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30-Day House Cleaning Challenge: Project #1

Welcome to April’s 30-Day House Cleaning Challenge (read more here, if you missed my announcement about this challenge last week)! Are you ready to whip your house into shape? I know I am!

April 1, 2013 Project

Your project for today is to surface clean your living room and kitchen.

Here’s what I’m planning to do:

  • Set the timer for 15 minutes and pick up and put away everything that’s out of place. Bonus project: Find 7 things to get rid of.
  • Next, wash the dishes in the kitchen (if there are any), wipe down the countertops and surfaces in the kitchen.
  • Finally, vacuum the living room.

You can follow along with my list — or do whatever constitutes “surface cleaning” to you. There is no one right way to do this. 🙂

Then, come back here at 6 p.m. EST and I’ll show you pictures of my cleaning accomplishments for today and have a linky so you can link up yours, too!

Join in the Chatter

::Want to blog about this challenge? If you’re blogging through this challenge with me, be sure to leave your link to your direct post on the daily check-ins. Plus, if you’d like to post your daily posts to the 30-Day House Cleaning Challenge Pinterest Group, just shoot me an email (moneysavingmom @ gmail dot com) and I’ll invite you.

::Want to follow along on Twitter or Instagram? I’ll also be sharing some of my cleaning pictures on my Facebook Page, my Twitter account, and my Instagram account. I’d love to have you do the same or join in the discussion on Twitter and Instagram. Just follow hashtag #Cleanin30 to see what others are tweeting and Instagramming about this challenge!

photo credit

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  • Kristin says:

    Thank you, Crystal! I am so excited about this challenge. Thank you for making it bite size.

  • Katie says:

    I’m in and so excited! We just moved in to a new place & I was desperately in need of the organization and accountability of a challenge like this!

    I’ll be blogging along here:

  • Sandra says:

    Oh, I’m so in! I love your daily challenges. It really helps me to keep on track.

  • Kimber says:

    Thanks – I’m in! Especially the “get rid of 7 things” part. I’ve been meaning to get rid of some old college notebooks that have been sitting in my closet for 6 years. I’m planning on bringing my computer into my closet, turning on Hoarders on Netflix, and purging! (Nothing like watching Hoarders to make me want to get rid of stuff!)

  • We spent all morning Saturday decluttering our kitchen countertops, so this was an easy task for me this morning. I had a few things out of place due to Easter so I just went through and put those items back into place, the dishes are currently in the dishwasher, and I wiped up the counters and it’s back to being clean. I also sold some stuff an online facebook site for our community for some stuff that we had gotten new (silverware and pots and pans), so I sold our old sets. Thanks for the challenge!

  • Sarah says:

    Love, love, LOVE the “get rid of 7 things” idea. I will be stealing that. 🙂 Maybe I’ll even find more than 7.

    So excited about this challenge!

  • Jessica says:

    I’ll join in!! My house could definitely use a thorough cleaning 🙂

  • I’m so in on this challenge! Before I became a SAHM, my husband did much of the housework. Now that I’m home all day, I’m not quite the merry maid I had anticipated I would be. I’m ready to be whipped into shape, though!

  • I love this challenge! I blog about my 3 weekly goals for all the “extra” homemaking things that easily get overlooked (like fan blades and blinds) but I definitely need some structure for the everyday chores too 🙂

  • Carla says:

    Found three or four things to recycle. Have a bag ready for give aways waiting to be filled as I move through the house. I just purged maybe 10 bags recently. Took them to the Good Will, and had some picked up by truck. Yet, it is a fun challenge to find more things !

      • Lisa Hawkins says:

        I decided to spend a few weeks with my mom who lives 3 hours away, when I got here she was in a tizzy about all the clutter, so we jumped in. In two days, we have cleaned out two bedroom closets (two LARGE yard bags of beautiful clothes for the womens shelter), 1 hallway closet, under all the sinks and the laundry room. We actually bought a really nice organizer (Lowes, $116) and now we all keep going into the laundry room to just admire the awesomeness of our work. We have a few more things to do but she’s just so happy and way more relaxed at the decluttering we have already accomplished. It won’t take us 30 days to finish the job, but I’m going to follow you for the month of cleaning anyway! Thanks!!!!

