The Declutter Challenge starts soon. To get ready, there is some
recommended required reading. It is important to get your thinking straight before you start this huge journey!
A Million+ Articles to Inspire You to DECLUTTER
The easiest way to read all my decluttering inspiration is to look through my HUGE archive of decluttering articles on the blog.
The great thing about the archive is that every time I add a new article with decluttering inspiration, it will show up in the archive. It simplifies things to have one main place to look.
Access the archive of decluttering articles now.
In addition to perusing the archive, here are two articles that you must read:
- If you have kids, please read my FREE mini-ebook available: Guiding Children to Declutter. It may completely change how you approach decluttering with your kids!
- Make sure you remind yourself How To Declutter: The Process.
Take a Sneak Peek at the the Declutter Tasks
Another great prep for the challenge is to take a look at the daily assignments and mentally prepare. It is so do-able!!
If you want that sneak peek into the tasks for each week, everything you need is in the Printable Pack. Download yours today and get it printed and ready! Order the Printable Pack HERE. (The Printable Pack is NOT REQUIRED, but it will help a lot!)
There’s an eBook too!
Another way to get in the required reading is with my eBook. My eBook contains my best readings on decluttering, updated for the eBook. The collection of writings take you through decluttering – working up to it, getting through it, and maintaining it.
Please join us!
And don’t forget to do your reading!
Access the archive of decluttering articles now.
I don’t always show up everywhere on social media all the time (I try to keep boundaries for my sanity), but I always read and respond to blog comments, so just ask if you have thoughts or questions!
Getting ready for January 2nd, though join in anytime!
From my home to yours,
Me either 🙂
Tiny Bit says
Hi! Mary and everyone else who is planning on doing this challenge I’m interested in given it a try, (what do I have to lose, I’m tired of all my things crowding me) so count me in.
Awesome! Welcome to the glad to challenge – very happy to have you!
Those just in case items will probably be my challenge. I’m. Always saying that!!!
It takes a leap of faith, but you have to ask yourself – is this worth it? Is this item, even if I need it one day, worth a lower quality of life today?
Excellent To Keep In Mind
Shannon Ellis says
Yes! I’m so looking forward to this round! I’ve done this before but this year in getting the whole family involved.
Awesome! You’ll be teaching your kids great life skills!
Jackie Webster says
Would love to do this but don’t have a way of printing
You can use the file straight from your computer or get it printed at a print-store/office store. 🙂
Do you have to purchase the 91 day clutter packet or do you post the challenges on your blog?
The pack is definitely not required, but it will make things easier. 🙂
Dainelle Clark says
Very helpful, thank you! I must completely empty one apt after my condo is remediated for mold. Will only keep that which I truly want from the condo to move to another state. All alone in this endeavor, so really needed your advice.
Follow along with the challenge and take it one day at a time. You can do this!
Betty Eppling says
Any ideas on taking off pounds?
My Shaklee group is starting a health challenge at the beginning of the year. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you out. 🙂
Does your shaklee stuff have any wheat in it? I am alergic to wheat. Dont have celiac but it definitely helps my joints when i dont eat it. 🙂
I don’t believe it does, but you can call 1-800-Shaklee and find out all about the ingredients. 🙂
Thank you so much. I enjoy your blog so much!
Thank YOU! 🙂
Jane A Jordan says
my ideas of taking off pounds are, cut back on the carbs, do Not deny yourself of that sweet tooth, ex, I buy Whitmans Weight Watchers chocolate, it comes with 5 pouches in a box, I eat ONE candy, not One POUCH!! to satisfy my craving for chocolate after dinner, have something to look forward to, on Sundays I treat myself to a small dessert of my choice, if you get hungry after dinner eat an apple or a fruit/veggie of your choice, remember on Sunday you get the dessert of your choice. Compromise, if you really want that roll at dinner, then give up 3/4 portion of your potatoes. do not deprive yourself of your cravings, just limit the amount you eat and compromise for the things you want. Drink a lot of water to help flush out the extra calories and fill your belly, and make it a rule not to eat anything after 8pm. if you miss that window then oh well, drink a bottle of water instead. I try to eat fat free snacks like hard pretzels, dry cereal, remember do not deprive yourself, just limit and set one day for your guilt free dessert. Good luck, I hope this helps. Sincerely, jane
I have finished the required read plus much more. I’m ready.
