I had a brain wave at the start of the year and thought that it would be a good idea to do a declutter/organising challenge. There was method to my madness as I wanted to experience what it is like to actually complete one of these organising challenges, especially as I plan to run these challenges as my audience grows. So how did I go and what did I learn?
No More "Later"
Pete Walsh set the new year off with his 31Days2GetOrganized challenge and so I jumped right in, thinking it's only for a month and hey I am already pretty organised.
Each day Peter would post a link on his Facebook page with a short intro and the challenge of the day.
I loved his videos, short and funny and ended with the challenge of the day. In his very first video he used the phrase "no more later", explained that to maintain an organised and tidy home you have to stop saying "I`ll put that away later, I`ll do that later..." so his first challenge was to stop saying "Later" I actually found that advise, up front, really helpful and I did reflect and realised that I would often put things down with the intention to put away later. I realised that I was wasting time by not putting things away straight away, it's actually a lot less work to put away immediately. So learnings #1 you need a mission mantra to make the mind shift. So I now find that I actually put things away first time. And yes the house is tidier more of the time now. Can`t say the same for my son's room though!!!! That is a challenge for another day, well actually just wait until he moves out, it's probably a lot easier.
Over the 31 days we tidied and decluttered most areas of the house. Started off with a small and "ease us into' challenge, clearing the dining table of any unwanted papers and items that have collected on the table, followed by 30 more daily challenges as below;
- Set up two bins by the door for Hospice (donations) and Recycle
- Decluttering the Christmas papers and bags
- Purging the freezer
- Sorting out under the Laundry sink
- Declutter the paperwork in the study
- Purge your Shoes
- Sorting the electronic cords
- Purging the underwear draw
- Declutter and sort Luggage storage
- Taking time out to chat with someone
- Clear and sort the utensil drawer
- Manage the snail mail
- Clear out cleaning products
- Clear out under beds
- Purge magazines
- Pens and pencils
- Brooms and mops
- Recipes n Cookbooks
- Clothes closet
- Tackling the hidden messy place
- Clearing Kitchen bench tops
- The Pantry
- The Linen Closet
- The car
- Managing receipts
- Cups and Mugs
- Sort boxes in the garage
- Medicine Cabinet
- Kitchen Containers
It was really good to be part of the challenge, sharing your efforts and challenges with others, in fact to share was a good motivation to keep on task.
Generally most of the challenges were not time consuming for me because I already have an organised home and systems in place to keep on top of "stuff" that accumulates in the house. There were a couple that I did really enjoy, simply because they have been a "I must sort that out" problem, but I never took the time to actually do it. It was very satisfying to finally kick those to the curb. One in particular was the boxes in the garage. We have two boxes that had been following us around through 5 house moves......ridiculous really. Boy did it feel good to finally sort and get rid of those boxes. Most of the content we donated to the hospice and I actually found the lid of one of my favourite tea tins which I lost about a year ago.
The Challenging Challenges
Sorting the electronics cords turned out to be a mission, only because I had to involve my son and husband. On the day of the challenge, I wanted to just get it all sorted and done, however Pete was 1) not ready 2) not keen and 3) "could use them one day". So there was no way that I was going to achieve that challenge that day. However it did need to be done, so Pete was happy to sort them out another time. This actually meant in his world .....never!...but in my mind that was actually a step forward. I continue to mention that we should sort them out and then on a certain weekend (which I had planned in my head) I just said hey babe lets sort out the cords. So we did, and guess what it only took about about 30 mins and we were done. Most of the gear going to technical recycling and some to donation as they still worked and are useful.
The Pantry was the other challenging challenge mainly because how we were using it had changed slightly and I needed to make some changes to the storage. See my video explaining the issues. Again it was not something that I could quickly do on the day, had to plan out another weekend to tackle that one, which by the way has now been done!
What I Learnt
This challenge was a really great experience and it gave me a lot of things to ensure that I consider and incorporate into any challenges that I what to lead with my audience, the main learnings for me were;
- You can`t rush it- may take several goes - little steps at a time
- Motivation and accountability is very helpful and works
- Sharing ideas and inspiration helps with motivation
- It's a continuous process, needs and use change over time
- Change of habits - identify things that distract you from your goal and eliminate, like saying "Later"
- Celebrate wins - always give yourself a little reward after each accomplishment
- Be realistic with challenge - it can take time and you should only take little bites at a time.
If you do have an area that you do want to tackle it's a good idea to break the job into steps to help you complete the task. I have a previous post on how I tackle my secret messy space, here, which will give you helpful steps to get you on your way...
Have you done an organising challenge?, would love to hear from you, how did you find it?, what worked for you?
Until next time my friends
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