by Mary Wimbley
Putting a routine on paper is easy. I can whip up a perfect routine in just a couple of minutes. Just don’t ask me to put that perfect routine into action. Once I attempt that, the routine fizzles just as quickly as I came up with it.
Recently, I was diagnosed with the inattentive type of adult ADHD. While this is not an excuse, it does explain why I’ve had such a hard time over the years with routines, no matter how hard I tried to keep up with them.
Even though I struggle so much, I really want to be able to develop good habits that will form a good routine, which will keep my home and my life running smoothly. Therefore, I’m willing to try anything that can help me reach that goal. That’s why I was so excited to discover the 21 Days Declutter Your Life Journaling Challenge. It combines two things I love and need to do daily—journaling and decluttering! It’s a great concept. You journal in order to gain insight and motivation, and the act of writing it all down inspires you to do the actual work of decluttering.
Now, I wish I could say that this challenge went perfectly from day one and that I finished it exactly 21 days later and that my home is now spotless and I’m stress-free. But…this little thing called reality got in my way. It’s not called a challenge for nothing! I was dealing with several issues at once on top of trying to keep up with this challenge. My own personal and financial struggles; trying to be there emotionally for my best friend, who lost her father last week and has been going through her own version of hell; witnessing my coworker’s near-breakdown over his personal issues; and probably a few other things I’m forgetting due to my constant state of overwhelm.
Despite all this, however, I choose to call my experience with this challenge a success. Why? Because it’s not about perfection. It’s about motivating yourself to do what you need to do, and discovering some things about yourself along the way. In other words, it’s a learning process.
I didn’t fail because I didn’t finish the challenge within the time frame. I succeeded because the exercises that I did manage to do really helped, and just because I didn’t complete the entire workbook in time for this blog post, it doesn’t mean I can’t ever finish it!
In some ways, I did this challenge out of order. There were some days that I didn’t do the journal entry, but I did do a 10-minute (or longer) burst of cleaning or decluttering. (By the way, that’s how each exercise in the workbook is structured. You’re supposed to do the journal entry first, then set a timer for ten minutes and work on decluttering one area of your home, be it a drawer, a corner of a room, the top of your desk, whatever you choose.) Then there were other days where I didn’t do any decluttering, but I wrote three or four journal entries in a row. I even ended up doing some exercises ahead of their place in the workbook—today I worked on my kitchen, which is discussed in detail on Day 18, but I’m only up to Day 12 in my journal. I discovered this after I’d already worked on the kitchen and sat down to catch up in the journal!
Although I didn’t follow along with this challenge exactly as it was written, I can say it has definitely fulfilled its intended purpose, which is to help motivate you to declutter your home and your life. It’s exactly what I needed (and still need). If you’re like me, struggling to form good habits and routines and needing to declutter your life, I highly recommend taking this challenge. It’s not an instant cure for your clutter woes, but it is a very effective tool that will help you on your personal journey to becoming less stressed and more organized.
Mary Wimbley is a 40-year-old single mother from LaFayette, Georgia. She works as a computer lab tutor at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. She is also a writer, currently working with her best friend on a novel series. She loves to share what she learns as she learns it!
If you want to learn how journaling can help you tackle life's challenges and declutter your life, please download the free eBook, The Journaling Guide to Manage The Stress and Strains of Life.
Your home should be a place of solace and comfort, but too often is a source of stress. Our Declutter Your Life in 21 Days self-paced journaling course shows you how to take charge of your physical space, create harmony in your life, and end the battle with clutter for good.