Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Amazingly Awesome Pre-Holiday Declutter Guide: 2.0

The Amazingly Awesome Pre-Holidays Declutter Guide

“And we’ll have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas this side of the nuthouse.”

Clark W. Griswold

We’re less than a month out from Christmas and now – before the fun/insanity of the silly season really hits – is the perfect time to do your Annual Pre-Holiday Declutter.

Never done a Pre-Holiday Declutter before?

I did my first last year, and it worked so well that I thought we should re-visit.

The idea is to do a light declutter of some key areas of your home now, in preparation for the influx of the Holiday G’s. That is, Gifts and Guests. (One being more important than the other.)

When you’ve finished your Amazingly Awesome Pre-Holiday Declutter:

  • you will be free to enjoy the festive season
  • there will be less stress and scrambling to prepare for guests
  • you avoid the sinking realisation on January 1 that you’re now wading through not only last year’s clutter, but the newly acquired stuff too
  • you know what, if anything, you or your family needs – so when shopping or when asked, you can suggest suitable and useful gifts
  • you can declutter all the old/no longer used toys, ripped books and games and puzzles that are missing pieces, making space for new ones or simply making space
  • you can decorate your home for the holidays in a much simpler, more mindful way
  • you can begin next year feeling in control of your home and use it as motivation to make 2014 the year of creating a simpler life

All it takes is a little time, some energy and some Clark W. Griswold-style enthusiasm.

Ready? Let’s get to it.

How the Guide Works

I’ve split the home into areas, and given you a handful of different decluttering projects for each part of the home. Which of these areas you focus on depends on your Christmas plans, whether you’re hosting guests, what part of the world you live in and what you want your home to feel like this holiday season. Some of the tasks will only take you 5-10 minutes while others are a little more involved.

Rather than try to do all of them before the holiday season descends – which would leave you a quivering mess – pick 5 projects to focus on, and work through one a day between now and the beginning of December. Or, if you’re able, spend a few hours over the weekend getting them all done.

(I realise this is Thanksgiving week for my US-based friends, which is probably not the best time to begin a decluttering project. But if you have time over the long weekend, perhaps you could get one or two of these done and work through the rest next week).


Target Area #1: Kids Spaces

Much of the gift-giving at this time of year revolves around children. Which I think is wonderful – to a point.

Kids receive so much – be it toys, games, gadgets or clothes – that the pleasure of receiving and then using their gifts is sometimes lost amidst the chaos of wrapping paper and mountains of parcels.

Even if you are pleading for restraint from family and friends, chances are your kids will receive more than they need.

It’s best to clear out the clutter, the unused or old toys and the clothes that don’t fit anymore before you are inundated with even more.

Task: Declutter the Toys

Approximate Time: 1-2 hours

If you have kids or grandkids, you will likely have amassed a good number of toys over the past year. Gifts, party favours, and hand-me-downs are the likeliest clutter culprits. Of these toys, some will be keepers, others will be junk and more still will be toys your little ones have outgrown.

Before the inundation of toys that comes every Christmas, you should sort and purge what you already own.

This post on tackling the toyboxes tells you everything you need to know, and provides a step-by-step guide on decluttering your kids’ toys.

Unfortunately, following these suggestions won’t stop the toys from being spread across all rooms of the home. The only way to ensure that is to get rid of all the toys. Or all the kids.

Task: Declutter the Kids’ Wardrobes

Approximate time: 15-30min per wardrobe

If your family is listening to your pleas of “No more toys, please,” chances are your kids will receive clothes. Quite possibly a lot of them.

Now is the perfect time to clear their wardrobes of anything they have outgrown, anything soiled or stretched or beyond repair and anything they simply don’t wear. And this post on how to wrangle control of your kids’ wardrobes has tips on getting through the clutter quickly and keeping it (relatively) organised.

Target Area #2: Adult Spaces

It’s a hectic time of year, undoubtedly. So many of us approach the holidays feeling tired and strung out already, only to be hit full-force with a busy calendar, a long to-do list and a list of shopping.

That’s why it’s really important to gain control of your spaces at home – the adult spaces – and create as much peace and tranquility as possible.

Task: Declutter and Simplify Your Bedroom

Approximate time: 1-2 hours

You really do need a space to escape, particularly this time of year. This post provides you with five ways to create a simple, slow bedroom. You’ll thank me later!

