The wrapping paper shreds are laying all over the floor. There’s open packages everywhere. And it’s like we’re all supposed to just jump right back into a “normal” routine on January 2nd. I need a minute y’all. Please tell me it’s not just me. This 30 day cleaning challenge is going to help us all get back on track. Sure it’ll take 30 days but that’s ok!! And if you need to, you can do this cleaning challenge at your own pace – work faster or slower to accommodate your schedule without overdoing it.
Getting Started with the Cleaning Challenge
First off you’ll need to do a couple of things to get yourself ready for this cleaning challenge. Nothing too hard – I promise!
- Step One is finding support. Doing things all by yourself sounds great at first, but it gets old quickly. Having a group to vent to and share your wins with will keep you going. Join us in the Always Moving Mommas Facebook group Always Moving Mommas Facebook group to share your cleaning challenge wins and struggles.
- Next you’ll need to set up some rules. How are you going to decide what stays and what goes? And when you’re getting rid of it, where is it going to go? Are you throwing everything out? Selling some times? Donating items?
- To make your life easier during the challenge, set up a donate/sell/trash area. This could be empty plastic containers, boxes, and trash bags. Whatever is easy for you. Since this is a 30 day challenge, you’ll want it to be somewhere out of the way. You also don’t want to walk past things and change your mind about getting rid of them.
- You’ll need to clean things during this challenge – not just declutter. Get yourself a mobile cleaning kit or at least put all of your cleaning materials in one spot. That way you’re not searching for anything because it’s all already in one spot.
- Commit. Commit to spending the next month getting things back in order. Sure it’s going to take some work. Get your family involved to help you. If your family can’t help, get some friends to come over and help you make some magic happen.
Note: Part of the reason this cleaning challenge is 30 days is because you’re going to be covering a lot of ground. It’s also to give you time to double check yourself. If you’re doing a closet purge challenge for example, they might have you clean out your closet and take everything straight to donate. What happens when you go to find your favorite wallet you accidentally left in the purse you donated? Or the money you’d left in your winter coat you donated? Before you sell or donate your items, please double check everything to make sure nothing is left in them. Once items are sold or donated it’s nearly impossible to get them back.
Where to Sell and Donate Your Items
Once you’ve got your items ready to go, you’ve got to figure out what you’re going to do with them. Figuring this out now will help you in the long run.
Make sure that items you’re selling are all in very good/like new condition. Clean them up a bit before you sell (wipe them down, throw them in a load of laundry, ect) and be realistic about your asking/listing prices. You won’t be successful selling your items if they’re overpriced, not in great shape (make sure to be detailed in your sale listings), or you don’t have clear, well lit pictures to post.
- Facebook groups – search for your local area/city/town and buy/sell to see what groups are out there. You can always list your items on the general Facebook Marketplace as well.
- Online sites – there are sites like eBay, Mercari (use my referral link and get $10!), and Poshmark (sign up using the referral code alwaysmovingmom for a $10 credit) that all allow you to post your items for sale. You’ll need to ship these items so make sure to account for the postage and your time when you’re setting these prices.
- Garage sale – if you’re allowed to have a garage sale and have a free Saturday morning, this can be one of the easiest ways for you to sell your items and make decent money. Yes it will still be lots of work, but it’s one morning/day of work instead of listing items, answering questions, packaging things, shipping them, and waiting for payments to clear.
Note: Please whenever you’re selling things make sure you’re only accepting cash (consider using an app like PayPal so there’s a transaction history). Checks, gift cards, or other payments may not be valid. And please always meet in a safe location if you’re selling items to someone locally. Take a friend with you, meet in a well lit, busy area, and let people know where you’ll be. Sure lots of these transactions go off without a hitch, but sometimes something is off and it’s better to be in a safe place.
When you’re donating items, make sure they’re cleaning and are still in working order. If it’s broken or pieces are missing, it’s best to just throw the items out.
- Locate a family in need – does your church or a friend know of a family in need who might be able to use your items? They may have been laid off or just had a patch of bad luck but would be so grateful for your items.
- Find a local shelter – donating your items to women getting out of domestic violence situations who could only leave with what they were wearing could be life changing for these ladies and their families for example.