Yay!!! Getting your mind ready will help so much! You are going to rock this. 🙂
I’m ready!! Although we will be going through a major remodel do I will have to go out of order but it’s gonna get done!!
Life happens! Sounds like you will have a truly clean slate at the end of this. Newly remodeled and decluttered – awesome!
I Am In! My Mother passed away this past year. After going thru all of her house I made a vow to purg our house.
I hear that same response a lot. I think it is a good goal.
I am so looking forward to this! I am at a time in my life, (55 yrs old) that i have the time to do this and i have a few goals I need to accomplish, not just the decluttering. A clean house, lose weight, and a closer walk with God. I plan on starting over which ive heard its never too late to try something new. I really have enjoyed reading your blog and this year i’m planning on making the most out of it.
I’m so glad you’re joining us Tammy! Yes, it is never too late to start again. 2016 is going to be great!
I am always worried about getting rid of things gifted to me. Even years later. I worry I would offend people.
Remember the good intentions of the people who gave you these gifts. They weren’t trying to give you a ball and chain, they wanted to give you a gift that left a mark at the time. There is no rule that you must keep a gift forever. Getting rid of something doesn’t mean you never appreciated it. Don’t let these worries affect your quality of life now, none of those people would want that for you!
Sounds good. But I only have a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room – and the living room I can’t even get into as it’s piled past shoulder height with stuff! Definite psychological problem here!
Don’t be afraid to get additional help during the challenge – you don’t have to face that alone. To ask a therapist for help is not a sign of weakness, it shows strength to face the fears and make a change. Best of luck wit your decluttering!
Shannon Wagner says
Is the challenge just under maryorganizes.com and in the blog section?
Yep, that is right.
I really need this but I am on a very tight budget. What do I actually NEED for this class ?
You do not have to buy anything to participate successfully. You will need to do the hard work, but all the information will be posted on the blog. The printable pack is meant as an additional resource.
Carol Bridges says
Thank you so much for the reply. Can’t wait to get started !!!
Me too! Tomorrow!
Leslie Warne says
This is my first time to join. So excited.
Welcome! So glad to have you!
I have 35 years of basement clutter! Just put it in basement. When I go down their I can’t get rid of a thing.But it all needs to go lol.Where do I begin?
Make your decision before you enter it. Remind yourself that it all needs to go, so just start loading it in your car to donate. No more decisions after your first one. You can do it.
Sherry Nimmo says
Ready for the challenge
I don’t have a printer 🙁
Could you ask a friend to print it or send it to a local print shop?
Marcia Brucks says
I tried to order the Printable Pack but it would not accept either of my credit cards. I have been stung by PayPal in the past and am Leary of it!
I’m not sure how to help. Paypal is the only payment portal I use right now. Even if you don’t want to login to Paypal, paypal is still what processes the payment and they should accept all major credit cards. Maybe try again, maybe from a different browser.
Tamara Wingo says
I just ordered the printable packet and, well, it’s not printing. Every other page comes out blank. Help!
Does it show up on your computer screen but isn’t printing? Sounds like there is a problem with how your computer is communicating with your printer.
Tamara Wingo says
Now that I scroll down, no, not every page is appearing – only every other, then none at all. I’ll check with a techie friend….
I’m not sure what to tell you – this is the first I’m hearing about this. Please let me know if I can help by resending new links, etc. You can always email me at email@example.com.
tara jackson says
Not sure how to join.