Task: Declutter and Simplify Guest Bedrooms

Approximate time: 30 minutes

Even if you don’t technically have a guest bedroom, you still need to make some plans for the house guests over the holiday season.

  • Where will they sleep?
  • What will they sleep on?
  • How many nights are you having guests?

If you do have a specific guest bedroom, now is the time to give it a light declutter. Clear out any storage boxes or clutter that has found its way there over the year. Take a minute to clean out underneath the bed and make sure there is space for luggage.

You may want to look at this post on creating a slow bedroom, to make your guests’ stay a good one. (Or, depending on the guests, maybe you don’t!) This way the space will be ready for your guests, and all you will need to do is make up the bed when they arrive.

Target Area #3: Kitchen

The kitchen is the beating heart of the home, and the festive season will see you spend a good chunk of time in there – particularly if you’re entertaining. Spending some time to declutter it now will mean it’s easier to keep tidy and you are far more likely to enjoy preparing food for your friends and family. With the added bonus of a calm, clear space in the heart of your home.

Task: Declutter Kitchenware

Approximate time: 30 minutes

For adults, it seems kitchenware is the go-to gift option when you have no other ideas. While technically a “useful” gift – everyone needs to eat off something, serve food off something, drink from something – often these items sit at the back of the kitchen cupboards, rarely used.

To declutter your kitchenware you have to understand your needs. These are different for everyone, dependent on who lives in your house, how often you entertain, if you have kids, the ages of the kids and your storage space.

Some guidelines to keep in mind as you declutter your kitchenware:

  • You don’t need an everyday crockery set as well as good china. Opt to keep the most practical/beautiful/useful and donate the remainder.
  • You need one style of cutlery, not two or three different sets.
  • A few salad bowls, serving platters and dishes is enough – if you are entertaining a large crowd, borrow serving platters from friends or family.
  • Wine glasses and champagne flutes are lovely to have and necessary if you entertain – but ensure you keep enough, not too many. 6-8 of each should be ample for most homes. Again, you can borrow additional glasses if needed.
  • Shot glasses? If you’re an adult, get rid of ’em. Really.
  • Keeping a neutral palette for all the major kitchenware (crockery, serving platters, etc) means you will never have the worry of items that don’t match. White is best… If you care about such things.

Task: Declutter Kitchen Drawers

Approximate time: 10 minutes

There are few places in the home that attract random clutter like the kitchen drawers. If you have a young family, this is partly unavoidable, given toddlers penchant for playing with kitchen utensils and tupperware. But decluttering the drawers will certainly help make it easier to find what you need and much easier to look at.

This post takes you through a 10-minute kitchen declutter and should definitely help get you sorted.

Plus, you won’t cringe with shame any time a guest opens a drawer in the kitchen, only to be greeted with a jumbled mess of utensils and a fine layer of sugar, rice and flour. (How does it get in there anyway?)

Task: Clear the Kitchen Benchtop

Approximate time: 10 minutes

Isn’t it lovely to walk into a clutter-free kitchen? Where everything has a place, it feels orderly and open, and it’s easy to find what you need.

In the lead-up to the silly season, keep your kitchen as open and clutter-free as possible by clearing the benchtops of any unnecessary appliances.

Find a place in your cupboards for the kettle, toaster, blender and any other appliances that currently reside on the benchtop. It takes approximately 6 seconds to put these back after use and your kitchen will be so much easier on the eye and far less likely to become cluttered.

Target Area #4: Living Spaces

What we really want to do in the holidays is relax. To spend time with our loved ones, to recuperate after a busy year, to focus on all the good things in our lives. While other parts of the home are important for this, none more so than the living spaces. On account of all the… you know, living.

If you can do no more than one or two of the Amazing Awesome tasks before the holiday season, I recommend you do the following. They will only take an hour or two and you will be so glad you did once December arrives.

Task: Create a Clutter-Free Dining Room

Approximate time: 15-30 minutes

When guests arrive at your place you want to be able to sit down, grab a drink, maybe some nibblies, and just enjoy their company, right? You probably don’t want to be shuffling stacks of paperwork, craft supplies and toys around, simply to make room at the dining table.

