KonMari Inspired Spring Cleaning Challenge
Let’s face it – decluttering is a chore. I think that’s why we’re all obsessed with Marie Kondo and her KonMari method of organizing. And is also why I created this easy Spring Cleaning challenge for all of us busy moms out there.
It’s so much easier to overlook that pile of papers on the table and those overflowing closets and tell ourselves we’re too busy to do anything about it. Guilty!!
But the truth is, we can’t ignore it. The mess will be there no matter how much we wish it wasn’t.
As I looked around my house and saw piles of…let’s just call it the debris of a family of four’s everyday life…I realized I could no longer ignore what needed to be done.
It felt a little overwhelming and impossible, and to be honest, I just didn’t want to do it. But alas, the time had come to whip my house into an organized den of awesomeness.
But, as working moms, it truly is hard to find enough time to make a big impact. Between work, kids’ activities, regular daily housekeeping and responsibilities, we’re lucky to squeeze in a few minutes a day for anything else, right?
So, I set out to create a Spring Cleaning Challenge that’s manageable for working moms who have very little time to spare. It requires just a few minutes a day during the week and a couple hours on the weekend. And in 4 short weeks, your home will be transformed.
For those who aren’t too familiar w/ KonMari, it is a method of organizing and decluttering by category rather than by room. I like this because I can see an impact in more than one space at a time. That keeps me super motivated. The only items you’ll keep are ones that spark joy in your life. Everything else has to go.
The categories Marie Kondo suggests are Clothing, Books, Papers, Misc. and Sentimental Items. We will use those categories to complete this super easy 4-week Spring Cleaning Challenge.
Week 1: Clothing
In week one, we are only focusing on Clothing and Shoes.
I don’t have much of an emotional connection to my clothes. I see them as functional items but, for the most part, not something I need to hang on to. But it’s easy to accumulate items we no longer like, are out of style and don’t fit.
When it comes to my kids clothing, however, it’s very different. I wrestle between “does it fit”, “will they wear it” and “oh, I remember when we bought this and you were so little and cute!” I’m a sentimental mom, what can I say?
What helps me make the decision on my kids’ clothes, is to only keep items that fit and that they enjoy wearing. If they’re not going to wear it, there’s no reason it should take up valuable real estate in their closet.
The first step in organizing clothing according to Marie Kondo is to take everything out of closets and drawers. I’ll be honest, I don’t do it this way. I only have about 30 minutes to an hour each day during the week and I don’t have time for that kind of mess.
This is what I do instead: I grab an empty laundry basket. Then I go to my closet first because I can pull things out of there pretty quickly. That gets my decluttering mojo flowing.
I pull out at least 5 items – ideally more – from my clothes. The husband has to do his own because I don’t know what he wants to keep or get rid of. And I put everything neatly into the laundry basket.
Would you look at that? Extra hangers!
Then, I move on to shoes and do the same thing. Look for shoes that are overly worn. I know they’re comfy and you love them, but do you REALLY need to keep them? If you have shoes that only go with one outfit, it’s probably time to say goodbye to those too.
Don’t think about sorting…we’ll do that later…the point here is just to get it out of the closet.
And that’s it for day one! See? Easy and quick.
Now, on day 2 of week 1, you’ll go to your kids’ rooms. Only do as much as you have time for each day. I have two kids and will take Tuesday and Wednesday for one kid’s clothes. Then, Thursday and Friday will be spent on the other one.
Just keep adding to the laundry basket or box, whatever your decluttering vessel of choice is, so that at the end of the week it’s all in one place.
On Saturday or Sunday, it’s time to tackle the pile. This is when you’ll sort into 3 categories: discard, recycle and sell.
Here’s the key: do NOT leave your piles laying around. You didn’t do all that work just to create a new mess.
It’s like I tell my kids, “moving the mess is not the same as cleaning up the mess.”
Put the discard items in the trash immediately. Put the recycle items in your car and drop them off the next time you’re out.
If you don’t already have an area for sell items, create one that’s out of the way and add items as you continue decluttering. I have an area in my unfinished basement designated for garage sale items or selling online.
Week 2: Books
We’ll follow the same process for week 2 of the Spring Cleaning Challenge, this time decluttering and organizing books.
Get your laundry basket or box, and go to a different room each weekday. Pull out books you no longer read, don’t intend to read again or are too young for your kids.
Stack all the books neatly in your basket as you go through them. Then, on the weekend it’s time to go through the pile and sort them into 3 categories: recycle, donate and sell.
This can be hard because we create emotional connections to books.