- Connect with the school social worker – if you’ve got school uniforms, lunch boxes, backpacks, school supplies, or other items, consider reaching out to the social worker at your child’s school. They’ll be able to put those items into the hands of students who need them. (Note: you might want to talk with your child if you think they’ll mention that someone’s backpack looks *just like* the one they used to have or consider donating to a neighboring school.)
- Local agencies – think about who’s asking for donations during the holiday seasons. Those places need donations throughout the year as well.
30 Day Cleaning Challenge Tasks
To make it easier, I’m going to break down the various tasks within the cleaning challenge by rooms within your house and similar tasks together. You can also print out a cleaning challenge checklist or cleaning challenge checklist if it’s easier for you to to work through the challenge that way. As you’re cleaning, start a list so you can add things that you need to stock up on as well.
One thing to remember when you’re cleaning is to work top to bottom. You don’t want to start out mopping the floor in the kitchen then wiping the crumbs on the counter down onto your freshly cleaned floor. As you’re working through these tasks, keep that in mind so you don’t make more work for yourself during the cleaning challenge.
Wash curtains and clean blinds
Change smoke detector batteries
Change filters - not sure what size you need? Make note so you can pick some up. Start a note on your phone to keep track of these things so you'll have them on hand. Now's a great time to set reminders on your phone to keep changing them all year long.
Change air fresheners - pick your favorite scents and make your house smell great. Use whatever makes you happy - plug ins, essential oils, wax melts, whatever makes you happy.
Wipe down door knobs - this is a great thing the younger kids can help with. Give them a wipe and let them go to town. They might need some direction with the first couple but they'll quickly get the hang of it.
Wipe down light switches - again another great one for the kids to help with. They'll love turning the lights on and off while they make sure they've got them all clean.
Dust - for flat surfaces, the kids will be a great help. When you're dusting knick knacks and collectables, enlist the help of the older kids or do it yourself.
Vacuum - of course you'll do the large open areas but you'll also want to use the hose and get along the walls and other small spots you don't normally get to. If you're able, move the furniture to get behind and under the bigger pieces.
Mop - regardless of how you clean your floors throughout the year, take the time now to get on your hands and knees and really scrub the floors. This is something my kids all ask to help with!
Clean carpets - now's the time to spot clean stains and clean the carpets overall. I like to do this all on the same day. I move all my furniture into the kitchen and get the carpets cleaned all at once.
Clean furniture - while you've got your carpet cleaner going, give the furniture a once over too. (Wanna know something weird? I find it oddly satisfying to see that yucky water when I'm cleaning the carpets or washing the floor.)
Wash windows - this is another one my kids like to help with. My youngest gets the first pass at them then one of her brothers comes through and gets where she can't reach. Make sure you're also getting the window sills and casing.
Wash walls - I know I'm not the only person who has kids who run their hands on the wall or try to play catch in the house and bounce balls everywhere. Those spots just all seem to magically appear overnight but once you get rid of them, it'll feel like fresh paint. Let the kids help with rags with warm water and dish soap. Use a magic eraser type sponge to get off the stubborn stains (just don't take the pain off the walls).
Wash baseboards - tackle this while you're washing the walls and floors.
Wipe down remotes - use a wipe and get all those germs off the remotes. Make sure your device is turned off. You might also want to remove the batteries just in case buttons are pushed to make sure the remote isn't reset.
Go through dvds and movies - with so many streaming services now, it doesn't make as much sense to keep dvds and bluray discs like we once needed. Of course you'll want to keep your favorites and ones to play in your car's entertainment system.
Wash throw pillows and blankets - you've been curled up on the couch watching Christmas movies so it's time to freshen up all the blankets and pillows.
Wipe down table and chairs - sure you wash your table top down lots, but what about underneath or the table legs? And what about your chairs? Don't forget the high chair or booster seat if you're still using those in your house.
Clean off counters - take everything off your counters and give them a good scrub.
Clean out drawers - go through your drawers and get rid of things you don't use. If things aren't working where they are, now's a great time to move things around so your kitchen will be more useful for you. Make sure to wipe out the drawers and handles.
Clean out cupboards - go through each of your kitchen cupboards and get rid of the things you're not using any more. Move things around if they'll be more useful in another space. Don't forget to wipe down the shelves and handles.
Clean dishwasher - just because you're running it all the time doesn't mean it's clean.
