Week 1 - Introduction and Holiday/Kids' Items {Net Zero Clutter Challenge 2017} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Week 1 - Introduction and Holiday/Kids' Items {Net Zero Clutter Challenge 2017}

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Week 1 - Introduction and Holiday/Kids' Items {Net Zero Clutter Challenge 2017}

December can feel so overwhelming... there are so many extra tasks to do, places to go, and people to see.  But more than demands on our time, are the demands on our space. If we're entertaining during the holidays, we suddenly become much more aware of the clutter in our homes. And just the thought of how many new items will be entering our homes this month is overwhelming! All of these factors make it hard to enjoy this otherwise wonderful time of year.

There are lots of tips out there for managing your time better during the holidays, but I've found that the single most important thing I can do to help me feel less overwhelmed in December is to declutter throughout the month.  And reducing that overwhelm means I can enjoy Christmas much more.

For the last two years, I've hosted the #NetZeroClutter challenge and many of you joined in and decluttered in December. Will you join the Net Zero Decluttering Challenge this year?

Each week I'll share decluttering tips and ideas to help you declutter a different area of your home.  If you do that, you can end the month with the same number of items in your home (or maybe even less!) than what you started the month with.

Today I'll share how the challenge will work and I'll share tips for decluttering holiday items.

By the way, you can check out the previous #NetZeroClutter series here for more tips. The first year it was a daily series, so if you think that would help you more than a weekly post, feel free to follow along with that series instead!

Why Declutter in December?

Most of us tend to notice our clutter more in December than any other time of year. Does any of this sound familiar?

  • We get annoyed trying to do our holiday baking because our kitchen is too cluttered
  • Before we have guests over for a Christmas gathering we have to hide our clutter and hope no one opens our bedroom door or closets
  • When we decorate our homes for the holidays we suddenly feel like our home is much smaller or we can't find places to put our decorations because our surfaces are too cluttered
  • We love all the gifts that were given to our family members but now we aren't sure where we'll put them all now that they are unwrapped

We just want to enjoy our homes with our friends and family during the holidays so it's extra frustrating when we're also dealing with clutter.

I know for me personally, after decluttering for the last several years, I've really noticed I'm not as overwhelmed as I was when we had much more clutter in our home.  And even though December is a busy month, decluttering has become a stress reliever for me so I especially feel better when I spend some time decluttering in December!

Are you ready to join in and feel less overwhelmed this year?!

What Do I Declutter?

You can declutter anything you want to during this challenge!  I'll give ideas, but just like in the 365 Items in 365 Days challenge you can declutter whatever you want whenever you want.  

But I know some people like ideas, so each Monday, I'll pick an area of our home or a category of items and I'll share some tips to help you declutter. You can see the whole list in the picture below.

Hopefully these ideas and tips will help you end the month with the same number of items in your home (or maybe even less!) than what you started the month with.

Here's my plan for the challenge (but again... feel free to declutter anything you want... whatever will help you feel less overwhelmed this month!).

Don't forget, you can declutter anything you want this month!  You don't have to follow this plan.  Or you can change up the plan to better fit your home, your available time, and most importantly your clutter.  

Make this challenge work for you so that at the end of this month you have the same number of items (or less!) in your home as you do now.  The goal is for you to feel less overwhelmed during the holidays so you can enjoy them with your family and friends :)

Free Printable Tracking Sheet

In order to know if you're reaching Net Zero, you need to keep track.  To help you do that, I've created a tracking printable for you!  Fill it in as you declutter and as items enter your home so you can see your status.

Just click on the image below to download your own copy.

Tips for Using the Tracking Sheet

I've found I kept track of what was coming and going if I updated my tracking sheet every single day. If I missed a day or two I would inevitably forget items, especially all those little things that enter my home... a Happy Meal toy here, a bag of party favours there... it all adds up!  So if you really want net zero clutter at the end of December, estimate higher than you think and keep track every day :)

Most of the items will enter our homes near the end of December so I'd recommend doing more decluttering in the early part of the month to compensate for that.  

Think about all the possible gifts you may receive during the holidays.  If you underestimate, you can always do some extra decluttering after Christmas if you need to catch up :)

Preparing for this Challenge

Before you jump into decluttering, here's how you can prepare for the challenge:

  • Think about why you want to declutter this month and what you hope will be different this Christmas by doing this challenge {this will help you stay focused if you get discouraged}
  • Share what you hope will be different this Christmas by doing this challenge - use hashtag #NetZeroClutter
  • Estimate how many gifts your family will receive this month and any other items you anticipate will be entering your home this month.  
  • Print out your free printable tracking sheet so you can track the items coming and going from your home this month.
  • Join our 365 Items in 365 Days Facebook group as you do this challenge!  You'll be able to share with others what you're decluttering and feel encouraged and inspired by everyone else who is also decluttering!

