The Less Mess Decluttering and Organizing Challenge will have you tackling your house from top to bottom. By the time you’re done, you’ll know where EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM. is (and hopefully you’ll have fewer items to take care of, as well!
I’ve been going room by room in my home every year — decluttering, organizing, and cleaning — for the past 8 years and, let me tell you, it feels SO good when it’s finished.
How Less Mess Organizing and Decluttering Challenge Works
This challenge will focus on different areas of your home each week. You will have one week to work in each space, then we’ll move on to another space. There are three levels to this challenge for you, based on how much time and energy you have to dedicate to this project.
There will also be a section each week for organizing with kids in mind — how to ensure your spaces are simple and accessible so they can be more independent!
Level 1: A Little Less Mess
If you’ve only got a few minutes to dedicate to this challenge, you’ll want to stick with level one. Level One will take about 30 minutes and will be a quick decluttering and tidy.
Level 2: Less Mess
Level two takes 30 to 60 minutes. There’s some decluttering, tidying, and a bit of surface cleaning at this level. If you’ve only got an hour, focus on this level.
Level 3: A Lot Less Mess
Level three is where you’ll spend the most time, but also where you’ll see the most change. This will take upwards of two hours depending on the space and will include deep cleaning, decluttering, and total reorganization.
Do what you can when you can, keeping the following principals in mind:
A Basic Guide to Organization
Depending on who you ask, there are different numbers of steps to getting organized.
I’m keeping it simple with just three steps to getting and staying organized.
- Declutter—get rid of anything and everything you don’t need.
- Organize & Label—take what’s left and give it a home. Make sure that home is logical and simple. Make sure your systems work for everyone in the home and are easy to maintain. Using labels helps ensure items get placed back where they belong. It helps other family members know where to find things and where things should go when they’re done using them. It makes a system easier to fix when it gets broken. You may want to use bins, hooks, or other organizing materials in this step.
- Maintain—form habits that help you keep your space organized. Put items back when you’re done using them. Clear surfaces as often as possible. Be intentional about what comes back into your home. Get family members on board.
The bad news is, none of them are quick fixes, all of them take time and energy. The good news is, once you go through this process once or twice in a space, it takes a lot less time and energy to go through them again.
Throughout this challenge, we will go through different areas of the home and you will implement the three steps above.
Step 3 is done in the weeks and months following steps 1 and 2. That’s when you’ll need to form new habits and have discipline. Expect a backslide—it’s normal, and it’s easy to fix.
During step 3, you may find you need to double back to steps 1 and 2 either to reset your space or to fix a system you thought would work, but that doesn’t.
Don’t be discouraged. It will get easier.
When to do the Less Mess Challenge
The Less Mess Organizing and Decluttering Challenge will take place from January until Mid-March in 2022.
Every Friday for 10 weeks, each week’s space will be posted and emailed to you (if you’re on the email list). Full details will be on the website, as well as a printable checklist to keep you on track.
On Fridays, you can either dig right in or take the day to prepare mentally. Start the actual decluttering and organizing when you can, using the weekend, if possible.
The Less Mess Organizing and Decluttering Challenge Schedule
Here’s the schedule we’ll follow:
- January 7: Playroom/Toys
- January 14: Kitchen (including pantry and fridge)
- January 21: Mudroom & Coat Closets
- January 28: Dining & Living Room
- February 4: Laundry Room & Linen Closet
- February 11: Master Bedroom & Closet
- February 18: Bathrooms
- February 25: Office & Papers
- March 4: Children’s Bedrooms
- March 11: Garage and/or Storage Room
This activity is called a “challenge” for a reason — it’s HARD! It’s time consuming, overwhelming, and often gets worse before it gets better. But don’t be discouraged!
If you’re seeing this after the dates listed above, don’t worry! The weeks don’t really matter! You can do this any time of the year in any order — just click through the list and complete each task. If it’s close to 2023, make sure you get on that challenge list!
Everyone’s homes are different and we each keep different items in different spaces. For instance, you may have lightbulbs in your laundry room or papers in your master closet—if it’s there for a reason and it makes sense to you, there’s no wrong place to store items (within reason).
Since this is the case, there are links to separate posts to help you tackle items you’ve got in your space. Be sure to read them if they apply to you!