Preparing My Home For Decluttering & Secret Group Note

I’ve been a little quiet on my blog this week but very busy in my home!

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Our house is already looking so much better and I’m looking forward to digging into my declutter projects next week!

It’s important to me to start fresh when I’m decluttering. What I mean by that is I prefer to have holiday decorations put away, laundry under control, and the house fairly tidy. Having those things in decent order helps our home to look better – not worse – while I’m tackling bigger projects.

And since I talk about more thoroughly about preparing our homes and hearts in my book I won’t repeat myself here, but I will show you a little of what my family has been working on!

We started our cleanup project on Sunday afternoon. We put away Christmas decorations and tidied the kitchen & basement, plus I had a little fun setting seashells and candles out in the living room:

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We’ve cleaned the kitchen every single day this week, which is huge for us! And it only takes a few minutes to do when we’re making simple meals and actually cleaning up each time we eat 🙂

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I’ve also done a little bit of laundry every day this week – especially Monday – and it’s nice to have clean clothes in our drawers again! I haven’t taken any laundry pictures recently though because really, how many times do you want to see photos of my clothes?!

On Tuesday we tidied up the entire main level!

And on Wednesday we cleaned the upstairs. Notice that I’m ignoring clutter piles – it’s my way to get things tidy and decent without feeling bogged down by the details.

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I still have a few loads of laundry left to do on Thursday, but overall I’m thrilled with how much better my house is already looking!

If you want to join me for my live declutter project that starts on Monday, January 12th, 2015 then go ahead and spend some time over the next few days tidying your own home! Even if you can’t clean everything, that’s okay. Just do something because progress is still progress, regardless of how slow!

Here’s a quick summary of this week’s declutter prep:

  • Project: House tidy, laundry, dishes, un-decorating
  • Length of time: About 8 hours
  • Progress: Tidied the entire house (basement, main level & upstairs); washed, dried, folded & put away several loads of laundry; put away all of the Christmas decorations, caught up on dishes.
  • Work Remaining: Finish laundry (about 3-4 loads left) & maintain progress.

Total items purged during house tidy:

  • 1 trash bags full of items for donation.
  • 1 trash bag full of trash.
  • 1 huge Christmas tree.

OVERALL TOTALS:

  • Time spent cleaning & decluttering: 12 hours
  • Bags for donation: 5
  • Bags of trash: 2

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FACEBOOK GROUP NOTE: Some of you know that I started a secret Get Organized Challenge support group on Facebook. Well, apparently the secret group is so secret that, even when I post a direct link, nobody can get to the group page at all until I’ve sent them an email invitation!

So if you’d like to join, please let me know! E-mail subscribers, you can simply reply to your subscription e-mail to be added. If you’re not a subscriber, then just e-mail me at Davonne@DavonneParks.com. It takes an extra minute this way but trust me that it’s worth the extra 60 seconds of your time!

I’d love to hear – what are your organization goals for this month?


Why I’m Decluttering My House Again & Secret Announcement!

I love, love, LOVE having a clean and organized home! It hasn’t always been that way though – my family used to live in complete chaos. It was embarrassing. And I felt like a failure as a wife, mom, and homemaker.

I knew I wanted to make a change, but I was overwhelmed. With the help of a few great books (I’ll share the titles on Friday!), I gathered the knowledge and motivation I needed and I got to work.

The first time I decluttered my entire house from top to bottom, I thought it was a one time deal. You know, clean it once and it’ll be done forever, right? Well, I’d forgotten two things:

1) We live here.

2) We can be really messy (except for my husband – he’s neat and tidy and so gracious to me as I clean, backslide, and try again).

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Anyways. During my first full-home declutter session in the spring of 2013, it took me a solid 8 weeks to finish, but it was so very worth it. We kept our house clean for months and months. Then life happened, I got overwhelmed, and things got messy again.

So in the spring of 2014, a solid year after my first complete declutter session, I decided to do another full-home declutter. I didn’t think we’d find much to get rid of – maybe a few bags of clothes for donation and a couple of toys. Boy, was I wrong! After six days of decluttering, our home was 49 trash bags lighter!

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Now, in 2015, I thought something similar: I’ve decluttered my house two years in a row. I’m (usually) better at maintaining a cleaner house now than I used to be. Surely there won’t be much to get rid of this time.

Well, the girls and I filled 5 trash bags with things to donate or toss, just during our first cleaning session this year. So once again, I’m realizing that maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s more to get rid of than I think.

Maybe decluttering is something that should happen on an annual basis, at least in my house.

And this year, I’m trying something new. For the first time ever, I’m decluttering my home in nearly live-time. I thought maybe it could help some of you to see before & after photos of the cleaning sessions that are slowly transforming my home back to a clutter-free state.

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Secret Announcement!

AND! T0 make it easier for us to keep in touch so we can encourage each other better, I started a secret Facebook group! In this group, members will be able to support and encourage each other, share before & after photos, and ask questions about their specific situations.

To be in the secret group, just send a quick e-mail to Davonne@DavonneParks.com and I’ll have an invitation e-mailed to you! While it does take an extra minute to email me, having the group set to secret means that none of your friends – or your mother-in-law – will know that you’re a member unless you choose to tell them!

I know that we can free ourselves from the chaos as we turn our homes into soft & relaxing places to land. No mess is too small and no house is too far gone. So will you join me this winter?

Let’s work together as we cheer each other on!

