Before having kids, I thought cleaning and organizing was a breeze! I didn’t have near the amount of stuff we own today and I had plenty of isolated time to get things done, in the order and time I wanted them to be done by! Once we had children, I became obsessed with trying to keep things organized. With one child, I managed to get things to a desirable level, but after the second child, I needed help.
Where does all of this stuff come from?
How do I want to organize it to keep things easily found and able to be used?
This is when a coworker introduced me to her favorite planner she used, by Creating Mary’s Home: Mary Organizes. Her planner was a small three ring notebook with a calendar and it even included a section for home management and organization. When I went to the website to look at the planners, I found all sorts of articles on organizational techniques. For some reason, I love to organize things. I don’t recall ever being like this before children, but talk to me about how to organize your closet, and I’ll light up with joy and offer my assistance and a shopping list. So as I scrolled the page and articles, I stumbled on a challenge that was starting at the beginning of the year. The challenge was called, “91 Day Declutter Challenge.” If you can imagine me at this moment, think of waves parting and angels singing. I was definitely intrigued and instantly signed up. Worst case, I didn’t follow through and deleted the email. It was a free challenge and I thought, now this could be a New Year’s resolution.
The 91 day Declutter Challenge focused on using thirteen weeks to go around your home, room by room, and declutter. This past year’s challenge that took place in January had the following sample lineup for organizing areas of the home:
- Week 1: Master Closet and Bath
- Week 2: Master Bedroom
- Week 3: Kitchen & Pantry
- Week 4: Laundry Room
- Week 5: Office
- Week 6: Craft Room
- Week 7: Bathrooms
- Week 8: Bedroom #2
- Week 9: Bedroom #3 & Others
- Week 10: Play/Family Room
- Week 11: Storage & Closets
- Week 12: Dining Room & Entries
- Week 13: Living Room
Each week I would receive an email, letting me know what week we were on in the challenge and linking me to a blog post with instructions and ideas for cleaning the room or area of the week. As an example, week 1 included the challenge of decluttering the master closet and bath. The following daily outline was provided as a guide for being successful with the challenge for that week:
Monday – Closet: clothes
Tuesday – Closet: shoes and accessories
Wednesday – Closet: shelves and drawers
Thursday – Closet: surfaces and floor
Friday – Bath: cabinets and drawers
Saturday – Bath: counters and floor
Sunday – rest for the week ahead
First, let me tell you that I didn’t always live by this schedule and I sometimes couldn’t keep up, but it gave me the right amount of guidance to accomplish what I wanted to get done. I knew the goal of the day and the week, and could figure out what I wanted to have organized. So if I was busy on a Wednesday, I could plan around that day and tackle two things on another day. Sometimes the room I was working on needed a little more time than others, so I began to figure out how to make the process work for me. Often, I would get ideas and make notes for things I wanted to come back to and incorporate into the room.
This past year was my third year of completing the declutter challenge through Mary Organizes. What I do though is keep the challenge going throughout the entire year, but on my own schedule. For example, I know the kids closets need to be organized seasonally to remove clothes that no longer fit and see what is needed for the next few months. I keep a recurring task to organize the pantry and refrigerator to check for expired foods. I also add areas to the list, like our garage, shed and storage room. Once you get the hang of it, you can come up with a manageable way of attacking rooms and areas, one at a time!
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