  • Emily says:

    Started today-no joke!!! In the interest of full disclosure, it was easier since we hosted Easter yesterday! 🙂 cleaned kitchen again though, after the cooking and revacuumed! Thanks for the accountability!

  • Jocelyn says:

    Your posts really challenge me to get going! Because of last month’s challenge, I’ve been getting up every day (weekdays anyway) & doing devotions & exercising before the kids get up.
    This month it’s time to get the house in shape! Thanks so much for your inspiration and accountability!

    • JAM says:

      Hey! My name’s Jocelyn too – pretty rare I think, although my kids know a few – I think it’s becoming more popular now.

  • Jessica says:

    I found 20+ items to get rid of 🙂

  • Lisa Hawkins says:

    I decided to spend a few weeks with my mom who lives 3 hours away, when I got here she was in a tizzy about all the clutter, so we jumped in. In two days, we have cleaned out two bedroom closets (two LARGE yard bags of beautiful clothes for the womens shelter), 1 hallway closet, under all the sinks and the laundry room. We actually bought a really nice organizer (Lowes, $116) and now we all keep going into the laundry room to just admire the awesomeness of our work. We have a few more things to do but she’s just so happy and way more relaxed at the decluttering we have already accomplished. It won’t take us 30 days to finish the job, but I’m going to follow you for the month of cleaning anyway! Thanks!!!!

  • Brooke says:

    I’m in! And I’m especially excited that day one involves the kitchen, after all of the Easter cooking I may have to cheat and double your time limit =P

    I’m excited to come back later and see how everyone did! 🙂

  • Anna says:

    I did it! Felt really good to freshen things up for the start of a new week, even though it wasn’t too bad to start with.

  • I am really excited about this challenge. I have been feeling very defeated in the house cleaning area it seems like it’s so never ending that I needed a good challenge to restart my engines and get me going again.

  • Grace Short says:

    I’m joining in on this. I had to clean my house this weekend because of Easter so I’m ahead of the game today!

  • I missed this announcement last week, but I’m in! I doubt that that there’s much left to declutter or get rid of on our main level, but my unfinished basement catch all is another story!! I bet I could get rid of 27 things a day from there. I love organizing, decluterring, and labeling but cleaning and scrubbing is not my thing, so I definitely need the cleaning challenge.

  • Melissa says:

    I left the house for work before this post got put up this morning, but I cleaned the counters and mirrors in our master bathroom, started a load of laundry, did the dishes, took out the trash and walked the dog this morning before I left for work. Not what today’s challenge was, but still not bad! 🙂 I will challenge myself to try to do today’s project when I get home, or if that isn’t possible I may join in by doing today’s chore tomorrow morning before I leave for work.

  • Kate says:

    This sounds really great! I am currently wrapping up a simple living challenge, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up with this one. I definitely need to vacuum my living room today. I have to vacuum it almost every day.


  • I’ve been trying to keep up on the kitchen every day (it’s so nice to come out to a clean kitchen in the morning!), and our family room is mostly out of place toys that need to be “tidied”, but our living room is a disaster right now! I turned the dining room into a school room, and the storage room into a play room, so everything that doesn’t have a home right now has gone into the living room. I need to get cracking on that, but it’s been slow going.

  • Meredith M. says:

    I’ll be happy if I even get rid of 7 things! I wonder where the clutter always comes from. It seems like I make great strides, then bam, it’s back again!

  • K Quinn says:

    Great challenge Crystal! I was on task to do a bit of Spring Cleaning this week so this is right up my alley.

  • Jenn says:

    When I saw your post, I inwardly groaned . . . only because I was wanting to participate in this challenge but I already spent my whole morning cleaning up the disaster left from yesterday and really didn’t think I could handle any more. Then, I saw your tasks and felt encouraged, as those are the exact things I accomplished today! Hopefully I can keep with this, as my home NEEDS it:) Thanks!

  • Nicole says:

    Super excited for this challenge! We moved into our house just after Thanksgiving, and while our essentials are unpacked, there are still plenty of boxes. I plan on unpacking 1 box each day in addition to the daily challenge.

  • Heather says:

    I am laughing because this is what I did today when I woke up this morning before all my kids. This list exactly. Yeah for being off to a good start. I am so excited for this challenge.

