One of the hardest parts about being a blogger is exposing your vulnerabilities to the entire world, and mine are definitely exposed by leading a decluttering challenge.
Most of the organizing blogs that I have seen seem to be written by people who are naturally organized and on top of things. They have an endless amount of beautiful pictures of their homes and wonderful ideas to share, and while I wish that was my reality, the truth is I still struggle with clutter.
Just in case you think I’m exaggerating, here’s footage from my bedroom just a little over a month ago! ?
I started sharing my decluttering journey simply because it was something I was struggling with in my own life. I used it as a way to keep myself accountable and let others know they aren’t alone with their clutter issues.
I eventually started the Declutterathon decluttering challenge and facebook group in 2015, and I couldn’t be more thrilled (or shocked!!) by how many of you have joined me on this journey.
After a couple years hiatus and many requests, I decided at the end of 2017 that another Declutterathon would be a great way to start the new year. I shared the exciting news with the people on my newsletter as well as in the declutterathon facebook group, and spent the holidays mapping out the details.
I was going to have multiple new posts and videos each week to share my before and afters, and my house was finally going to be decluttered once and for all!
Then came the curve ball.
I found out I’m pregnant again! Yes… again!!
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you might be thinking, “Didn’t you just have a baby?”
Yes… yes, I did. We welcomed our fifth child in December of 2016. I spent most of 2017 in a haze of all things newborn related: endless diapers, breastfeeding around the clock, and sleep deprivation while simultaneously keeping the older four alive so as much as I missed it, blogging had to take a backseat to real life.
As our youngest got older and started sleeping through the night, I started to focus on other things. I joined weight watchers, got back to blogging, and decided that 2018 was going to be the year I really focused on myself for the first time in a long time. I wanted to whip both my body and house into shape, but you know what they say about making plans.
We found out that we’re expecting again just a couple days before Christmas, and while we are very excited, the news suddenly made the new year feel completely up in the air.
On one hand, I knew I probably wasn’t going to be able to tackle my house with the gusto originally intended thanks to morning sickness, exhaustion, and all the fun stuff associated with pregnancy. On the other hand, I didn’t want to disappoint all of the readers who were anxious to get started on a new decluttering challenge! I also didn’t want to give up on the idea of decluttering our home, especially now that a new little kid tornado will be arriving in the fall.
I decided to proceed according to my original plan, and, surprise surprise, I haven’t been able to keep up. I shared the video above on my YouTube channel, but I haven’t posted anything since. Ahh!!
I spent January and February feeling extremely sick and/or tired so not much progress was made. The good news is that I’m now in my second trimester and starting to feel better so things are finally starting to happen!
My progress hasn’t gone according to plan, but I can’t help but think that’s actually kind of a good thing.
I’ve never written this blog from the position of being an “organizing expert.” I’ve always been very honest (sometimes probably too much so!) that I’m right here in the clutter trenches with you so if you’ve fallen behind or felt discouraged, I hope you’ll feel better knowing that here I am, the creator of the decluttering challenge, and even I’m having trouble sticking to the schedule!
This is also great reminder of our true goal, which is to focus on progress not perfection. If you started the declutterathon excited only to find yourself burned out and exhausted, that’s okay! Do what you can with where you are. This is all we can ask of ourselves. The most important thing is that we don’t give up!
We deserve to live in homes that are free of clutter, beautifully decorated, and always ready to welcome guests. Our homes won’t be perfect tomorrow, but with some time and regular attention, they can look great before too long.
My husband and I have done a lot of work over the last couple of weeks, and I can’t wait to share those before and afters with you very soon!
How is your decluttering going? Have you stayed the course? Fallen off track? Finished?! I’d love to hear all about it.
