52 weeks to simplify your life challenge

NOTE: After 18 months of processing the 52 week challenge and growing even more from the experience I created the first Simplify Your Life book. It addresses all the internal work covered in the challenge plus additional topics that were missed during 2012. You can read all about it, read feedback and even download the first 60 pages right here for free (or go straight ahead and buy the book – it is pay what you can!)


Do you find yourself dealing with the same issues over and over again year after year?

Do you struggle to get your home organised?

Do you find your life is complicated and not following the path you intended? Do you feel like someone else is directing the show?

Do you make “resolutions” each January only to forget what they were by Valentine’s Day?

I will share ideas, techniques, tips and challenge you to explore and make changes one week at a time – building on what we learn together as we go. I am not an expert or guru, but have been down this road and feel I have a plan / idea for tackling this once and for all. I would like to change with all of you rather than on my own and share what I have already learned.


I will post every Monday on the blog with new information and a “take action challenge”. I will open up a linky each week for you to share your updates on the previous week’s challenge (or whatever challenge you are up to). If the week’s subject is something you already have under control I hope you will write a post and share what works for you and add your wisdom and experience to the pool. I hope there will also be lots of discussion on the HLS Facebook page. If you join the challenge after the start please make sure you at least do the reading and challenges in the Who you are series and the Inner clutter sections (will be at least January and February). Apart from those foundations jump in on any other subjects as you see fit.


Find your simple,



The challenge ran in 2012 with support and collaboration through the blog. It is not being run again on the blog, but the posts are included below for you to access freely. Work through them at your own pace. Work through topics that you need help on in your life. Leave out ones that don’t speak to you. This is not a case of “must do every challenge” , but rather do what works for you and how it works for you.

Setting up as blog, linking up and other questions answered 

Week 1:Focus on the positive: What went “right” in the past year

Week 2: Values. What do you stand for? (includes link up for week 1)

Week 2 Guest Post: The Importance of Values

Week 2: Refining my values to core (includes my 5 Values)

Week 3: Creating a family mission statement (includes link up for week 2)

Week 3: Guest Post: Life Planning for your family – how to get your partner on board (coming Wednesday)

Week 3: Sharing my family mission statement and my process (coming Thursday)

Week 4: Exploring Balance (Wheel of Life exercise) (includes link up for week 3)

Week 4: Sharing My Wheel of Life

Week 5: A Moment to Catch your Breath (includes link up for week 4)

Week 6: Goal Setting and Priorities (includes link up for week 5)

Week 6: Goal setting tips

Week 6: Resources to help you achieve your goals

Week 7: How to Create a Vision Board  (includes link up for week 6)

Week 7: Guest Post on creating Vision Boards

Week 8: Happiness Defined (includes link up for week 7)

Week 8: Guest Post on finding Pockets of Happiness

Week 9: Go Easier on Yourself (includes link up for week 8)

Week 10: Facing your fears (includes link up for week 9)

Week 11: Gratitude, Kindness and Altruism (includes link up for week 10)

Week 11: 30 ways to teach children about gratitude and kindness

Week 11: Guest Post: How to spread Kindness as a family

Week 12: Dealing with Change (includes link up to week 11)

Week 13: Checking in on our goals (includes link up for week 12)

Week 14: Time management: Planning (includes link up for week 13)

Week 14: Routines, Goals and Planning for Type B personalities 

Week 15: Time Management: Priorities (includes link up for week 14) 

Week 15: Saying no to say yes

Week 15: How to gain extra time in your week

Week 16: Slow down and focus 

Week 17: Decision making

Week 18: Procrastination

Week 19: Routines

Week 20: Goals check in and catch up

Week 21: Household audit

Week 22: Declutter your stuff

Week 23: Declutter your wardrobe

Week 24: Clutter Prevention

Week 25: Catch up week

Week 26: Finding homes for everything (dealing with hot spots) 