  • Melanie says:

    Hey, how about that, I was already working on the kitchen when I saw this. Nice to be ahead of the curve for once! 😀

  • JAM says:

    I spent 40 min total – put away, decluttered, cleaned and vacuumed the whole first floor. Amazing what you can get done when you just power through it! (Bonus – warmed myself up so I didn’t need to turn the heat on for a bit!)

  • While I was getting the kitchen all nice, Daughter was getting legos out in the living room, lol. We’ll get there…eventually. 🙂

  • Daniela says:

    I am so glad I started this challenge this morning. I started my dishes and while I was finishing up, I realized that water was pouring out from the cabinet under the sink! I didn’t even know we had a leak. So I was quickly able to empty everything from underneath the cabinet out and call my husband who told me what we needed to do to fix it. I am SO glad that a) I discovered this problem this morning and not late at night b) My dishes were almost already done and c) I had committed to doing this challenge and didn’t procrastinate! THANKS Crystal for hosting this challenge!

  • Pam says:

    I’m going to like this. Then I don’t feel like I’m doing it alone.

  • Blaire says:

    I wasn’t going to join in the challenge, because when I looked over the 30 day schedule when you posted it originally, I thought, I already have a cleaning schedule in place and I like the way it works. I have major cleaning tasks and rooms broken down so that I fully clean the whole house in a week. Then I take a break for the next week. Then I start the routine again on the 3rd week. Well, it does works well…IF I DO IT! 🙂 Which I have not done in awhile.

    So when I saw the tasks to be done for today, I realized that I had already been working on those all morning. In the aftermath of Spring Break, being away for a few days, and then the fun and full week-end of Easter, stuff was everywhere! I had been tidying and putting things away on our main floor, had unloaded the clean dishes, and was almost done with putting away the dirty dishes that were in the sink (which created a full load for the dishwasher again!) So all I had left to do of today’s challenge was vacuum the living room. Which desperately needed it! I did that in 5 minutes, and it looks awesome!

    It will be good to try a new cleaning system just for this month, and just change things up! I’m excited and feel less dread about cleaning this month, because it is a new endeavor, and not the same-old, same-old. Thanks for motivating me to just do something, instead of waiting to feel like I want to star my big week of cleaning! 🙂

  • This challenge is so timely! Looking forward to participating!

  • Stacey says:

    I keep a red bin behind my rocking chair in the living room. Anytime someone has something they want to give away or donate goes in the bin. Once a month we empty the bin. Best thing I did this year, cause now my kids know what to do with stuff they don’t want.

  • Michele says:

    I’m in!! And I’m done with today’s challenge!!

  • Sarah F. says:

    We moved in Feb., and I still haven’t really gotten myself into the swing of things. I will definitely be following along.

  • Jenni says:

    Finally a challenge I can participate in! So far all the challenges have been while I was pregnant or with a newborn. My baby is now letting me sleep a little more, so I have more energy to join in! I am looking forward to reigning in the messy house again!

  • Mallory says:

    The link the printable isn’t working. It’s just a blank page. I know that’s not your website though.

  • Jacki says:

    I love this! I defiantly need someone to tell me where to start in my house. I thought having my son in Kindergarten would leave me all the time in the world to clean (so not true). Thanks for giving me the motivation to start my spring off right.

  • Heather Meehan says:

    I am gonna try it. I am so sick of how quick the house gets messy and disorganized. Thank you for posting this!

  • Heather says:

    I had a baby girl 3 weeks ago and there are a lot of everyday things that have gone undone. This is an exciting challenge for me to get back into the swing of things. Thanks for this kick in the pants! 🙂

  • Amy Koenig says:

    I’ve been a reader for a few years, but this is my first official challenge!

    No carpet in our living room, so I got off on that one…not really. I had mopped our hardwoods yesterday but I still had plenty to sweep up again today. (I can’t believe how dirty they get every day.)

    I also couldn’t believe how dirty my towel was from cleaning the counters when I got back into those corners. I also cleaned the pitcher that holds my utensils.

    Over the weekend I cleaned out a drawer and got rid of a few things. I did find four things to take out of a utensil drawer so I’m sure that I’m close to 7!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Charity says:

    I’m 40+weeks pregnant with our fifth baby, so this challenge fits right in with all my nesting! Here’s to hoping all this cleaning brings on labor!! 😛

  • I’ve done a couple of those things already! So I guess I’m ahead of the game! My only problem is my kids drag out stuff right after I’ve picked up. Grrr….

