At the end of December a friend of mine shared a 30 day decluttering challenge on her fb page. The universe must have aligned for me in that moment because I immediately signed up for it.
Like many other things, “want” doesn’t necessarily mean “action”. I had wanted to declutter for years, but anxiety and overwhelmingness and inefficient time management and children and fear, as well as countless other things, became the excuses that kept me from doing it.
Enter the challenge.
It was day two or three and I hadn’t done anything yet. I think I looked at the first email, but that was it. The kids and I were bowling with friends and my friend, Jaime mentioned the challenge! I was really excited she was in it and it gave me renewed strength. When we got home, I read the emails and got to work. I was meant to only clear out a bathroom, but I did the linen closet as well. It was invigorating.
Allie Casazza, the creator of the Declutter Like A Mother challenge, created this step-by-step tutorial for effective decluttering over the course of 30 days. Each of the four weeks was a different area. Bathroom. Kitchen. Kids’ toys. Clothes. 30 minutes a day. Stay focused. Stay intentional. Don’t make excuses. Save the things for later that trip you up.
And for whatever reason, it clicked.
It was easy to throw away the stuff in the kids’ bathroom. It was mostly easy to throw away crap from the linen closet. It was way more than 30 minutes that first day, but I was on a mission.
The following week was the kitchen. The focus was minimalism. The focus was “limit the dishes to what you need at one meal and wash and reuse” instead of a sinkful of dishes that takes an hour to wash. There was also the “trick” to store what you don’t need in another place, if you had a hard time getting rid of things. Then if after x amount of time you didn’t need it, totally donate it!
This tip helped me sooooo much. This one little “loophole” gave me the courage to purge the whole damn kitchen. It’s April now and I haven’t missed a single dish.
I finished decluttering the kitchen that first day of week two. Since L’s toys and pack ‘n play were in the kitchen as well, I just decided to declutter all of his crap too. Soon after, I created a toy/book corner for him and it completed the kitchen/dining room area. Oh, and I purged the pantry and fireplace/mantle.
It’s funny to me that now I can be all “oh, and I purged all this stuff” as tho it was effortless and didn’t take any time at all. Tra la la.
But it did take effort. Grueling effort. And intentional consistency. And taking breaks and coming back to it and commitment.
The following week, I spent over three days decluttering and cleaning S’s room.
Today it could use five minutes of tidying, but otherwise it’s just as remarkable as it was then. He loves it in there and his mental health is better for it.
The final week was my closet and clothes. I purged half my clothes and almost all of the storage clothes I had been keeping. I also came to learn that I had lost enough weight that all my pre-pregnancy clothes fit again.
Purging most of my clothes didn’t leave me many I loved and so I made a thrift store trip and picked up some pieces that make me feel comfortable and confident and grown up. Strange as it is, I can envision a world now made up of blouses instead of t-shirts.
That was my January.
The house is still mostly decluttered most days and it affords me slack days, when things come up or I just don’t wanna.
The garage is next on my list because alllll those bags and boxes of donations are still sitting out there. Not for fear of getting rid of them, but for anxiety of having to go to a place to drop them off. Baby steps. I can own my shortcomings, just as I own my awesome.
In the weeks to come, I’m going to share my cleaning story, as well as my success with delegating responsibilities to the kids. This evolution of 2018 has been grueling and rewarding and has highlighted all that I’m capable of. It’s been utterly amazing and I’m so proud of my intention, my bravery, and my progress.