Live With Less Challenge 2017!

I can do it!

It’s time for our first declutter challenge of 2017 and it’s going to be a good one.  It’s also the time when I have to stretch myself and push myself out of my comfort zone.  You see, as a blogger it’s easy for me to share recipes (such as my favorite egg nog milkshake recipe), or kid’s crafts (such as these really cool borax snowflakes), or a list of my favorite kid’s toys (coming soon!), but admitting (to THOUSANDS of people!!) that I have a problem is hard.  A BIG problem really.  I have a problem with stuff.  I love stuff.  Shiny stuff, new stuff, stuff that promises in a million ways to make me happy.  Ooh, the bondage of stuff.  Although this is a problem that hundreds of thousands of people face it’s still difficult to admit.  I want to keep purging and purging until we’re living pretty minimal….and I’m a long way from that goal so we’ll press on.

Challenge Overview:  This challenge, or game if you like to think of it that way, will last for the full month of January and one participant will walk away with $100 cash!!  Each day you’ll be given an item(s) to get rid of or something to do.  If you don’t have one of those things to get rid of simply choose another item.  This detailed list is just to get your mind stirring and help jump start your purging.

Challenge Prize: In case you skipped the overview above, the prize is $100 cash to the challenge winner!!

Challenge Rules:  We’re all winners by getting rid of our unwanted belongings but I’ll randomly choose a winner from those who reach the end of the challenge and follow the rules.

How to enter:

  • – Each day take a photo of your discarded items.
  • – Create an album in our Live With Less Facebook group and every day add your photos to it.  If you need help with this ask on the Facebook wall and someone will help you.  If you try and can’t succeed with an album you can always make a post on the main wall and each day comment as a reply with the next day’s photo.  (If you have a picture or two that you’d rather keep private but keep going in the challenge you may email them to me at MrsAshleyWalkup@gmail.com with the subject Live With Less.)
  • – Make sure you number each photo with the day’s # on it so that I can easily check when the month is over.
  • *ADDED TWIST* This game is much more fun with friends so please invite your friends to the group to join the challenge.  If the winner has added a person to the group they’ll get an extra $50.
  • *SECOND ADDED TWIST* The person who invites the most people who complete the challenge will get $50!  For example if Mary invites 10 and only 2 finish she won’t win the money if the 3 people Sarah invited completed the challenge.  Does that make sense?

Q&A:

  • – If you skip a day are you disqualified? No, but you may only skip two days at a time.  Three consecutive skips will disqualify you from winning but you’re welcome to continue playing.  Even though you skip a day or two you still have to go back and make up the days you missed.
  • – When will this challenge start, I just heard about it?  The last day to join will be January 7th when you need to have all your days 1-7 posted…or technically 1-5 since you’re allowed to be two days behind at any point.
  • – If I share pictures of my junk in the Live With Less Facebook group will all of my friends see it?  No, not unless they are in the group.  It’s a closed group.
  • – Will you be sharing the items you’re getting rid of?  Yes!  I’ll be posting in our Live With Less Facebook group daily.  Forgive the bad quality pics, this is going to be a quick thing every day.
  • – What if more than one person makes it to the 31st?  This will be wonderful and I will choose a winner at random.
  • – What if no one makes it to the 31st?  Then I’m keeping the money for myself and buy something pretty for myself….and then get rid of something to make room for it. 😉

READ READ READ:

Since I’ve posted about living with less a few years ago I’ve received numerous emails telling me what a horrible person I am for throwing away so much.  If they only knew the internal struggle I have about letting go of a bent paper clip!  Please know that I’m not advocating throwing away everything, do try and recycle, gift, and donate all that you can before trashing things.

