Monday, January 9, 2017

34 Weeks of Clean, Rinse and Repeat: Week 1- Holiday Decorations

Welcome to 34 Weeks of Clean!  If you are new to the blog, let me say a big hello, we are so glad you are here!  From our initial post, (you can find common Q&As there!) we have had people from 31 states plus Germany and Alaska say they are joining us.  People just like you and me who are ready to take their homes back.  We are overwhelmed with your responses and enthusiasm and thrilled you are joining us.  THANK YOU to all who have shared our posts and egged on encouraged their friends to join us!  If you do not know me yet, you can read all about me and my clan on my About Me Page. So let's start with a few housekeeping details- I love details, don't ya know!
  • A new assignment will be given each Monday.
  • You will have one week to work on said assignment.  How that looks is up to you.  You can conquer it all in one day and sit back and enjoy the week, you can make it your weekend project, or you can set a timer each day and work until the buzzer goes off.  Find what works for you and go for it!  Every week will look a bit differently, so be sure to be flexible. 
  • Your goal EACH week will be to deep clean, de-clutter, and then reorganize.
  • Take pictures!  If not for us, then for yourself.  You will be amazed at what you will accomplish in 34 weeks, I assure you!  Share your picture on our Family, Faith and Fridays facebook page each week, whether of your before, after, or both and you will be entered to win a $50.00 prize package from our friends at 621 Gifts!  You must post each week to be eligible for the drawing.
  • I KNOW it is tempting to work ahead.  I advise you not to.  Trust me, if this is a light week for you, enjoy it! ;)  Not all weeks are created equal and you will get burned out if you press too hard and too fast.  Clean the assigned area and then go live life.  Enjoy your family, love your neighbors, have some fun.  Next Monday will be here before you know it, I promise!
  • If you are a fellow blogger, we would love for you to put the button for the series on your blog and/or post about your progress.  It is always more fun when we can snoop look into others' lives, right?!  Even if you are not a blogger, make sure you leave a comment and let us know how you are doing so we can cheer you on!

  • DO NOT spend lots of money on organizational "stuff."  Some things are great, and if you need something then go get it.  But please do not buy boxes and bins just to fill a space.  Remember, the goal here is to de-clutter as well.  Those cute plastic bins can just add to the clutter.  Look at what you have and re-purpose things - think bags, baskets, and existing furniture.  We will expand on this idea as we go, promise!
  • Have fun!  Or at least as much fun as one can have while cleaning and organizing.   
First things first!  Holiday decorations!  Sorry, no keeping things up for the next month in this house.  Now, I know many of you have put things away.  I am challenging you to pull it back out this week.  I know, I know, but you can do it! 

I love decorating for the holidays but when Christmas is over, well, let's just say I. Am. Done!  Just ask my kids! ;)  It is almost as much fun as spring cleaning, trust me on this one.  Put on your favorite music, roll up your sleeves, and let's get started!

Helpful hints-
  • Clean each piece as you put them away!  (This is the deep clean part.) All those little knick knacks and do-dads have been sitting out for at least a few weeks gathering dust.  Before you put them away, wipe them down!
Yes, I had my mom's help this year!
  • Same goes for artificial trees.  Although I love ours, they are dust magnets.  You can use a small hand-held vacuum to help you out.  At the very least, take them outside and give them a shake.  A few years ago I decided to save myself the trouble of taking ours apart and just put them back in storage in one piece, but I intend to get large plastic bags to put over the top to protect them.  Some years we leave the lights on our trees but if you take yours off, old cereal boxes that have been collapsed are perfect for winding lights onto, as are cardboard wrapping paper rolls cut down to size!
  • This year when you put things away, ask yourself- do I really love this?  Do I really need it? (We are going to ask ourselves these questions a lot over the next 34 weeks, start practicing!) Again, if you have put things away, pull them back out and really think about each piece. Sometimes more isn't better (well, most of the time, but that is for a different post, right?!). Donate what you do not need - local shelters and retirement homes would love your extras!

  •  Put like items together and LABEL them!  Some of mine had beautiful labels on them (I do love my label maker) while for others I used a sharpie marker.  Details don't matter, just make sure it is all labeled. That way, if you decide to decorate in waves like I do, you can pull out just what you need in the moment rather than riffling through every bin looking for your one treasured item.
  • Think outside the box!  Literally!  See that yellow trash can?  It used to hold dog food.  But I found it was perfect for coiling up outside lights and garland into.  Easy to put them in, easy to get them out.  Now, if we could just invent a way to make them easy to put up! My husband would love that!

  • Ornament boxes and wreath boxes are two exceptions to my "don't buy special boxes" rule. There are other ways to store those things but with all of our moving I have found that things are better protected in those specialty containers.  If you have the space to hang up wreaths you can do so, just know they may get pretty dusty in a year.  Ask me how I know this! ;) A trash bag over them may help.

  • Put it all away in ONE spot if possible.  Each time we move that storage looks a little different.  One year it was in the basement, this year it is on shelves in our garage.  The key is to house everything in the same area if at all possible.
  • Keep a list of what you have. There is no need to buy items on sale that you do not need.  If you don't need it, you can consider it saving money - no matter the price.  Know what you have and know what you need.
  • And as long as we are on the subject of HOLIDAY decorations, if you decorate for other holidays the same things apply, and go ahead and go through those decorations this week too, if you can (Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentine's Day, etc.).  Label your boxes, sort through what you don't need or use any longer, and keep it all in one place. If you can't tackle them this week, don't worry, you can fit them in during the break week!
OK, don't get lost in the details!  Just get started and see what you can do in a week!  Don't forget to take pictures of your progress to share with us!  And if you have a tried-and-true helpful hint, we want you to share with us!  Many hands make light work, and many ideas - well, they give us inspiration.

So glad you have joined us!  Week by week, we CAN take back our homes and put a little order in our lives!

See ya back next week for our next assignment.  Until then, happy cleaning!

Linking up with Caroline


  1. Lots of great tips, Michele!
    I found your post today on Modest Mom!
    Hope you have a good week~

  2. So, we are doing it today, even though I LOVE having my holiday stuff out. It makes me smile. I love the lights and they keep me company at night if my husband has to work. We have worked slowly all week but I'm planning to get the rest put away in just a bit. Thanks for the push! - Lori

    1. Good job, Lori! Glad you are joining us! I get it about the lights, I get tired of the stuff out, but I miss the lights at night!

  3. I finished this on Saturday. I enjoyed going through everything and only keeping what we really wanted. I didn't find too much to give away this time, but I did throw away several items.

    1. Good job, Suanna! I know how hard you worked last time around- sounds like you kept it up well!!


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