The 30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess Challenge | How it Began

We’re going to take the new year by force with a “Less of a Hot Mess” Challenge! We’re going to walk though the ins and outs of decluttering and having a functional home. I’m so excited because I am not naturally organized, but I’ve learned to have routines and structure in my life. These next 30 days will hold me accountable, which is exactly what I need to get off to a fresh start with 2017! Care to join me?

You’ll find every day of the challenge at the end of this post!

Ready to find peace in your home again?

You can’t decorate a home with clutter. Get started on your decluttering journey with 30 days of encouraging and helpful e-mails to keep you motivated!

How it all Began

More than likely, you and I both live the same busy, crazy lives with messy, cluttered homes. For many years I’ve kept my schedule and home filled to the brim, and yet I know there’s more to life than running from one thing to the next and tripping over all of the toys in the process.

I desperately want my home to be a comfort and solace from the storms of the world. And so many times it just doesn’t happen! I feel cranky, stressed and like I never have enough time to tackle it all. Does this sound at all familiar?

My real life living room reveal!

Let me be clear. I’m not talking about perfection here. I don’t mean that I need an immaculate home with everything perfectly clean and put away. That sounds dreamy, but it’s just not practical. Not with 2 little kids and two working parents.

We’ll talk more about goals soon, but I really want a home that functions to meet my needs and the needs of my family and gives us a welcoming place to retreat together away from the mess of the world. I also don’t want to spend all of my time at home managing the stuff that we do have. I don’t think that is too much to ask or accomplish.

Simple, large photos create a unified photo gallery wall in the living room!

About 6 months ago I started asking my readers to give me feedback on what their greatest stumbling block was to creating a home that they loved. And do you know what the top two things were?

Organization and time.

And I agreed! I need both of those desperately. 

I had been pondering this topic recently, when I was hurriedly throwing on some clothes to leave for an appointment and I thought to myself, “I am such a hot mess!” And then I thought, “do you know what I want in 2017? I want to be less of a hot mess.” Hence the name of the challenge! 30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess. (And P.S. – I know January has 31 days, but 30 days just sounds better, so let’s roll with it, ok? 😉 )

So, with the idea that I want to be less of a hot mess in 2017, I took stock of my life and really did some soul searching. What would help me be better organized and give me more time?

I think I’m dense, because it’s taken me 35 years to figure out that the chaos is in the clutter. I spend way too much time digging through piles of stuff and trying to tidy all of the junk.

It all boils down to one word: margin.

30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess | Declutter your Home to Focus on what Matters Most!

I need margin in my home, white space in the closets and clear space on the floors. And I need margin in my calendar to soak up the beauty of the every day with my girls and my husband. Just writing that down made me breathe a sigh of relief.

Ahhh. Can you imagine a life with margin? With white space? A clutter-free existence?

In reality, I need to declutter and get rid of the stuff, so that I would be more organized, more present and more focused on what matters most. 

Why does this seem so simple and yet it’s still so hard?

I’ve committed to decluttering and organizing the places that are what I call “hot mess zones” in my home for the next 30 days, starting January 1.

Are you ready to come alongside of me and hold me accountable? I promise to be honest and real about my home, as well as encouraging about how you can focus on making a difference in your home as well.

Let’s start this new year off with a resolve to make space for what matters most and be less of a hot mess in 2017!

LOVE these tips! 5 simple ways to add summer decor to your home!

And can I ask you a favor?

Focus on this one task for 30 days. Don’t try to learn a bunch of other skills or try to multi-task by doing another organizing course or any other kind of intensive lessons.

Be all in on this one.

Master it.

Make it your focus.

Do this well before moving on to the next thing. As a serial multi-tasker, I’m here to tell you that you need to focus and get this thing mastered. And you will thank yourself for years to come!

OK, are you ready to get started? Let’s do this! I’m in your corner and rooting for you the whole way!

In the mess with you, Laura

P.S. Most days there will be a “The Messy Work” challenge to complete for the day. They won’t be complicated or long, but will help give practical steps to your Less of a Hot Mess journey. If you’d like to get a jump start on the task at hand, here’s your challenge:

The Messy Work: grab 2 trash bags and put 30 minutes on the timer. Quickly go through your home and fill one trash bag with trash and the other with things to donate. Throw the trash away immediately. You’ll never miss it, I promise! And take the donations to your local charity before January 1 to get a tax write off in 2016!

 The Challenge:

Day #1: Defining Your Why
Day #2: How to Set Organizational Goals
Day #3: How to Organize Your Day
Day #4: The Home Organization Binder
Day #5: An Organized Work Day | Secrets to Being Crazy Productive
Day #6: An Organize House Cleaning Schedule
Day #7: My Favorite Organizational Products
Day #8: How to Organize Your Purse
Day #9: Eliminate Paper Clutter for Good!
Day #10: Declutter an Entire Room in 5 Simple Steps
Day #11: 5 Craft Supplies to Throw Away Today
Day #12: 5 Smart Kitchen Organization Tips
Day #13: Easy Meal Planning Tips
Day #14: 5 Habits of Highly Organized People
Day #15: How to Organize your Phone and Computer
Day #16: How to Organize your Junk Drawer in 15 Minutes
Day #17: Tips on Refrigerator Organization
Day #18: How to Organize Your Pantry
Day #19: How to Create Your Own Pantry Labels
Day #20: Top 10 Colorful and Organized Craft Rooms
Day #21: How to Organize When You Love too much Stuff!
Day #22: 7 Surprising Ways Organizing Improves Your Life
Day #23: Organized Closet Systems
Day #24: Organized Jewelry and Cosmetics
Day #25: How to Organize When You Feel Overwhelmed
Day #26: 6 Tips to Keep Kid Clutter in Check!
Day #27: How to Create Margin When Your Life is Crazy
Day #28: 5 Tips for Kids’ Clothes
Day #29: Organized Paint Storage
Day #30: A Decluttered Heart


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  1. I miss when you started The Challenge, but I’m going to jump in and start from The Beginning. You have to start somewhere, right? I need to Declutter my home from top to bottom, and not just my home but myself as well. This year has been the worst from going through Hurricane Harvey, to Family Issues, and even Depression, Anxiety, and being so stressed out! With my home I can fix that first so I can have some Peace & Transquility. I NEED something to go right for a change.