I’ve added you, now you’ll need to click on the confirmation email you get.
Working 50-60 hrs a week, mother, and final year of my MSN! I definitely need to do this!!! I hope I can make it work!
Adapt it where needed and make sure to not look at it as all or nothing. There may be days you can’t do the task, but don’t let that excuse the days you can. You already know how to work hard, you can do this too. 🙂
Shari Blackwell says
I so need to do this and it has always been so overwhelming I couldn’t even start. thank you
Start tomorrow in your laundry room. You can do this!
Janice keller says
I want to sign in ,how do I get it to let me?
I’ve added you, just click on the confirmation email when you get it.
Would you please add me Mary?
I’m getting a funny error that there are too many subscribe attempts for that email. Hmmm. Check to see if you get a confirmation email for the list.
I can’t get the reading list links to open??
I just checked the links and they are okay. I’m thinking it is going slow for you because of the unusually high volume of traffic tonight. Keep trying!
I am thinking about doing this but how hard is it to stay on track. I have a daughter paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator. We have lots of cares and not much nursing so is this something I can do in my own time or definitely a stay on track. But my house needs to be organized and some of the clutter out.
It sounds like you have a lot on your plate, and I can’t tell you what you should do, but I will say that it is possible for you to do what you can and not worry about doing it all perfectly. I know clutter gets in the way, especially during times of stress, so if you were able to clear some clutter, it might help all around. Don’t be hard on yourself about staying on track, it sounds like you have a lot going on.
Thank you very much. I was thinking I will purchase the packet to have something to go by. I think I signed up for the emails but I never received one to confirm. So not sure if I did it incorrectly.
I added you again – click on the confirmation email you should receive shortly.
Thank you. I finally found it in the trash/spam folder. So do you need to purchase the printable pack or is there another area you can follow. Finances are limited with out situation. You can find my daughters site at Facebook Miracles 4 Margaret. I am, still in limbo as to purchase the printable pack because I was reading where people were struggling finding the pack in their email.
Thank you for your time.
You can do the declutter challenge with the information on the blog I post each week. The printable pack is not required. The people who could not find their printable pack in their email entered the wrong email address, and anyone who has contacted me, it has been corrected. 🙂
Wow, such an eye opener! I didn’t think that was “me” on so many of those posts, when in fact I’m SOOO guilty of most! Thanks a ton for posting this reading list. I think you just saved my sanity!!! <3
You’re welcome! I don’t think anyone can read those and not relate to something. Glad it helped!
I started the challenge today! Very excited. I have a question my laundry room is also my mud room/ dog entrance. it is hard to keep the room clean. Any suggestions?
My best advice is to keep as little in the room as necessary. It is harder to make a mess when there is nothing there to make a mess on. Remove surfaces that gather clutter, even if they are cute. Keep it simple!
I am excited about your challenge and am going to be doing it with a Facebook friend to keep us motivated and on task. I like that you take it slow, giving an entire week for a room. I had tried Fly Lady in the past and was overwhelmed because I have chronic illness and low energy. Your plan seems doable. My question-you said in one of your articles that you should do closets first so that you will have somewhere to put up all the stuff that you organize in other rooms. And yet on your weeks, you have the bedroom closet after the bedroom and storage and closets dead last. I am confused and will reorder your list for myself. Just wondering at the discrepancy. Maybe I misunderstood? Thanks!
