Hello! I just want to thank you for signing up to join in on this year’s Challenge. This is the 9th time I’ve offered this, and I’m thrilled to be able to bring organization to the lives of so many people as we start fresh for a new year!
TWO IMPORTANT ACTIONS RIGHT NOW:
1) Be sure to head here to sign up for the Facebook Group specifically for the 2022 Challenge Members. People have begun to introduce themselves, so hop on in and join in that activity! Catch up on the posts that are already in there, and start a new one to introduce yourself! You’ll see some things listed under “Guides”, too. These will be a bit of an orientation to the group and The Challenge. Dive in whenever you like!
2) Mark your calendar for Sunday, January 2nd, at 8pm Eastern, where I’ll be hosting a Facebook Live inside the newsfeed of the Facebook Group with a bit of an orientation to The Challenge. If you can’t make it, that’s okay! It will be recorded and available for you to watch on demand.
This email goes over a lot of important-to-know points about The Challenge. There is a lot here, so take it all in, and never hesitate to reach out to me to ask questions!
What is The CGO Challenge All About?
The Challenge is based around a few key principles of how I work with people every day as a Certified Professional Organizer®. You probably already know these things and are here because you want your habits to match those principles, and need an investment of your time and energy to get you there.
1) Decluttering is not the same as organizing, but for most people, it is exactly how the process starts, and we’re going to do a lot of both. Clutter is anything that gets in the way of using and enjoying your space the way you want, when you want. Clutter comes in lots of different forms. We could probably ALL use less of THINGS, even if the item once had more value in your life, or if you think you might need it someday. My goal is always to help people live in the present, and sometimes, our things hold us in the past or in a hypothetical future.
2) Getting Organized is one thing. BEING Organized relies on ongoing systems and maintenance and paying attention to how you live in your space. The goal here isn’t to get rid of everything. It’s to make sure the life you live in your home is the one you most want to be living, and you’re able to remove the things that stand in your way.
3) Your home is (likely) your most important investment. How you use the space matters, both psychologically and financially. (Extreme example: If your house is “full” and you get a storage unit, that’s an easy way to see you might not be using your investment wisely.)
4) Everything should have a home. This is kind of the “golden rule” of organizing. Part of having good habits and good routines that you and everyone else in your home can follow involves making sure that items have homes, and people know where those homes are.
5) Often, the challenges you face in getting rid of things or holding onto things that don’t serve you anymore have NOTHING to do with the item itself, but the emotional connection you have to the item — how you acquired it, why you’ve been holding onto it, how you might feel if you thought about living without it. This is something we all deal with, and this process is probably going to force you to face it every once in a while. Ask questions, be patient, but know that this is an important part of the journey.
6) You can get a lot done in a short amount of time when you focus and you limit your scope. This Challenge will take into account that some weeks we just don’t have the time or energy to do a ton.
7) Organizing and decluttering can be hard work and takes time. Projects can look worse when you’re in the middle of them, and look and feel worse than they did when you started. Be patient and kind to yourself and remember — it took you a LONG TIME to get this way… it’s not going to change overnight, but it IS going to change with focus, dedication, and learning more about what YOUR habits are, what gets in YOUR way, and how to solve those challenges.
Organizing and decluttering can be VERY LIBERATING! You’re here because you want to be HAPPIER in your home and in your life. It’s going to take work, but the payoff is the best!
What’s this Challenge Going to Look Like??
Our Challenge officially starts on Monday, January 3rd, and I want to give you a SNEAK PEEK at this year’s Challenge and some key things to know:
– Everyone comes into The Challenge with different goals, energy, support, and time. I hope that you will participate in some way, every week, but you’ll have choices on how to dia-up or dial-down your efforts this week. I don’t want anyone burning out after Week 3 and ghosting The Challenge!
– Some people are up for following the 11-week plan of assignments. Other people have a bigger plan in mind. Pay attention to “Project: #ScarySpace” messages for the people who want to use this structure to help them get focused on one of those scary spaces in their homes — attic, basement, garage, spare room, organize photos, edit memorabilia, etc. These are the kinds of spaces or categories that probably take several weeks or more to tackle. Many Returning Challengers are ready for more this year!