Declutter

The List:

Day 1- 1 Sentimental thing
Day 2- 2 Red things
Day 3- 3 Unwanted gifts
Day 4- 4 Magazines/catalogs
Day 5- Old coupons
Day 6- Things you can give to someone
Day 7- Glass items (old mugs, dishes with chips, unloved vases, etc)
Day 8- Stationary items (broken pens, extra anything you won’t use)
Day 9- Unfinished project pieces (finish the project this week or consider throwing it out)
Day 10- Old cotton (old t-shirts, cleaning rags, socks, anything cotton you no longer have a use for)
Day 11- Christmas cards
Day 12- Disposable plates, cups, or cutlery (use them up!)
Day 13- 13 items of clothes or shoes (a pair of shoes counts as 1)
Day 14- Duplicates (anything you have two of that you don’t need, two bottles of red nail polish, tweezers, nail clippers, hammers, etc.)
Day 15- Unused old bottles (any empty jars or bottles that you don’t have a use for)
Day 16- Tech (Movies, CDs, video games, random telephone cords, cords you don’t know what they go to but have had 5+ years, etc.)
Day 17- Let go of 1 thing & write a letter/email to someone you’ve lost touch with (no need to provide a picture of the correspondence)
Day 18- Out grown/unloved items (nearly full old perfume bottles, toys, jewelry, etc.)
Day 19- Use something you’ve been saving (decorative soap, fancy dishes for a special occasion, a bottle of sparkling apple cider, whatever you may have that you’re waiting to use “some day” Let today be that day!)
Day 20- 5 Things you can fit in your hand
Day 21- Organize an area that you dread to organize and toss items as you go (before and after pictures are always fun but the items you’re letting go of is okay too if you forget to snap a before pic)
Day 22- Write a list of 22 things that you’re thankful for that money can’t buy
Day 23- Let go of 2 things and make a recipe from an unused cook book (if you can’t bring yourself to do it, let go of the cookbook too)
Day 24- Mend, fix, or glue 3 broken items or toss them (maybe you don’t keep broken things but we always have a few broken things at our house)
Day 25- 5 things from 5 different rooms
Day 26- Move/toss/do 6 things that make you feel guilty (maybe it’s a book that sits on your nightstand and has been laying there unread for months making you feel guilty when you look at it, maybe it’s the dirty windows that irritate you, etc.)
Day 27- Do something you’ve been procrastinating (returning unloved purchases and going through old moving boxes are at the top of my list)
Day 28- Take your donations to a charity 🙂
Day 29- Repurpose/display a sentimental item you’ve decided to keep
Day 30- Find a “home” for lost items that are around your house….as many as you have time for
Day 31- Let go of 12 pieces of paper

If you have any questions or if I missed something please let me know.

Who’s ready to play?  I hope you’ll join me!

Oh, I almost forgot to say something – Happy New Year!!!

Here are two other helpful posts you may like:

200+ Things to Throw Away Now

– How to Get Your Spouse to Declutter Without Nagging

How to Find 15 Minutes a Day to Declutter

How to Find 15 Minutes a Day to Declutter

It can be overwhelming to try to declutter your home when you take a large chunk on at once. Rather than attack it full-force, you are probably more prone to put it off. Day after day, the task seems less than inviting. Daunting even.  You’re not sure but you think you heard your pile of papers and dust bunnies mocking you.

What if you set aside 15 minutes to declutter? Would you be able to approach it then?  Try these tips to get yourself closer to a clutter-free home.

1. Set a reasonable goal
If you want to take on a closet, for example, you will not be able to get it all done in 15 minutes. Start with a shelf, time yourself for 15 minutes and do a really job purging what you don’t need and re-organizing that particular space. The next day, continue with that shelf if needed or move on to another one.

2. Use the KRRT rule
Decide if you want to keep it, re-use it, recycle it or trash it. If you have not used it within the past year, then it is not an item you need to keep. Can it be donated? Is there someone you know who needs it more than you do?  Sometimes, by asking these questions, our perspective on the item changes.

3. Decide on a home
Everything you are re-organizing needs a home. If you just toss it back on the shelf, it will become chaotic quickly. By having a specific home for each item, you are bound to stick to a more organized space. Use bins, jars, labels and whatever else works to keep your space the way you want it. This will add visual appeal and motivate you to stick to your newly organized space.

4. Wake up 15 minutes earlier
I like sleep as much as the next guy. Probably more! However if you’re having trouble squeezing 15 minutes a day to declutter wake up a little earlier. Don’t declutter with your eyes still glued shut but once you’re awake and moving attack a problem area and I bet you’ll have a spring in your step the rest of the day.