You know, that was a really difficult ordering decision to make. Ideally, when I approach a room, I still love to start with a closet. Especially as I help my clients. BUT, as I heard from several participants over the years, the closets were so awful/intimidating that it would make them not want to start the week. As I set up the order, I really tried to think through not just the logistically best ways (closet first), but also the mentally preferable ways. I finally decided that it was more important to design the challenge in such a way that more people would finish successfully than to do it in my perfectionistic-efficiency-driven way. Hopefully that all made sense to you. And kudos to you for noticing. You are officially the first person to ask. 🙂
Oh, I see! I am going to do the closet first, though, because I will have nowhere to put anything if I don’t. Even though I dread tackling it, I will also see the biggest progress from it, which I think will actually work in my favor! Thanks for the kudos! First time I’ve ever been given kudos for being confused! Lol
Thank you so much for this. I am very excited. I am thankful that I have a SMALL house. My Laundry room is spruced up. 🙂 AND DE-CLUTTERED! I “accidentally” did the fridge on Sunday and the Freezer last week so I am VERY happy about that. I did under the sink and a big cabinet today. My pantry will be later this week. I need to do the two other cabinets so I can find space on my Kitchen table to do the pantry. New Pots and Pans and the old ones will be DONATED! BUT – ONE big bag of garbage is OUT! I am super thankful for the required reading. I am thinning my files as I go about my work at my desk while I am at it. I am taking 5 minutes to PURGE each time I sit down at my desk and I am having SO much fun. Will the garage be next after all this? THAT is a HUGE problem. I have been working on it. PURGING! PURGING! PURGING! I am SO DONE with STUFF!
Read this – https://creatingmaryshome.com/2015/12/fall-in-love-with-your-home-again-in-2016/ and you’ll see a sneek at the plan for the year. Garages are after Spring cleaning.
Good job with an amazing start! Just keep going!!
BJ Jones says
I went to the Checkout to pay, but I don’t do PayPal & I was unable to choose one of the other options. Now what?
Not sure what is happening, because Paypal is the only option (the other options are authorized through PayPal). Can you refresh and try again?
Mary, can you offer any advice on how to handle cleaning out a parents home after they pass? My house is already FULL! I feel guilty giving away items that meant so much to my mom but I have no desire or use for them. I have a few very sentimental items that I will always cherish but I still need to address the rest of the belongings.
Theresa – I have so much advice on this subject, actually. You may or may not be surprised to know that this is a very common reason people seek professional organizers. Don’t feel bad if it is overwhelming, it is overwhelming for many people. Most people, after they go through this experience, vow to reduce down their own belongings in their own lifetime because they see how hard it is on the loved ones left behind. There are estate companies and/or local professional organizers that I suggest calling immediately for help in liquidating everything. You should not feel like you need to do this alone and then put your own home and quality of life in jeapardy. Take the few (I mean few) items that are the most valuable to you on a sentimental level and let the rest go.
The most important thing to remember is this: YOU were more important to your mom than the STUFF was to her. She loves you and would want you to feel free of those burdens. Stuff is just stuff. Nothing can take the memories.
Best of luck to you! I know this can be difficult. 🙂
Wow! I’m so excited about this 91 days Declutter Challenge. I really need this and looking forward to learning a different way of thinking and doing things a different way. I think my biggest challenge would be Papers, everything to incoming mail, bills, kids stuff, and how to set up a system with that. Another would be my Kitchen, and not having the space due to not having any drawers, or a Pantry, and not having enough space. Basically trying to work with what I have or don’t have. Any ideas to that would be so wonderful!! So YES, I am looking forward to all this. Thank you Mary
Yay!! Welcome! I plan to delve more into papers this year, so hopefully that will help. 🙂
I’m looking forward to doing this challenge! I haven’t told my family what’s going to be happening, yet. Should be fun! In going through the recommended reading, #16 Working the Challenge into Your Life keeps taking me to What You Can Do. Can you give me a direct link for 16? Thank you!
Oops! That newer one is actually the re-write I did of the old one, and I accidentally put both articles on the list. I’ll remove one. 🙂
Thank you! Now, I can continue with my homework. 😉
Linda Townsend says
I need a add tried before but didnt get info and hard to find on Facebook for daily post
You need an add to the email list? Try again, and if the subscribe option still doesn’t work, could you send me an email?
