. I love a no spend February, I am in. I have been signing up for too many Zoom painting classes and I need to catch up on all the projects i am already working on. Also…. Etsy at 11PM is a real problem for me…. I can always find something I “need”!

  35. I’m in for the No Spend challenge! I’ve been finding great prices on many things throughout the month of January, so I need to cut it off for now and just appreciate what I have. I just said this to my husband earlier this evening. I tend to be very frugal anyway, so he just sort of chuckled and commented about how I’ve definitely stayed within budget. While that is true, I want to spend at least the month of February taking in all of those treasures and really appreciating them. As for the purging and cleaning, I’ve been doing that on a room by room basis since last January! I’ve about come to the end of the road on that project, but as you mentioned, things always need a little maintenance to keep them in order. The last thing on my list is to sort through my clothing. I did this last year, but I made a concerted effort this year to notice what I really wear and what I don’t. I need to purge the ‘don’ts’. Thanks for the inspiration! It’s wonderful to have a number of like-minded folks to keep me on track!

  36. Yes..I’m in to #1 no spend Feb…and #2 organizing also. Fairly good at #2 but really need to focus on #1. Moved to new place 3 years ago and buying too many ” oh, I love that” items!

  37. Hi Marian,
    This was just the nudge I needed. I had been thinking about paring down, organizing and you gave me the gentle push Thank you. I also love the idea of not spending in the entire month. That can always be a good thing.
    I look forward to hearing how it goes for you along the way.
    xo,
    Karen

  38. Count me in! I did this last year starting on Jan 1st. I did one space/drawer/shelf/cubby per day. I made it to March and I got a lot accomplished. I still have several spaces to tackle. I could also Benefit from the spending freeze as well so I’m going to give it a shot. I’m looking forward to doing this💕💕

  39. I’m in! My house could really use some organization and purging right now and I definitely need put the brakes on the spending train. Can’t wait to get started!

  40. This sounds like exactly what I need. I didn’t realise how bad my spending had gotten until I realised I was very good at justifying on why I “needed” to get things but was using that as an outlet for a discontentment in my life. But I’ve been struggling to stop. I’ve been trying to focus on organising but get distracted with all the “things” I want to do around the house but of course they’ll cost money I don’t have because I keep buying all these other little things.

    I came across a quote by Benjamin Franklin
    “Beware of little expensive, even a small leak will sink a great ship”

    And that’s exactly what’s happening, I can’t afford the bigger things I want to do because I keep spending little things all the time.

    Thank you for the idea and I will try my best to achieve it, so that I can afford to do up my back yard 😊

  41. No spend February sounds amazing! I think I can include most groceries in that too. My freezer and cabinets are stocked but I will need to buy milk and fresh veges. It’ll help me organize the fridge and cabinets too when I take stock of what I have to make menus for the month.

  42. It’s amazing how often you are thinking about the same things I am! 😁. Rather than let the usual January blahs settle in this year, we have been really busy this month going through areas of our home to do exactly the kinds of things you’re challenging us to do. It started when I was going to put the Christmas decorations back in the attic, and stopped to sort and purge some of it first. Then I took everything else out of the attic and did the same with that. It felt so good I have cleaned a couple of other areas out and am determined to keep going! It has made such a difference in my attitude this January! Rather than feeling blue after the holidays I am excited each day about what else we can improve on. What you said about collecting so many supplies that it becomes counterproductive is so true. There seems to be a tipping point where they become more of a burden than an asset. What was supposed to enable and inspire takes on a life of its own, shifting the focus to having to take care of the stuff rather than it taking care of a need.

  43. I’m in. Between doctor appointments for 3 people, 90 yo Mother, husband and myself, it will be a busy month. I also am going to do some cleaning and such. Mostly clearing out.

  44. I’m in, started last year with Christmas decorations, spread them amongst my grandchildren. I have so may shelves with old tools & paint I have been wanting to go through for awhile. The no spend part will be great, all I know is Starbucks will loose some money during that month.

  45. You inspire me! We moved into our home in August and it’s been a whirlwind of remodeling projects since! Just last week we were able to move back into our master suite and I realized how many things I had tucked away in other spaces during the remodel! I’m joining you! In fact, I may even blog myself about it! And your February no spend for my own business (Burlap & Lace) is just what I need to help me whittle down some inventory on hand and plan better for the rest of the year. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement to do something much needed with my time!

  46. I go through things yearly too. After several big purges it is much easier. I have 3 boxes now to donate –mostly home decor. Love to see how you organize shelves and household supplies. Loved your utility room so excited to see what you do there.

