Remember when I challenged myself to declutter my entire home in three days? It ended up taking twice as long but I am thrilled with the results!
I listed my ideal declutter schedule here.
And here’s what reality looked like:
Day One: The living room, main bathroom, and my bedroom closet.
Day Two: The kitchen (Lily and I spent hours cleaning and organizing our spice and baking shelves to create a workable system and it has been well worth the effort!).
Day Three: The girls’ bedroom and the holiday storage closet.
Day Four: The schoolroom.
Day Five: The rest of the master bedroom (which included everything except my closet), plus Nathan’s walk-in storage closet.
Day Six: The basement.
Here’s how I decluttered and organized my entire home in six days:
While I’d originally planned to just take three solid days to declutter, I’d forgotten one big thing: I couldn’t clean for three days straight! I hadn’t cleared my schedule and there was still schoolwork to help with, food to cook, laundry to fold (I used method B), and several other things that I couldn’t just drop without notice.
In other words, I had the excitement and the desire to declutter quickly but I lacked good planning. I decided not to let that discourage me though and I just went with it!
I divided my decluttering project into three separate weeks: Monday and Tuesday the first two weeks, then Tuesday and Wednesday the third week. Not only did this help decluttering to flow better with my family’s schedule, but it also gave me time to work on little projects inbetween declutter days (laundry, sending out mail, bringing in stuff from the cars, etc.).
We ate simple meals. This wasn’t the time for gourmet food! Fresh fruit with eggs for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, and oatmeal or baked fish with broccoli and rice for dinner. A couple of the nights, Lily (8) cooked dinner for the family and we were thrilled to eat whatever she made!
I decluttered even when I didn’t feel like it. Yes, there’s a time to rest and to take a break, but sometimes we just have to push through the tough stuff and focus on the end result!
I stopped when I really needed to. I didn’t meet my goals every day, but last year when I decluttered, I really disliked the process. It was hard. And often discouraging. Since then, I’ve also re-decluttered a few problem areas in my home. So when I decluttered this time I decided to reward myself with not dreading the entire process. When my kids wanted to make cushion tents while I vacuumed the couch, I helped them. When the weather was nice, I worked until 2pm and took the rest of the afternoon off so we could go outside for a few hours. I was able to actually enjoy the journey this time.
My family kept our main goal in mind. I’ve told you a little about our dream of moving to a tiny house in the country. I was amazed at how this dream propelled all four of us to get rid of more stuff! We all decided that if we won’t take it when we move, why do we need to keep it now?
I knew that if we hadn’t used an item since last year’s declutter project, we probably didn’t need it, so I got rid of it.
I quickly got rid of bags that held our former possessions. Trash was taken outside daily. Donation bags were dropped off weekly. This helped our house to feel lighter quickly and didn’t give us time to pull stuff out of bags!
Each person helped with their own items. Last year, I did most of the decluttering alone because there was just so much and I needed to work alone to sort through my own thoughts as I cleaned. This year, everyone in my family helped with their own items. They got rid of things that I would have been afraid to toss. It saved me a tremendous amount of time and guess work!
I enlisted outside help. I declutter our school/play room quarterly. And somehow, by the end of each quarter I feel overwhelmed as I look around and realize that it’s time again. So this time I traded days with a friend and she graciously helped me clean, declutter, and reorganize our entire school area in exchange for me helping her organize a few simpler areas in her home. It’s so much easier to toss stuff quickly when a friend is right there to see all the junk we’re hanging onto for no reason!
Maybe you’re wondering how much stuff we got rid of – not counting items we returned that belonged to other people, and not including stuff my husband took to the office for use there, we got rid of 49 trash bags full of trash and donation items. 19 of those bags were from my husband’s storage closet alone (I ignored his closet last year because he just wasn’t ready).
This years’ declutter project was exponentially easier than last year. Our house is actually more organized than it was last year, it’s emptier than ever (but not bare!), and it’s so much easier to keep clean!
I want to encourage you – whether you’re in the midst of a huge declutter project or are so overwhelmed that you still don’t know where to start, please don’t give up. Keep on keeping on. It’s more than worth every second of the effort. Remove the layers and enjoy the beauty that’s underneath.
You’ll be so glad you did.