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The Best FREE Organizational Resources for 2015!

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I can hardly believe the holidays are over and we’re already going strong into 2015! Since many of us (myself included!) are gearing up to declutter our houses and get more organized this month, I thought it’d be fun to give you a list of FREE organizational resources!

Before we start though, make sure to read my post about the most important thing to remember in 2015 if you haven’t yet. {Hint: The most important thing is NOT organization.}

The Best FREE Organizational Resources for 2015

1) If you’re feeling overwhelmed about your clutter and aren’t sure how to begin, then you absolutely must check out my Get Organized challenge!

I offer free personalized advice, fun rewards, and have even more awesome stuff coming up in 2015 (details will be forthcoming later this month!) Read my story here, go here to see readers’ messes, and view the success stories here.

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2) Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom has a fantastic free printable page on her blog! These printables include:

3) I have a FREE eBook for my blog subscribers titled, 101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms. But hurry because this deal is going away at the end of January!

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4) Alli at the Scattered Squirrel offers great tips about creating a planner that works for you.

5) Crystal from Money Saving Mom compiled a fantastic list of 15 FREE Goal-Setting & Home Management printables for this year.

6) Crystal from Money Saving Mom also compiled a list of 5 free budgeting resources for 2015.

7) Clean Mama has a great #ClutterFree30 challenge on Instagram right now!

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8 ) Home Organization 101: A 14 Week Challenge via A Bowl Full of Lemons

9) 21 Days to a More Clutter-Free YOU Challenge by Kathi Lipp. This challenge looks absolutely incredible!

10) Podcasts to Listen to While You Declutter from Nony at A Slob Comes Clean. I love this site and cannot wait to listen to her podcasts!

11) Focused Tips for Decluttering Specific Areas from Nony at A Slob Comes Clean

12) How I Decluttered My Entire House in Six Days. This is a post I wrote last year, and it was the 2nd most popular article on my blog in 2014!

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13) My entire 2015 home declutter, starting here. My goal is to be done before the end of the month! Join me?

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14) I love Hilda’s 31 Days of Organizing Tips on Overwhelmed to Organized – definitely take a look at her fabulous ideas!

A few resources that aren’t free but you should definitely consider:

1) The Family Resolution Revolution – Valued at over $820, this fabulous deal is only available through 11:59PM EST on Sunday, January 4th, 2015, so hurry fast before it’s gone!

Social Media, Family Resolution Revolution Graphic2) 28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person – my first eBook is all about managing your schedule so you can be on time!

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3) Chaos to Clutter Free: 16 Realistic Steps to an Organized Home – my most recent release is perfect for helping you declutter your entire house from top to bottom.

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4) 18 eBooks to Start Your New Year off Right by Money Saving Mom. Crystal has some great suggestions on here and I’m thrilled that one of my books made her list!

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If you know of a great 2015 FREE organizational resource that I missed, then let me know in the comments or e-mail me – I’d love to add it to this list!

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The Most Important Thing To Remember in 2015

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I had it all planned out in my mind – an incredible organization post to start 2015. Links to fabulous printables, inspiring words… basically some huge fan-fare to celebrate this time of year when everyone is making their annual organization goals.

But when I tried to write that post, the words just wouldn’t come this time. Because it wasn’t from my heart. Because I know that organizational tools are fun, but those tools won’t do the work for us.

Organizing is hard. Organizing can be discouraging. Organizing isn’t always fun.

And honestly? Organization isn’t always the most important thing.

While so many of us (including me) are gearing up to declutter in January, some others are just trying to get through today. My preacher’s 17 month old niece died of cancer on Monday. So tiny. So precious.

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Their family is spending their New Year in a funeral home, mourning a life that had barely started to live. They’re trying to answer questions from Alaina’s tiny siblings and cousins who don’t understand why she’s lying in a casket and will never wake up. How did she get to Jesus? they ask. Why can’t we go visit her?

Hospital bills have piled up but that’s not yet their main concern because they’re just trying to survive the moment.

Condolences are offered, prayers are cried out from Christians all across the world, and yet we know we can’t take away the family’s pain. It breaks my heart and tears stream down my cheeks as we sing the 4th verse of Jesus Loves Me in church tonight:

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

By the end of the song, I’m a snotty mess and rush to the bathroom to finish crying so I can clean my face and hands.

For 2015, the most important word on my heart isn’t organization. It’s intention. I want to intentionally choose to be with my kids. I want to be intentional about my writing goals so I can serve my readers without neglecting my family. I want to choose the best because I’m not promised that the best will be here tomorrow – I’m only promised this moment.

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Yes, I do want to be intentional about reorganizing my home. But not just for the sake of organization. I want to reorganize my house so that I can be free to spend more quality time with my husband and children. Our house is easier to keep clean when there’s less clutter. And we can welcome people into our home without panicking.

We can relax better. We can snuggle up with a good book without a glaring mess in our peripheral vision.

I have amazing organizational plans for 2015 that I’m going to share with you within the next few days. But for now, let’s make a decision to live 2015 with intention. We can simplify. We should know our why.

And yes, let’s organize. But let’s organize with purpose so our homes can serve our families, not the other way around.

Special Note: If you’d like to help the Day family, will you consider donating a few dollars to go towards Alaina’s exorbitant medical bills? No amount is too small – even $5.00 is a blessing – and I’d love for my readers here to rally around the Day family so we can show our love and support in their time of heavy grieving.

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