Mary Spix says
I paid for a packet but have not received it yet. When do you think it will arrive. I live in Michigan. I bought it about a week ago. This is my first challenge and I want to be ready. Thanks
It is a digital download. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – email is the best way, because it let’s me check your email address for the one on file when you do. Typos are the #1 reason people don’t receive their packets.
Do you have an audible book?
I wish! I love audible … one day 😉
Jeanne Johnson says
Perfect timing! Just started cleaning out parents’s house & my twenty somethings need to empty their rooms. Going to take us more than 13 weeks!
That’s okay … go as far as you can!
Karen Henderson says
I’m intrigued! How do I subscribe to your blog?
It’s on the sidebar if you’re on a desktop, and at the bottom if you’re on a mobile device. Welcome!
There’s an email subscription box on the side (desktop) and at the bottom (mobile device). Welcome!
Barb Watson says
How do I sign up for the email alerts?
There is a subcription box on the sidebar (on a computer) or at the bottom (on a mobile device). Welcome!
I tried that and it told me the recipient has too many requests. Not sure what this means, since I only tried once.
Can you email me? email@example.com — Please state your technical issue in the email so I can get it figured out and add you manually. 🙂
Surviving Decluttering As A Couple appears to not have a link. I think that is the critical article for me! 😉
Fixing that now! Good catch!
The “just in case” mentality is a huge roadblock for my husband. And to his credit, some of the stuff he’s kept has come in handy. But I’ve said we could probably get rid of 90% of what’s in our basement and later need about 10% of it. I’m looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully my DH will do some decluttering himself!
There’s hope. I recommend my new article about “Surviving Decluttering As A Couple.” 🙂
I’m excited, but equally nervous. Decluttering overwhelms me.
How is your first week going?
Ela Johnson says
Can’t wait for this to begin. I’ve asked my husband and children for years to have a completely clean and organized and decluttered house. I have yet to receive it. Their version of doing this is to shuffle stuff.
Now that my husband and I are empty nesters and we moved into a smaller home almost 3 years ago (so yes, we are still dealing with stuff), I’m determined to get my house under control. I’ve taken all items that belong or need to be dealt with by my children and literally requested they come get the items. I gave them a deadline to come get. When they didn’t come get, I literally loaded up the items and took them to their house and placed them on their front porches. That got me started.
Now I’m working on myself and my husband. I’ve informed him that as I go thru and declutter in this challenge, if there is something that I feel he needs to address, it will go into a box for him to deal with. If he doesn’t deal with it within a reasonable time (with a deadline), it’ll be relocated to the garage or storage building out back (and yes, these areas need decluttering as well). I’ve threatened him with purchasing a separate storage building and when he doesn’t deal with some item, it’ll go in there along with his dead body and his funeral will be to give him a warm farewell complete with hot dogs and marshmallows for roasting. Then all I’ll have to deal with is a large pile of ash. Hahaha.
I’ve wanted to have a garage sale since we moved in to our current home but have been unable to do so because of lack of space, and being disorganized and cluttered. My goal is to have a large garage sale within 30 days of completing the decluttering challenge. I give myself that time frame because of holidays and work and life obligations. What doesn’t sell will be donated. I will utilize sale sites like local online yard sales, LetGo, BuySellTrade sites, etc.
I will say that I’ve started already by reclaiming my work area at work. After several big events and being out sick this last month, my classroom, nursery room, and storage room have become very chaotic and almost demolished to some degree. However, this week I spent time reorganizing items that needed to be put away or salvaged, throwing away or recycling items that needed to be gotten rid of, and donating items that we had too many of or no longer needed. Some items were nice enough (except with a little cleaning) to be kept but were not needed at the moment. These items were broken down and put away until needed. (Example: Our nursery doesn’t currently have any infants that come on a regular basis so one of our two infant swings was broken down to be stored. One of our young toddler saucers was also broken down for use later. We had 4 activity tables for young toddlers so we kept 2 and donated the rest.) As a small church, we go thru active spells of babies followed by dry spells of no babies. Therefore, we currently don’t have any regular babies (ages 0-6 months) or even young toddlers (ages 6 – 24 months). We have two children that falls into the young toddlers age but they stay with their parents. We have several children who are in the 2-3 year old age group so we keep enough toys for them to play with in our nursery area. I keep the preschool age kids (ages 4-6 year old) the majority of the time. I do have one class that I teach that includes older kids so I do have to have some items for their activities. I’m just glad I get to start the new year with an organized clean classroom.
