November “Keep it Tidy” Challenge Update

So how is everyone going with the November keep it tidy challenge. There have been a couple of mentions in the comments from readers about how they are getting on. Here are a two excerpts I wanted to share with you.

From Lena ~ …my november challenge is seriously successful. I found that whenever I have a big cooking session, that it helps immensly to clean right after the meal. for small things like glasses, cups and cans, its ok for me to leave it there. since two weeks, my kitchen is cleaner and easier to maintain and I find I am using not as much stuff anymore. my kitchen might be ready for the next round of decluttering.

From Moni ~ …my November challenge is a bit challenging today as I’ve just got back yesterday from being away. One thing I am taking note of, is some items are more effort than others to pack away quickly and easily, so I’m asking myself to try and figure out what makes some things more tricky, is the shelf too full (if so what can needs to go?) is there something that gets in the way? would somewhere else be a better location? that sort of thing.

Lena’s comment my convey a greater success story than Moni’s but in my opinion both ladies have been as successful as one another and here is why I say that…

Lena had one particular challenge that she was concentrating on and that was to make an effort to leave the kitchen clean and tidy before turning in for the night. She rose to the challenge made some observations and even discovered that there may be thing in her kitchen that she really could declutter.

While Moni, has a higher degree of difficulty in the first place. It is a busy time of year for her with three teenage children and it is the end of the school year. She also sews dance costumes on her dining room table and with end of year performances to supply for it is a busy time for that as well. Her mission to keep that area tidy was bound to be challenging. She didn’t say whether or not she has made any improvement but she has certainly put some thought into it and is trying to devise ways to make the tidy up task simpler and more likely to be performed. This is a very important step when it comes to keeping a house tidy. The simpler we make the task the more likely it is to get done. So good luck Moni I hope you figure it out and increase your chanced of success.

Ooooh! I didn’t put my dressing gown away immediately!

My mission was similar to that of Lena, trying to leave my kitchen sink free of dirty pots and pans before going to bed at night. I have to say that some nights have been more successful than others but there has definitely been an improvement.

I have also been doing a bit of crafting lately and I have been diligent at leaving my work space tidy before turning in at night. And most mornings, prior to setting this challenge, I would usually wake up, go down stairs and have my cuppa and breakfast before making the bed. This month however I have been making the bed most mornings as soon as I get out of it. It is nice to come up for my shower later and not have to deal with it them.

I have to say that just setting this mission has made me more aware of things left in places they don’t belong. With one extra person in the house for almost two weeks I have found that this happens more often than I thought. My sweet darling daughter was clearly amused enough by this “out of character” behaviour that she decided to post a photo on Facebook of my dressing gown that I had left on the sofa one morning. Of course my wise ass family had to get in on the act with comments such as this…

Blake ~ Auntie Col is so reckless!!  Bridget ~  She’s really living on the edge these days! Next thing we know she’ll stop using coasters! Blake ~ A sure sign the world is ending this year! Jo ~ Quick declutter it while she is not looking…

The fact that they all found this amusing could be construed as either good or bad. Good because they think I am usually more tidy than this or bad because they think I am a little too tidy the rest of the time. I am now tempted to throw caution to the wind and leave the pots and pans in the sink for the rest of the month just to prove what a rebel I can be. 😉

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter an electronic gadget or parts there of.

Today’s Declutter Item

Yes, another storage unit empty and gone.

Another Storage Unit

Eco Tip for the Day

 Buy local when possible or affordable. It is a good habit to break into even if only a little at a time. Because as I always say here at 365 Less Things “Every little bit counts.”

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Hi Colleen! Don’t let their comments make you a reckless rebel 😀 😀 😀 ! Keep that kitchen sink tidy. I have, for my greatest surprise decluttered silverware and lots and lots of unused china. Gave it all away. It really felt good. And it all started because I wanted to put away my clean dishes…and had no space! 😀 Problem solved.

    • Good for you Andréia, sometimes it just takes that little push to get us to let go. Getting rid of the excess, even if it is the “good stuff”, makes life easier everyday to take care of things simply because there is less.

      You will feel even better about your generosity when you read Cindy’s post tomorrow so stay tuned.