    1. Oh man! It sounds like you’ve been some rough stuff this year. Clearing the clutter may seem trivial, but it helps so much!! Sounds like you’re on the right path! Many blessings, Jenny … xo, Laura

  2. Love the idea of “margin”. I feel the same way. However, after two years of redoing our house, my goal for 2017 is to bring more in to make the rooms feel cozy. Kinda the opposite of your challenge! But with three young kids, I feel like I’m constantly filling a bag of stuff for donation. Visiting from Pretty Pintastic Party.

    1. Ha!! Well, there is a season for everything. Sometimes there’s a season for decluttering and sometimes there’s a season for buying things you love (while tossing everything else in the meantime). But margin is absolutely key all of the time. 🙂 Thanks for joining in the conversation! – Laura

  3. I could definitely benefit from this. My husband and I just moved, and while I thought we got rid of a lot of stuff BEFORE, there is so much more stuff that is just sitting in boxes because I have no idea what to do with it. AND THERE’S ONLY THE TWO OF US!!!! Is it crazy to just throw it all away? Because I’m pretty much ready to do just that lol. Looking forward to following along!

    Thank you for sharing at Merry Monday!

    1. I think you could TOTALLY throw it all away. LOL I’ve been getting rid of sooooo much! It’s freeing and I feel so much lighter! I highly recommend it! 🙂

  4. Hello-I am reading this in the car as my husband drives us to a NYE party and I was reading pieces out load to him because it is so spot on!! I jokingly said “I think I met my sole mate”!! Lol! I am a Mom of two young girls who works full time and spends way too much time dealing with “stuff”. Challenge accepted and happy new year to you all 🙂

  5. Oh this sounds just the “thing” I was looking for! I’ve bought every book, have tons of organizers but I just can’t seem to make anything happen!
    I’m all in and guess what…I already have a timer that I bought long time ago just for this reason 😉
    I love your blog and follow you on Pinterest too!

    1. Yay!! I too have tried every book and every little thing. Organization is a journey, but I’m buckling down and clearing the clutter this time. It’s already so freeing!

  6. Eeeeee Gads I have been de-cluttering for years and still feeling cluttered. Maybe this time I will have better and longer lasting results.
    I promise to join is as much as possible. Getting hammered with snow and being my first year as a widow and no help to be had I am working it baby. Behind that shovel and roof rake. Only 36 inches so far but I am almost 68 and the hours spent out in the cold and snow work is wearing me down a bit. We are heading into another really cold spell, not that it has been warm with many (most) nights below zero. Priority right now is to sew up some more curtains for the windows for layers to hold in the heat.

    WHOOT it did not snow last night so back to sewing. Let this challenge begin. Really hoping to get Christmas put away soon too.

    1. Be safe, Chris! I can’t imagine living where I’d have to shovel snow. At 35 I’d be plumb worn out! You’re welcome to join anytime!! And you can always go back through at your own pace. 😊 -Laura

  7. Hi Laura. I am new to your website and really enjoying all the wonderful ideas. Wanted to share an organization trick that seems to work really well for me. I purchase several rolls of shelf/drawer liner in the print of my choice. This is not the sticky contact paper but the removable textured stuff that is so easy to work with. I usually do this in the cold winter months because it’s good to have a project when you are snowed in or it’s just too cold to go out(I live in western Pennsylvania). I redo my shelves and drawers, one room at a time. Of course, you have to organize (and pitch out!) some stuff so it is like completing two tasks at once. The beauty of it is that you can do it one shelf/cupboard at a time so you are not overwhelmed. An yes, I’ve been know to casually open a newly done drawer or cupboard several times as I walk by just to get that “organizational rush” you feel when you complete a task! The key is to have the shelf liner purchased and in your home so you can get rolling when the urge calls. God bless you for your beautiful website!

    1. Nice! I love that tip, Mary! And the “organizational rush” made me chuckle. I’m looking forward to having some of that in my home.

  8. Hi Laura😊….I have 4 children so I love seeing your kids toys’ all over the place, as well, in your pics. But the very next thing I noticed, and loved, was your wall colours…..could you tell me the name of the gray in the living room and the blue-green in the dining room? I love how they look together! And how about the ocean watery print propped on a side table? Is that a DIY or can we buy that somewhere? I am in the process of updating our 10-20 year old traditional decorating into something more light and airy and am leaning in the direction of your colours…..thank you!

  9. I have already started the process even before reading your blog. On the day after Christmas I started putting the Christmas de orations away, I started by cleaning some of that out, things that I did not use or did not plan to use again, Then I went to closets and drawers. I even got my husband in on the process. He tends to be more of a ” what if I may need this kind of guy”. All has already been given away. My philosophy tends to be however, if I buy something new then something needs to go. So therefore I never let too much accumulate. This works for me. I don’ t seem to need too much at my age.

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