What I Have Learned So Far From 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home


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I am just over 6 weeks into my goal of decluttering one area of my home for every single week of 2015. I am loving all the people who have joined in the challenge with me and are active over in the Snail Pacing Goal Achievers facebook group.

Not all the members of the group are working on decluttering as I made it open to anyone working on a goal in 2015, but most are and the support has been great.

6 things I have learned about decluttering since starting my year long journey to a simplified home

With so much of  the year ahead of me, I am surprised by all the project has taught me already.

6 Things 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home Has Taught Me So Far

1. Rooms seem much larger, brighter and cleaner when you have less stuff.

For about a good week after I finished decluttering the last area of the library, I couldn’t come down the staircase of our home without saying “wow I can’t believe how much bigger this room looks”.

I know it should be a no-brainer less stuff of course equals more space, but for some reason it shocked me just how much more space we would gain.

2. It is quicker to pick up a room when it is clutter free.

Before decluttering the library I use to spend at least 10 minutes a day tidying it up  and then throw my hands up and say “good enough for the friends I keep” and moved on to tidying up another room .  After decluttering  I can clean up the whole room including straightening the shelves of the built in bookcase in 2 to 3 minutes tops.

3. Decluttering doesn’t really take that long.

Before I took the time to break down every inch of our home into 52 different areas, I was overwhelmed by the idea of a full house declutter. I would read books swearing a whole house declutter job could be done in a weekend and feel mentally frozen by that revelation. “Where on earth do I start?”

Having a plan and the knowledge that this week I just have to concentrate on this area, has really help me see that decluttering doesn’t take as long as you might think. All the projects I have done so far have taken me under an hour with some taking less than 30 minutes.

Will I ever take on a full house top to bottom declutter project? Nope, I did it once when we moved from British Columbia to Indiana and although it worked great to get our house sold much faster than expected it is overwhelming and exhausting. I would only recommend it to those wishing to get their homes ready for realtor showings.

6 weeks in and I am thinking, this 52 week to a simplified home project is going to be a year after year goal. I much prefer doing things at a snail pacing rate.

4. A great decluttering session starts with a good decluttering routine.

A few weeks in I got a good decluttering routine going. It goes like this

  1. Assess the area and decide the best way to attack it (for example do I empty the area out all at once or one drawer or box at a time)
  2. Grab the recycle bin, a garbage bag, a box for giveaways and a box for things that go else where.
  3. Clear out area (as much as I am doing at one time)
  4. Clean cleared area
  5. Go through stuff, recycling, giving away and placing items in other places box.
  6. Put what is left back in area.
  7. Put recycling and trash away, put things to give away in my husbands truck (more on this in the next point)
  8. Finally take the box of stuff that belongs elsewhere and put the contents away.
  9. Step back and take in the progress I made.

The hardest part is step 8 and 9, by then I just want to admire my decluttered space, but I force myself to deal with the items no longer going in the space first.

5. Get rid of the giveaway box right away.

If you let the giveaway box sit in your home too long, you or the kids, or you hubby will become tempted to take the item out because “surely you could use it some where” or “well my aunt so and so did give it to me” or……….(put in your excuse here).

The longer the box sits there the more excuses that you create to keep it.Since I am the worst one at this in our home, I am trying to be very disciplined about marching the giveaway box right to my husband’s truck the first minute he is home, and having him drop it off so I can’t try and sneak things out of the pile before I place it in the drop off box at the thrift store.

6. Decluttering is contagious.

Since I started this project I am noticing that my cleaning husband who usually just cleans around clutter is actually going through piles and dealing with the items in them. He has taken 2 or 3 boxes worth of stuff to the thrift store that he found while tidying up that he figured we no longer needed. He did ask me to check the boxes to make sure he wasn’t giving away something I wanted to keep, and I can honestly to say, I didn’t keep a thing out of those boxes.

I am loving this as it means less work for me as the year goes on.

