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October 29, 2011

Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays: 28 Day Challenge – Days 3 + 4

On Saturday’s throughout the 28 day challenge, we'll post both the Saturday and Sunday challenges. Here’s what’s on tap for this weekend! 

28 days-simplify101
Day 3:  Focus on Surface Decluttering for At Least 15 Minutes Today

Rather than tackling a big organizing project (like a storage area that guests won’t see), today is about dealing with the clutter that’s in your face (and potentially in the faces of guests in your home). I like to call this plucking the “low-hanging fruit.” It’s easy to get to, and dealing with it gives you a lot of bang for your buck!

 

Prioritize your decluttering based on what’s urgent and important in your home and upcoming life events. If you have guests coming for Thanksgiving, then focus your decluttering efforts on the shared public spaces or the guest room. On the other hand, if you don’t have any guests scheduled to come for the holidays, but have two kids with holiday season birthdays (like me!), focus on the kids toys and / or closets for your pre-holiday decluttering. 


Once you identify your space, set your timer for fifteen minutes. Then carry a handful (or decluttering container full!) of things out of the room that you’re decluttering (where the items don’t belong) and take them to the room where they do belong. Then, put the items away, where they go. If you come across things you’re ready to donate, drop them into a donation bag or box. Then, see how much clutter you can clear out before your fifteen minutes are up!

 

ClutterBinFinal

Keep in mind you can spend more than fifteen minutes decluttering. If you get on a roll and want to keep going, by all means keep on going! But I always encourage my workshop participants to stop while they’re still craving a bit more, instead of working to the point of exhaustion. (Remember, we're only on Day 3. You want to pace yourself!) 


Day 4:  Dust Cobwebs + Clean Cold Air Returns

A realtor once told Jennifer that we don’t often look up in our own homes, but we almost always look up when we go into someone else’s home. Have you found that to be true, too? (I think I do that!) Today, in the spirit of getting your home guest-ready, walk around your home with a feather duster or vacuum cleaner, and keep looking up. Look for cobwebs in corners, ceilings, window ledges and light fixtures. Once you have those areas taken care of, use those same tools to clean your cold air returns. The inflow of air tends to make dust congregate on these vents. Not only is it unsightly, but it also causes your furnace to operate less efficiently. 

 

Ah, doesn’t that feel better?

 

Be sure to tell us about your progress in the comments! We look forward to hearing from you. 

 

Happy holiday prepping!

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TalyQ

That's a great idea. I have a very full weekend, but 15 minutes I can do.

Marina D-K

Prob sounds silly but what is a cold air return?

Leena

I did 15 min of decluttering and then I did clean the vents on the ceiling. One vent especially was grose! Thanks Aby for making a task of that, I had seen that the vent looked horrible, but wouldn't have done anything to it without this challenge.

hannahk

LOL I did a 15 min declutter ~ the only visible result was a fuller recycling bin after clearing sunday papers. to the outsider the rest of my surfaces still look cluttered but to me it is an improvement as i did at least order things.

Caryn

I got these two done! :)

Aby

Hi, Marina D-K,
The cold air returns are those vents high up on the wall (near the ceiling.) They pull cold air into the furnace so the furnace can blow out the warm air. (Not a very technical explanation...but hopefully that makes sense.)

~ Aby

Tabatha

I finished the de-clutter! I found myself turning it into a competition, seeing how much I could get done before that fifteen minutes.. and now as I sit on my little 20 minute break (since I'm combining some days to catch up :) ) I feel very accomplished! the timer was a GREAT idea!

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