Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The 20-Minute Challenge

{Source via google.com via Buffy Scott via Pinterest}

So here is the scoop as promised in this post.  As mentioned earlier I will be purging my house of all things that I have accumulated.  Also I remind you that nothing is sacred...this even means clothes for the kids, fabric, & yes, even yarn.  More on that later.

However, I can't do it alone and would LOVE for you all to join in with me.  I have a few guidelines just so that we all get the most out of it...for me they will be rules but should you choose to join me in this please view this more as a buffet of ideas and pick and choose what you like or think will work for you.

First, and I think the most important RULE is to spend no more than 20 minutes a day working on your purge.  Yup, 20 little minutes.  Now, I know what you're thinking or what I think you're thinking 20 minutes?!  Are you crazy, I can't purge my house in 20 minutes!  To that I say you are right!  It is ludicrious to think that what took you months, years, and perhaps even decades to perfect accumulate will be suddenly gone in 20 minutes.  

However, the point of this purge is not to just get rid of things but to alter my perspective on the things I have in my home.  To refocus my priorities and decide exactly what it is that I need to complete that which must be done.  In order to achieve this I must go slowly.  Also, having such a small time limit prevents the all too common purging problem--burnout.  I know that we all have 20 minutes to spare in our days, I have 5 kids and I know that I can either get up 20 minutes earlier or go to bed 20 minutes later.

Another point to the 20 minute time limit is the Instant Gratification Factor.  As we all know we live in a 'I want it now' society.  If we're going to stick to this for a full 30 days we have to keep the work short, the progress fast and see results everyday.  I promise you will be surprised to find out what you can accomplish in just 20 minutes. 

The next rule is, and I will admit this is a toughie, TOUCH IT ONCE.  Yes, you read that right.  You can only touch everything 1 time.  You can make up your options  for what you will do with the item, however you must make your desicion and make it fast.  When I was in middle school one of my teacher's had us watch a video series on how to improve your grades.  The skills and techniques that can take an average or even below average student and push them into the relm of A+.  One of the techniques that stuck with me these last 15 years (plus or minus a year or two) was 'sticking to your first choice.'  This applied to tests, specifically multiple choice, in which the lecturer recommended that once you answer a question you don't go back to change it because more often than not the first answer you put down is correct and that if you go back you might talk yourself out of the right answer.

I think this stratagy will work for our goal as well.  For if we are completely honest with ourselves the longer we think about something the more likely we will keep something we don't need or even hate because we will get wrapped up in all the details like "so and so got this for me" or "what if I need it" or "who would ever want this."  While I don't see anything wrong with keeping memoriablia I do think we keep to much to the point that we don't have room for our future.  The simple act of going on your gut instinct on the item will eliminate this wavering and allow you to make room for the things you love.

My last guideline which is almost as important as the first, is to GET IT OUT OF YOUR HOUSE FAST!  Don't wait until the box is full, don't wait until you're really sure.  As soon as your 20 minutes is up take your bag of garbage to the out door garbage can.  Take your stuff to giveaway in the back of you car/van/SUV and then the next time you're near a drop-off location you can just drop it off.  The importance of this is that you don't want to work hard sorting through everything only to get stuck at the last step.  At the end of June I want to walk through the areas I'm purging and not find boxes to giveaway but to see it open and ready for the future.

There are a few other things I plan to do as well.  Such as limiting the things I bring into the house.  If I go shopping or recieve a gift I will use it to replace something else.  For example, if I go to the yarn shop and get a hank of yarn I will giveaway yarn I already have, or quickly make something to give away ;)  Also, my goal is to fill one box for donations and one bag for garbage, now that I'm thinking about it I might want to check that my paper shredder it working ;)

I really do hope you'll follow along and I have a little schedule in my head of what I'll be doing, but for the sake of accountability I will share it with you all.

Week One June 1-7
Master Bedroom
Week Two June 8-14
Week Three June 15-21
Week Four June 22-28
Yarn and Sewing Supplies
Last Two Days


If you're planning on joining in please let me know in the Friendly Thoughts section below.  I'd love to see who's following along and hear about your progress.  Remember, do what feels best for you and your family.  Perhaps 20 minutes everyday is too much but what about three times a week?  Don't hesitate to jump in mid-stream either!


  1. I am with you 100% and I am passing it along to my daughters as well:)

  2. Yea! I'm so excited to have your support. I just finished my 20 minutes and I got rid of a box to Goodwill and a bag of garbage. The area I picked out had a lot of things that just needed to be put away...so not as much progress was made as I would have liked but still it was 20 minutes and more than I did yesterday ;)

  3. Totally in on this. I can't say I'll only do 20 minutes at a time...I'm unpacking our entire house at the moment and all along the way I'm finding things to purge...but I'm sure if you only counted the amount of time it takes me to toss it into a box then I'm right around 20-40 minutes a day. Feels so good to move forward.

  4. Great Nellie! I'm glad to have you on board. My guidelines are just that...guidelines so do what you can and what you want.


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