  2. My suggestion, Colleen… Declutter the relatives. I’d suggest simply decluttering their keyboards but with laptops, Ipads and smart phones, you’d have a big job ahead of you.

    Could you possibly stick a reminder of the November challenge on your page, perhaps near the mini-mission. Maybe in LARGE TYPE and red print. I need all the reminders I can get!!!

  3. Hhhmm, good reminder there was something this month …
    No, I’m not on top of things with the cleaning challenge. However, I got some decluttering done and feel up for some more. I let go (or will let go as some things are still in the house) of things I absolutely wanted to keep in the past. Mainly decorative stuff. I just did not switch it out as much as I intended and therefore don’t need so much variety. Also, my decoration style is getting more minimalistic these days. I still enjoy having some knickknacks but just not as many anymore. I wonder how I feel about it when Christmas comes around but right now it feels good to have the space so clear (and the box with christmas decorations almost empty – just took another cull a couple of days ago.)

    • Hi Ideealistin, never mind that you haven’t risen to the November challenge because you are still making progress with the decluttering and that will make it easier to stay tidy in the long run. Well done letting go of things you didn’t think you would. That is always a good sign of progress.

  4. I’m not on top of the november challenge. It’s not chaos either, though.
    I feel cluttered at the moment though, so I’ll try to declutter more again.

  5. The November challenge is going okay. I am sure there is always room for improvement though. With the holidays around the corner it is time to to declutter more of the decorations because I feel that I am needing less and less of that sort of thing. Sounds like Ideealistin is experiencing the same issue.

    • H Jen, good for you. I feel the same way about the decorations in fact I have now reduced mine to one box. You will see more about that next week at the bottom of, and in keeping with, Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom post.

      • ooOoooooOoooh ah! Yup! Now I remember, I was a bit out of it the end of October what with darn near poking my own eye out with my own eyeglasses! Still have quite an obvious red splotch in my eye – bleh! The meds they gave me to keep me from freaking out about it left me loopy no doubt!

  6. Well, I have really enjoyed coming downstairs to the kitchen and having it clean each morning. I only missed one morning so far and it was the night after I worked at the polls and just a few snack dishes were left in the sink. It’s an effort some days to do it but so worth it the next morning. As for making my bed each day, haven’t missed one day and love getting into the tidy bed each night. Now, my downfall and still a work in progress are those piles on the dining room table. We are in the middle of health care sign up and I have papers waiting for review as well as getting paperwork ready to send to the insurance company for getting back my flexible spending dollars. It’s amazing how much paper is generated for these things. But once I get through these papers, they will be filed and moved to a file folder. I have really been working at tossing the junk mail as soon as it comes in, too, and with the election just over, there was a ton of that. So, two of three of my November challenges are going great and I hope to have the third well in hand by the end of the month. This has really been fun and having only the three things to really focus on has helped me stay on track.

    • Maggie, well done you. I love the fact that you are actually enjoying the challenge not just complying. I can also understand why that paperwork is such a challenge. Once you get all that needs getting under control for the month you should focus on ways to reduce the paperwork altogether. My husband gradually digitised most of our incoming bills etc as the option became available. He also did a focused declutter of old paperwork way back at the beginning of 365 Less Things and it is now so easy to stay on top of. Granted we don’t operate a home business either but if you do it is even more of a reason the try to digitise as much as possible. Luckily the Australian taxation department is now getting in on the digital generation by eliminating their requirements for keeping paper copies for personal tax returns.

  7. I have zero clue what y’all are talking about in regards to the “November Challenge”. Did I miss something?
    I do know I’ve had some spotty issues with receiving many of my RSS feed subscriptions lately & had to manually re-subscribe to a few in order to get them to download yet again to my RSS reader.

  8. The last week I have been focussing on washing up after everything I use. Breakfast bowl and spoon. Washed right away. Plate and knife from orange. Washed right away. Container and fork from heated up leftovers, washed right away.

    My partner decided to cook last night, and said she appreciated being able to do so in such a clean kitchen.

    Also, after our night time meals, we have unintentionally got into the habit of me packing up leftovers and clearing everything away so it is just the washing up to be done, and my partner washing up straight away.

    It feels so great to come out in the morning to a tidy kitchen.

    Ahhhh… The pleasure of reset.