Week 27: Routines and systems

Week 28: Cleaning

Week 29: Paper and Information

Week 30: Habits and motivation

Week 31: Catch up week

Week 32: Balance – checking in with our wheel of life

Week 33: Move your body

Week 34: Food habits

Week 35: rest and relaxation

Week 36: Beauty – rituals, care, indulgence, simplify

Week 37: Self care

Week 38: Catch up on wellness

Week 39: Parenting

Week 40: Toxic or negative people

Week 41: Marriage

Week 42: Friendships

Week 43: Holidays – Setting your intentions and expectations

Week 44: Holidays: organising and planning

Week 45: Holidays: Traditions

Week 46: Holidays: Gifts simplified

Week 47: Catch up and a note on finding your simple

Week 48: Financial awareness – where you are and where you want to go

Week 49: Reducing outgoings to meet financial goals 

Week 50: Increasing income to meet financial goals

Week 51: Work and life – passion, balance, priorities

Week 52: Reflections and assessment



Image credits: If you change nothing, nothing will change - poster available from etsy

Stop living your life their way

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsty @ My Home Truths December 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Hi Deb, I think this is a great idea. I have filled out the survey and will try to participate in the challenge but Monday’s aren’t always a day that I can always blog – I will do my best to try!


Debra Dane December 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm

That’s great Kirsty – and the linky will stay open the whole week so you can blog another day and link up if you want. It will be great to have you on board and we can all learn from each other.


lyndal December 13, 2011 at 11:32 am

I am so in! Can’t wait, what a great idea!



Debra Dane December 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Yay – i am a bit stressed and might have bit off a lot with this but I am game if you all are!


Kylie Ofiu December 14, 2011 at 9:03 am

This sounds great. I am interested. Look forward to what you will be doing. :)


Debra Dane December 14, 2011 at 9:05 am

Fabulous – i might get in touch with you about the financial section! perhaps you have a few tips you can offer up – will be in touch Kylie!


Kylie Ofiu December 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

Sure thing. Sounds good!


Pam December 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Filled out the survey. I’m a bit different in that our household is all adults – no kids. but I think the simplifying issues are universal no matter the ages of the family members!


Debra Dane December 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Pam – there are a lot of things that will be non parenting specific – starts with identifying your true values, priorities and goals, will go into areas like relationships, finance, health etc. Everything can be applied to anyone. Many of my examples and suggestions may be parent-centric at times as that is where I am coming from, but how anyone else applies the information and ideas will be unique to them (as is the whole point of the 52 weeks- figuring out what is important to you, finding your path, and using all that info to start cutting out what you don’t need or desire


Laney @ Crash Test Mummy December 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I love the sound of this Deb – it fits with with my Crash Challenges and Crash Tests really well. I’ll be sure to link up :)


Debra Dane December 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Great Laney – I look forward to reading your ideas and posts – now go get some rest and have a very Merry Christmas!


Sara @ Tis The Life December 23, 2011 at 10:44 pm

ThiS sounds fantastic. Im looking forward to joining in


Debra Dane December 26, 2011 at 8:36 am

So happy to have you with us Sara xx


Katie December 26, 2011 at 9:10 am

I’m in :)


Debra Dane December 26, 2011 at 9:14 am

Thrilled to have you along Katie!


Sarah December 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I am so in! This is perfect timing, I have been struggling with feeling so overwhelmed and lost when it comes to home organization… I am considering starting a blog, but I don’t want to tip over the apple cart with something else! I can only just balance it now!!


Debra Dane December 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Sarah – it will be great to have you join in. If you want to start a blog you can keep it simple – you could do a free one, just write about your journey and link up and you don’t even have to tell anyone about it if you don’t want any pressure. Just a thought as a way to get support from others trying to make changes too – strength in numbers and all that! otherwise the fb page will be another way to connect.


Selin @ Hip Chic Tot December 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Im also in – Im bad at resolutions, SELF promises & finishing challenges off but 2012 I will be changing all of this and this will be my first challenge im going to stick with (its going to be a challenge to completely commit myself lol)


Debra Dane December 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm

The way I envision this is going super slow 1 step at a time so if we all stick with it together you should reach december having made some permanent changes. Better to reach the end of the year with 3-5 things achieved in this than none or 20 half started super ambitious goals. we will seriously be spending more than a month just looking at values, life balance, priorities etc. This is about making changes from within before you try to get a handle on the outside stuff like money, possessions, weight loss etc. xx deb


Lisa Wood December 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Oh I have already done this! We sold off everything that we own, and only kepts what we had to! Then we moved into our Motorhome – with limited storage space…so our lifestyle is so much easier. I hardly have any cleaning to do, nor have too much “Stuff” laying around..there is no room for it!
Love the simplify your life challenge.


