Project: Simplify 2012!

So I was thinking of skipping the spring cleaning series we’ve done around here the past three years. I passively asked you all on Facebook whether you’d still be interested in it, honestly thinking there’d only be a few raised hands.

Well, that goes to show how much I know, because well over 300 of you shouted with a resounding YES! So… let’s spring clean together, shall we?

This year’s is going to be a little different, but all in good ways. The changes are partly for my own sanity, but also because I want this series to springboard us into action for other parts of our life. I don’t want it to drain us—I want it to get us excited for the spring, and to help us see our home for what it is—a gift.

Here’s how it’s going to work.

Project: Simplify—March 5-30, 2012

For four Mondays, I’ll say “go,” and we’ll all tackle a specific hot spot in our homes. Then on Friday, I’ll share my own progress with before and after photos—and you will, too. You can share on your own blog and then link to it on my post.

(If you don’t have a blog, we’ll have a way for you to upload your before and after pics. I’m still working on that part—last year we made a Flickr pool, but this year I’d like to make it even easier for you. One way will be on Instagram, if you’re there—you can simply upload your photos and include that week’s tag. More on that soon…)

Everyone who participates that week will be entered to win a little prize. But heck, even if you don’t win, you still get a cleaner, more decluttered home. Who wouldn’t want that?

I cover a ten-step process of decluttering, cleaning, and organizing your home in my book Organized Simplicity. Lots of people used it during Project: Simplify last year for encouragement and inspiration. You don’t have to, of course, but you know, if you wanted to, that’d be fine by me.

A few differences this year…

• We’re tackling four hot spots this year, not five.

• I’ll leave each week’s link-up open through Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Lots of you worked on your hot spots on the weekends, which makes total sense. So now, when I reveal my before and afters on Friday, you’re free to share your results anytime between Friday morning and Sunday night. I won’t draw for a winner until Monday morning. Huzzah!

• I’m revealing the hot spots in advance. It was fun to pull back the curtain each Monday last year, but there were so many comments that resonated with a, “Nuts! I just tackled that area two weeks ago!” that I figured I’d spill the beans ahead of time, so that you can plan.

This year’s hot spots

I asked you all on Facebook which areas you’d like to tackle most. Without further adieu, here’s this year’s to-do list:

You can interpret each hot spot for how it works best for you. If it feels overwhelming to tackle all your kids’ rooms, just do one kid. Or just do their clothes. For our third hot spot, feel free to focus on just one or two drawers, or only the closets, of whatever. I’m flexible.

Spread the word

Help spread the word about Project: Simplify! Pin this post on Pinterest, announce your participation on Facebook, and if you want, add this button to your blog (to change the size, simply adjust the width size—shown here as 300:

Project Simplify on Simple Mom

Why? Well, because with Project: Simplify, the more, the merrier. And it’ll also keep you accountable to participating. I hope you’re excited… I am.

Tell me what you think! Oh, and also—any ideas on how you non-bloggers would like to share your photos?

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Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. This is PERFECT timing! We’re moving in the next few weeks and this will help me decide if precious items should be kept or sent on for someone else’s enjoyment.

  2. I’m in!
    We just added two bedrooms and a bathroom to our house and this will coincide with us finally moving our girls to their new rooms and tidying up the rest of the house. I need some encouragement to declutter and not just move the stuff from one place to another!

  3. This is awesome – I was planning on starting some of this next week anyway!! I have read your book & am totally inspired. Thank you so much!!

  4. You can set up a group pinboard on Pinterest and the non-bloggers can upload their photos there. It is really easy to upload your own photos to Pinterest.

  5. Oh, how I’ve wanted to simplify and declutter, but didn’t know where to start, and now you’re kind enough to give me a place and a chance for accountability to keep me on it. Thanks! Looking forward to this.

    I’m a little concerned about Hot Spot 3, because I have major closet, desktop, and drawer issues, so will have to pick and choose. I need a whole tutorial –and a month or two– just for that category! 😉

  6. Decluttering has been my problem for many years. Ten years ago we moved to our home and it was a good way to eliminate lots of clutter. There are many other craft items that still sit in my closet. I am reminded of the verse that says, “Everything should be decent and in order.” It convicts me of how I’ve let “things” hang around, bringing its own confusion and frustration to the order I desire in life. Thanks for the opportunity to examine the contents of my home and selectively purge those items that quietly drag my creativity and spirit down.

  7. Gena Rene Kelley says:

    I don’t have kids either but I have a huge craft area(huge to me) in my living room that has NOT been touched/used in about 17 YEARS….I think that definitely qualifies for taking the slam/prize for the first week!!!

