My Simple “Clear the Clutter Before Christmas” Challenge

posted by Andrea | 12/15/2012

In my experience helping many different people to simplify and organize their homes and lives — I’ve found that the two months AFTER Christmas are my busiest two months of the year.

Everyone “needs” me to come and help them pare down, get organized, decluttered, and simplified after a crazy-busy holiday season — taking in WAY more than they sent out (and no, I’m not just talking about calories!)

Thankfully, I love weeding through their “junk” and encouraging {a.k.a forcing} them to purge anything they don’t need, use, love, or want. However, since I can’t physically help all of you, I’d just like to offer a few words of encouragement… and a very simple “Clear the Clutter Before Christmas” challenge!

I know you’re SO busy doing a million other things, however, I challenge you to set a timer for at least 15 minutes every day from now through Christmas Eve (10 days total). Use that 15 minutes to race through your bedroom, your closet, your pantry, your toy room, your DVDs, your purse, your receipts, or any any other clutter-filled area in your home. Make a trash pile and a giveaway pile — and then dump the trash and bring the giveaway items away on Christmas Eve.

Then go home, take a deep breath, and enjoy a lighter, less cluttered home for Christmas (until you open all your gifts, at least!)

If you have children, I’d highly encourage you to involve them in the process as well. Explain that they already have SO many toys/books/clothes/games/movies/etc. and in order to make room for new Christmas gifts, they’ll need to get rid of some of the things they no longer use.

If you do at least 15 minutes every day for the next 10 days, you’ll have completed 2 hours and 30 minutes of organizing — and I think you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish in that amount of time. Your home will not be perfect, you will still have more to do, but it will be better. Lighter. Less Cluttered.

You’ll have more room to breathe… and more room for new gifts!

YOU can do this!

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32 comments

  1. JoAnn C.

    12/15/2012

    Well, Andrea, since you can’t “physcially” help all of us maybe someone, (read: you), might consider writting a book on de-cluttering and organization. Someday. Soon. Hint. Hint. ; )

    [Reply]

  2. Johnna

    12/15/2012

    I’m very disappointed that you are blogging after yesterday’s tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary. Possibly show a little humility like other bloggers and go silent out of respect.

    You’ve lost me as a reader, as well as my little circle who used to read your posts.

    [Reply]

    Michelle Reply:

    Johnna,

    While I understand your position, at least give Andrea the benefit of the doubt. Remember that many bloggers schedule their posts well in advance and are automatically loaded, etc.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Michelle,
    I do have all my posts scheduled in advance and this one was scheduled WELL before I knew of yesterday’s tragic events.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Sorry to disappoint you Johnna — but as Michelle mentioned, my posts are all scheduled at least a week in advance. Also, I’m not really sure how me not blogging would show any more or less respect for those involved in the tragic shooting.

    There is absolutely nothing I can do from West Michigan except pray — so whether I blog or not, is irrelevant. If anything, I can hope that an encouraging/motivational post about the upcoming holidays might take people’s minds off yesterday’s awful events just for a few minutes.

    This is my job, and while I understand your view-point, I also can’t imagine you would criticize others who work outside of the home for doing their job today — even under such horrible circumstances.

    [Reply]

    Deb Reply:

    A LOT of bloggers “blogged” about not blogging or keeping silent……..Pick your critics. I love your blog and blogging certainly will not change the circumstances. We can pray and we can choose to do good and be kind……..;)

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    Jen Reply:

    I completely disagree with you. Aside from the point that’s already been made about posts being scheduled in advance, as Andrea said, this is her JOB. Did you go to your local grocery store today and shame them for not closing?

    You are free of course to think whatever you want, but I think you’re really out of line here. I welcomed seeing a new post to give my mind a break from the onslaught of (often wrongly reported) information.

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    Pamela Reply:

    Johnna, you’re way out of line. You seem to have a very narrow view of what it means to show respect. Please take your own advice: keep silent. Your criticism is not needed, especially at this moment in time.

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    Michele Reply:

    Well, Johnna, you were obviously reading blogs that day. I fail to see how that was any more “respectful” of the events. Besides, as a mother of little ones in the very same age group as those little angels, I found myself unable to watch any more news or read any more news stories about that horrendous event. Sometimes we need to change our focus, take a deep breath, and get our minds off of tragedy.

