Christmas and New Year have come and gone (seriously, wth? Already?!), my decorations are down (woop woop!), and my house feels like a fresh slate. Not quite to the clean standards I’d like quite yet (only my best bud Abby, my mother, and Danny Tanner can relate), but it feels darn good to be at the brink of a new year and be eager for routine, a revived energy health, and craving organization.
We’re finally coming off of some wicked cold/viruses that lasted nearly two months, and I’m itching to deep clean my entire house to kick those coodies to the curb once and for all. Every year around this time, on a “warmer” day I open up my windows for 10-15 minutes to get some fresh air circulating. In addition to the standard dusting and vaccuming, I go room by room and move every piece of furniture, wash the curtains, bedding, blankets…essentially any washable item goes in the washing machine, and I end with mopping the floor on my way out. Thank the Lord we live in a quaint house, otherwise this process would take me weeks, because I’m pretty dang thorough.
Some years, like last year, I spent a few days and freshened up my living room and hallways with a fresh coat of paint in a shade of white. This year my basement will be the target area that will get painted, new flooring, and some sort of toy organizers. No one quite warns you how many plastic totes you start to purchase once you have kids.
This year, I’m taking my cleaning and decluttering process to another level and joining in with @paisleyandsparrow and @arinsolange on their #6weeksof6bagschallenge! Exactly what it sounds like, it is a decluttering and organizing challenge that goes for six weeks starting today, January 6! The goal is to go through each area in your home and assess what you have, then categorize it into four categories: keep, donate/sell, fix, or throw away.
It is so easy to put things “places” and completely forget that they exist, or to have good intentions about fixing things and never actually fix it. For the longest time I had a box of clothes that I wasn’t currently wearing and after years of never touching it I finally bit the bullet and donated it. At that point I couldn’t even tell you what was in the box, and I sure as heck don’t miss it.
With the #6bagsfor6weeks challenge, Jen and Arin have even created two free printable sheets to help guide you through the process, making it super easy and way less stressful. One sheet includes the various areas to declutter and organize, and the second is a sheet that you can record your progress. Each week they partner with other bloggers, have give-aways, and provide helpful insights and tips for how they went through this exact process with their own homes.
Overall, I consider myself someone who appreciates clean surfaces and am a fairly organized person but could certainly be and do better. There is a difference between clean and messy; my home and things are always clean, but maybe not always organized. It is a process (both cleaning and organizing) that I have always loved to do, and I think it came from a mom who had her own unique level and standard of clean and organized.
She always kept our home clean, dusted the services, vacuumed, and taught us the proper way to do so as well. We were responsible for dusting our own rooms with a wet washcloth — in the process we were to put things away where they went and wipe down the service. Her organizing was unreal — she had all of our movies alphabetically categorized in a binder she created, our pantry was categorized by food item and the shelf was labeled, our medicine cabinet had labeled storage bins, every box in our rafters was labeled, and even the shelf in our fridge where we stored pop (aka “soda” for all you non-Minnesotans), was labeled as such so guests could easily make themselves at home.
It’s no wonder why decluttering and cleaning brings me to a mental place of joy, pleasure, and serenity. The process itself although is a ton of work, is actually fun for me too and the end result is incredibly rewarding. Not much trumps a clean home that smells of mint and eucalyptus. With a family of five (four plus a dog), obviously the hardworking is typically quickly ruined, but having dedicated spaces for belongings and knowing where things go yields mental clarity and decreases stress, and those benefits are longer-lasting.
I’m looking forward to dedicating the next six weeks to going through my home and following along in this challenge, and would encourage you to join us! Even if you’re reading this post later in the year, it is a process you can start at any time, so no excuses.
What area of your home do you think you’ll declutter first?