    • Hi Mark, it is a pleasure isn’t it. In fact the displeasure that it sometimes feels to do it immediately is compensated for in spades by the joy of knowing the deed is done and not being procrastinated over or rediscovered later.

      Thank you for the inspiration behind the original post.

    • Mark – I know what your partner means about doing dinner preparation in a clean kitchen. When I am fortunate enough to have that situation I find that I fill the sink with soapy water and wash dinner prep dishes as I go. Unfortunately, the kitchen bench seems to be a problem area at the moment, but I shall persevere. I have a friend who refused to cook dinner until everyone returned to the kitchen to tidy up their mess…..maybe I should try that?

  9. Colleen, thanks!! it feels good to see that other reader could use my progress as motivation. and its good to see for myself as well.
    and also thanks for sharing the comments of your family. I like the humour of your family, sounds like you guys are all together sharp and quick with comments…

    I have to admit that I havent been using my kitchen lately to its full extent, because I am in the middle of my oral exams (two weeks and I am done with uni) and take away is much easier. But I will keep this habit up for december and am looking forward decluttering a couple of items that I wont use therefore in the future (knives, plates, cups, tupper, etc.).

    Moni, please report back how you did with your challenge, I am curious if you had any ideas about your solution problems.

    • Thank you Lena for being such a regular and outstanding member or our little community here at 365.

      • Hi Lena! I want to thank you also for your words of encouragement when I was “whining” here the other day. It made me rethink my little “oh, poor me!” act 😀 , and do something.

        • haha, Andréia, I so know that feeling. and then you have to hear it from the outside to take it in. you are very welcome.

        • We all have our whining days Andréia but if we can learn a good lesson from them then great. When I feel down I now look for the lesson I am supposed to learn from it. I may not always find it and sometimes I may even find the wrong lesson but at least I am trying to think my way out of the situation by putting a positive spin on it.

    • Hi Lena, and that was only the Madsen side, my side can be even more “humorous”.
      Liam is about to finish uni in about two weeks also. Boy will I be glad that is over. Not nearly as much as him though I bet. Mind you then it is out into the real world and that may be even scarier. We’ll see.
      Good luck with the kitchen declutter.

      • good luck to him… finishing uni is one thing, but to find a new path for the future a totally different one. lets see what comes up, if not a fancy job then at least a lot of minimizing.

  10. First off I love your young one’s humour! I get similar stuff out of my kids. If only they had of known us when we were their age!

    November Challenge. OK a fellow ballet mum called in last night to pick up a pattern and she said she was really impressed at how tidy and organised I am this year, which was really nice to hear. My lounge usually looks like an explosion in a fabric store. So most of it is contained to the dining room area. I’m under a fair bit of time pressure this and last week and I’m working late each evening and the last thing I feel like doing is packing everything up. My husband thinks I should make that an exclusion zone or just line the machines up against the wall rather than hauling them back down the hall to the cupboard.

    I am going to have make a stand about the kitchen with the family though.

    • Hi Moni,
      I am not sure how you manage all the sewing without having your own sewing room. My mum always had a sewing room. Sometimes us kids were packed three to a room to allow this but we didn’t mind and she had space to work in that she didn’t have to be pack up each night. She has told us before that when we were really little (1, 2, 3 & 4 year olds all at once) she would put the playpen around herself and the sewing table and leave us all on the outside so she could get her work done.
      Perhaps you could commandeer the kids tv room. So long as there is one tv room they should be satisfied.

      • Colleen – I used to sew with the playpen set up as a barrier.
        wow I’m impressed a 1, 2, 3 & 4 year old. There’s 3 years between mine and that was enough chaos for me. To be honest, everyone seems happy for me to have the dining room as everyone is on the go at the moment and just heat & eat their dinner on the run.
        The first time my son mentioned leaving home, I had to bite my tongue not to say “yay, a sewing room at last” but he has since heard from a friend who has almost saved a deposit for a house by living at home an extra two years, so I won’t go measuring it up for tables and lighting just yet.