Looking forward to having that at home as I want to be able to have guests over and not be ashamed of my home. Right now it is just a big storage building and I’m ready for a home. I’m a crafter and recycler but I’m getting ready to be tough on myself by limiting the number of crafts I do.
Sounds like you’ve really thought this out to get ready, which is just the right thing to do to be successful! Now, take your plan one day at a time and you can do this!!!
Gayle Tomlin says
Will you be posting the monthly calendar prior to the start? I haven’t done this for three years and remember putting it upon my refrigerator. Thank you.
I provide a free calendar with the spring cleaning challenge, but the declutter calendar is part of the printable pack. Did you happen to buy the printable pack in the past?
I’m starting the challenge and very excited to get going. Do you recommend a certain amount of time per day to accomplish the task? I can see myself getting distracted if this is an all day task
It hopefully shouldn’t be an all day task. I suggest setting a timer for 15 minutes and see how far you get. Then, you can decide if you’ll set it for another 15 minutes. Usually, having a timer going will keep you moving.
Catherine Hoffer says
I do fine with de-cluttering, except I’m stuck with the “relocate” bin. Clearly I have no idea “where” to relocate this stuff, which is why it ended up in a pile in my bedroom. And often when I relocate things, I can’t find them later, because I can’t remember what I was thinking when I relocated it…
This is a great question, and I’m adding a long answer to my blog post list because you’re probably not the only one wondering. I have a post that I really suggest reading. I know this post seems like it is about moving (https://creatingmaryshome.com/organize-your-move-like-a-professional-organizer-free-printable/), but I think it applies for you. It is time to figure out where your stuff goes and give it a home. And whatever can’t find a home, needs to go. Once everything in your house has a place it belongs, cleaning and tidying is so so so much easier.
Jillinda Janaeway says
I have a question about books. How do you decide with books what to keep and what not to keep? Tomorrow the task is bedroom shelves. I have a mini built in shelving unit in my closet that has three shelves of children’s books! My children are too old for these although my 10 year old does pull out a few sometimes. We have a few bookcases in our office that are full of books, so relocating them won’t necessarily work. Thoughts?
In my mind, I only keep a book if I plan to read again (very few books do I want to read twice) or if it was a good one that I want to keep for my kids to read. There are a few reference-type books I keep about gardening and parenting, but I review them every year and only keep what still makes sense. I also keep religious books to a minimum, because they fall under the same rules – will I re-read? If not, I pass them on. As for the children’s books, my Izzy manages all of them in her room, like that’s where the “kids’ library” is housed, which is major perk for me! I buy new books for them all the time, so they’re constantly picking which series to get rid of. Once in a while, I will keep instead of sell/donate something they’re getting rid of. I have a “grandma bin” that I put things in that I want to save for grandchildren. My rule with myself is I can only save what will fit! https://creatingmaryshome.com/grandma-bins-keep-favorite-toys-kids-grow/ Did I answer your question?
Carolyn Overcash says
The pack is about $15.00 and has all the necessary reading for the challenge?
Yes, the bundle that is on sale for $15 has everything!
The link to your ebook and challenge package are not working
Could you let me know which link is broken? I just clicked all the links to the ebook and challenge packet, and the links worked. I would definitely like to get this fixed and I’m sorry for any problems! Here’s the link if you want to go straight to it: https://creatingmaryshome.com/store/Challenges-c18836060