Today we are putting aside all of our pride and showing you our garage:
We know. Ridiculously messy, right?
Our nine-year-old son said, “It’s really sad that you teach people how to get organized, but our garage looks like that.”
(Funny, but true.)
It wasn’t that we wanted the garage to be a mess. It’s just that we needed to prioritize other things.
And you get that, I’m sure.
Well, over the past couple of weeks, we got the whole left side of the garage cleared out (and gave away that train table and all the stuff on it).
And we’ve been decluttering every other room as part of our goal to declutter the whole house in one month.
Whether this is a project you’re interested in doing now–or at some time in the future, we thought you might like to come behind the scenes with us to hear what’s working (and what’s not!).
Alia (our 17-year-old daughter) joined me in this brand new episode of LearnDoBecome Radio, and we’d love to share it with you!
Here’s what you’ll find in the podcast:
PART ONE [00:00 – 09:30]
My intro—where I open my heart, give you an update on things around here, and explain how decluttering is about WAY more than just “getting organized.” The forward momentum is spilling over into every other area of my life, and it’s exciting–and scary. (You can totally skip this part if you just want to get to the “meat” of the podcast.)
PART TWO [09:30 – 17:04]
Alia and I share the big picture of this project:
- How we’ve been kind of decluttering over the past six months.
- How Alia has been cleaning her own room and deciding what to keep and what to throw away.
- How we created the general plan.
This is the general plan we are executing:
(a) Write down all the rooms you need to declutter—in bite-sized sections.
(b) Calendar when you’re going to do them—which order, which days? (Kids will be gone at summer camps for part of the month, so I’ll save the rooms that don’t need their input for those days…) I wrote the dates on that “scribble list” above and then put the rooms on my actual calendar when the dates were decided.
(c) Start with the first space you selected! For example, I put “Garage” on Saturday and Monday’s calendar. Then I built time for that into my Saturday when I “Created My Day.” Make the room requirements small enough to fit into a busy schedule…something like 30 minutes to an hour a day. That’s totally doable!
PART THREE [17:04 – 34:45]
This is where we share the nine things we did when we cleaned out our garage.
- Set the timer for one hour.
- Set a goal to do JUST the right-center of the garage–not the stuff on the left or along the walls yet. Our goal was to get rid of stuff–not to rearrange it. We started a giveaway pile and brought out the recycle bin and a big trash can.
- Brought in helpers (our daughters). They only groaned a tiny bit. And they disappeared once. But it turned out pretty well!
- Consolidated. We grouped like items, tried to save space, and asked, “Is this where I would go to find this item?”
- Worked through the emotional attachment. Asked, “Do I actually use this right now? Am I going to use it enough in the future to justify keeping it? Would I buy it again? Does it spark joy? Is there someone who would actually miss it if it were gone?” Our train table, for example, was SO hard to give away, but it now resides happily in the nursery at our church building.
- Identified PROJECTS inside the clutter (like fixing my bike or creating a new emergency kit for the car).
- Cleaned, swept, and wiped the walls. It felt SO great.
- Celebrated! (We went to dinner together and enjoyed a fun girls’ night.)
PART FOUR [34:45 – 37:28]
This is where we share our closing ideas and Alia’s final advice for involving your children in the process. Plus, we’ll extend an invitation to YOU to join us in this “Decluttering Challenge.”
If you’d like to take part, simply identify the room or rooms you’d like to declutter in the next month and then let us know in the Comments section what you’re working on this week!
We know you have big goals and full lives. And we know that most of the time, life doesn’t go as planned. But we hope that these little ideas and honest peeks into our lives will help strengthen your family and make things just a little easier for you.
Thanks so much for being with us on this journey!
April (and Eric)