Week 7 – Challenger’s Choice
It’s Week 7 of the 2022 Clever Girl Organizing Challenge! We’ve been making such good progress in defined spaces and categories. THIS week is a little different!
Unlike with the #scaryspace projects, which are multiple weeks, complex projects, this week is a little different. I have some “prompts” for you on a category that might make sense for you to focus on in your home this week, tackling something that might be different than what another Challenge member chooses, but still, worthy of your time and attention.
You can also, if you choose, use the week to get started on a future week assignment: MEMORABILIA or PAPERWORK. If those are the real hot buttons for you, consider this an invitation to start your work in that category.
Remember, next week is our second BREAK WEEK, so you can use it to take a breaks, catch up, or move ahead.
Don’t forget the two guidelines I’d love for you to keep in mind before you start your work:
1) Have the tools you need before you get started — trash bags, recycling, donate box, and “goes somewhere else” box (so you can set things aside and keep going, not be tempted to return things to a different space while you’re working).
2) Keep up on that BEFORE and AFTER picture taking! I see people saying “Shoot! I forgot to take a before picture” and then they know they’re missing out on expressing to everyone just how tremendous their transformation was. 🙂
THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT
So, what are the categories and spaces you might consider this week to tackle? Remember, you don’t need to do ALL of this! I want to give you ideas of where your time might be best spent, based on YOUR needs in YOUR space. Think about what you have, what you know you haven’t looked at in a while or what you know causes some strain on your storage systems. Most importantly, think of who you are, your current and foreseeable lifestyle, and what items just don’t align with that any more (if they ever did)!
While, in general, I want you to tidy up/declutter these spaces and get things back to their homes if they have them (like, the dirty socks on the floor next to the arm chair? Yeah, let’s deal with those), this week is a little more intentional with the analysis and decision making about things that, well, maybe you just don’t pay attention to anymore as they surround you.
This week, we’re talking about some categories that have their own size and space and can be broad and deep. They can be the kinds of categories we add to over time without editing or using up what we already had. They can be the kinds of spaces that are easy to overlook and ignore because they’re not in the way, or we don’t use them year round. Ultimately, take a look around YOUR house and see what candidate YOU have for a space or category that could use some attention!!
What are some example categories that fit here:
- Kids Toys/Games – this is the one week where the kid’s toys, games, dolls, puzzles, books, playrooms, etc gets full focus if this is on your list.
- Holiday Decor – really explore your bins of each holiday and do some weeding for the items you don’t love, use, or are in disrepair.
- Gift Wrap – wraps, bags, tissue paper, bows, tags — what is gift giving like in your life at this point? Does your supply match your usage? (For instance — got a lot of wedding and baby wrap, but that’s just not the phase of life your friends and family are in like they used to be?) Or are you *really* a bag person, but you’ve had some rolls forever, unused? Do you have some bags you’ve had a long time that you keep NOT selecting when you’re giving a gift?
- Greeting cards/stationery (unsent) – thank you notes, personal stationery, blank cards, specific event cards… If you’re running a small stash in your house, think about what you keep NOT choosing each time that event comes up. Think about how much writing you’re ACTUALLY doing, not just aspiring to do.
- Pet accessories and supplies – Keep adding toys and tools, but not letting go of the old ones? Time for an edit!
- The car – inside and the trunk – garbage, clothes, sporting goods, paperwork, returns and donations… you know there’s a lot in there that needs a “next step” process
- The cords and chargers – wherever you’re keeping them! Time for a real review on “what does this go to?” and “do we still need this?”
- Random storage closet you haven’t touched yet
- And anything else you KNOW is ready for your attention!!!
BTW – if you’re looking for these categories – Hobbies / Arts and Crafts / Sporting Goods and Exercise Equipment – They’re in our final week, but heck, start early if you know that’s the right answer for you!
Remember, you’re making decisions based on the value the items play to you in your current and foreseeable future and recognizing that anything else is probably clutter, and clutter is getting in your way of using your home the way you want to. This is why we’re doing this work; to cut down on the cost of clutter in our lives.
CHALLENGE LEVELS THIS WEEK:
Each week, we have 3 levels for you to engage in. Pick the one that feels like it will work with your time, energy, and needs for the week. You can always rally later in the week and do more! If you’re managing your time closely and can’t do a lot in one session, see what you can do in a 20-Minute Attack. Set a timer, stay focused, and see what you can accomplish in less time than it would take to watch a sitcom! And let us know what you path you’re on each week with the hashtag #tackleit and then the week we’re on, for example: #tackleit #week7
This week is a bit more unusual because I don’t know what’s going on in YOUR house to point you to where your time and energy needs to go. So, a bit differently this week:
All Aboard (This is the normal challenge level):
ADDRESS ONE WHOLE CATEGORY, PLUS EXITS!
MiniChallenge (for people with limited time or energy this week)
ADDRESS TWO WHOLE CATEGORIES, PLUS EXITS!
LevelUp Challenge (for people with more time, energy, or greater need):
ADDRESS THREE WHOLE CATEGORIES, PLUS EXITS!
WHY IS THIS SO HARD?
This week’s ‘Why is this so hard?” isn’t focused specifically on our decluttering category, but it’s an invitation to think a little bit about our habits in acquisition. We talk a lot in this Challenge about letting go, and about being truly thoughtful about what we own and why we own it.