This post on creating a clutter-free dining room will help, and this post shares a heap of visual inspiration for those of you wondering how best to decorate your newly decluttered dining table.

Task: Rearrange Your Living Room

Approximate time: 1 hour

I’m not entirely sure when “living room” came to mean “room where we watch television”, but that seems to be the sole purpose of most living rooms.

But really, you want the living room to function in a number of ways, not only as a space to watch television.

In fact, you really should take the emphasis of the room away from mindless television viewing and instead encourage lingering conversations, nights spent reading books and listening to music.

How to Reclaim Your Living Room for Living:

  1. Look at the furniture you own and decide if it all needs to stay. Are you able to wall mount your TV? Get rid of the entertainment unit?
  2. Try moving the television to a side wall, rather than the main, focal wall.
  3. Arrange your lounges or armchairs to face each other, rather than the television. This helps to encourage conversation.
  4. Bring a selection of your book and music collections out to encourage you to read or listen rather than automatically reaching for the remote at the end of the day.

Task: Declutter Bookshelves

Approximate time: 15-45 minutes

The benefits of decluttering your bookshelves now are two-fold. Firstly there’s the benefit of a clutter-free space in your living room, which is a beautiful things. Secondly, given how popular books are as Christmas gifts, you can make room for any that make their way into your home come December.

Get to it:

1. Grab 2 boxes – one for books to donate/sell and one for books to recycle (please keep this to a minimum)

2. Clear a workspace near your shelves and, working from the top shelf down, pick up each book and decide what will be done with it, based on these questions:

  • Have I ever read this?
  • Is it a favourite?
  • Will I really read it again?
  • Is it a literary classic?
  • Am I still passionate about the subject?
  • Will anyone else in the home want to read it?

3. Place the books you are keeping in a pile and sort the others into groups that will be sold, donated and recycled.

4. Once each shelf is completely cleared, wipe it down.

5. When you’ve cleared the entire bookcase, it’s time to put back those books you are keeping. Organise them by colour, size, topic, adult/children’s – whatever it is that works in your home and is going to remain (relatively) organised.

6. As you put each book back on the shelf, double-check your decision to keep it. Ask yourself, “Do I really want to keep it?”

7. Pack the books you are donating/selling into a box and put them in the car. Recycle the (hopefully) small amount that you need to.

8. Make yourself a cup of tea, or pour a glass of wine. Grab a book off that gorgeous bookcase and just lose yourself. Even for five minutes.

The Beauty of this Amazingly Awesome Guide?

The beauty of taking the time to do these tasks now, is that once December arrives – in all her busy, wonderful glory – you will be organised and prepared. You will enjoy the holidays and your family will enjoy you.
So take a moment to read through the list above again and put together your action plan for the rest of November. You’ll be glad you did!
Which of the tasks above are on your to-do list before the holidays descend? For me, it’s most definitely the kitchen. Always the kitchen…



The Antidote to Perfectionism is Life.

The antidote to perfection is life

Are you a perfectionist?

Someone who is constantly battling the need for things to be “just right” before you’re satisfied? Never actually feeling satisfied because you’re always finding something wrong with your efforts?

  • Projects at work
  • The state of your house
  • The blog post you’re agonising over
  • The behaviour of your kids
  • Your garden
  • Friendships
  • Your social life

The need to be perfect will invade every area of your life if you let it.

And guess what? You’ll never get there.

You, your work, your home, your kids – these things will never be perfect.

Can I tell you what’s better than perfection?


Living is better than perfection.

And anyway, perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  • Perfect is predictable
  • Perfect increases stress
  • Perfect hates to be messed with

I’ve discovered that the imperfections, the signs of life, the quirks and the idiosyncracies – these things are beauty.

You deserve to experience these things because you deserve beauty.

But what to do?

Let Your Standards Slip

Are you afraid of what will happen if you stop striving to be perfect?

Can I tell you what will happen?

  • you will achieve more
  • you will not be paralysed by the fear of being imperfect
  • you will give yourself permission to try new things, to be bad at new things, and to laugh at yourself being bad at new things

I don’t mean live like a pig, or eat whatever you want, or stop turning up to work. Please, don’t do any of those things.

But allow yourself to do your best and then let it go.

Let’s repeat that for emphasis: Do your best and then let it go.

What Do You Have to Gain by Letting Go?

