10 Minute Clean Up

Have you guys seen the movie Adventures in Babysitting?  You know that scene at the end when they all get back from their crazy night and Chris (the babysitter) does a quick clean up of the house?  That scene for some reason always stuck with me – weird, I know.  It just showed how quickly you can get shit done when you really need or want to.

Some days I look around the house and just feel overwhelmed with how messy it is.  And too lazy and tired to do anything about it.  But I know I can’t relax if the place is a mess.  So what I do is put on a good song and tell myself to just clean to that song.  Get as much done as I can and leave it at that.

Doing that not only gets me started, but I usually end up cleaning for longer.  But even if I just do clean for the length of that song I find I can actually get a lot done.

So if you’re like me and don’t feel like cleaning, try just doing it for one song.  Or set a timer for 10 minutes.

Here is an awesome example of the 10 minute clean up which I found pretty motivating.  Plus, I like the song a lot.


Oh and I didn’t really do my exercise challenge yesterday.  I did move my body though.  We went for nice walk as a family in the morning – Nathan pretty much ran the whole time.

A running toddler is pretty  much the cutest thing in the world, by the way.

When we got home I decided to attempt to do Monday’s workout instead which was pushups and shoulder thingies.  I did a few modified pushups and felt extremely wimpy.  Then Nathan climbed on my back and I did a few more and we had a good laugh.

So all in all, not a complete write-off.


The Spring Clean Challenge Starts Today

I’m so excited for this challenge!  So far there are over 200 people who have joined/are interested, which is pretty amazing.

It’s so weird to get excited about a cleaning challenge, but what better way to get stuff done!  Each day I not only look forward to doing the task (they are, afterall only 10 minutes) but I look forward to posting it and seeing everyone else post theirs too.

It’s not too late to join.  Each day for 14 days I’ll give you a cleaning task to do.  Each task is very manageable – they have to be otherwise I wouldn’t do them!

I did the first task last night when I got home from work. It took only 9 minutes and I really noticed a difference.



Join now and let the cleaning begin!

Last Day of the 21 Day Clear the Clutter Challenge

Well, today is day 21.  I haven’t been very good at posting my updates, but I am happy to report that I did clear some clutter over the last week. It’s been difficult, and I wasn’t able to get to it every day, but I have good reasons.

One, obviously, Nathan.   I think he was developing new skills last week as he was extra clingy, fussy, and hungry.  I felt like we had gone back to week three.  I unfortunately saw a lot of this face last week.  (I couldn’t resist taking a picture as it was the first time his lip really came out.)


He’s 12 weeks now and I do see some major changes.  He’s so smiley for one!  Very responsive to people’s faces and voices.  He’s grasping at things.  It’s so cute to see his little hands reach for his toys on his play mat now.  And what does he do once he gets it in his grasp – he puts it in his mouth.  Everything these days is going in his mouth.  He especially likes to eat our hands.

And he’s started drooling.  It’s a little out of control actually.

The other reason why I wasn’t fully committed to this challenge this last week was because my brother and his girlfriend came up from Toronto to visit.

On Sunday we went out – it was my very first (proper) outing without the little guy.  I was rather nervous.  Not so much to leave him with Danny, I knew whatever Nathan threw at him he could handle, it was more just the feeling of being away.  I really needed it though!  We spent five glorious hours at Le Nordik spa relaxing, eating and cheersing.


I tried not to talk about Nathan too much.  (Though I did show our cab driver a picture of him – oh  man I am so lame!!!)

So having said that, since my last post, which was on day – oh my! – day 15, I managed to clear the clutter from three areas.

Our little cubby in the kitchen.

I had some great supervisors for this task.


Our front garden (which so desperately needed it).

And today I did this little corner in our living room.  We received so many wonderful gifts from coworkers and I had just been storing the things that we won’t use yet in this space.  Not ideal.  So I designated a spot for them.

And there we have it! Challenge complete!

I think all things considering I did exceptionally well.  Not only did I clear the clutter from some key areas in my home, but I’ve also managed to maintain these spaces – which is really where the challenge lies.  It’s really about getting into the habit of putting things where they belong and simply taking a few minutes each day to return belongings to their proper spot.