But at the core of all of that is “How did it get here in the first place?” I want to walk through a few sources that we might all need to be more mindful of if curbing down the constant incoming flow of items is a critical part of helping to control the future clutter and stay organized. It’s important to us to tap into the “why” these sources might be so problematic for us, and not just the “what”.
BUYING – Our own shopping habits are likely the first and foremost source of items we’re discovering are making it to our discard piles right now. From food to clothes to “the cutest little pumpkin decoration I just found at Home Goods”, what comes in our home from need-based, impulse-buy, retail-therapy shopping is most of what comes our way. eCommerce ease (with growing ease-of-return options), scarcity-fear from a pandemic, concerns about supply chain issues are drivers of this, but for many people, it can also just be the dopamine hit that comes from finding the cute thing, scoring a bargain, or filling a hole created by something else in our lives. (PS – despite not paying for the items, I put “buy nothing” and “everything is free” group “shopping” in this category… you don’t have to pay for things to have a problem with acquisition that isn’t in check with your reality.)
FREEBIES – These are the irresistible swag items that come our way – party favors, free samples, conference booty, the logo pens, the scratch pad that came in the envelope with the charitable donation request, the branded gimmick that came with the thing we actually paid for (like the magnet to visually remind you to make future purchases from said vendor). “It was free” is its most compelling quality; had it been something you had to pay for, 95% of it never would have come home with you. When does this stuff become a problem?
- this is a source of stuff that typically ends up being considered clutter
- now it becomes OUR responsibility to dispose of it in a way we feel good about, and it’s often not recyclable
This is actually something that’s decreased a bit with covid — fewer in person parties with party favors, fewer trade shows and conferences — some of the giveaways have decreased. But be on the look out for when all those places are THRILLED to be back in person with you and give you the FREE STUFF you don’t need.
PASS ALONGS FROM WELL MEANING OTHERS – I’m not talking here about normal gifts from people, birthday, holidays, etc. I’m talking about hand-me-downs, castoffs, and other items that come our way from people who give with a “Here! I thought you could use this!” giving… well-intended, but, do you actually want it? I hear stories of these ALL the time:
- “I couldn’t say no. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings”
- “I know it meant a lot to them to try to give us something they thought we’d appreciate as much as they did“
- “Well, I actually did want one of these, and even though it’s old/broken/not the one I’d pick out for myself, I’m sure I can make it work.”
- “I know that the only way that ____ is going to get rid of things is if they know they are going to a good home, so I say yes because I know it supports their hard work!“
- “She’s so generous to keep thinking of my children and passing along her kids’ outgrown clothes, but they’re just not my child’s taste anymore, and I end up just donating them.”
- “It was so nice of them and it’s not something I want anymore, but now I feel guilty letting it go”
Not all pass-alongs from other people are bad or unwelcome. Some are amazing treasures when we receive them, and I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about all the stuff that ends up feeling like clutter, unwanted, a burden to repair, held onto because of guilt or some other negative feeling besides absolute joy AND gratitude (as opposed to guilt and gratitude, where gratitude is the sticky part).
Addressing these items is not only about battling the guilt and the concern about an appearance of lack of gratitude about the things you’ve already said yes to, but about finding new strategies to say NO before it comes int your home.
INHERITED/GIFTS – I’m not go to go into detail on this one since I talk about these categories a LOT but I’d be remiss in not listing this as an acquisition source. We don’t always have a say in whether or not they come our way, but if we think there is a problematic pipeline in the mix, it can be a scary scenario to try to face when trying to slow the pipeline.
The spirit of this one is mindfulness — what are we doing, directly or indirectly, that is driving our acquisition in a way that doesn’t serve us or proves later to be more of a negative than we imagined at the time we said “yes”.
Remember: You’re here because you made a choice to bring your head, heart, and body all in the same direction: to let go of things and have smoother systems in your home. If it was easy, you’d be done by now.
This might feel a little loosey-goosey because I’m not telling you exactly what to do. My hope in having a Challenger’s Choice week this far into the Challenge means that you’ve already focused on the obvious things and are ready for those other categories that you KNOW deserve some love, too. Can’t wait to hear what you’re choosing to focus on!
NEXT LIVESTREAM WITH KATHY
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – 8:00pm Eastern
SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
Week 1 – Jan 3: Kitchen: Food – Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer
Week 2 – Jan 10: Kitchen/Dining: What we use to prep, cook, serve, eat, store, and clean after eating!
Week 3 – Jan 17: Bath and Bed: Medicines, Toiletries, Cosmetics, Personal Items, etc.
Week 4 – Jan 24: BREAK – take a break, catch up, or sneak ahead
Week 5 – Jan 31: Clothes, shoes, accessories
Week 6 – Feb 7: Living / Family Room spaces
Week 7 – Feb 14: Kid stuff / Holiday Decor / Pet stuff (Choose Your Own Adventure)
Week 8 – Feb 21: BREAK – take a break, catch up, or sneak ahead
Week 9 – Feb 28: Memorabilia
Week 10 – Mar 7: Home Office/Papers
Week 11 – Mar 14: Hobbies / Arts and Crafts / Sporting Goods