  8. Even middle-aged Mamas need to simplify (we have more stuff!). So let the good times roll, I’m joining in.

  9. I’m excited to participate this year for the first time! I’m so glad I can post about this on my new blog!

  10. Can’t wait to begin and link up! Love seeing everyone’s results!

  11. I’m pretty sure I have your book somewhere, but in the clutter of my house, I can’t seem to find it. makes me think I should tackle this challenge! 🙂

  12. Project: Simplify = cool name. I just have to participate with all the cool kids. 🙂 There is a LOT of positive energy for this decluttering mission which I can use to keep motivated to declutter my home.

    I now live alone so I will tweak the first challenge too.

    So glad to know the spots ahead of time. Just maybe I can do a little pre-decluttering so the the before photo isn’t sooooo embarrassing. 😉

  13. Cool. I actually just started decluttering my apartment last weekend. I worked on a corner of my bedroom and now I’m going to finish it up today. Tomorrow I’m working on my foyer!

  14. Moved 3 times in 2 years and I am now clutter free, its the 20 loads of laundry I need to get caught up on.

  15. This is very exciting AND scary at the same time…I’m in but with lots of trepidation. I’m not going to tell anyone, just wait and see their surprise when it happens, which should be quite fantastic! Thanks for taking the time to lead the charge!

  16. Sarah Jane says:

    My husband has willingly got involved. He even asked what this weeks assignment was!

  17. Just found you! I’m in! I love all the tips and resources!

  18. Melissa K says:

    New to blogging…can I use Twitter as an acceptable place to post for this>>>???

  19. Sandie Mejeur says:

    Facebook is really the only way I know how to upload photos… PLEASE!! PLEASE!!! PLEASE figure out a way to do all the photo sharing on Facebook.

  20. I am ready to declutter! I just added your button to my blog. Thanks for presenting this.

  21. I am needing some motivation– maybe this can be it! I think we’ll join, too.

  22. I am in! I am soooooooooooooooooooooo in! I’ll even avoid thrifting tomorrow in a show of solidarity.

  23. So excited to do this! Already started while the baby is asleep! Can’t wait to look back and see what we’ve gotten organized!

  24. cindy jones says:

    Hello, I am up for the challenge….found you via pinterest.
    I like how you have allowed these projects to be a week long event….even though we don’t have kids at home….this will be a week of de-cluttering our own items.
    Thanks for the challenge:)

  25. I am so happy! If you could see my “todo” list I jotted down last night. Sorting the kids clothes was on the top of the list. And, the pantry has been on my long list for a few weeks now. Thank you for the little push I needed. You’re in my head. Your book is awesome by the way. Love, love it. Happy Simplifying! 🙂

  26. I want to join but I’m terrified! Little house, crammed full of kids and stuff, not much time. Need to do it rather badly though. It will be an autumn clean for me – any time is good though isn’t it? Commitment….arghhhh!!!

  27. Kids room declutter was a big success! Of course, I did it while he was not at home 🙂

  28. I’m in! The clutter is weighing us down, tome to have room to spread our wings.

  29. I’m so glad to have found your site! I’m currently on a mission toward simplicity that I have name the “Simplicity Challenge” on my blog. You can check it out here, if you’d like: I’ll definitely be following along here. Your site is great!

  30. So excited to do this challenge with my sister to increase the accountability and tackle some hot spots. It’s okay if we deviate from your list and do our own order right? Just thinking what works best for me.. Thanks for some much needed motivation.

  31. cindy jones says:

    Saw your blog on pinterest….had cleaned out closets/drawers after Christmas but was still holding on to some stuff… this has helped me get rid of good stuff for yard sale:) We don’t have kids at home so used the first week for ourselves…..thanks……ready for kitchen/pantry week

  32. Could the non-bloggers share them with you through facebook somehow? Send a message to Simple Mom’s FB page?
    By the way, I’m totally excited about following with you this year. I actually tackled my closet this weekend and it felt SO good! But I’m ready for the pantry and fridge this week! Can’t wait to hear your tips on it.

  33. This is perfect! I have been doing my own Simplicity Project this year (you can check it out at-, and this will help give me some additional focus. Great!

  34. Week two here we go!

  35. I am so happy I found this. I have been working on a few sections of my home and I was just about to turn to my kitchen which is right in line with Week 2 – March 12.

    I was going to put it off because of the nice weather, but I think I am going to focus on it this week and still enjoy the nice weather this weekend.


  36. Maureen Greenawalt says:

    I purchased the ebook off your website this nmorning using my mastercard account (paypal) and wanted to download the ebbok. I never received the download for the ebook. Could you check on this for me?

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