  • Misty says:

    This is going to put a super fun spin on Spring cleaning! FANTASTIC! I’ll be joining here

    Good Luck & Happy Cleaning All!

  • Melodie says:

    So excited for this challenge! We close on our first home on Thursday and will be moving, but I’ll follow along as best I can 🙂 Packed up most of my clothes and have a box ready for Goodwill….so definitely getting rid of more than 7 things! Now on to cleaning the kitchen -which won’t be too hard because it’s tiny 🙂 A nice break from packing….

  • Becky says:

    Looking forward to this challenge…I’m only starting now at 9:11 pm but I’m determined to get it done! I have 4 kids, age 5 and under, homeschooling and so house work always seems to be the one to suffer. I hope this will keep motivated and that even a little bit of work makes a huge difference in the end. Thanks for the challenge.

  • Victoria says:

    My sister-in-law is doing this. I’m going to do my best also. With boys and a new puppy, my house is looking at one of its lowest points right now!

  • Denise says:

    I really want to do this challenge but honestly some days lately it is all I can do to make dinner when I get home from work. We have a lot of stressful events happening at work…and I’ve been exhausted 🙁

    How do you ladies that work full-time jobs keep up with all this?

    • Teresa says:

      I was wondering the same thing (:

    • Crystal says:

      Denise: I think it sounds like you need to just give yourself some grace. If you’re able to just do 5 minutes in the morning of whatever the project is, do 5 minutes. And if you don’t get to it, that’s completely okay.

      You have a lot on your plate. {hugs!}

      {And maybe some of the others in a similar situation can offer some more practice advice and ideas of what works for them.}

      • Denise says:

        Thanks 🙂 I’m really a terrible housekeeper! But I’m good at cooking and keeping up with laundry!

        I did clean our tub over the weekend and my husband is a mechanic so that is NO SMALL TASK!

        I’ll try doing 5 mins instead of 15 🙂

        Love your blog and all your encouragement!

  • Luba says:

    Thank you so much for doing this series, Crystal. You always know how to keep us cleaning and organizing (which is a great thing), and I am constantly learning from you. Thank you for being a blessing to me and to many others!

  • Marie says:

    I am really going to try and stay with this challenge! My goal for yesterday was to get everything back in place before school today so I was excited that the challenge fit my goal already! Due to recent birthdays, spring break and Easter toys and legos had migrated to the living room! Plus my kitchen counters needed clearing off once again.
    I can say my counters are cleared and cleaned! My living room is spotless now and all toys have found there original homes! I finially even got the Christmas CD’s that have been sitting next to the CD player put away. I was so inspired I even dusted all the surfaces in the living room before vacuuming. I feel great starting the day knowing that all the clutter is cleared and everything is back in it’s rightful place and things are a little cleaner.

  • I did it! It made such a difference, and was so quick and easy to do!

  • Joe Cheray says:

    I found this challenge by way of Facebook and it was a timely challenge as I am transitioning this month to working part time from home and part time to my art studio and trying to see if I can juggle two business models at the same time. I have to go through my house and take anything art and design related and pack it up and take it to my studio. I have also been able to get my blog online this week so this will be a great way to get my new blog up and going as well. This is my fourth blog 🙂

    Here is my post

  • Kati says:

    I’m super excited to join in! One question: when will you mop your kitchen floor? Is this on the day you surface clean the kitchen, or on days when you sweep or vacuum all floors?

  • Elise says:

    Love this! I’m behind, but hoping to catch up!

    I’ll be blogging about it here:

  • Kelsey says:

    Just started today so I’m doing some catching up! Cleaned up for 15 minutes while my son (1 year) was in his high chair eating, so it’s about to be a complete mess again when he’s done, lol. But I vacuumed the living room and kitchen as well because the dogs sleep in there so there’s always a ton of fur.

  • Janice says:

    I really enjoyed listening to you speak at the homeschool convention in Cinci this past weekend. Thank you for all the work you do to provide us with such a variety of topics and EXCELLENT idea’s and tips. Plus, encouragement!

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