By letting go – just a little – you will gain:

  • time
  • contentment
  • space for other things
  • productivity
  • energy

So please, stop holding yourself to impossible ideals.

You cannot have a perfect home, perfect children, a perfect partner, a perfect sex life and a perfect figure. Hell, you can’t even have one of these. Nothing and no-one is perfect.

Accept it and start living.


PS. This post is blunt and to the point. I hope you’re not offended by that.

PPS. This post is blunt and to the point because it was aimed at me as much as anyone else! xx


The Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide

The Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide

Yes, I am going there. Already.

It’s actually just over one month until Christmas and what I’d really like you to be able to do this year is enjoy the lead-up to the festive season, rather than frantically searching for gift ideas in the days before Christmas. So I’m here to give you the ultimate list of clutter-free gifts for your friends and family.

While the focus of the festive season certainly isn’t (or shouldn’t) be on gift-giving, for many of us, it is a big part of our celebrations.

An Australian Christmas is a wonderful thing – it’s hot, we eat loads of seafood (prawns, oysters, smoked salmon) and drink a little too much sparkling burgundy. We share a meal with loved ones, enjoying good food, good company, good wine and awesome laughs.

We receive so much from simply sharing the table, that gifts feel unnecessary. And in one way, I’d love for gift-giving to stop being part of Christmas altogether. It drives so much over-spending and provides so much fodder for decluttering in the months following – the idea can be depressing.

That being said, I love the giving element. Receiving gifts I could take or leave – I don’t need anything – but giving really floats my boat. Particularly when you get it right and the receiver is both grateful and excited.

So with that in mind, I’ve put together a list of clutter-free gifts for you to give this year. Giving a clutter-free gift to a loved one means:

  • you don’t add to the clutter in their home
  • you can broaden their minds as well as their horizons
  • you can help less fortunate people
  • you can encourage a healthier lifestyle

A Note on Gifts for Young Kids

Most of these gift suggestions are made with teenagers and adults in mind.

Gift-buying for younger kids is more problematic. While we can help our kids to manage their expectations, it is still so joyful to see them tearing paper from a present, squealing with joy as they spy that much-wanted gift.

That’s why Ben and I will always buy Christmas presents for our kids. We don’t go overboard and we do try to stick to the idea of:

“Something they want,

Something they need,

Something to wear,

And something to read.”

But in general we look to give our loved ones experiences rather than things.

So while most of these gifts below are suggested with adults and teenagers in mind, many of them would make great gifts for an entire family too. Better yet, prices fit into any budget, with costs ranging from $5 to $1000+.

Some Tips Before You Write Your Shopping List…

Giving gifts you have made yourself is lovely – it’s affordable, sustainable and from the heart. But considering aesthetic tastes vary so widely, even within families, it is best to make your gifts of the consumable variety, rather than the “I macramed this toilet-seat cover for you and it took hours, I hope you keep it forever” variety.

Make your Christmas shopping mantra: “Experiences over things.” Experiences over things. Experiences over things. Repeat it. Write it on your shopping list. Adopt it whole-heartedly. Experiences over things.

If you want to buy a physical gift for someone, make sure you get it right by asking them. Granted, it isn’t always appropriate to ask the recipient, but try to ascertain specifically what it is they need or want, so they are not gifted with something they don’t want or won’t use.


The Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide

World Vision Gift Cards

Starting at $5, you can give the gift of a better life to children and families in developing countries. School pencils, immunisation, fast-growing seed packs, a goat, chickens, ducks or a sewing machine. Each of these gifts brings so much to the recipient and their community, and when given to someone you love for Christmas, you’re spreading the joy far and wide. Gift cards available here.  World Vision International site here.

Sponsor a Child

UNICEFSave the Children and World Vision are all reputable international aid providers that allow you to sponsor a child. You can make a one-off donation in your loved one’s name or you can pay an annual amount for full sponsorship. While there is no gift to give your loved one, you are giving them the opportunity to improve a life – that is invaluable.

Restaurant Voucher

This is one of my favourite clutter-free gift options. Buy a voucher for a special-occasion restaurant and give the gift of a delicious meal. Each year my parents give Sparky and I a voucher to our favourite local restaurant. Baby-sitting services are an added bonus so we go for our wedding anniversary. It is such a thoughtful gift, completely clutter-free and a real luxury.