If you have been joining along what have you learned so far about decluttering?

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable plan (small)

Grab a free plan and join along!

Not Sure Where To Find The Time To Declutter Your Home

Does the day to day overwhelm you to the point where you just can’t even imagine taking time to declutter the mess? If so you benefit from taking Crystal Paine’s course Make Over Your Mornings.

I know it sounds like I want to add one more thing to your already crowded day but by devoting just 15 minutes a day for 14 days and then applying what you learned, you will see a huge improvement in how less stressed you feel. The small financial and time investment you make in Make Over Your Mornings will pay back in ten fold each and every day for the rest of your life.

Crystal isn’t going to tell you how early to get up – that is up to you. Crystal instead in her Make Over Your Morning course shows you how to prioritize your day in such a way that you start having room in your day to meet your goals and pursue your dreams.

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  1. This post couldn’t have come at a better time! I am an organized person by nature, but the past 6 months have been filled with buying a home and planning a wedding and I’m embarrassed to say that there are still 4 boxes lurking in my basement that haven’t been unpacked since we moved in this August! Definitely time to simplify- I will be following the 40 bags in 40 days challenge to cut down on clutter, but will definitely be checking back with you to get some inspiration for simplifying! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Oh just what I needed. I’ve been itching to de litter and simplify my little home. Thank you for the tips.

  3. This was the perfect article to read early on a Monday morning. As a Virgo, I am definitely a “neat freak,” and I make a conscious effort to declutter (although it is a bit tricky with a messy husband and two little boys). Tweeting this!

    • My creative side always gets in the way of keeping things simplified so for me I have to schedule decluttering or I will totally forget about it until it is way out of control. Which is what happened in 2014, and why I made a step by step plan for 2015.

  4. That it is contagious is my favorite part! Time to declutter again in my house. I let it get away from me.

  5. The “rooms seem bigger” thing is music to my ears. I have set my sights on our guest room next, in part because it seems smaller than it needs to be, with all of our junk.

    • Bigger room is my favorite part too! as our home is broken into many small rooms and with winter right now they seem even smaller.

  6. I always look forward to posts! You are so right about all these points!! Now, where to start?!

  7. As soon as I write this I am going to Facebook and becoming a snail! I am chipping away, too. I actually challenged myself to a 6-week clutter-buster and this week will be week 6. I agree with all of your lessons, though I wish my cleaning husband caught the declutter bug a bit more easily. Thanks for sharing, Victoria!

  8. I find #1 to be so true. I just got done with 17 days of mostly on the sofa after surgery. My husband did great with the basics but the house got super cluttered. Now that I’m back up and about, the house seems so much bigger.

    (visiting from the Mom 2 Mom link-up)

  9. You offer some great ideas to decluttering, and I agree, it is so much easier to keep a decluttered home tidy. I am working at a snail pace to declutter and I find it to be the most relaxed way to do it. Just one step at a time!

    • Yes it is more relaxing to focus on one step at a time. I also find it becomes a habit this way and hopefully that habit will stick with me and I won’t end up with as many piles as I started this year with every again.

  10. Great tips!

    Please fix the spelling error in step 4! I think you meant assess (with 2 s’s). LOL! Made me laugh!

    Our giveaway box stays in my husband’s trunk. He goes to the YMCA 3 days a week and Goodwill is nearby. I just tell him I put things in and they are gone promptly!

  11. Hi Victoria,

    I am with you on this “decluttering is a process” thing. My husband and I have been slowly decluttering for almost a year now, attacking a different part of our (fairly small) two-bedroom townhouse when we start to feel overwhelmed by that area. It feels so good to purge all of the stuff we never use! I love being able to pick up the house in just a few minutes, leaving my time for other, more worthwhile activities. I also love your name — snail-pace is realistic and deliberate and seems like the best way to make a lasting change! Even though it’s hard sometimes not to just jump in full-force. Thanks again for all of your awesome insights!

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