Do you feel like your house is cluttered, but you have no idea where to start? Then this organization challenge might be just the thing.
I was so overwhelmed with my house, I totally get it. And I kept going through these huge organization overhauls, only to end up being half done, with a giant Goodwill box that never makes it to Goodwill—or a bin of things I posted in some for sale group on Facebook….and never really checked up on it to see if someone was interested (#oops).
Life just gets busy–and some huge organization overhaul just isn’t reasonable for me.
But I’ve found an answer, and it is working.
What Is the Organization Challenge?
This organization challenge is going to help you organize your home, one step at a time. It’s not some big project that takes over your weekend. This method is in simple, bite-size pieces that have a significant impact on your home.
Sounds pretty sweet, right?
For the next few weeks, we’re going to go through this journey together—room by room. I’ll break down what to do, and you’ll join me in doing it. How does that sound? I’m so pumped!!! Be sure to follow my Facebook page where I’ll be posting my own updates doing the challenge.
“Clutter is often a reflection of our inner selves. If we feel disorganized, out of sorts, depressed, stressed out or insecure, it shows up in the way we manage our daily lives.” –
Let’s first talk supplies–I like to keep it simple, so here’s what I have:
- 1 bin for donate
- 1 bin for sell
- 1 bag for trash
- 1 bin for unfinished business
- Container of Clorox wipes (or a rag with cleaner)
Are you ready for this first assignment in our organization challenge? We’re going to start out in the Kitchen. It’s normally the heart of the home, and it’s the room that usually contains a lot of clutter!
We’re going to do this systematically, starting in the lower cabinets, then moving on to other areas. We go from the left of the kitchen, and move towards the right. So, for example, I start on my left lower cabinet and make my way across the kitchen until I hit the last cabinet. You use this same system for all drawers, shelves, & cabinets. The order of what we’ll tackle looks like this:
- Lower Cabinets
- Upper Cabinets
The Organization Challenge Interval System
Before you start pulling everything out of your cabinets, hold the fort! We are doing a simple system. We’ll be working in 10-minute intervals. Now you can do as many 10-minute intervals in a day, BUT the rules are simple, between each interval, things get cleaned up! That keeps you from having your entire kitchen sprawled out all over the counters & you standing there frantic because you don’t have enough time to clean it all up!
The interval looks like this:
5 Minutes Remove Items & Clean
5 Minutes Put Things You’ll Use Back & Clear Organization Space
5 Minutes – Remove Items & Clean
First, set a timer for 5 minutes (this is important!!!). During the first 5 minutes, we will pull everything out of that one particular cabinet or drawer and clean the space.
I personally like the Clorox wipes for that, it just does a good job! In some instances, I like to use my small hand-held vacuum for crumbs, but when I’ve been without it, the wipes work fine. I wipe everything down, even the front of the cabinets (might as well, while I’m there!).
If the timer goes off, and not everything is out, then spend the next 5 minutes putting everything in an empty bin—don’t worry, we WILL tackle it tomorrow! Skip the cleaning step & spend the remaining 5 minutes emptying contents into a bin.
But let’s say you got everything in that cabinet emptied out, now it’s time for the next step
5 Minutes – Put Things You’ll Use Back and Clear Organization Space
Ooooooh this could be tough for you. Do you belong on Hoarders? As you pick up each item & put it back into place, take a moment…..is this something you’ve used in the last year? Do you really need 5 of these? (why on earth did I have 3 ice cream scoops?!?!). If you don’t need it, pop it into a donate or sell bin. But if you do use it, put it back into place.
If that timer goes off, and not everything is back in place, then put it in your bin that you have for unfinished business (if you anticipate that a task WILL take longer than 5 minutes, just put the items directly into the unfinished business bin when taking them out of the cabinet). You’ll pick this up again tomorrow.
Be sure you have time in this 5 minutes to clean your space. This is where you’ll avoid your kitchen looking like a disaster when you’re done. So if you pulled out Aunt Ida’s 50 year old Gravy Boat—it needs to be put back, even if it’s in your unfinished business bin for now (wrap that sucker in newspaper or something so it doesn’t break!). But nothing should be laying out on the counter that wasn’t there when you started.
If you’re like me—you get geeky-giddy doing this activity. So after one interval, sometimes I keep going and do another. But I clean up between every.single.interval. That way, when life will inevitably distract me, I’m not leaving a mess.
Whether you do another interval right away, or hours later, or maybe just tomorrow—the next time you do a 10-minute interval, you pick up where you left off. Do you still have things to take out of the drawer/cabinet? If so, keep taking them out. Did you still need to clean? Ok–have at it! Do you need to start putting things back from that unfinished bin? Awesome, let’s do this! Or maybe you got it all done & can move on to the next cabinet—saweet! Doesn’t that feel great?
Don’t feel like you need to tackle the entire kitchen this week–I expect this will take us a few weeks. It took me 1 week just to do the lower cabinets & drawers. But that’s ok! We will move steadily. Remember—the tortoise won the race, not the hare!
Since this is something you want to maintain, the habit aspect of this organization challenge is KEY. You want to be a part of your daily routine so that it becomes a habit. For example, I personally do it while the kids do homework. That way, I’m present for when they have questions as they sit at the table, but yet I’m actively doing something. Also, since they have to do homework on weekdays, it is very easy for me to tack on this habit (I don’t do this on the weekends unless I want to).
Snag A Checklist
We are going to be starting with the kitchen for now, so here’s a checklist you can download to get you through it!
Get the Checklist
Sign Up Here to Get Our Checklist
And finally–want some extra reading? The system for this organization challenge is inspired by an amazing book that I picked up, 10-Minute Declutter: The Stress-Free Habit for Simplifying Your Home –I highly recommend you grab a copy of it. The ebook is pretty affordable–they go into some great detail that I won’t be covering in here.
Since I like things super simple, this organization challenge is a slight adjustment from their method. This method is so incredibly doable–this coming from someone who gets overwhelmed very easily.