Clean garbage disposal - it works hard all the time for you but it can be really gross. Make sure you've got all that food and gunk out of there.
Clean oven - all that holiday baking took it's toll on your oven so now it's time to get all that baked on stuff out of the bottom of it.
Clean microwave - probably the most used appliance in my kitchen, this is the thing that needs to be cleaned the most.
Clean small appliances - your toaster, toaster oven, air fryer, slow cooker, pressure cooker, waffle iron, blender, coffee maker, and other things that you use throughout the year need a good cleaning.
Clean out pantry - it's a good time to clean out your pantry after the holidays when it might be more empty than other times of the year. Take everything out to check expiration dates and rearrange things if you need to.
Clean out refrigerator and freezer - take everything out of both the fridge and freezer. Use your coolers to hold items that you want to keep cold while you're cleaning. Get rid of the things that aren't good any more. Scrub your shelves and the doors (inside and out). Move the fridge itself to clean under and behind it. You can find more fridge cleaning tips here and here.
Wash rugs - throw them in the wash when you start cleaning the kitchen so they'll be washed and dry by the time you're all done.
Wash hot pads - add these to the load with your rugs to get them all fresh and clean.
Clean out plastic containers - I'm not the only person who accumulates an entire cupboard of plastic containers but can never seem to find lids that fit right? Now's the time to go through and get rid of containers that don't have lids, are old, or just don't work for you any more.
Change sheets - now's as good a time as any to change out your sheets and blankets on your bed.
Flip mattress - enlist the help of your family to flip your mattress if you need to.
Clean off night stands - change the bulbs in the lamps, clean up the charger cords, get rid of any dirty dishes or trash, and wipe down or dust your night stands.
Clean out closet - go through the clothes and items in your closets and get rid of the things you no longer wear or use.
Clean out dresser(s) - get rid of the clothes you no longer wear for whatever reason.
Wash pillows - while you've got the sheets off, give those pillows a wash too.
Change sheets - the kids can help get the sheets off the bed but they'll probably need help getting a clean set back on.
Flip mattresses - if the kids have mattresses that need to be flipped, now's the time to make that happen.
Wash pillows - just like in your bedroom, now's a great time to wash those pillows while you're changing the sheets.
Wash stuffed animals - throw in a load of stuffed animals (or wash them with the pillows) to get all those germs washed off before they get put back into those freshly made beds.
Clean out closet - go through the closets to see what has been outgrown and what needs to stay. If it doesn't fit or hasn't been played with, it's time to pass it along to another family.
Clean out dresser - these kids never seem to stop growing! Go through their dresser to make room for the new items they received for Christmas and get rid of things that don't fit any more.
Go through toys - with the new toys Santa brought, it's time to get rid of the older toys that aren't holding your child's attention any more. Pass them along to another family or store them for younger children to play with when it's age appropriate for them. Just be sure to keep track of where you're putting the hand me downs so you don't forget about them when it's time to use them.
Clean off desk - if your child has a desk in their room, now's the time to go through and get rid of the things that don't belong.
Make sure to clean any tv remotes or video game controllers if your child(ren) have those in their rooms too.
Go through medicine cabinet/first aid kits - check expiration dates and get rid of things you no longer need. Restock the things that are expired and you're running low on.
Wash mirror - my kids are great at washing the mirrors.
Clean out sink - get rid of all the toothpaste that's hanging out in your sink.
Clean toilet - clean the toilet inside and out. If you add a leave in cleaner, now's a great time to do that.
Clean tub and shower - go through all the soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and other things you use in the tub and shower. Get rid of empty containers and loofahs or sponges that have been around for a while. Scrub the tub and shower walls and door. Don't forget your shower head and the drain if you've noticed it's slow to drain.
Clean out makeup and hair products - just like medications, your makeup isn't good forever either. Go through makeup, hair products, nail polish, and other items in your bathroom that have passed their life expectancy.
Clean out drawers and cupboards - if you have storage space in your bathroom, now's a good time to clean it out and get rid of things that no longer work for you, have spilled, or are expired.
Go through towels - get rid of towels that are old and will work better as a rag instead of a towel for your hair and body. Keep older towels on hand for when you're dying your hair.
Clean washer - your washing machine washes your clothes but it also needs to be cleaned too. Make sure you pull it out to clean around, behind, and underneath too.