5. Talk and declutter at the same time
Can’t chew gum and walk at the same time? Well, this probably isn’t for you. 🙂 The idea is simple, to distract you while you declitter. Hopefully this will help you from overanalyzing everything and make you more efficient. Plus, if you’re talking to a girlfriend she can help give you the nudge you need to let go of some things.

15 minutes a day is all it takes to get yourself started with de-cluttering your living space. That could amount to almost the same time as a Netflix show or a few songs from your favorite playlist.

Declutter Challenge – Area 2 Kid’s Rooms

Declutter Kid's Room Tips

Area #2 – Kid’s Bedroom/ Guest Room

These are the sections to complete for week two.  Week 2 begins Feb. 28, 2016.  What if you don’t have a second bedroom?  Work on another area of your home that isn’t one of the 12 Areas we will get to eventually.  You can even go back and finish decluttering your kitchen if you’d like.  Don’t forget to continually post your pictures in our Live With Less Facebook group to be eligible for our $250 Declutter Challenge Prize! (<— click this link for more details on the challenge!  You’re not too late, we’re officially starting on February 21, 2016!)

*Remember you only have to do 4 of the 5 sections for the contest but if you have time, why not? 🙂

The 5 Sections are as follows:

  • – Closet
  • – Shelves, books, toys, & electronics
  • – Tops of dressers
  • – Drawers
  • – Floors (including under the bed)

Here’s an example of what your week may look like.

Sunday – Rest, work ahead, surf my Pinterest pins, whatever you want to do! 🙂

Monday – Closet

Tuesday – Shelves, books, toys, & electronics

Wednesday – Tops of dressers

Thursday – Drawers

Friday – Floors (including under the bed)

Saturday – Rest, catch up, work ahead, whatever you want but make sure you add the photos of the work you’ve accomplished this week to our Live With Less Facebook group.

What do you do if you don’t have one of the above sections?  Work on the closet for another day or another section of your home (that isn’t one of the 12 Areas we haven’t came to yet).  Have fun!!

Previous Declutter Challenge Posts:

Ideas on Kid’s Rooms:

12 Week Declutter Challenge Recommended Reading

Declutter Articles

These are the required reading for the 12 Week Declutter Challenge.  I hope you’ll find it helpful!

 

 

 

Kitchen Decluttering – 12 Week Challenge

 

Welcome to the first week of the 12 Week Declutter Challenge! I am thrilled to start this adventure with all of you!

Remember this week’s challenge will officially begin on February 21st but feel free to work ahead!  For full details on the challenge click the link here.

 

If you’re not already follow me on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, & Pinterest so you never miss a bit of decluttering/homemaking inspiration!

Remember to join this challenge you need to join our Live With Less Facebook group or email me the pictures of your progress.  Between you and me, the group is way cooler because it’s full of fabulous people with loads of encouragement!

Without further ado, here is the rundown on Week #1!

Area #1 is the Kitchen/Pantry

The 5 Sections are as follows:

  • – Counters
  • – Cabinets
  • – Pantry
  • – Drawers
  • – Refrigerator and freezer

Here’s an example of what your week may look like.

Sunday – Rest, work ahead, add an album in our Live With Less Facebook group for this challenge, whatever you want to do!

Monday – Counters

Tuesday – Cabinets

Wednesday – Pantry

Thursday – Drawers

Friday – Refrigerator and freezer

Saturday – Rest, catch up, work ahead, whatever you want but make sure you add the photos of the work you’ve accomplished this week to our Live With Less Facebook group.

What if you have an enormous kitchen and only get 2/3 of your cabinets decluttered?  That still counts because you got two+ cabinets cleared.  Hopefully it will be motivation to clean the rest too but for this challenge you’ve met the requirements.