The ultimate consumable gift. Take the time to find out what varieties your loved ones prefer and gift them with a delicious and consumable gift. (We usually get half a dozen bottles for Christmas which are, ahem, rapidly appreciated.)

Etsy Gift Card

For the handmade lover in your life. Instead of taking a guess on which handmade items they would love, you can now buy gift cards for the world’s largest handmade retailer – Etsy. And while it is not strictly clutter-free, given they will buy something with the gift card, it is likely to be a gift the recipient will love because they can choose for themselves. Particularly great for teenage girls!

iTunes Voucher

While not very original, an iTunes voucher is a winner for good reason. Via the iTunes store, the recipient can buy apps, games, movies, music or TV shows – and it’s clutter-free. Teenage boys will love it!

Google Play Voucher

Similarly, for those who aren’t on the Apple train, a Google Play voucher offers the opportunity to spend money on music, games, TV and movies, all of the gift recipient’s choosing.

Weekend Away

This is a perfect gift for parents or grandparents. You can give them the gift of relaxation, away from the pressures and responsibilities of home. You may want to include your baby-sitting services for added joy!

Homemade Vouchers for your Time

Your time is valuable so why not package it up for your loved one? Consider giving a homemade voucher for your services. Perhaps 6 sessions of baby-sitting, or 3 weekends of gardening help. Time is something so many of us are permanently short of – why not give the gift of extra hours?

The Gift of Your Skills

What skills do you possess that the receiver may need? Are you a hairdresser? Dog groomer? Painter? Crafter? Gardener? Sewing expert? Cooking whiz? Why not make up a voucher for your skills? You can give a free haircut, or help bake a birthday cake. Think about the person you are gifting your skills to – what would they need help with and how can you make things easier for them? Remember – a gift doesn’t have to cost much to be incredibly valuable.

Homemade Edibles

Shortbread, biscuits, jams, chutneys, sauces, pickles, olives and infused oils. You can make all of these yourself with a little time and effort. Providing the foods are something the recipient actually eats, then they are the ultimate clutter-free gift. To up your green points, use recycled glass jars with sweet handmade labels. Ideal for teachers, great-grandparents and work colleagues.

Plants – The Gift of Green

While not strictly clutter-free, plants are a beautiful and practical gift. They clean the air inside the home and bring life and vibrancy to the outside. When deciding what to buy, make sure they are hardy or suitable to the climate of your loved one. Dwarf citrus trees and olive trees can be grown in pots, and a long, low planter box can be planted with herbs for an instant kitchen garden.

Movie Vouchers

Who doesn’t love going to the movies? It’s becoming an increasingly expensive outing, so vouchers to the cinema are a perfect gift to give. Great for teenagers, teachers and work colleagues.

Travel Vouchers

One of the greatest gifts in life is to broaden someone’s horizons and help them explore the world. Give this gift to someone you love by buying vouchers from a travel agent or online booking agency. Combine your gift amount with others to give a more significant gift.

Theatre Tickets

Another luxury many of us would love, but rarely buy for ourselves. Tickets to a show at the local theatre company, or a big show at one of the major theatres will be gratefully accepted. If they’re not so into theatre, you could buy ballet, circus or opera tickets instead.

Sporting Tickets

What do you buy the sporting lover? Perhaps a season pass to their favourite sporting team’s home ground or tickets to a big match later in the year. If the tickets aren’t on sale yet, make a voucher yourself and buy them when they do go on sale.

Concert Tickets

These are another gift that we often won’t buy for ourselves. It’s such an ideal gift when you don’t need anything. Again – experience over stuff.

Tickets to a Local Attraction

A family ticket to the zoo, aquarium or water park is perfect for the people who don’t need/want stuff. It’s often an outing that gets put off due to cost or the time it takes to organise it, so buying a family pass creates a reason to go. Experience over stuff.

Massage – The Gift of Relaxation

The gift of relaxation is never going to be misplaced. A voucher for the local beautician or day spa is something women (and lots of men) will always be excited about.


Similarly, a voucher for a facial or other pampering is always appreciated. Rarely do we feel that we can spend the money on pampering ourselves, but receiving it as a gift is the perfect solution. Clutter-free and guilt-free pleasure!