Hmmm now what challenge to do next?

Clear the Clutter Challenge Day 15: Sentimental Clutter

Over the years I have managed to go from three shoeboxes full of stuff from my past, to only one.  It’s not that I’ve become a less sentimental person, it’s that I don’t feel I need to hold older that friendship bracelet to remember my childhood friend. That coaster from the drink I had with the Elvis impersonator in Guam (who really loved his mom) is really just a piece of beer stained paper.  Those beads are just cheap, colourful plastic.  Throwing them away doesn’t erase my memories of New Orleans.

Things are just things.

The value I had been assigning these things came from my memory, not the thing itself.

I even held onto things that didn’t bring about happy memories.

A few years ago that was the first thing I did.  I got rid of anything that didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy.  This included anything involving broken relationships (friends, exes) or disappointing outcomes.

I also got rid of the really mundane stuff.  This included all plastic jewelry, beer stained paper, and plane ticket stubs.

And I got rid of anything that I wouldn’t want anyone else to find. I’ll leave this one up to your imagination.

And after all that, I do still have that one shoebox.  A very full shoebox I might add.

Some things are just hard to part with.  I guess for me, it’s about holding onto the past.  To the person I was.  I worked hard for those track and field ribbons, the brownie badges, the figure skating medals.  Yes, I may have only been 10 years old, but I was a very determined 10 year old. I feel like throwing them away would be like saying they don’t matter.

But really, do they matter?

Afterall, these things are just things.

I also keep old journals, but that’s a whole other issue.

Clear the Clutter Challenge Day 12: Least Effort Biggest Impact

Today it is very gloomy outside.  Nathan and I were supposed to go out to our baby massage class, but neither one of us really wanted to go out on this wet grey day, so we decided to stay in and cuddle.

And clear a little clutter, of course.

Although today was more of a simple tidy than a declutter, but whatever.

When I looked around our living space I thought, what small thing can I do that would make the biggest impact?  The answer to that was my coffee table which was strewn with books, pens, two cameras, sunglasses and, oh hey look, my wedding ring.  (It’s still a bit too snug as my joints got a tad swollen in the last few weeks of pregnancy and apparently I take it off and leave it lying around. Bad MK.)

Whenever I don’t feel like cleaning, or tackling a big project I often take this approach.  The least effort, biggest impact approach.  Making the bed is a good example of this.  It doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it can really make your bedroom look tidy.

So here’s the super exciting before and after.

My wonderful husband got me those flowers for Mother’s Day.  That and the most amazing Godiva chocolates, wine, and the coffee I like 🙂  Saturday he took Nathan for the night which allowed me a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Well, in theory – I actually got up to feed him at 4 am and when Nathan saw me he gave me the biggest gummiest smile and wiggled his whole little body.  It melted my heart.

So there we have it!  Day 12 complete!

Clear the Clutter Challenge Day 9: And a Challenge It Is

I had to double check what day today was for this challenge.  This is partly why I like to start these things on the first of the month.  That and I just like starting things on the first.  Or on Mondays.

So ya, I missed the last two days.  I knew this would be a challenge going into it, what with my day revolving around my little milk monster.  He can be quite demanding of my time sometimes.  Who would have thought? 😉

He’s been hungry a lot these last few days.  Here he is trying to eat my arm.


Today he’s been crazy super adorable and as he napped in the ergo I tackled my decluttering task for today – the shelves in our kitchen.

I both love and hate these shelves.  I love them because who doesn’t love extra space to put things.  I hate them because things clutter up this space so quickly.  I don’t really know what to do with it.  I almost wish they were concealed behind doors that way I can shove anything I’d like in there.  Out of sight.

I had tried growing herbs at one point and had them on the shelves but two things happened.  One, we got a lot of fruit flies.  Two, the herbs died.  I really suck at keeping plants alive.

So here’s the before and after:

Slight improvement?  Ugh I don’t know what to do with this space!