Ideas for the Kitchen

What to Do When Clutter Overwhelms

When clutter overwhelms

There are ice cream dishes still on the counter from last night.  The dishwasher needs emptied so it can be filled with this morning’s cereal bowls.  There are two loads of folded laundry on my dresser and a load in the washing machine that has been washed, and re-washed twice since yesterday.  The living room is covered with plastic figures and wooden blocks.  The kitchen floor is speckled with drops of milk and splashes of juice.  Not to mention the crushed goldfish and random Cheerios decorating the floor.  The to-do list is longer than I can memorize and I don’t have time to sit down and write it all out.  My head is swarming with thoughts that are echoing just a bit louder than the kid’s who are all demanding my attention at once.  I retreat to the bathroom to sit and have a moment of quiet.  I throw my head back and try to breath deeply, then it happens.  I see the vent above my head is covered with heavy dust and I break out into sobs.

I’m overtaken by my built up emotions, the clutter, my never ending to-do list, my sweet darling children that I would give my life for, and whew, sometimes I just need to take a moment and remember something.

Remember that I have a choice.

Remember that I can CHOOSE TO BE THANKFUL or choose to be overwhelmed, stressed, and weighted down.

Dirty ice cream dishes mean that we’re blessed enough to have extra money for treats.  At one point in my life I didn’t have enough money for three meals a day.  The dirty dishwasher means I should be thankful for many things.  Food to eat, money to pay the energy bill, running water, and well, a dishwasher.  Clean laundry reminds me that I am blessed enough to have family and clothes for them to wear.  Not to mention, I don’t have to drag bags of laundry to a laundromat.  My dirty kitchen reminds me to be thankful for the little mess-makers I gave birth to.  My mental to-do list reminds me that I am thankful for hobbies and opportunities to serve others.

I can be thankful.

Thankful for my life and those in it.  Thankful that I can pull myself away from the madness and reorganize my priorities.  Thankful that I can do things to make my home a haven.

Thankful that I can start.

While running and covering my head is tempting, I can choose to dig my heels in and start.

For me, starting involves me starting a load of laundry while I take a toy basket and scurry around picking up as many toys that are separated from their homes.  I give my kid’s the job of putting away the toys in the basket while I attack the remaining clutter.

As counters reappear and the “stuff” is reduced I can breathe easier.  Life isn’t perfect and my home will never resemble a showroom but they’re both good.  Good again.

I’m no longer overwhelmed by the to-do list.  The stuff.  The urgent.

I can enjoy my kids, tackle chores together, and walk around the kitchen barefoot.

Sometimes it’s important to just stop, evaluate, and then start.

If you’ve ever experienced a similar moment of overwhelm I invite you to join in our 12 Week Declutter Challenge starting tomorrow!  You can find all the details here.  It’s a lot of fun; I hope you’ll join us!  Oh, and there’s a cash prize of $250 too!

12 Week Declutter Challenge – $250 Prize

12 Week Declutter Challenge

Who’s ready to start a 12- week clutter-busting, hold-no-junk-prisoner, challenge?  Challenge, that’s right, this is a challenge and it won’t be easy folks!  The January challenge we just finished up had over 200 people starting off and less than 50 finished.  Most people dropped off around day 11.  This challenge will be different, however, and will be more of a marathon than a sprint.  The goal is a BIG ONE – to declutter and organize your house.  Through the course of the next 12 weeks I want you to look at, touch, and analyze every single part of your home.

We’ll attack 12 areas of our home, one area a week.

Each area will be divided into 5 sections.  You’ll have till the next week to finish those 5 sections.  Do it all in one day, spread it out, whatever.  Photograph your progress, at least one photo of each section is required.  Before and after photos and photos of discarded belongings are fun too but not required!  Add your photos to our Live With Less Facebook group (more on the how-to of that later).

If you run into an section of your home that is already decluttered, great!  Take a photo of it to share then feel free to work ahead, find a better way to organize that section, or work on a project you’ve been procrastinating on.  Do whatever you like, you’ve got a free pass!

Sound easy enough?  Great, let me show you the first area that will start on February 21, 2016.

Area #1 is the Kitchen/Pantry

The 5 Sections are as follows:

  • – Counters
  • – Cabinets
  • – Pantry
  • – Drawers
  • – Refrigerator and freezer

Here’s an example of what your week may look like.

