Monday, January 18, 2010

Stripped Down Challenge

Because of the recent remodel and upcoming Shindigs ( Laila's Baptism and Truman's Farewell) I've been cleaning and trashing stuff and rearranging my house.
I saw a thing on Oprah that has really made me think.

Peter Walsh of Clean House ....had a challenge for families called the Stripped Down Challenge. The idea was to strip the unnecessary things out of your life and reconnect with your family.

Peter listed 6 rules for your family to follow for one week: (courtesy of

Rule 1: No Cell Phones or Texting
Technology allows us to keep in touch in 24 hours a day, but that doesn't guarantee meaningful connections. "That's the confusion," Peter says. "You could lock yourself in a room and send a thousand e-mails a day and 100,000 text messages, but you are not connected."

For one week, ban the use of cell phones, texting devices and PDAs in your home. The short texts you often receive from your kids may just turn into real conversations!

Rule 2: No Electronics
How many times have you found your family watching the same show in different rooms? Can you even count the number of fights your children have over who gets to use the computer next? "[Shift] the focus of the family, and particularly children, away from self-parenting, away from TV, away from passive entertainment," Peter says.

Give your family the gift of peace and quiet by banning all electronic devices for one week. Institute family game nights, nightly story time or a daily walk to the park. By the end of the week, your family will realize the greatest entertainment in life comes from spending time with one another.

Rule 3: Prepare and Eat Healthy Meals Together
For families, no room in the home is more important than the kitchen. "The kitchen nourishes your family in so many ways," Peter says. "If your children are not receiving that nourishment—and not just the stuff into their mouths, but the stuff into their beings—if they are not getting that around the table, where are they being nourished?"

Stripping away the junk food and make healthy meals together is an instant way to reconnect. Try it for a week and you'll find that everyone in your family will feel better about themselves mind, body and soul.

Rule 4: Clean and Organize the House
Your home should be your sanctuary, and clutter does nothing but create tension and unrest in families. "If you're not connected to your home, if you are not connected to where you live, if your home doesn't bring you peace and calm and focus and harmony, where are you getting that from?"

Organize your home by following these decluttering commandments:

1. Decide which rooms need the most help and talk about your visions for it.

2. Sort FAST:
F ix a time and stick to it. Haul out any item that fits in one of the following categories:
A nything you haven't used in a year
S tuff that doesn't belong
T rash

3. Organize the remaining items into zones. For example, in the living room, create separate areas for toys, DVDs or video game systems and don't let anything creep out from those dedicated spaces!

4. Create new rules to keep your space organized. For example, an item from the basement can never make it past the stairs to other levels in the house, or each time you get a new game, donate an old one.

Each room poses its own challenge, so 
use this room-by-room guide if you're feeling stuck.

Rule 5: You Must Hug and Say "I Love You" to Each Family Member at Least Once a Day
With so many other distractions in your life, you may be neglecting to do the one thing your family needs even more than the latest video game system or designer dress. Everyone needs love and affection, and here's your chance to let your family know how you really feel about them.

Under this rule, moms and dads have a special assignment—have a date night! "One night once a month is worth a hundred weeks of vacation at the end of the year," Peter says. "Once a month, reconnect."

Rule 6: Create 6 New Stripped Down Rules at the End of the Week
This week may have been difficult, but it's also been eye-opening. Look back at what worked and what didn't. Continue to build upon the positive things that came out of the challenge by creating six new rules as a group and follow them for years to come.

You could limit cell phone use between certain hours at night or allow everyone only an hour of television a night. Continue having family dinners together or institute a weekly Sunday brunch blowout. Make Saturday mornings the time every person picks up the clutter they've let build up during the week, then reward everyone with a trip to the playground. Whatever rules you decide on, make sure they're in the best interest of every person in your home. "It's not magic," Peter says. "Spend time together. Be more active. Eat healthy. Avoid unhealthy foods and drinks, and you will start to transform your life in every way."

It seems like an interesting challenge - for 
one week. I admit that it would be harder on me than it would on the kids. The thought of giving up my BlackBerry is a scary one. I can't imagine life without my computer or TV. Really?

I am thinking about getting Peter's book: 
It's All Too Much.


Si said...

love this.

Kimi said...

I've done this before and it is AWESOME! I had to wait until Bob was out of town and then I went around and disabled all the electronics in a way that I could not figure out how to undo. We went media-free for as long as we could until it slowly creeped back in our lives. We had VERY limited time for email and still had phones, but only used them outside of the home. I think we do this about once a year. And I think it's time to do it again. Thanks for the jumpstart, Melinda!

erin noelle said...

Me too! I want in. I also am feeling the need to declutter again. Just never buy back something from the DI that your daughter gave to the DI a week before without knowing. It's more expensive that way :)