Congratulations on the burgeoning new arrival! My decluttering got sidelined by an emergency new boiler (in sub zero temps) and a fall that broke my thigh bone! Still recovering from that one 🙁
Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry to hear that! I hope you feel better and recover quickly! You’ve definitely been hit with a lot lately. The clutter can definitely wait for you to heal and feel better. <3
Congrat , I am so happy may God be with you trough laugh and cry and tears of joy and in all that is plan by the creator
Thanks for sharing honestly. Of all the blogs I read and follow, I find yours the most encouraging because of your honest, encouraging posts. I have an 8 week old that requires treatment once a week 4 hours away at a Brisbane hospital. This requires our family to be away from home each week for a night. I started the challenge, knowing I would not keep up, but with it, your posts and the Facebook group, I have the motivation to keep plodding along. BTW: I am taking photos of my place and they would make you feel like your house was beautiful.
Thank you, Kassandra! That really means a lot to me! I’m so sorry to hear about your little one. It’s so hard when your kiddos have health issues, especially when they’re so young. It sounds like you started the challenge with a great mindset and realistic expectations, which is so important and helpful as we work through things. As for my house… I’ll just say there are certain spaces I haven’t shared yet for good reason. Ahhh!!! lol
I received much inspiration from places that women work . These beautiful self made artist studios are so functional. What I noticed most about the spaces is there use of vertical space. My favorite was a woman’s sewing room that could have been mismatched Furniture but she painted all of the pieces the same satin black and then proceeded to stack one on top of the other securing to the wall so perhaps a dressers at the bottom and a small book shelf above that and then above that may be what it originally been a couple of end tables and they made the most beautiful wall pieces and everything stored perfectly in them . making a type of island she took two dressers and put them back to back and put a single uniform top across them both and added bars, hooks, racks on the bare ends for even more useful space. I believe the most important thing i learned was a single color can unify even the strangest of furiture bedfellows making them look like an intended cohesive set or wall unit built in. Thus lessening the visual clutter. The other was preconsidered thought of “what do i need this room to do?” And then all decision were made to bring that function in to reality. The use of the verticle space was so brilliant, i am still in awe. These ideas an translate to any well used space?
Congratulations!! I have 6 children and a grown man who is an even bigger child – I’m glad I’m not the only one crazy enough to try to get the house tidy and myself in shape whilst dealing with the craziness that lots of children bring! (Although I’m sure you will do better than me – my youngest is now 9 and I’m still a work in progress!)
I appreciate your faith in me, but I’m not sure I deserve it! lol I feel like I’ve been trying to get my act together for a decade now with little progress to show for it. Eek! That’s okay, it’ll get better eventually. Having lots of kids definitely adds a few challenges though.
Looking forward to diving into decluttering! I have the Declutterathon workbook which will be so helpful. I noticed that the first week is Prep Week but I didn’t find any info on what that consists of. Would you mind elaborating?
I plan on starting with the Entryway this week since I have a new stove being delivered. Thank you for all of this great information!!!
Hi Esther, I shared info on the prep week in the post linked below, but I should definitely add it to the planner. That’s a great idea! Prep week post –> https://www.happyorganizedlife.com/2018-decluttering-challenge/
Congrats! I was the 6th kid in my family (of 7 siblings) so I am wishing you all the best for a smooth pregnancy & wonderful family readjustment Take Six! My 2018 plan, much like yours, was to get in better shape and to a better place. The regular goals to: eat better, move more, streamline the stuff, and organize what is left. Unlike your baby building self though, who is expanding your family dynamics, I am facing the shrinking family. We will have an empty nest soon so I keep plugging away, week by week, slowly but surely, towards progress not perfection. I want my daughter to know before she heads out on her own that all the extra stuff shouldn’t be running our lives. We should be spending more of our time & energy making new memories not constantly cleaning up after or stepping over all the old ones! So to that end, I am looking forward to whatever Before/Afters, videos, etc that you manage to share with us this coming year and if we can inspire you along the way on occasion, all the better!
Thank you!! I absolutely LOVE what you’ve written, “We should be spending more of our time & energy making new memories not constantly cleaning up after or stepping over all the old ones!” That is POWERFUL and so true!! Despite our growing family, we’re thinking about downsizing because we have a lot of space and too much stuff so there might be a lot of big changes coming. We’ll see!