Clean dryer - empty the lint trap and top of the dryer off. When you move the washer out, scoot the dryer out too so you can clean under and around it. You might just find some of those missing socks!
Go through cleaning products - get rid of the cleaning products that are hiding on the back of the shelf.
Organize holiday decor - get rid of things that are broken and you won't use next year. Organize the decor so all the same holiday items are together and easy to find. Make sure to label the bins so you'll be able to quickly find them. Find a spot in the garage where all the holiday decor will live.
Organize boxes - get everything else that's stored in the garage organized. Make sure to get rid of anything that's broken or you no longer need. Be sure to label the boxes or containers so they will be easy to find when you're looking for things later.
Go through yard care items - dedicate a spot in the garage to the lawn care equipment. Make sure everything still works and it's all things you still use.
Go through kid's toys - get rid of all the broken and unused toys. Put out the new toys from the holidays and make sure they have a home.
Clean out car - go through the car and get rid of the trash and items that don't belong in the car. Double check your first aid kit and any items you keep on hand in the car as well. Put any reusable bags from the house back in the car for shopping.
Clean and disinfect car seats - pull the car seats out so you can clean them and the seat under them. If the covers are washable, now's a good time to throw them in the laundry (plan accordingly and make sure you don't need to go anywhere for a while).
Clean stroller - at the very least, wipe down the handles and tray then vacuum the inside out. If you can wash it/spot treat it and leave it in the sun to dry, that's even better.
Clean trash can - when your trash can is empty, clean it out with some bleach and dish soap outside with the hose.
Clean recycle bin - same with the recycle bin - clean that out too when it's empty.
Go through puzzles and games - if they're missing pieces or you're not playing with them or putting them together, it's time to pass them along to someone who will use them or throw them out.
Go through shoes - just like clothes, my kids grow out of shoes very quickly. Make sure everything still fits and works like it should (no missing laces, soles coming off, or anything like that).
Go through backpacks and lunch boxes - if your kids have extra backpacks or lunch boxes, it's time to clean them out and get rid of the ones the kids aren't using. Make sure to clean out their current backpacks and lunch boxes too.
Clean out diaper bag - make sure everything in there still fits your little one and restock anything that's needed.
Go through water bottles - we always seem to wind up with lots of extra water bottles. Get rid of the ones that aren't favorites or you just don't care for.
Clean out purse/wallet - now that everyone has their gifts, it's ok to start getting rid of all of those receipts you've been holding on to. Scan them into apps like Fetch (use code WY3E4 for 2,000 points when you sign up), Receipt Hog, or Shopkick (use code DEAL116035 to earn 250 kicks) to earn money for them.
Clean off desk - if you have a home office or desk, it's time to get it cleaned up. Organize those papers, wipe everything down, try out those pens and get rid of the ones that don't work, and get ready to get back to work.
Go through bills - probably the last thing you want to look at right now right? Go through the mail and get rid of all the junk. Then sit down and go through the bills. If there are things you can cancel, make it happen.
Go through books - reading rocks! My kids aren't the greatest at re-reading books they've already read so we often pass along books once they've finished with them. Don't forget your books too.
Go through pet supplies - your furry friend needs to get organized too. Get rid of toys, beds, treats, food, and other things they no longer enjoy or aren't in good shape. Wash food and water bowls and their beds or blankets.
Go through craft supplies - my kids love crafting and being creative. Get rid of the things they're not doing any more or don't have an interest in any more.
Clean out email inbox - unsubscribe to the newsletters you're not opening. (As a blogger it hurts that you unsubscribe but it's worse if you're on the list and never open emails.)
Clean out apps on phone - download and app to try it out but don't use it? Time to delete it! Get rid of the apps you're not using. Upload your pictures. Make sure your software and apps are up to date.
Upload pictures - upload the pictures from your phone, camera, laptop, tablets to Google Photos or Amazon Photos. You can also use sites like Shutterfly for free photo storage too.
Backup files - while you're on your computer, set your files and documents to upload to a site like Google Drive or Dropbox in case something happens to your computer.
Check alarms and reminders - don't miss important things this year. Add alarms and reminders now to your birthdays, appointments, anniversaries, and vacations.
What other things would you add to this cleaning challenge? Leave a comment and let us know so we can add it in.