Will it work? Find out as I try!

Just when my friends and family thought I couldn’t get any crazier for signing on to write 7 picture books in 7 days for National Picture Book Writing Week, I have decided to embark on yet another crazy quest: to de-clutter my home in one week.

It all started when I was at the library last week and saw the book, Unclutter Your Life in One Week, on the “New and Exciting” shelf.  “Yeah, right,” I thought, and rolled my eyes.  Somehow though, the book snuck home with me and I starting turning the idea over in my head.

I have never been a neat-nick, nor do I really want to be.  I’ve always wanted to have the kind of home that was cozy and comfortable, where people can sink in and not feel afraid to set a glass down or track in a footprint.  Lately though, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how our surroundings affect our psyches as well as our productivity.  It all started when I organized my writing space and was forced to admit that it made in difference both in output and in how I felt about my work.  I’ve also noticed that I do feel better when the house is neat(er).  When chores and clutter start to pile up, it distracts me not only from my writing but also from enjoying my family.  I’ve discovered it takes more energy than I want to expend being annoyed or overwhelmed by cluttered spaces everywhere.

The problem is finding the time to fix it.  It seems so insurmountable.  I think that is why the title of the book drew me in.  If I could really get a handle on the clutter just by dedicating one week of my life, wouldn’t it be worth it to try?  Also, what a better way to segue into NaPiBoWriWee than to remove as many of the physical distractions as possible?  So, I’ve decided to give it a whirl.  I’ll will blog about the experience, including before and after shots when it’s not too embarrassing.  We’ll see if this can really be done.

The real work starts on Monday, but the author, Erin Rooney Doland, goes right for the jugular by asking you to deal with sentimental clutter the weekend before.  That means old photos, letters, cards, bridesmaid dresses, and stuffed animals given to you by your high school boyfriend.  I guess if I can survive that, the rest of the week should be a breeze.  I am going to spend a lot of time this weekend organizing my pictures by time period.  There is a local company that will clean and scan photos and create nice DVDs that can be used both as a slide show and as a way to access and print photos later.  Can you imagine?  I might be able to part with boxes upon boxes of original photos that are collecting dust in the basement.

If you are interested in more information on this process, check out Erin’s website.  It’s a virtual gold mine (land mine?) of information.  For now, I’m focusing only on the process outlined in the book in a (probably feeble) attempt to maintain manageability.  I am both afraid and excited – an emotional cocktail that’s becoming more familiar these days…

Categories: Authors, Books, Unclutter your life in a week · Tags: , , ,



  1. Good luck! I really need to do something like this myself. I’ve GOT to clean my desk in the next week before I launch myself into a creativity workshop and it’s made me start thinking about all the stuff in the house that someone else might want.

    Well, that and the car breaking down and needing expensive repairs – I’m now thinking that maybe I should sell off the things I don’t need/use to create a little spending money. I could de-clutter the house AND put some money aside for a rainy day.

    Once again, good luck.

    Oh and that place that puts photos onto DVD? sounds fantastic! Photos are lovely to have, but they do take up a lot of room in boxes and don’t get looked at very often from that location typically.

  2. Melissa Glasser-Edwards

    This really resonates with me Julie – can’t wait to hear how things go & hope to be inspired!

  3. I find marathon decluttering and cleaning to be exhausting but really satisfying. It is so nice to say goodbye to all the emotional and physical baggage. However, there is a much better way I found that you might be interested in. Next time you are at the Library look for “Sink Reflections” by the Flylady Marla Cilley – or just google Flylady. She taught me all about the importance of loving myself enough to keep my surroundings clean and organized in babysteps everyday.

  4. Thanks for your support everyone. I’m sure I’ll need reminders as the week goes on as to why on earth I started this.

    It’s funny how clutter is such a hot button issue for everyone. We all feel bad about it even if we try to tell ourselves we don’t. I’ll have to check out Flylady. Self love in the process of de-cluttering and trying to start new habits sounds important! Mostly we just spend time beating ourselves up over how it got so bad in the first place (or is that just me?). 🙂

  5. Best of luck (and work) decluttering! Most of our clutter is in our kitchen cabinets. Other than that, we do pretty well. One thing that helps me maintain the tidy is a rule my mom had: Don’t Waste a Trip. If I’m headed to the kitchen and there’s a glass that needs to go there, I grab it. It’s a small thing (and fraught with mother/daughter history), but it works. 🙂

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