“I just want to feel a bit more organised and less out of control”. This is something I hear from mothers a lot, so in addition to running our hugely popular Organise my Entire Life Course, I thought it might be fun to take on some decluttering. Seven days to declutter your life, a declutter challenge if you will, or at least make a decent start. All in just 30 minutes a day. With kids going back to school and a new focus required after the mayhem of summer holidays, get ready for a seriously well-planned September!
Organisation is something I am seriously passionate about, not just because I am exceptionally partial to new stationery. As women we all take on so much all of the time, we work but are largely still responsible for most of the childcare, we do most of the unpaid stuff like birthdays and holidays but then often the housework too, it’s no surprise that it can feel massively overwhelming trying to fit it all in (I talk about the problems I see with this in this blog post about motherhood and overwhelm).
I probably don’t need to sell the benefits of decluttering here, they are well discussed and include everything from improving energy levels through to reducing family tensions and anxiety.
But, err, decluttering with kids, is that even possible? They make so much mess, they come with so much paraphernalia, I mean who doesn’t enjoy the risk-taking involved in walking across a room strewn with LEGO bricks!?
A few years ago now we found ourselves asking this very thing as we attempted our first huge declutter (read about it here). We literally couldn’t see the floor for plastic and it was only getting worse the more kids we threw into the mix.
We started a full-on family declutter project which lasted a few months. It largely came after I’d read the books ‘Stuffocation’ by James Wallman and Marie Kondo’s, ‘The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying’. Admittedly I was skeptical about whether we’d get anywhere, I’m naturally pretty untidy though my husband is the exact opposite so was very keen, which I know is a win. In fact, what actually happened was that the whole process was exceptionally positive and refreshing.
We got rid of so much stuff and put a load of things in place that have worked amazingly well for us, even with a growing brood. Over time I think we’ve only become even more organised if anything.
Decluttering is not for everyone and I acknowledge this. My sister loves and embraces the many, many items she is surrounded by, her world is totally different to ours and she is so happy that way. She would probably describe our house as slightly clinical – ha.
But I don’t see this about having to create a completely minimal, stark environment and living with absolutely no belongings. Everyone will be different and want different things from their home. I just think most of us would agree that a level of organisation can help with feeling generally calmer, less rushed, more present and therefore less overwhelmed. And knowing where to find your car keys whilst not falling over that baby walker for the fifteenth time plays a part in that.
A few years on and we have decided to re-visit our home organisation with a declutter challenge. We kept some baby gear just incase we did ever decide to expand our family and considering we are now due our fourth baby in a few months that was probably wise. But we need to go through it and also re-address a few areas that have slipped over time.
This challenge of seven days to declutter your life will start you off on the process that we followed. It might not be complete within a week but it will definitely get you going on the right path and hopefully leave you feeling inspired to carry on. It also shows how small steps (normally around 30 minutes) on a daily and weekly basis can lead to bigger results.
Of course, it is still important that we reject the need to be perfect, avoiding comparison (no-one has a beautiful, tidy house ALL the time) and accept that life IS a bit chaotic, particularly with little ones in tow. I talk about this a lot in the Organise My Entire Life course, and how it’s key to allocate our time and energy to the things that really matter and not be led blindly by a constant to-do list of tasks. There’s also a ton of other resources to get better at managing your time, sharing out the load and really achieving some semblance of work – life alignment. Did I mention that it’s really quite life changing?!?!
But decluttering is a great way to start and definitely one part of the puzzle.
So in the course of this seven day declutter challenge we’ll hopefully all feel lighter, more organised and as a result calmer and more together than we have before. Not to mention that you’ll also be directed to a specific Facebook group when you sign up, where we can all congregate and share some of what happens, the brutal realities alongside the wins, and hopefully tons of encouragement. Within the seven days but also well beyond as we continue to take on the clutter.
Here’s how to join in, hopefully chat more soon,