  11. As well as trying to maintain a tidy kitchen (with reasonable success) I’ve been concentrating on shifting stuff out the door that has been earmarked for the heave for sometime – it’s kind of getting there- I could just do with OH dealing with his eBay pile. I’ve also been helping a couple of friends with their decluttering and the amount of stuff that has come through the house (imho) is unbelievable – am trying to apply the revolving door approach, ie keep it moving – in one door and straight through and out the other – it’s been hard work I have to confess, sometimes I wish I wouldn’t help out, but I kind of enjoy it….am off to my mothers later this week as she is planning on downsizing – yay!

    • Hi Fruitcake, sounds to me like you are doing a mighty fine job tackling all those tasks. You will reap the benefits soon enough I am sure. And although helping others can be a chore it sure does make you feel good about yourself so have at it. I have found, throughout my life, that the volunteer work I have done has been the most rewarding.

  12. Things are going well here except for my desk area. Being in the midst of decluttering some things, doing the work at my friend’s (S) and getting ready for company has made things a little cluttered because I have several projects that I am in the midst of doing. All are the type where you can do one thing and then have to let it dry or something like that. They will all be done this week before our company comes and things will then look all nice and neat again. In the meantime, it is driving me nuts. Grin.

    Wanted to report that Mom decided that the big Christmas tree she went on and on about getting (I didn’t want it) is more than we can handle and we need rid of it. So we will be back to the small tree this year. All the ornaments for the big tree are packed up and with the tree itself will be going to the home of our youth pastor and his new wife. They are moving into their first home over our Thanksgiving weekend. More stuff out of here. Happy Dance!!

    • Deb J,
      that is great news! As we usually get living christmas trees here there is no issue of storing a tree all year round but I can only imagine what a nuisance it is to keep more than one fake tree stored somewhere.

      • Unfortunately, Ideealistin, I am allergic to real Christmas trees. So we have had to have an artificial one all of my life. the new one we are getting is one that hangs on the wall and stores in a flatish box. We can put it on the shelf in the shed and it will be out of the way.

    • Deb J, you will get there. a week is quickly over and you will be back to a decluttered area, and make progress in your projects. good luck to you!
      yay for the downsizing on the tree. like Ideealistin said before, its unusual here to store fake trees, and I wonder how people do it if they dont have a basement or an attic or similar – I wouldnt bother to have one for that short time of the year, for sure.

      • Lena, one of the bad things about the US is that we tend to have way to many ways of storing things. Lots of things.

        • haha. I dont think its just the US that is storing in too many ways too much stuff. We do that here too. I guess just like regarding other things as well, it is your scale that is just bigger.

    • Hi Deb J, I am also sporadically working on craft projects at the moment and I am using Marks reset approach every time I find a few minutes to do some of it. Like you I glue or stamp or cut and then reset everything back to order before walking away. Then when I come back it is all organised for another session and while I am not able to play it all look tidy. I love it.

      Your mention of your mom wanting rid of the big tree reminds me that I had better be on the lookout in the next couple of weeks for this years Christmas branch.

  13. I’ve come late to the party regarding this challenge (I missed the original post too, for some reason). My challenge is definitely the dishes: I make the kids a cooked breakfast every morning, my husband works from home so he makes himself breakfast and lunch (and usually cleans up after himself, but not always) and we always have a home-cooked dinner. So that’s LOTS of dirty dishes, all day long! We don’t currently have a dishwasher so I’m slowly training the kids to do the dinner dishes, at least. I’m VERY slack at ‘cleaning as I go’, but am working on it. Plus, I’m trying to organise an effective compost system so that no food goes to waste. The goal is to have a clean kitchen when I get up at 6.30am, as I am SO NOT a morning person and the last thing I want to do is wash dishes at that hour!!

    I’m pretty good about making the bed (which is really smothing the doona back properly), but I like to air it out first and pull the doona back for an hour or two so it smells nice and fresh when I get into bed at night, or OK, for a nap during the day ;-).

    • Hi Loretta,
      it seems there are a few of us who can be a little slack with the evening dishes. I also love to come down to a clean empty sink of a morning but I have to admit it doesn’t always happen. I don’t have too many other untidy vices so I am happy to work on this one as I could certainly do with some improvement.

  14. I think my one real area of issue is my bed. I don’t like to make my bed. I like having it messed up. I know, I’m weird. Mom thinks I’m crazy. Oh well!