– Each week, we’re going to be diving into a spot or category, making some decisions on what to let go of, what to keep, and how to organize what we’re keeping. The goal each week is a simple one:
- Assess the space, stuff, and systems
- Review what we need
- Let go of what we don’t
- Organize what remains
This is the rough outline for what we’ll be doing together, though the order may vary (if you are following along with the Challenge “as is”):
– Kitchen/Dining – food, dishes, utensils, serving pieces, etc. (We always start with the Kitchen!!)
– Bed, Bath, and Beyond – Linens, HABA (Health and Beauty Aids), and Medicine
– Clothes/Shoes – Yours or someone else’s!
– Living Spaces – Your living / family / play rooms often are homes to lots of categories! Entertainment, Media, Books, Games, Toys, Electronics, etc…
– Holiday Decor and accessories – NEW THIS CHALLENGE!!
– Kid’s Stuff
– Pet Stuff
– Home Office / Command Center
– Hobbies / Arts and Crafts / Sporting Goods
Let’s Walk Through A Typical Week:
Each week, we’ll have a bit of a fixed schedule, so you know what to expect and how to plan your week:
Message Monday: Each week, on Monday morning, you’ll get an email that looks like this one, outlining the week’s challenge.
Tackle it Tuesday: In the Facebook Group, you’ll get a prompt to ask what you’re planning on tackling this week, what you’re worried about or wondering about, and to share some “before” photos of your project. Before and After photos are *always* one of the favorite parts of the Challenge for members (but are not required)!
#ScarySpace Thursday: We’re going to give this important work some real focus this year for those who are ready to take on a complex, multi-week project. If you ARE taking on a #Scaryspace this year, this is the day where you’ll share your intentions, progress, challenges, and successes! For everyone else, help support, troubleshoot/ brainstorm, and cheer on the other Challengers in their big projects.
Just for Fun Friday: I’ll share some interesting-but-not-critical things to think about in the organizing and productivity world in the Facebook Group.
Share it Sunday: In the Facebook group, we’ll share our thoughts and feelings how we did this week and any thoughts about the week’s challenge and our experience with it.
Livestream with Kathy: On Wednesday or Thursday, there will be a 20-30 minute Facebook Live video. The video will be recorded and available to rewatch in FB if you miss it live. I’ll also be doing a monthly Zoom call which allows for a lot more interaction and Q&A.
Two final IMPORTANT notes about the Facebook Group:
FIRST: When we’re together in the Facebook group, we’re often sharing pictures, stories, confessions, and wins. It’s important that we all honor a rule of “what we see in Facebook stays in Facebook.” We have people in here who are friends or family or have mutual friends and connections, and none of us would want to think that someone else is telling others and sharing our personal stories outside of the group. Please never share with stories or photos of what you’re seeing in the group (without their explicit permission).
SECOND: you’re going to see some photos that people will share that you’ll think, “What?? You think THAT is a mess? I’d KILL to have a kitchen/closet/life that looks like yours!“. You might think that sharing comments like that, or ones like, “That space looks great! Why are you worried about it??” would be supportive or encouraging, but actually, it probably isn’t. Everyone is here because they are struggling with things at home and they want it to be better, and they’re investing the time, energy, and money into doing that. Their stress threshold may be different than yours, but the stress feels just as real as yours. When someone shares their stress or shame, be supportive without invalidating their feelings.
We’re creating a supportive community, and we want people to feel secure about sharing what they’re experiencing during the Challenge.Thank you!
So, that’s what I wanted to share with you now. I’m going to share another email with you called “Getting Started – Things to Know about the 2022 CGO Challenge”. With some additional details about how to get ready for Week 1. In the meanwhile, tell your friends and family to get in on the game and join us!
People ask me all the time if I’d ever “automate” this Challenge so that someone could just get an email and follow along on their own. I do this Challenge because I LOVE the sense of community we build in the Facebook Group, and the ability to interact with and support all the Challengers. Some people opt to just send me private messages or send me emails as they go instead of posting anything on FB, and THAT’S OKAY. But what you’ll find is that people share before and after photos, struggles, questions, and most importantly, wins as The Challenge continues. People get to know each other’s stories, and everyone is genuinely there to offer support to each other. It’s my favorite part. I hope you’ll be a part of it all there, too.
If you have any questions, let me know!
Thanks, and see you in the Facebook Group!
Kathy (aka Clever Girl)