Debra Dane December 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Thanks Lisa – would be great to have some of your experiences shared with others as inspiration!


Andrea Wayman December 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I am so looking forward to doing this! Have had a new baby this year and so everything has gone downhill and I feel like I am in a rut! This will also give me an opportunity to ‘relieve’ myself of some tension as I love to write. Thank you so much for this idea. Can’t wait to start!!!



Debra Dane December 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Great to have you Andrea – and already your attitude seems great – you aren’t beating yourself up, just acknowledging your rut (oh how i hate those ruts) and even putting a great positive onto this with the writing – so looking forward to your posts! A baby causes so much change in our lives and it can take a while to settle on a new normal that works for everyone!


Andrea Wayman December 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Have just spent some time and organised my blog! Cant wait to get started. Thank you so much for this inspiration…..so excited!


Debra Dane December 29, 2011 at 6:38 am

You are welcome – I am so happy you have done that! I think blogging will help – just having people go back and forth and connect can be motivating to tackle big issues. Now to have my vision come to life and work the way I see it. I appreciate all of you coming along for the ride and trust we will all have many things to celebrate 1 yr from now. xx


Lee December 30, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I am in!


Debra Dane December 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Yay – i look forward to your posts and insights lee. I loved your recent post for end of 2011!


reluctant pastor's wife December 31, 2011 at 8:27 am

I’m always decluttering, but things have gotten out of control…even for me! I’m so ready to simplify even more… I’m so ready for life to go back to normal and get started!


Debra Dane January 1, 2012 at 9:20 am

Looking forward to seeing you here on the 2nd! One day at a time you will regain control – that I am sure of. happy new year!


Lynette January 1, 2012 at 9:07 am

Deb, just saw this post referenced in your F/b update. I’m so on in on this challenge. It is exactly the goal my husband & I have set ourselves for 2012. Great idea!


Debra Dane January 1, 2012 at 9:21 am

Great Lynette! It will be great to get the perspective of a couple who are both on board as some people will be struggling with a family member who is not 100% enthusiastic. In my own case, my hubby is less talk and more action so my challenge will be getting him to sit and talk abut values, goals and mission statements.


Rita Merienne January 2, 2012 at 9:26 am

I’m in too. Really looking forward to putting some order in my life and decluttering (not only the house). I love a challenge and think this is a fantastic idea.


Tina January 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

This sounds like a positive thing to participate in , though I am always over-committed and busy, so not sure how much I can dedicate. That being said, I am very interested in making positive changes in my life, I often struggle with depression and negativity. I am not sure where the survey is?
Thanks, Tina


Tina January 2, 2012 at 10:01 am

Still not sure about the survey, but I did find the week #1 challenge. I am not going to blog it,( I don’t have a blog, or time for one at the moment). I am going to do it at home, as I am able.


Debra Dane January 2, 2012 at 10:44 am

No need to blog – you can still comment and get support if you need to work through anything or want to share a tip or two for others. Great to have you here!


Nicole McMurtrie January 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm

This looks great and exactly what I need!


Paula Guy January 2, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I am sooo looking forward to this challenge – thank you for opening up a new world to me and i hope that this time in 2013 I am a changed and happy person!!!!!


Paula Guy January 3, 2012 at 11:17 am

my new blogg – whoo hoo is at http://www.pjg2012.blogspot.com !!!!!!


Debra Dane January 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Looks great Paula! congrats and welcome to blogging


Belinda January 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I’m in! I’m pretty new to blogging so I’ll be learning that as we go also!

I’m feeling like my whole life is a bit of a mess at the moment and I’m not really sure why! Will be interesting to see what I learn and share the experience along the way!


Shell January 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Hi, I’m in…sounds like just what I need & want in my life. I’m contemplating making a blog, but rather than make something too much from the get go (which more time at the computer probably would be for me), I’ll start by journalling (which I can squeeze in bit by bit throughout the day, do in bed, do in the car if my little ones are asleep while I’m waiting to go in somewhere etc) & keep pondering whether I’ll blog or not. I’m looking forward to it, thanks


Debra Dane January 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm

That sounds like a very realistic approach – welcome along!!


