So, I realize I sort of fell off the face of the earth near the end of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life challenge. Life just caught up with me a bit in my “day job” with one project ending and another project beginning at virtually the same time. I had good intentions to finish out the challenge and blog about it, but it hasn’t happened yet and the challenge has been over for almost three weeks.
I have been thinking about this post for about a week now. The truth is, I know it is unlikely that I will finish the challenge any time soon. I’m getting to each of the days since my last blog post in the series, slowly but surely, as my schedule allows. But somehow I guess I felt like I had failed because I didn’t complete the challenge in 31 Days.
Since I had begun blogging about it, sharing my progress with you here, I felt like I had doubly failed – I didn’t complete the challenge, and I didn’t complete the blog series.
I knew I needed to post something, and for a while I had myself convinced it would be the remainder of the challenge, albeit a little late. Once I accepted the fact that it was probably not going to happen, I sort of blocked it from my mind for a while. A coping mechanism, I suppose, to deal with the uncomfortable reality.
This led to my complete and total neglect of my blog altogether, because I just didn’t know what to do. I either had to post some sort of explanation as to why I left off at Day 19 (the right thing to do), or just pick up blogging where I left off pretending like nothing happened (lame), or just delete my blog altogether (extreme!).
The only honest thing to do is to face it head on.
So I’ve been dreading this post.
Then I had a realization. I’m betting there are others out there who did not finish this challenge. In fact, I’m betting there are many people out there who started one of the countless “31 Days…” challenges that were going on all over blogland in October, but never actually finished.
With that in mind, I felt compelled to let you know that you are not alone! Making any big change in 31 days is tough. That is why they are called “challenges”. Sure, getting it done in 31 days is ideal, tackling one thing each day, making small steps toward the bigger goal, and a month later you’ve made a great accomplishment. But that doesn’t mean that taking longer to complete the tasks or completing only a portion of the tasks equates to failure.
Just the opposite, in fact. Progress is progress, and you should feel good about any positive changes you make in your life. That is the whole point of these challenges in the first place – to help us make positive changes, not to make us feel inadequate when we can’t finish.
It is easy to read a series of blog posts and see new photos and tips each day and think it is easy for the person on the other side of the screen. That is not always true. Just because you see the steps laid out nicely in close succession on a blog doesn’t mean in happens that way in real life.
Keep in mind, many bloggers work on their blog as their JOB.
So if you see that a blogger organized her entire house, overhauled her family’s finances, started living a simpler life, began a homesteading journey, or accomplished some other major feat in 31 days, just remember that she might have been doing that as part of her job. In fact, it might have taken her more than 31 days because she photographed and documented the entire thing and that can really slow things down.
I am not a full-time blogger, and the thing about hobby-blogging is that writing and sharing about decluttering my house (or any other topic) is not part of my regular job. So I often have to make choices that are different from someone who does blog as their regular job. Chances are so do you.
I’m certainly not saying that these challenges cannot be completed in 31 days. I know that many of these are totally feasible with a little pre-planning and dedication. My point is simply that they are called challenges for a reason – they are challenging. And if you can’t get it done in the predetermined time frame, that is OK. And it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!
The great thing about the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life challenge is that you can start it at any time. The entire challenge is archived over at Living Well Spending Less, and you can even purchase the book if you like to have a hard copy to refer back to.
It really is a worthwhile challenge to take on. Clutter around the home can add to stress and disorganization in other areas, like keeping up with housework, remembering appointments, and managing your finances. It can also add to mental stress! So even if you can’t finish the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life in 31 days, I think you should still give it a shot. You will be so pleased with the results and you’ll never regret being rid of the clutter – even if it takes you an entire year!