    By the way, I am sure that you would absolutely hate me. My daughter’s fifth birthday party was Sunday. I did not cancel it. I spent Saturday making a Finding Nemo cake for her, as I cried on several occasions thinking of 20 little angels who would never again have a birthday, and 20 moms who would never again fret over a lopsided cake. The cake was beautiful (and crooked), everyone had a good time, and we all hugged our kids a little tighter. For those who survive, life must go on.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you for this story/comment. It is beautiful and heartbreaking.

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    Robin Reply:

    I’m in agreement, Johnna what gives you the right to criticize? Shame on you.

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  3. Jennifer

    12/15/2012

    Andrea–

    Keep the awesome tips coming! We can all use something positive/beneficial right about now. I am deeply saddened by the tragedy that happened yesterday, but our lives do not stop and shouldn’t stop due to a monster’s cruel and unimaginable acts of violence.

    Thank you for what you do!

    Jennifer

    [Reply]

  4. Sandy

    12/15/2012

    I find that de cluttering before Christmas (and before I really start shopping) makes it so much easier to keep Christmas gifting under control when you realize that most of the things you buy are just clutter that no one really needs. We are starting a tradition of traveling this Christmas and providing experiences and memories instead of trying to give enough gifts to make Christmas present opening interesting.

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  5. Sandy

    12/15/2012

    I am totally flabbergasted that some readers think that the world revolves around bloggers and those who read and comment. Was anyone criticized because they did not leave work yesterday and immediately go home to mourn when they heard the news? How is that different from continuing to function in the on-line working world. Is it ironic that Andrea opened her email or looked at her blog roll this morning instead of turning off her computer as an act of respect? Why in the world would she and her “circle” expect you to stop doing your job?

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  6. Sandy

    12/15/2012

    Great post!
    I try taking 10 minutes or less, periodically/daily, to find 10 things to donate or throw away. I create my pile for the thrift store and after a week or two, I deliver them a pretty good load.
    I know by taking these small bites, the huge task of purging ‘stuff’ is more manageable.

    J’s comment disappoints me. And while I, too, am praying for those affected by the horror in CT, my life goes on. I am caring for a friend in hospice, I need to work, prepare music for church, prepare my Sunday school lesson, etc. We each grieve in our own way and whether you pre-post your blog or write it yesterday in no way signals your ‘care’ about the horrible events of evil humans.

    I think you encourage us to live fully and not be so consumed with ‘stuff’. That is a wonderful positive contribution to many.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for your thoughts and input Sandy — and I LOVE your 10-minutes to find 10 items idea. Such a “do-able” goal!

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  7. Pyper

    12/15/2012

    Andrea – what an awesome idea! And I am up to the challenge…I hope. But I plan to try & give at least 15 minutes each day to decluttering. I hope to get my kids to do it too. They have school next week, but I think we can manage it! Thanks for a great suggestion.

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  8. Ivy

    12/15/2012

    Andrea-
    Thank you so much for the challenge! I will be doing my de cluttering this week as I am off for the next 6 days.

    I for one truly enjoy seeing your posts in my email box. They always give me positive uplifting
    ideas. We are all blessed to have found you and for your help whether it is online or in person! Please don’t let someone else’s negativity get to you.

    Lot’s of Love

    Ivy

    [Reply]

  9. Julie

    12/15/2012

    Great idea! I am doing this! Thank you!!

    [Reply]

  10. Nicki

    12/15/2012

    I really enjoy your posts, Andrea. I was already planning several donation runs (the kids will donate some unused/unplayed with toys to a local organization; I will donate clothing; and I will donate food and toiletries from couponing to local shelters). I will take the 15 minutes decluttering challenge and see what else I can clear before Christmas. Great idea!

    Also, I really enjoyed coming to your blog today to read something uplifting and get away from reading all the tragic news about yesterday’s events. Keep up the great work! :)

    Nicki

    [Reply]

  11. Natalia

    12/15/2012

    This is a wonderful challenge! I am up for it and I will also add another 15 minutes specifically for my office. (I might end up spending several increments of 15 minutes in my office…And that would be awesome!)

    Thank you for helping us enjoy our lives with our loved ones in beautiful simplicity & harmony, with cluter-free homes & organized lives. Thank you for teaching us how to create valuable memories and to treasure what’s important in life, giving up on the rest…

    [Reply]

  12. Darlene

    12/15/2012

    I for one would like to thank you for the distraction. I was at work when I learned of the tragedy and I still had to continue to do my job in order to feed my family, why should you be required to stop doing yours? I’m grateful that you gave me something else to focus on when I’m home other than dwelling on how tragedy can strike without warning. As for your reader and “her little circle”, I’m curious as to how she could spare the time to read your blog and castigate you, but sh expects you to stop blogging altogether. J, maybe you should have shown your “respect” by not reading organizing blogs ????