A Kindle/Nook/Digital Reader

Not strictly speaking a clutter-free gift, but for the avid reader it will save a lot of space on books. Particularly if combined with a voucher for Amazon/Google/iBookstore/Barnes & Noble.


The ultimate clutter-free gift. A gift card from Amazon et al will give your most avid reader many hours of pleasure.

Cooking Lessons

Check online for local cooking schools offering one-off or short-term classes. You can give a voucher and let your loved one decide, or you can book them in for a specific course.  From beginners to keen amateur chefs, there will be something for everyone.

Music Lessons

A term of guitar lessons or singing lessons is a thoughtful gift for the music lover or the teenager looking for a new hobby. Local music schools would offer vouchers, or you could pay for private tuition with a music student. It’s such a great way to encourage a new skill and get creative.

Learn a New Language

Enrol your loved one in a short course to learn a new language. This is something grandparents may be interested in, as well as those who plan on travelling in the near future. Check online or look up your local community college for course details.

Dance Classes

Has your nephew always wanted to learn hip-hop? Your sister interested in ballet? Sign them up for a beginner’s dance class. Often that encouragement is all someone will need to dive head first into a new passion. And if they’re a little hesitant – why not go along with them? You may just love it.

Photobook Voucher

Services like Blurb or Shutterfly allow you to create beautiful photobooks using online tools, then have the book printed, bound and shipped to your home address. Why not buy your loved one a voucher for one of these services and allow them to create their own photobook? While not strictly clutter-free, this idea was suggested to me last year, and I loved the idea of giving this to someone who has had a new baby or taken a great holiday over the past 12 months. It allows them to create a beautiful way of remembering.

Yoga Classes

Everyone needs a little Zen in their lives. Why not buy a pass to an introductory yoga program for your loved one? It’s going to be beneficial for their health and well-being and it’s a clutter-free gift. Win-win!

Recipe Book from Family and Friends

This is an affordable and thoughful gift – take the best recipes from your collection and from your family or friends. Collate them and have them printed into a lovely book. Everyone has one never-fail recipe so  ask them to share it and pass them on to a new generation. Perfect for newlyweds or young adults who are leaving home.

Practical Gifts

People roll their eyes at the idea of giving practical gifts, as if they are less worthy or interesting. But the reality is, sometimes all we need is something practical. And the money you would spend on an impractical gift – while appreciated – will be spent again when you have to buy the item you needed in the first place. Sure, it’s not that exciting to buy a new home phone, a cordless drill or a worm farm, but when it’s something wanted or needed you should remember who the gift is actually for.


This year, give the gift of experience, not clutter. Your family and friends will thank you for it. Honestly.

What clutter-free gifts have I missed? Let me know in the comments below.


November is the Month of Consolidation

November Checklist {2013 in 2013 Declutter Challenge}

November?! Already?

This means we’re 11 months into the 2013 in 2013 Declutter Challenge, and I hope those of you who have been working through it alongside me have been enjoying it. (Or enjoying the benefits at least!)

I realise I haven’t posted updates of my own progress for quite some time, partly due to time constraints and partly due to the fact that I simply don’t have as much stuff to declutter any more. That being said, this month’s checklist has inspired me to action, and I really expect the next few weeks to offer up quite a lot of clutter and excess. So by the time the final month rolls around, I will have well and truly reached my goal of 2013 items decluttered.

How are you going with your challenge?

To jump right in to this month’s challenge, you can download the November checklist here. Or keep reading to find the full list, as well as added tips and suggestions below.

November is the Month of Consolidation

As we come into the busiest time of year, the last thing we need is a great long list of extra things to do. So this month is all about re-visiting the work you’ve done throughout the year.

In fact, this is where you really start to see the benefits of that work. You will see just how much less work it is to keep on top of things now that you have decluttered most spaces in your home. No longer is it a completely daunting task to declutter the kitchen or wardrobe. The hours you’ve put in over the year have made an enormous difference!

That being said, there is almost certainly still work to be done. (Sorry – no time off just yet!) But instead of focusing on just one area of the home, this month’s tasks cover all major zones. We’re aiming to do a quick declutter of all main areas, focusing particularly on the flat surfaces in each room. Decluttering these spaces gives you the best results, and they are most likely to have accumulated clutter over the past few months.