This Week's Decluttering Focus - Holiday Items or Kids' Stuff

I started this challenge a bit later than I'd planned... December really snuck up on me! I can't believe there's only 3 weeks until Christmas! To kick off this challenge, I'm challenging to you declutter two categories! Holiday items or kids' stuff. You can choose which category you need to tackle more :)

Holiday Items

First, go through your holiday items.  Declutter anything you're not using this year.

Here are some ideas of holiday items you can declutter:
  • Decorations - indoor, outdoor, tree, etc.
  • Lights - indoor, outdoor, tree, candles, etc.
  • Holiday wrap - rolls, flat wrap, gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper, tags, ribbon, bows, etc.
  • Cards - old ones you've received over the years, extra cards you never sent and won't be sending this year, etc.

Here are more posts with tips to help you decide what to keep and what to let go of:

Now is the perfect time to declutter your holiday items because you have everything out and you can see what you're using and what you're not using. 

Kids' Stuff

Yes that's a technical term :)  Boy kids sure have a lot of stuff. Ever feel like the volume of items in our homes increases exponentially when we have kids?

They grow quickly so there's a constant influx of clothing and shoes. Their abilities and interests change over time so there are always toys, books, games and activities they've outgrown or lost interest in.  They keep receiving gifts for birthdays and holidays, long after adults decide to stop giving gifts to each other. And don't even get me started on all the little toys and treats that enter our homes from loot bags, fast-food dinners, behaving at school, etc.

The flow of kids' items into our homes is constant. And if we don't want cluttered homes, we have to be very diligent in keeping the flow of items out just as constant!

The good news is, there's all that stuff they've outgrown or lost interest in that you can declutter :)

Here are a few tips:

  • Go through your kids' closets and dressers and let go of anything that is too small. Also remove clothing that they never wear (everyone has their favourites that barely make it out of the laundry before being worn again so let go of some of the items that never make it out of their drawers).  Make room in those drawers and on those hangers for the new clothes that they will receive as gifts later this month. 
  • Go through your kids' toys, games, books and activities and declutter anything that they've outgrown or that hasn't been used for a long time. I recommend including your kids in this process (even though it may take longer).  It's the perfect time of year to do it because you can explain that since they will be receiving new things to play with later this month, they need to make room by giving away some of the things they don't play with any more.  That means something to kids and makes it easier to let go.  Also, if you have items that are in really good condition, kids are more willing to let go if you explain that they can donate to them to charities that will give them to kids who may not receive as many gifts this year. {New toys can go to toy drives, gently used toys can be given to family shelters.}

If you have kids, you know most of the items entering your home this year are going to be for or related to your kids. So if you want to end the month at net zero clutter, taking some time to declutter your kids' items this week will really help!

My Progress in the #NetZeroClutter challenge

Throughout this challenge I'll share my progress decluttering and I'll be tracking what comes in our home. It has been really was eye-opening for me the last 2 years and I'm sure I'll be surprised again this year.

My estimate of items entering our home this month is 175.  So my goal is to declutter at least 175 items. This goal is lower than it was the last 2 years, but we're scaling back on gifts we're giving to our kids and each other this year so I don't anticipate quite as many items entering our home (can't control what other people give us though so I'm still keeping it fairly high!). Also, we decluttered SO much before and after our move this summer, in almost every possible category in our home, so I don't have as much to declutter as other years. Overall I think it's a realistic goal.

By the way, for items coming in, I'm not counting gifts we're buying this month that we'll be giving away in a few weeks. I'm also not counting gifts we're giving to people outside our home as items out.  You can count them as they come in and as they go out if you'd like, but I'm not going to bother.

I will count gifts we're giving our kids and that my hubby and I give to each other (when they are given) since those items will be staying.  Also I won't count consumable items that were given to us or that we gave our kids or each other, since they won't actually be staying long term.

Here's what I've decluttered in the last few days:

  • 1 pair of baseball shoes
  • 1 toilet seat cover
  • 3 pairs of Christmas undies

  • 1 pair of socks
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 3 Halloween books
  • 1 Halloween shirt
  • 8 Christmas ornaments
  • 4 pairs of shoes/sandals
So as of now I'm at 0 items in and 23 items out, with a goal of decluttering 175 items in December.

What's Next For You?

Take some time this week to declutter your holiday items or your kids' items. Or anything you'd like to declutter!  Take some pictures and share your progress on social media using the hashtag #NetZeroClutter.  Let me know how you're doing in the challenge so I can cheer you on!

Sign up to receive my blog posts by email so you get each week's post in your email inbox.  You can unsubscribe after the challenge is over if you don't want to continue receiving my blog posts by email.

So that's this week's post in the Net Zero Decluttering Challenge!  I'll be back next week with tips and ideas for decluttering kitchen items.

I'm excited to have you join me!  I look forward to hearing all the stories of how much more you're enjoying your holidays because you're not overwhelmed by all the stuff in your home!

What is your estimate for items entering your home this month? How did you calculate it? What's your motivation for decluttering in December?

Happy organizing decluttering!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!