NEW YEAR = NEW HOME (clearing clutter & creating lovely spaces DIY-style)

In amongst the inspirational images on my 2013 visualisation mood board, you may have spotted a couple of pics of extremely well-organised spaces (a pantry and a crafting station) which I added because, as for many others, having an attractive, user-friendly home environments is one of my priorities. Recently I have been bombarded by email notifications from Better Homes and Gardens about de-cluttering and the other day my cousin posted a link on Facebook about Peter Walsh‘s “31 Days to Get Organized” challenge. I’ll take that as a sign ;). We actually began our big sorting out process the night before New Year’s Eve and even did a little more right up until almost midnight on New Year’s itself, as one of my wishes was to wake up on New Year’s Day to a lovely clean, clear home. I like to think that our family home is kept in a clean and relatively well-ordered manner in any case. We don’t hoard, we aim to make conscious and informed purchases, we try not to indulge our son (or ourselves) with an excess of material things and, in typical modern Scandinavian style, our family spaces are open-plan and minimalistically decorated (I hate unnecessary “dust traps”). However, there is always room for improvement, right? And with baby number 2 set to make an appearance very soon, what better time than the first week of 2013 to get started?



Day 1: Spend 10 minutes ONLY and remove all the things from one room (preferably the living room) that don’t belong there.
I cleared a particular pile of stuff on our work desk. It took me a little longer than 10 minutes but only because I am pregnant and moving slowly!

Day 2: “Empty your sock drawer onto your bed. Immediately sort pairs together. Discard any single socks, any socks you no longer wear, any frayed or ‘holey’ socks. Arrange like colors/types together and put them back in drawer. Bid the others farewell!”
My husband and I did this together… and found 16 socks that don’t belong in either of our drawers. 

Day 3: “Keep Your Lid On! Today your task is to tackle all those disposable plastic storage containers that you have in cupboards and drawers in your kitchen. Get them all out onto the kitchen counter. Discard any that don’t have matching lids, that the dishwasher has mangled or that are stained. My rule: no more than 15 plastic storage containers! Here’s the deal: with takeout containers, margarine containers and coleslaw containers there’s a constant inflow of these puppies into your home – the trick is to keep them under control. So … take a deep breath, drag them out and take ten minutes to get it done!”
I asked my husband to help with this as we store our plastic containers in a low cupboard and I am having trouble bending down. 😉 I realised whilst completing this task (which literally took less than 2 minutes!) that we are probably fairly organised in this respect… and we definitely have no more than 15 containers (far less in fact).

Day 4: Sort out your remote controls. Take the ones you use (and only the ones you use), clean them (we used a disinfectant wipe) and pop them in a box that will always be kept in the same place in your living room. Use this box to also store the case for whatever DVD you are currently watching.
I did complete this task, but as we only have 3 controls that we always keep in the same place (on top of a speaker), it seemed a bit of a non-event. However, it was good to give them a clean and we’ll use the box for a while to see if it does indeed make a difference.

Day 5: “Romance & Calm: Grab your partner and head for the master bedroom. Spend ten minutes TOGETHER gathering up and removing anything from the room that doesn’t belong there or doesn’t help create a calm, romantic haven for you both. (If it’s just you in your home you can do this equally well for yourself!) This is about taking care of you and your relationship.”
We will do this tonight after the little one goes to bed.

Now, as the “31 Days to Get Organized” challenge is ongoing for another 26 days, I will update at some other point in the near future. I just thought it apt to spread the word now as the challenge is in its early days and it’s still a great time to jump on board if you care to. In the meantime, here’s a couple of simple ideas I also plan to implement…


Create zones for kitchen tasks you do on a regular basis. Designate a shelf for everything you need for the job. – Kathi Burns, author of How to Master Your Muck


To store uniform white sheets, fold fitted sheet, top sheet and extra pillowcases inside a pillowcase of the same set. – a Peter Walsh idea

31 thoughts on “NEW YEAR = NEW HOME (clearing clutter & creating lovely spaces DIY-style)

  1. This is my dream for my house to look like that!…one day when I am done with my school, have more time and do not feel guilty paying a professional to do this for me 🙂 Believe me…in some cases (like mine) some things are better left for a professional 😉

    • You strike me as a pretty resourceful person and creative soul, Elena, so I am sure you could do it if you wanted to… however you seem to have your hands full with many other interests and pursuits too, so there’s absolutely no shame in getting assistance on a task as big as redesigning your home environment :). With the luxury of a little time and the fact that baby is on the way, I feel quite motivated to do it myself 🙂

    • Aw, you’re very kind :)! The 31-day challenge makes it really easy… 10 minutes each day on one task makes it all a bit less overwhelming and certainly manageable 🙂 x

  2. I’m considering renting a bulldozer and just stating anew! Just kidding, I think the 31 day idea is good because it is a realistic goal. Much smarter than dumping out every cabinet and closet, all at the same time and then living in that mess – along with whatever else is already thrown out and about.

  3. I love this post. Day 3 made me laugh because I find it so hard to NOT collect containers. You will be pleased to know that in honour of your post, I just threw away 2. Only 50 more to go! Kidding. It’s not that bad.

  4. Love the one about LIDS. My rule …. they get put away WITH the lid on. DAH! So it takes up a little more space … my cabinet is organized right from the start. No hunting for matching sets, no missing-in-action lids. I’ll use the yogurt containers to freeze soup, then toss them. That way I don’t have to wash it!!!

  5. Pingback: The Beautiful Blogger Award!! | Jessie Homemaker

  6. I love the idea of a 31 day challenge; breaks up organizing into small manageable tasks! My container cupboard often gets out of control, I bet I’ve got 30 containers in there. Oops!

    With a tiny house, 3 kids and 2 dogs, I feel like I’ve got to keep material possessions to a minimum in order to avoid total chaos and claustrophobia.

    Sounds like you’re “nesting” with all the cleaning and organizing you’ve been doing!

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