Sunday – Rest, work ahead, add an album in our Live With Less Facebook group for this challenge, whatever you want to do!

Monday – Counters

Tuesday – Cabinets

Wednesday – Pantry

Thursday – Drawers

Friday – Refrigerator and freezer

Saturday – Rest, catch up, work ahead, whatever you want but make sure you add the photos of the work you’ve accomplished this week to our Live With Less Facebook group.

What if you have an enormous kitchen and only get 2/3 of your cabinets decluttered?  That still counts because you got two+ cabinets cleared.  Hopefully it will be motivation to clean the rest too but for this challenge you’ve met the requirements.

Prizes!!!  The favorite part is the prize.  The prize for this challenge will be $250 cash!  This will be our biggest cash giveaway to date!  If we have a lot of participation we might even have a smaller prize every few weeks.

I know I’ll have left something off but let’s start with these Q&As and please feel free to ask questions in our group or in the comments here on the blog if I miss something!

Q&A

  • – If you skip a day are you disqualified?  Yes and no.  It’s okay to submit your section photo late but only two days late.  Three days late or later will disqualify you from winning but you’re welcome to continue playing.  Remember we’ll cover an area a week, Sunday-Saturday.  Submit any of those sections by Saturday and you’re good.  Submitting them on Sunday and Monday of the next week is permissible.  Submitting them on Tuesday disqualifies you.  I don’t like rules for the sake of rules but it’s a good way to keep us accountable and moving forward. 🙂
  • – What if I’m planning to be out of town one week?  Everyone is allowed to skip an entire week of their choosing.  No questions asked.
  • – What if I don’t have two hours to declutter each section? Don’t worry, progress is the goal, not perfection!  Even if you only have 15 minutes for some sections, do what you can.  If we put off everything till we had enough time to do everything, in the very best possible way, we’d never get anything done.
  • – Where do I share my pictures?  In our Live With Less Facebook group you’ll need to start an album (this is easiest from a desktop as opposed to mobile).  Once it’s created you can easily add photos from your phone.  All your photos will be in one neat organized bundle for you to look over and admire. 🙂  (Some have noted that unless you comment on your photos that you add, they won’t show up on the group wall so if you want everyone to see your updates add a little comment under each picture)
  • – If I absolutely abhor Facebook can I email you my pictures? Yes, but please put the area you’re submitting in the subject line to help me stay organized.  For instance “Area 1 Kitchen.”   You can email these to EmbracingHomemaking@gmail.com.  You can email these once a week or as you complete them.
  • – When will this challenge start, I just heard about it?  The first week of the challenge will run February 21-27th…and with the two days of grace period you can submit all five pictures on February 29th (Leap Day!) and still be qualified.
  • – Will we be taking Easter off?  Yes, specific details on that will come later.
  • – If I share pictures of my junk in the Live With Less Facebook group will all of my friends see it?  No, not unless they are in the group.  It’s a closed group.
  • – What if I don’t have one of the areas or sections listed?  It’s completely fine to veer from the recommended path IF you don’t have the area listed.  You’re not disqualified in the least.  Simply find another area that needs some decluttering love and share pictures of your progress there.
  • – Will you be sharing the items you’re getting rid of?  Yes!  I’ll be posting them in our Live With Less Facebook group.  Forgive the bad quality pics, these are quick pictures that are usually taken at night. 🙂
  • – What if more than one person makes it to the end?  This would be wonderful and I would choose a winner at random using random.org.
  • – What if no one makes it to the end?  Then I’ll keep the money and treat myself to a day at the spa.

In review:

  • –  12 areas of our home, one area a week.
  • –  You only need to complete 11 of the 12 areas to be entered.
  • –  Each area will be divided into 5 sections.  I’ll post at least one week ahead of time.
  • –  Add photos of decluttered sections to our Live With Less Facebook group.

Who’s ready to play?  I hope you’ll join me!  This will be more fun with friends!

If you’re just now joining us and want to catch up on past posts you can find them all linked here on the intro post to our Live With Less series.