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  13. Lisa

    12/16/2012

    I can’t believe someone ad the nerve to say that that is so disrespectful all we can do is pray. And we all have to do things to keep our mind off it. So with that being said mind your own business we love this site.

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  14. barb

    12/16/2012

    dear andrea, i used to love your site…before it got “cluttered” with advertisements. now your wonderful site is very difficult to read. pop ups, moving things, blasting my view and vying for my attention.
    i love the simplicity of great blogs before they get too popular.
    thanks for hearing me.
    barb

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Barb, I shouldn’t have any “pop ups” on my blog! What type of pop-ups did you notice? And are you sure it wasn’t something on your computer? Also, there are never ads within the post content — just on the top and in the sidebar, so they really shouldn’t affect your ability to read the post text.

    Please remember that this is my job and it’s how I make a living… so ads are how I’m able to continue to provide all my information completely FREE for readers like you. I spend many, many hours each week managing my blog, and I definitely can’t afford to work that much with no pay :)

    If you’d like to see less ads, you may either subscribe to my blog via email (and then you just get the images and text emailed to you each day) or you may donate a small amount to help support Simple Organized Living!

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    barb Reply:

    thanks andrea.
    i am not at my home computer for awhile and will reread your thots and instructions when i return home in the new year.
    kindly, barb

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    Tara Reply:

    Barb, you need to adjust your settings on your web browser. Your current settings are allowing spyware and pop ups to invade your browsing. I don’t see a single ad on this blog. Only links to Andrea’s most popular blog along the right hand side.

    If you’re seeing ads popping into your window, only you can solve that problem. If you don’t know how, please ask someone who has experience with changing those settings or you can google “how to block popups on (enter your browser here – Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, etc.)” and follow the instructions. You may also need to contact your internet service provider.

    I had trouble with crazy invasive pop-ups and when we talked to our provider they told us there was a setting they could change for us to help prevent them. I also discovered Google Chrome was particularly bad with pop-ups for me and began using a different web browser with good success.

    I hope you come back to see these responses as it’s a really good idea to make your browsing more secure. Those pop-ups can lead to viruses and eventual system failure.

    [Reply]

    barb Reply:

    dear tara: i am not at my home computer for awhile and will reread your thots and instructions when i return home in the new year.
    kindly, barb

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  15. Jenny

    12/17/2012

    Andrea,
    Thanks for sharing these tips! Very helpful and encouraging. I hope for much success in the future as you encourage all of us in financial wisdom by living a simple cluttered free life! I know as I put your tips in practice peace comes into my life more and more!!!
    Thanks again!

    [Reply]

  16. Candis

    12/17/2012

    Well I am late on reading this post – got me 2nd job (part time) to help with getting out of debt. I only bought the planner that you have from L. Invite which was pricey but I must say I do love AND I will be adding a timer to this list. I have tried MANY MANY times in the past to get my life under control and organized but failed HOWEVER with your blog as a tool I believe in 2013 – I CAN DO IT!!! You will never know how much I appreicate the work you do. Much love and blessings to you and your family :-)

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  17. Liz E.

    12/17/2012

    Andrea–

    I don’t like to get into debates in blog comments, but I just really felt like I needed to post something: you are awesome. It amazes me every time I read another post on your blog at the amount of “life” you are able to accomplish while still having a life, contributing (yes monetarily but more so of your time and your love) to your family and juggling the 101 other things we all have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. That you didn’t cancel a scheduled post in light of a tragedy such as what happened in Newton should not be a negative reflection on you and I sincerely hope you don’t take such attacks personally. It is unfortunate that there are people in this world who would take time out of their day to put someone else down in such a manner. I don’t know you beyond the persona you have made for yourself on this blog, but I have no doubt in my mind that you were heartbroken to hear the news and probably held Nora extra tight for a little longer than normal. I doubt there are many in our nation who haven’t heard at least a snippet of the news by now, and the best anyone can do at the moment for all those affected is to pray.

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  18. Evelyn @ Smallish

    12/18/2012

    Great post, Andrea! I’ve been doing some pre-Christmas purging and organizing myself, primarily focusing on five oft-gifted areas. So for those of us that are taking you up on your challenge of 15 minutes of cleaning over the next several days, here’s some more encouragement to keep the organizing going! http://www.smallishblog.com/2012/12/17/a-pre-christmas-purge/

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