On my Facebook page I had linked to an article that talked about decluttering your home.  In the article they mentioned creating systems, as in grouping things that make sense together.  Which is what I’ve done here.  I put the blender near the protein powder (for Danny, I personally can’t stand the stuff) and I put all the coffee things above the coffee maker.

Also realized I’m down to one coffee pod thingy!!  Note to self: must get more.  (How awful are those things for the environment btw?  Worst!  I did stop buying them for a while and was using these refillable pods.  Unfortunately the coffee just isn’t as good.)

So there we have it!  Day nine complete!  Are you following along?  How’s your clutter looking these days?

Clear the Clutter Challenge Day 2: Night Stand and What I’m Reading

Oh hi there!  Welcome to day 2 of my Clear the Clutter challenge.  A whole 21 exciting days of making my home clutter free.

One of the nice things about staying at a hotel is the lack of clutter.  When you wake up in the morning you aren’t confronted by a bunch of stuff on the table next to you.  In most cases there’s a lamp and an alarm clock.

Ideally I’d wake up to flowers on the nightstand, but let’s be realistic here. For now I’ll settle with a clear surface.

My night stand is a bit out of control, but clearing the clutter only took a few moments.  The problem with decluttering, or cleaning in general, is I tend to just move the junk to another area of the house.  Which is kind of what I did here.  I moved the books that I wasn’t reading and were therefor just contributing to the clutter, to my desk in the guest room.  I figure I’ll get to them eventually!  The point here is that my night stand is clear 🙂

Now the challenge is going to be to maintain!

Here’s the very exciting before and after:

If you’re curious the books I have there are kind of my reference books for le baby.  One is on healthy sleep habits and the other is on breastfeeding.  The sleep habits book is one that I really want to start to help Nathan develop.  Our nights are HORRIBLE.  Really not ideal right now.  He’s out from 10 – 2 usually (sometimes up at 12 though) and then he’s pretty much up and fussing from 2 – 6.  It’s incredibly frustrating for me.  I don’t expect him to sleep through the night – he’s only 9.5 weeks afterall – but I’d really like to eliminate that whole 2 – 6 nonsense.  I would even be OK with him up every 2 hours to feed.  As long as he goes back to sleep – and not on me – which is pretty much the only way he’ll sleep now 😦  Ugh, OK enough about that!!  Coffee is good.

I’m also reading some books on my kindle which I keep in the nursery. I just read Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham (AKA Lorelei from Gilmour Girls) and I really enjoyed it.  Now I’m reading What Alice Forgot, and I forgot who it’s by but it’s OK so far.  I’m really into reading chick lit these days because honestly, it’s about all my brain can handle. Again, no sleep.

But yes, back to the challenge!  If you want to follow along, I challenge you to take 10 minutes to declutter your night stand. If you don’t have a night stand or you keep yours clutter free to begin with, then you can do any simple surface in your home.  Maybe a dresser or a shelf.

See you tomorrow!

Clear the Clutter Challenge Day 1: Closet

For day 1 of my clear the clutter challenge I decided to start with a room that I’ve been spending a lot of time in – the nursery.

I’m really happy with the nursery.  I put a lot of thought into decorating it (which I haven’t done for any other room in our house!) and I love how it turned out.  It feels calm, clean and bright.

Before the nursery was the nursery it was a spare room.  I had moved the bed out and was using it as a storage space for all the baby stuff.  Here’s the before and after pictures:

Now I know the room doesn’t look cluttered, and it’s not.  Even after 9 weeks of use it’s still looking pretty put together.

All except the closet.

Which is where I decided to begin this challenge.

The nursery closet, as you can see in the before photo below, has become the place where I’ve been hiding things away.  Clothes that he’s grown out of, clothes that don’t fit him yet, toys that he’ll play with eventually, and tags and boxes from gifts that I’ve opened.

So today I took to the closet and cleared and organized all that clutter.  Looks much better now!

Nathan started crying as soon as I took this picture! But as you can see, Hermes was right there to comfort him.  I suppose it was good timing seeing as he was super chill the whole time I was working on the closet 🙂

If you want to follow along with this challenge, I challenge you to take 10 minutes to declutter one of your closets in your house.  Maybe you only do the bottom.  Maybe just the top.  Or maybe you take all the clothes that you haven’t worn in a year off the hangers and put it in a big bag to donate.