  47. I am in for the no spend and organizing. Where do you sell your items that you don’t want to donate?

    1. I take nicer things to the local consignment shop or put them on Facebook Marketplace. I’ve also just given things away or hard yard sales if I have enough stuff. The regular household stuff that’s still in nice condition, I’ll donate. Everything else gets recycled or pitched.

  48. I’m in for both! I will add these to my friend/cousins 28 days of art/creativity. This sounds like a lot but no spend takes no time so I’ll just schedule x number of hours each day to organize and to focus on a creative endeavor. Thanks for the nudge Marian!

  49. I’m in! I finally painted the ‘new’ bathroom. Just have to paint the four cabinets (using MMS French Enamel for two of them!) and then I can move things being stored in the linen closet to their rightful spots, thus freeing up the linen closet. Need to tackle the cellar room where everything was moved after a flood and many things remain. I’m feeling good about this! Hopefully I’ll be too busy to spend money but in any event I will be more mindful of what I really need. Thank you for the nudge!

  50. Looks as if you’ve struck a chord with your readers. I’m IN! I’m such an impulse clicker–not so much in a store, but online . . . watch out!

    Thanks for the motivation!

  51. Im in! I normally clean out in January and this year it didn’t happen but that may be a good thing. I can take advantage of the inspiration of those who did. February may be a better month for a good clean out every year.

  52. My, how this resonates with me. My home is a testament to saving everything for future rainy days (I have a t-shirt from 1988) to collecting everything that can be repurposed (old license plates for birdhouse roofs to red Burger King straws for mini log fires in miniatures) to hording art and craft supplies like there’s no tomorrow (knitting, and painting and sewing, oh my!). It’s become overwhelming and I’m finally ready to purge….I am, I really, really am….I mean it this time……although February may not be long enough to sustain the deep dive I need to do in my home…. 🙂

    Someone hold my hand, please….I’m going in…..

  53. I’ve done two challenges already this year. One called the #minsgame where on the first day of the month you get rid of one item onto the 31st when you discard 31 items. You can do whatever you want with them, just get them out of your house. The other challenge I did was every day for two weeks I cleaned out one drawer, cupboard or closet. My house is looking so much better but I can still do better. And I love the idea of a no spend month. I really don’t do much spending but I can always do better at that as well. I am in!

  54. I had decided to only do shopping from my closets and drawers. This way I can find new treasures to use that I can use.

  55. Marian, yes yes yes I am in. I started early. I contacted my local Co op antique Market dealer and she came yesterday and I sold her an entire Suburban full of antiques!! Where did they come from you ask since just 3 years ago, I gave you several car loads for Lucketts?? I am looking forward to moving on to musical instruments, jewelry, books etc. leaving no bin or drawer un opened. And yes, no spending of the money I am making. It is going to medical bills anyway😉 Thanks for the motivation Marian.

  56. If my house is not organized & is cluttered I get extremely stressed! The last 2 years I’ve been so busy that I’ve had no time to accomplish things @ home other then Dishes / laundry etc. Last weekend I started cleaning & decided it was time to stay home on weekends & get rid of stuff we don’t need. I felt so much better!! Seeing your post – I got excited to see that I’m not alone & to have support on this cleaning journey makes all the difference! I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel

  57. Pingback: Saturday Seven 166: Lifestyle & Inspiration for Quilters | A Quilting Life

  58. I’m in for both! I started the cleaning out and purging a while ago, but I didn’t keep going! One of my huge problems is books! Working as a manager at B&N for almost 15 years, I accumulated WAY more than I could ever possibly read and/or use. When I started a new interest I “had” to have ALL the books about it! Oh Lordy…such a book hoarder but now there’s no where to really move them to! Years ago I had sold many on half.com (a book/dvd/cd division of ebay). HELP! LOL!

    But I digress! There’s much that needs to be cleaned out! I’m in! And I certainly don’t need to spend on things either! So I’m in for both! Let’s get this bus moving, shall we?! Here’s to those of us trying to stick with this!

  59. This sounds like the perfect month for this challenge! Things in 2020 got a little out of hand and a refresh is most certainly needed! With continuing to be home often, things being neat and tidy brings a sense of calmness and order within my home. Thanks, Marian! Let’s do this!

  60. I am so with you !! I started to organize my basement storage area. I blow up every holiday and love to decorated for the season. Found so many treasures I forgot I had and other thinks that I asked “why did I keep that?” Have not taken some of my Christmas decor because I still want to organize that area.
    Shopping??? I became on online shopping Queen. My mailman said Santa’s presents were all coming to my house after Christmas was over. I’m still taking back items.

  61. I’m in! January was going to be my start but now it’s past and I still haven’t started! Time to be accountable. Thank you!

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