They remind us of things that may have been going on in our lives when we read the book. Or maybe the book changed the way we think about a certain subject and really made an impact in our life.
For items with sentimental value, the question you have to ask yourself is “do I really need to keep this item to keep the memory?”
If the answer is yes, by all means, keep it. But if the answer is no, then be thankful for its purpose in your life but let it go so it can make an impact in someone else’s.
I don’t think there’s ever much of a reason to throw books away. If it’s torn up and missing pages, recycling is a great option. Sadly, I have a few kid books that didn’t make it through the toddler years.
Week 3: Papers
The next step in our Spring Cleaning Challenge is papers.
I have to admit, this is a weak spot for me. I never feel like I can throw anything away. What if I need it 4 years from now? I have worked really hard to start recycling the majority of the papers my kids bring home from school.
But there are some special things I want to keep so I created a memory box for each one of my kids w/ a file folder for each grade. This keeps the papers organized and in one spot rather than scattered throughout the house.
Once again, get your handy dandy laundry basket and tackle one room each weekday. Gather all the papers that don’t currently have a home.
While you’re at it, go ahead and clean out the file cabinet or drawers where you know you have papers that need to be sorted and organized.
At the end of the week, it’s time to go through the pile and organize into categories: keep, recycle, shred.
For this step, you may need to find or purchase some supplies. A file cabinet or expanding file folder is a good place to keep papers organized and in one place. Once you have your filing system setup, you can easily file papers away rather than having them accumulate in various places around your home.
For important papers that require an original document, consider keeping them in a fire and water proof safe or get a safety deposit box at your local bank. Things like birth certificates, social security cards, car titles and real estate deeds are a hassle to replace if they are lost or damaged.
For important papers that don’t require an original document, scan and store them electronically. This saves space in your file cabinet, provides easy access to the documents and protects them from damage.
Here’s some options to consider for organizing papers:
Week 4: Miscellaneous and Sentimental Items
By now, you’re probably noticing an all-around more tidy home. Clothes are easier to access and find. You may have even started wearing some items you forgot you had. That definitely happened to me. I was like, “Oh, a new wardrobe for free. Cool!”
You’ve made a TON of progress so far and now we’re in the home stretch. Keep going!
This week we are gathering all the items we haven’t touched yet – bathroom drawers, junk drawers, storage closets, pantry, etc.
This can seem a little overwhelming so I recommend approaching by category again. Do all bathroom drawers one day, closets another day and so on. So, grab your laundry basket and just begin.
Try not to overthink it. Look for the items you know for sure you don’t need to keep. For items you’re not sure about, go ahead and put them in your basket and revisit it when you sort on the weekend.
When it’s time to go through everything, sort into keep, donate, sell, and discard categories. And don’t forget to take care of each pile right away.
Immediately trash what can’t be donated or sold, and put those donate items straight into the car to be dropped off the next time you’re out.
One point to note as far as donating items because sometimes people are unsure where they can donate, check with your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Churches, women’s shelters and the library are other great options.
And that’s a wrap! You’ve completed the Spring Cleaning Challenge!
Your closets are organized and your papers are neatly tucked away. You’ve donated books for others to enjoy and all those little secret hiding places are an organized paradise. All this in just 4 short weeks.
You’re a Rockstar!
The really great thing about this challenge is that it’s very flexible with your schedule. Because it only requires a few minutes a day during the week, and you’re only working on one category at a time, you can fit this around other commitments. You may even find that you don’t need all 5 weekdays to complete the category and can start sorting before the weekend begins.
Another thought on that: maybe you’re still feeling overwhelmed. Maybe the thought of just cleaning out one closet makes you cringe. That’s OK. I’ve been there too. Here’s how I got past it so I could just start.
Instead of saying, “I’m going through this whole closet today,” I said “I’m going to get 5 things out of this closet.” A mere 5 things. It took me maybe 5 minutes.
And the next time I did it, I said “5 things,” but actually pulled out 8. I sorted into sell and discard categories and immediately put the items where they needed to go.
It was so easy and I immediately saw a difference. That totally motivated me to continue this process throughout the rest of my house.
I hope this Spring Cleaning Challenge has inspired you to get started and helped you see that even super busy working moms can have an organized and clutter free home in just a few minutes a day.
I have a great printable for you to use as you complete the Spring Cleaning Challenge. It will help you stay on track and see your progress as you move along.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO GET YOUR FREE PRINTABLE!
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments how this challenge works for you!
If you like what you read here, check out my easy 3 Step Cleaning Schedule for Working Moms. I give you 3 free printables to create your own customized cleaning schedule to save major time on cleaning.