40 Day Clutter Challenge

Simplifying / Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Quintessentially Kate about Found Money, and I’m excited to welcome Lisa from Organize365 to The Family CEO. 

Here’s Lisa:

Sometimes when your priorities are in the right place, the money takes care of itself.

This winter our life was spinning out of control. I had reached the point that I put myself on anti-depressant medication just to handle the chaos I could not control around me.

I was working fulltime outside the home.

Our two children have various diagnosis involving multiple doctors, special schools, special diets and lots of extra care.

Hot Spot Chaos

It was like I was juggling bricks. I was worn out.

So, while we were sinking quickly into debt I did what any logical mother would do. I quit my job!

Ok maybe not logical, but necessary. It was a few days before Christmas and I was literally running around like a chicken with my head cut off and I asked myself, WHY?


My wheels started spinning and I KNEW that given enough time I could generate an income again from home. I had done it before.

But even if I didn’t, I NEEDED to be home.

Critical decisions in my kiddo’s lives were being tabled, or set aside to make room for “work”.

So, I quit, without a tangible plan, to be a Mom first once again.

You see, I can pay off debt later. Anyone can do my day job, but only I can be mom.

And if I deferred the job of mom– I would never forgive myself.

Have you ever found yourself so lost, you don’t know where to start to get “un-lost”?

I was there, big time.

The clutter in my home reflected the chaotic mess my life had become.

Everywhere I turned there was “stuff”.

It was to the point where I would open a cabinet to put something away, but couldn’t because the cabinet was full of stuff I no longer needed but didn’t have the time to empty. So the needed item went on the counter…until the counter was full.

Often when I professionally organize someone, I find good systems and organization is present; they have just been overrun and buried in our crazily busy American lives!

Desk Before

I love the saying that the mother is the HEART of the home. This heart was flat lining. I decided it was time for a change.

And while I NEEDED To earn an income, we NEEDED me to get our home back first.

So, I challenged myself to de-clutter, clean and organize EVRY SINGLE SPACE in our home in 40 days.

The 40 Day challenge

I was so frustrated with the disorder in my home, I allowed myself 40 days to focus solely on getting our home running in tip top shape again.

I learned so much about myself along the way.I LOVE to organize, but to do it for hours a day – everyday….

Hot Spot After

The process I used to de-clutter and take back my home…

When I first started the challenge, I approached myself as if I was a client I was sent to professionally organize.

I asked myself my standard questions: What IS working in this space. What is NOT working in this space. And what is this space’s PURPOSE?

I honestly think deep down most of us know what we need to let go of and de-clutter, we just need the encouragement.

What is LESS OBVIOUS is changing how we view space. Each day as I approached a new space in my home I really thought about HOW that space was being used in OUR home.

My bedroom IS an office, our dining room IS a work space, and my laundry room IS so many things. I am really glad I blogged each day because you can see my organizational process became more natural as the challenge progressed.

At the end of the 40 days I couldn’t believe the transformation in our home. My husband and I were so much more connected and had more peace. It still feels as if I am living in a model home!

Desk After

A new business

I have always been passionate about organizing. I have been a professional organizer, house cleaner and sold organizational products.

As I blogged about my 40 day challenge, my organization business grew too! I am now making fulltime income doing what I LOVE around my FAMILY’S needs and EARNING more than I was before.

It just goes to show, sometime when you get your priorities straight, your finances fall in line too!

Lisa shares her organizational tips on her blog Organize365: Helping Busy Mama’s organize their busy lives.

This post is part of Frugal Friday.

20 Replies to “40 Day Clutter Challenge”

  1. This post sends out a very important message!

    Congratulations Lisa on being able to create a business based on somethnig that you obviously have a natural talent for. Wishing you and your business all the best!!

  2. This is a very timely post for me. I always have issues getting/keeping my priorities straight, and recently I quit one of my many side jobs because it was just too much. I was getting sick from exhaustion but I needed the job to pay off debt. What I discovered was similar to your discovery, I was putting off living and enjoying life, just to focus on my debt. Now I’m working towards a much better balance and it’s made me a lot happier too.

    1. Carrie, I hope you have the same experience that Lisa did: when the priorities are straight, the money takes care of itself. Congrats on your new balance.

    2. Carrie-

      I hope your debt solution is right around the corner! I can see now how failed attempts and experiences even a decade ago set me up for the success I am having today!


  3. I too am beginning to feel overwhelmed – my little “side hustle” is growing arms and legs and I feel like I am spinning out of control.

    So time to do as you suggest I feel – and claim my sanctuary back from the “craziness” – to make a nurturing and supportive place for my family to be as we move through a difficult transition of Mum being a business builder again.

    Thank you so much – now I know what that nagging feeling I have had all week is.

    1. Sometimes those “little things we do on the side” can start to take over, right? I hope you have some newfound peace soon.

      1. I have “found” my desk – and been offered teeny paid for writing job. Dug my way into my crafting desk and serviced my sewing machine and overlocker – and been asked to write ten crafting tutorials…… and filed all my “Mind Mapping” Seminar resources and been phoned up for a large corporate Conference contract ………………….. ALL IN THE LAST 24 HOURS!!!!!

        Thank you – it is beginning to work

  4. Inspirational! I am convinced there’s a link between clutter and crappy finances – well, there is for me anyway. When I let things get really out of control at home my finances go to pot too – bills don’t get paid, I end up buying stuff I’ve already got because I can’t lay my hands on it etc. I love the 40 day challenge idea of breaking down a huge task into chunks – thank you.

    1. I think there’s definitely a link, Skint, and not just the obvious one (i.e. lots of clutter costs money.) Both steal your peace and sense of contentment, I think.

      I like Lisa’s 40 day time frame too. It has my wheels spinning. From the sound of these comments, it seems I’m not alone.

    2. Skint in the City –

      I agree! My house is starting to get a clutter feel as the end of school papers are coming in… and I am feeling the finances slip as well.

      Time to tighten up this ship!


  5. My husband and I are both natural slobs, and are in the midst of our own decluttering challenge. Your before and after pics are very inspirational to me.
    I am also glad that you were able to make the best decision for yourself and your family. You are right, sometimes you just have to let the money take care of itself while you take care of the important things.

    1. Thanks Shanendoah-

      I think the BIGGEST deturrent to order is time. We are TIRED! so we think – “I’ll get to that”, but we never do!

      I’m glad your inspired!!


  6. My husband and I just decluttered our entire house in preparation for our first baby, and it’s so freeing to have everything that we need in order. It’s very calm at home now, and we have the space to grow as we (soon!!) weclome our baby girl!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *