Required Reading {Getting ready for the 91 Day Declutter Challenge!}


The Declutter Challenge is starting soon!! Our first day will be January 2nd.

If you want a sneak peek into the tasks for each week, everything you need is in the Printable Pack. Download yours today and get it printed and ready! Order the Printable Pack HERE. (The Printable Pack is NOT REQUIRED, but it may enhance your experience.)


To get ready, there is some required recommended reading. This is important to get your thinking straight before you start this huge journey!

The Reading List!

  1. All or Nothing – The Pitfalls of Perfectionism
    Why Perfectionism doesn’t help and may be hurting progress.
  2. Balance Is A Myth
    Balance isn’t what you think, and that’s okay.
  3. Decluttering Is For Everyone
    Decluttering Isn’t Just For Hoarders.
  4. Depression and Your Messy House
    There is a connection between depression and your mess.
  5. Failure Is A Perspective
    Confidence in organizing comes from consistent good organizing habits. After building confidence, you’ll look at failure differently.
  6. Get Rid of Nice Things!
    Learn why you shouldn’t just get rid of your junk, but also get rid of the things that are nice.
  7. Guiding Children To Declutter
    Learn how to approach your child about decluttering.
  8. How To Declutter: The Process
    No guesswork required on how to declutter, I use my experience as a Professional Organizer to guide you along!
  9. It’s A Wrap: The 91 Day Declutter Challenge Success Stories
    Feel inspired with success stories.
  10. Quit your FREE thinking.
    Stop adding things into your home just because they are FREE or CHEAP. You end up paying for those things with your quality of life.
  11. Saving Little Johnny’s Artwork Forever
    How to let go of some sentimental children’s artwork.
  12. Saying Goodbye to Sentimental Items {Even ones that Spark Joy}
    Some things are harder to let go, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be let go.
  13. Secrets of the Organized: Secret #1
    The clutter and mess you have to clean up is limited to what you own. Organized people own less and make it a lot easier to stay organized!
  14. Some casualties are okay.
    Instead of worrying you may regret decluttering something, expect it and make peace with it.
  15. Stop Telling Your Child To Clean Their Room IF …
    This is the most important thing I’ve ever written.
  16. Surviving Decluttering As A Couple
    Decluttering can be complex by itself, but add in the dynamic of a relationship and it can be overwhelmingly complicated.
  17. The Clutter of Containers
    Containers are my favorite, but they aren’t the first step in organizing.
  18. This Powerful Question Will Help You Declutter
    The ^title speaks for itself.
  19. What You Can Do
    Three things getting in your way of doing what you can. You are busy, I get that! Learn how to work the challenge around your life.
  20. When in Doubt, Get Rid Of It
    The story of why it makes sense to get rid of some of those “just in case” items.
    Anything you ‘have to have’ owns you. There are tough choices to make, but the rewards – the life you want – are worth it.

I always read and respond to blog comments, so let me know in any of those blog articles if you have questions or thoughts.

Getting ready for January 2nd!


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114 thoughts on “Required Reading {Getting ready for the 91 Day Declutter Challenge!}

    1. It takes a leap of faith, but you have to ask yourself – is this worth it? Is this item, even if I need it one day, worth a lower quality of life today?

  1. Very helpful, thank you! I must completely empty one apt after my condo is remediated for mold. Will only keep that which I truly want from the condo to move to another state. All alone in this endeavor, so really needed your advice.

      1. Does your shaklee stuff have any wheat in it? I am alergic to wheat. Dont have celiac but it definitely helps my joints when i dont eat it. :)

    1. my ideas of taking off pounds are, cut back on the carbs, do Not deny yourself of that sweet tooth, ex, I buy Whitmans Weight Watchers chocolate, it comes with 5 pouches in a box, I eat ONE candy, not One POUCH!! to satisfy my craving for chocolate after dinner, have something to look forward to, on Sundays I treat myself to a small dessert of my choice, if you get hungry after dinner eat an apple or a fruit/veggie of your choice, remember on Sunday you get the dessert of your choice. Compromise, if you really want that roll at dinner, then give up 3/4 portion of your potatoes. do not deprive yourself of your cravings, just limit the amount you eat and compromise for the things you want. Drink a lot of water to help flush out the extra calories and fill your belly, and make it a rule not to eat anything after 8pm. if you miss that window then oh well, drink a bottle of water instead. I try to eat fat free snacks like hard pretzels, dry cereal, remember do not deprive yourself, just limit and set one day for your guilt free dessert. Good luck, I hope this helps. Sincerely, jane

  2. I am so looking forward to this! I am at a time in my life, (55 yrs old) that i have the time to do this and i have a few goals I need to accomplish, not just the decluttering. A clean house, lose weight, and a closer walk with God. I plan on starting over which ive heard its never too late to try something new. I really have enjoyed reading your blog and this year i’m planning on making the most out of it.

    1. Remember the good intentions of the people who gave you these gifts. They weren’t trying to give you a ball and chain, they wanted to give you a gift that left a mark at the time. There is no rule that you must keep a gift forever. Getting rid of something doesn’t mean you never appreciated it. Don’t let these worries affect your quality of life now, none of those people would want that for you!

  3. Sounds good. But I only have a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room – and the living room I can’t even get into as it’s piled past shoulder height with stuff! Definite psychological problem here!

    1. Don’t be afraid to get additional help during the challenge – you don’t have to face that alone. To ask a therapist for help is not a sign of weakness, it shows strength to face the fears and make a change. Best of luck wit your decluttering!

    1. You do not have to buy anything to participate successfully. You will need to do the hard work, but all the information will be posted on the blog. The printable pack is meant as an additional resource.

    1. Make your decision before you enter it. Remind yourself that it all needs to go, so just start loading it in your car to donate. No more decisions after your first one. You can do it.

  4. I tried to order the Printable Pack but it would not accept either of my credit cards. I have been stung by PayPal in the past and am Leary of it!

    1. I’m not sure how to help. Paypal is the only payment portal I use right now. Even if you don’t want to login to Paypal, paypal is still what processes the payment and they should accept all major credit cards. Maybe try again, maybe from a different browser.

    1. Does it show up on your computer screen but isn’t printing? Sounds like there is a problem with how your computer is communicating with your printer.

      1. Now that I scroll down, no, not every page is appearing – only every other, then none at all. I’ll check with a techie friend….

    1. Adapt it where needed and make sure to not look at it as all or nothing. There may be days you can’t do the task, but don’t let that excuse the days you can. You already know how to work hard, you can do this too. :)

    1. I’m getting a funny error that there are too many subscribe attempts for that email. Hmmm. Check to see if you get a confirmation email for the list.

    1. I just checked the links and they are okay. I’m thinking it is going slow for you because of the unusually high volume of traffic tonight. Keep trying!

  5. I am thinking about doing this but how hard is it to stay on track. I have a daughter paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator. We have lots of cares and not much nursing so is this something I can do in my own time or definitely a stay on track. But my house needs to be organized and some of the clutter out.

    1. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate, and I can’t tell you what you should do, but I will say that it is possible for you to do what you can and not worry about doing it all perfectly. I know clutter gets in the way, especially during times of stress, so if you were able to clear some clutter, it might help all around. Don’t be hard on yourself about staying on track, it sounds like you have a lot going on.

      1. Thank you very much. I was thinking I will purchase the packet to have something to go by. I think I signed up for the emails but I never received one to confirm. So not sure if I did it incorrectly.

          1. Thank you. I finally found it in the trash/spam folder. So do you need to purchase the printable pack or is there another area you can follow. Finances are limited with out situation. You can find my daughters site at Facebook Miracles 4 Margaret. I am, still in limbo as to purchase the printable pack because I was reading where people were struggling finding the pack in their email.
            Thank you for your time.

          2. You can do the declutter challenge with the information on the blog I post each week. The printable pack is not required. The people who could not find their printable pack in their email entered the wrong email address, and anyone who has contacted me, it has been corrected. :)

  6. Wow, such an eye opener! I didn’t think that was “me” on so many of those posts, when in fact I’m SOOO guilty of most! Thanks a ton for posting this reading list. I think you just saved my sanity!!! <3

  7. I started the challenge today! Very excited. I have a question my laundry room is also my mud room/ dog entrance. it is hard to keep the room clean. Any suggestions?

    1. My best advice is to keep as little in the room as necessary. It is harder to make a mess when there is nothing there to make a mess on. Remove surfaces that gather clutter, even if they are cute. Keep it simple!

  8. I am excited about your challenge and am going to be doing it with a Facebook friend to keep us motivated and on task. I like that you take it slow, giving an entire week for a room. I had tried Fly Lady in the past and was overwhelmed because I have chronic illness and low energy. Your plan seems doable. My question-you said in one of your articles that you should do closets first so that you will have somewhere to put up all the stuff that you organize in other rooms. And yet on your weeks, you have the bedroom closet after the bedroom and storage and closets dead last. I am confused and will reorder your list for myself. Just wondering at the discrepancy. Maybe I misunderstood? Thanks!

    1. You know, that was a really difficult ordering decision to make. Ideally, when I approach a room, I still love to start with a closet. Especially as I help my clients. BUT, as I heard from several participants over the years, the closets were so awful/intimidating that it would make them not want to start the week. As I set up the order, I really tried to think through not just the logistically best ways (closet first), but also the mentally preferable ways. I finally decided that it was more important to design the challenge in such a way that more people would finish successfully than to do it in my perfectionistic-efficiency-driven way. Hopefully that all made sense to you. And kudos to you for noticing. You are officially the first person to ask. :)

      1. Oh, I see! I am going to do the closet first, though, because I will have nowhere to put anything if I don’t. Even though I dread tackling it, I will also see the biggest progress from it, which I think will actually work in my favor! Thanks for the kudos! First time I’ve ever been given kudos for being confused! Lol

  9. Thank you so much for this. I am very excited. I am thankful that I have a SMALL house. My Laundry room is spruced up. :) AND DE-CLUTTERED! I “accidentally” did the fridge on Sunday and the Freezer last week so I am VERY happy about that. I did under the sink and a big cabinet today. My pantry will be later this week. I need to do the two other cabinets so I can find space on my Kitchen table to do the pantry. New Pots and Pans and the old ones will be DONATED! BUT – ONE big bag of garbage is OUT! I am super thankful for the required reading. I am thinning my files as I go about my work at my desk while I am at it. I am taking 5 minutes to PURGE each time I sit down at my desk and I am having SO much fun. Will the garage be next after all this? THAT is a HUGE problem. I have been working on it. PURGING! PURGING! PURGING! I am SO DONE with STUFF!

    1. Not sure what is happening, because Paypal is the only option (the other options are authorized through PayPal). Can you refresh and try again?

  10. Mary, can you offer any advice on how to handle cleaning out a parents home after they pass? My house is already FULL! I feel guilty giving away items that meant so much to my mom but I have no desire or use for them. I have a few very sentimental items that I will always cherish but I still need to address the rest of the belongings.

    1. Theresa – I have so much advice on this subject, actually. You may or may not be surprised to know that this is a very common reason people seek professional organizers. Don’t feel bad if it is overwhelming, it is overwhelming for many people. Most people, after they go through this experience, vow to reduce down their own belongings in their own lifetime because they see how hard it is on the loved ones left behind. There are estate companies and/or local professional organizers that I suggest calling immediately for help in liquidating everything. You should not feel like you need to do this alone and then put your own home and quality of life in jeapardy. Take the few (I mean few) items that are the most valuable to you on a sentimental level and let the rest go.

      The most important thing to remember is this: YOU were more important to your mom than the STUFF was to her. She loves you and would want you to feel free of those burdens. Stuff is just stuff. Nothing can take the memories.

      Best of luck to you! I know this can be difficult. :)

  11. Wow! I’m so excited about this 91 days Declutter Challenge. I really need this and looking forward to learning a different way of thinking and doing things a different way. I think my biggest challenge would be Papers, everything to incoming mail, bills, kids stuff, and how to set up a system with that. Another would be my Kitchen, and not having the space due to not having any drawers, or a Pantry, and not having enough space. Basically trying to work with what I have or don’t have. Any ideas to that would be so wonderful!! So YES, I am looking forward to all this. Thank you Mary

  12. I’m looking forward to doing this challenge! I haven’t told my family what’s going to be happening, yet. Should be fun! In going through the recommended reading, #16 Working the Challenge into Your Life keeps taking me to What You Can Do. Can you give me a direct link for 16? Thank you!

  13. I paid for a packet but have not received it yet. When do you think it will arrive. I live in Michigan. I bought it about a week ago. This is my first challenge and I want to be ready. Thanks

  14. The “just in case” mentality is a huge roadblock for my husband. And to his credit, some of the stuff he’s kept has come in handy. But I’ve said we could probably get rid of 90% of what’s in our basement and later need about 10% of it. I’m looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully my DH will do some decluttering himself!

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