Clear the Clutter Challenge

I would love for every room in my home to feel calm and serene.  Especially now that I am home all the time with little Nathan.  And if there’s one thing that makes a house feel chaotic and messy it’s clutter.

We don’t have a ton of clutter – neither Danny or I like stuff and we try to live minimally.  OK, we don’t try that hard, but we would like to.  The clutter that we have in our home is really just stuff that hasn’t been put away or things that we’ve hung on to for whatever reason and it’s just hanging around.  Serving no purpose but to clutter up our home.

And so I have decided to embark on a clear the clutter challenge.

I’m going to approach this in the same way as the 21 day spring clean challenge.  Each day I’m going to pick a small area to declutter and devote 10 minutes (yes, 10 whole minutes) to clearing that space out.

Even though caring for my 9 week old can be rather demanding at times and time consuming, I’m sure I can find 10 minutes.  Especially since I wear him in the Ergo carrier for parts of the day.  It’s pretty much the only way he’ll nap, unfortunately.  Well, eithor that or face down in the crook of my arm…


(Sorry couldn’t help putting in a random baby photo…love this guy so much!)

OK, back to the decluttering challenge….

I need a plan.

I need to know exactly what I’ll be decluttering and just do it.

And it needs to be simple.

I look around the room I’m in now (our bedroom) and I see clothes on my dresser, shoes piled up next to the closet, 4 books and 2 glasses and a bunch of other things on our bedside table, and I know that the bedside table drawers are just full of stuff. All these things can feel a bit overwhelming to tackle if I think in terms of having to clean the bedroom.

So to make the task of decluttering my home less daunting, each day I’ll do a small thing.  The hope is that by the end of the 21 days I’ll have, bit by bit, made my way through our home and got rid of all the crap we don’t need hanging around.

So today I’m going to make the plan.   I’m going to kind of take inventory of our home and decide on the 21 areas (or micro areas) that need clearing.

And then I’m going to tackle them, one day at a time, starting tomorrow.

Who’s with me?

How I Beat Procrastination

Thursday night when I got home from work I didn’t want to do the task assigned for the 21 day Spring Clean Challenge.  It was an easy one too: just 15 minutes of dusting.

Instead of getting right to it, I chose to lay on the couch and listen to music.  I lay lazily eyeing the areas that needed dusting – the coffee table, the tv stand, the bookshelf – and thought, ‘after this song I’ll get up and do it…  OK, one more song… Just one more song I am for sure getting up and doing it’.

We all procrastinate and I imagine we all do it in similar ways.  My procrastination thoughts are like a little, charismatic devil on my shoulder urging me to do anything but the thing I’m supposed to be doing.  He believes that laying on the couch, watching YouTube videos, or scrolling through Pinterest are excellent uses of my time.

I have to say though, since I’ve started Cultivating Habits I’ve been pretty good at not letting procrastination get the best of me.  I think this is because:

  1. I now break tasks up into itty bitty tasks.  
    This way whatever it is doesn’t feel so daunting and it gets me started.
  2. I do what I can to make it as painless as possible. 
    The 10 minute trick helps with this because it becomes a race against the time.  How much can I write in 10 minutes?  How much can I clean in 10 minutes?  It’s actually really amazing how much you can get done in only 10 minutes!  I’m sure everyone has heard the saying ‘the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll finish’ – so true in the 10 minute case.
  3. I’ve become much better at noticing my thoughts. 
    Yoga and meditation help a lot with this.  Once I’m aware of the little voice in my head, I can consciously not feed it.  It’s like a switch in thought from ‘one more song’ to  ‘OK, I’m going to do this now’.

After ten minutes of laying on the couch I got up to dust and actually ended up cleaning for 45 minutes.  I dusted and wiped and scrubbed.  I got to areas that probably had never seen a cloth.  Doing it wasn’t the hard part, but the longer I put it off, the harder it was to start.

I’m hoping that cleaning as soon as I get home becomes a habit.  Just 10 minutes, every day, that’s all I need to keep my house in order.