Even if you think you have decluttered everything you could want to, chances are you have gotten better at decluttering over the year. I can almost guarantee you will find many things that were passed over during your first (or even second) round of decluttering that you can easily let go of now.

Similarly, the process of decluttering has probably become very familiar to you now, so the time you need to allow for each area is much less. 10-30 minutes is all you will need to spend in each space, which is easily divided over a month, or tackled in one or two large chunks of time over a weekend or evening. In fact, why not challenge yourself by setting a timer for each space you declutter, and try to beat the clock? It’s amazing the motivation you get when there’s a little competition!

The November Declutter Checklist

This month’s list is designed for speed and maximum effectiveness, rather than a really deep declutter. It’s all about polishing up the work you’ve already done and having your home at its calm and welcoming best for the upcoming holiday season.

As you work through each space, one at a time, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Target flat surfaces for the best results. Work through one flat surface at a time, sorting rubbish, donations and out-of-place items as you go.
  2. Keep an empty laundry basket with you as you move through the spaces, putting out-of-place items in it. This way you only have to sort and return the items to each room once. It saves a lot of time!


  • Bedside tables
  • Bed (linen, cushions, clutter)
  • Seating
  • Drawers
  • Wardrobe (target piles)
  • Under beds (kids particularly)


  • Cabinets
  • Drawers (empty, out of date, unused items)
  • Decor
  • Bath toys

Living & Family

  • TV unit
  • Drawers
  • Coffee table
  • Side tables
  • Lounges/Armchairs (cushions, throws)
  • Bookshelves

Kitchen & Dining

  • Benchtops (particularly clutter zones)
  • Cutlery Drawer
  • Utensils Drawer
  • Dining table (decor, clutter zones)
  • Buffet/Secondary Storage


  • Hall table
  • Seating
  • Coatrack/Hatstand


  • Benchtops (piles, ironing, clothes)
  • Cupboards

You can go ahead and download the printable November Checklist right here, and you can find all previous month’s checklists listed here.

As you make your way through your spaces this month, the following posts also may prove useful:

34 Proven Ways to Keep Your Home Clutter-Free

‘D’ is for Decluttering: A-Z of Simple Living

One Sure-Fire Way to Tidy Your House – FAST

Finally, A Question About 2014…

What are your goals for simplifying in 2014? Decluttering? Striking a better balance in life? Finding rhythms that suit you, your family and you lifestyle?

The reason I ask is that I’m thinking about creating a guidebook that will walk you through a clutter-free year. It will follow the same basic structure as the 2013 in 2013 Challenge, with more in-depth instructions and guidance into how best to declutter your home over the course of a year.

Alternatively, I am considering a digital course covering the same topic. Video and audio would be offered each month, as well as checklists, task lists and a breakdown of what you actually need in your home.

If either of these options appeals, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a quick email. I’d love nothing more than to help you create a simpler home in 2014, it’s just a matter of what works best for you.


Why Good Intentions Aren’t Enough


“Five seagulls are sitting on a dock. One of them decides to fly away. How many seagulls are left?”

“Well … four.”

“No,” Jones responded. “There are still five. Deciding to fly away and actually flying away are two very different things.

“Listen carefully to me. Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention. The seagull may intend to fly away, may decide to do so, may talk with the other seagulls about how wonderful it is to fly, but until the seagull flaps his wings and takes to the air, he is still on the dock. There’s no difference between that gull and all the others. Likewise, there is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place. Have you ever considered how often we judge ourselves by our intentions while we judge others by their actions? Yet intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you.”

(Andy Andrews, The Noticer)

What have you decided to do but are too afraid, or stuck, or comfortable to actually do?

  • Start running?
  • Declutter your kitchen drawers?
  • Wake up early?
  • Finish that book you’ve been working on for months?
  • Travel?
  • Learn how to paint?

It’s a simple equation, but one that trips everyone at some stage.

Intention (I am going to travel to Thailand this year) does not equate to action (I’ve just paid for my flights to Bangkok).

Simply because we intend to do something does not make a dot of difference to our actual situation. We may be 100% certain that we will visit Thailand this year, but until we have booked, paid, packed and boarded the plane, our situation hasn’t changed. We’re still sitting on the dock.

So ask yourself, “What do I intend to do?”

Then, start doing it. Fly away from the dock. Even just a little.