Clancy January 4, 2012 at 9:59 am

I’m joining the challenge and have also been inspired to finally start a blog (procrastinated over it for a long time). My first blog was actually about my procrstination lol.
It’s obviously a work in progress!


Angeline January 4, 2012 at 10:54 am

Hello :)

I am loving your website and finding it oh so inspirational and motivating! I plan on jumping on the bandwagon! I am having problems viewing the week 1 challenge! I can read the post but when I get to ‘Week 1′ underneath is blank (if that makes sense)! I have looked at the page on another computer and also tried three different internet browsers. Unfortunately I am not very tech savvy.. Does anyone else have the same problem Or is it just me hahaha!

Thanks :)
Angeline x


Debra Dane January 4, 2012 at 11:00 am

So sorry Angeline – all the action has been happening on the week 1 post and I have not added it to the page yet – will fix it up in a minute here but if you go to the main blog you will see the post for week 1.


Angeline January 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Thank you so much :) Can’t wait to get started! x


Melissa January 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Not sure if this is the right spot to leave this, but I’ve done my blog and finished Week 1! Looking forward to getting more involved :)


Debra Dane January 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Great Melissa – there will be a link up open on Monday – can’t wait to see it!


Sonya ter Borg January 6, 2012 at 10:44 am

Looking forward to it!


Sonya ter Borg January 6, 2012 at 10:45 am

This is going to be great! I am really looking forward to it.


Sonya terBorg January 7, 2012 at 2:36 am

I am in! I put my first post about this challenge up last night. I also thought I commented on here, but I can’t see my comment? No problem!
Here is a link to my week one post:


Debra Dane January 7, 2012 at 11:20 am

Hi Sonya – the spam filter is struggling with the volume of comments and is actually marking a few a day as spam that are not – found it in the spam folder and approved it! sorry about that


Kristie January 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Gosh, I dont even know if I have posted this in the right spot, but I am in too and hoping this is a project I see through !


Debra Dane January 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Welcome Kristie – take in one day at a time and don’t even think about whether you will see it through. Some people have had enough of a light lit by week one’s challenge that the value for them is already there. No pressure or expectations! I look forward to seeing you in the challenge!


Amber January 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I want email notifications of each week’s topic if possible? As in are we gonna get emails if we signed up?


Debra Dane January 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Hi there Amber – there are no emails set up specifically for this challenge – you are welcome to sign up for the blog by email (in my sidebar) which will include all blog posts i put up including the challenge ones or I post links on facebook as well if you want to follow that way. I hope that helps.


Jenny Graves January 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm


Here is my link. Not sure if this is the right way to do this as I am a complete novice. Thanks for your guide for setting up the blog! We’ll see how I go.


Debra Dane January 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm

HI Jenny – there is a link up each week on the next week’s challenge launch – so this week 1 post goes in the linky on syl week 2. i will put this there for you this time no problem – you will get there !


amanda toyer January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm

my word for 2012 is less, my husband’s is organise – I am so lucky to have found this website – a little late but i’m so in!


Debra Dane January 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm

talk about 2 words working together! you declutter all areas of your home and life and then let him get it organised! you are not late – we just started and it is easy to catch up any time – welcome


Kreategirl January 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm

A great list of value words for anyone struggling http://karlbimshas.com/images/Value_Words_List_KB.pdf


Debra Dane January 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm

thanks for sharing that – my husband read this and used that link to find some of his words.


Bri January 13, 2012 at 9:54 am

Looking forward to this journey!


Marleen January 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Ok, I am a bit late but I’m in.


Debra Dane January 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Welcome – just jump in when you can – each linky stays open until Sunday night but if you miss a linky you can just put your blog post on another week and label it with the week you have done.


Gill December 14, 2012 at 7:57 am

Just found this site – looking forward to looking back – is it carrying on next year?


Debra Dane December 17, 2012 at 2:40 am

HI Gill – i am not running it again as a link up but the posts will all be there for anyone who wants to start at the beginning any time. I am hoping to pull it all together into a book format once i review everything and look at what is essential and decide a format.


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