Are you ready to take the 30 day declutter challenge?
If you answered yes then you probably feel as if clutter is taking over, right? You might even be feeling anxious or frustrated when you find yourself searching for something as simple as your car keys.
The bright side is if you are here reading this then that means you are looking for help. It also means you have taken the first step to taking back control of your life.
Clutter affects us in more ways than we realize. Such as:
- our mental health
- it causes anxiety
- causes us to dwell on the past
- higher risks of becoming a hoarder
- your diet will be off balance (you may find yourself eating junk-food and fast-food more often)
- it can cause overeating from being stressed out
- health issues such as respiratory and asthma
- hazards like fire and falling
How to Start the 30 Day Challenge
I suggest starting small. And whatever you do don’t get caught up in organizing until after you have decluttered. Before you start there a few things you will need like:
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- boxes (boxes like these are great for decluttering because you mark them and even use them for storage or moving)
- storage bins are nice if you have a lot of stuff you are not sure if you want to keep or get rid of (I suggest using heavy duty storage bins like these if you go the storage bin route)
- trash bags (you can opt for the cheap way and just use trash bags but if you decided to do this make sure you are using heavy duty bags like these or else you will find your self a bigger mess)
- and of course a sharpie or marker for marking the boxes or bags
Day 1 of the Challenge
Go through each room in your home with a trash bag and clean up any and all trash. Start with the surfaces like counter-tops and work your way down to the floor. Try not to get distracted.
If needed set an alarm and give yourself 20 minutes. If you need longer give yourself more time and if you have a lot of trash in your home take breaks as needed.
Whatever you do do not sit down and start watching TV or scrolling on social media. These types of activities are known as time stealers. Before you know it it will bedtime and you got absolutely nothing done.
Decluttering takes self-discipline.
Day 2 – Declutter Closets and Dressers
Clean out your closet and dressers drawers. A rule of thumb for getting rid of clothes is the “one year rule.”
You should have 3 piles, boxes, or trash bags, or totes set up. One for keep, one for donate, and one for trash.
If you haven’t wore it in a year toss it. You can toss it in the donate pile or trash pile. Just toss it. If you have jeans in your closet that you haven’t worn in years do yourself a favor and toss them!
If you haven’t gotten back into by now chances are you probably never will. In fact they are just a reminder of what you used to be. Stop allowing things from your past define who you are today.
If you have kids you will need to go through their closet and drawers as well.
Tip: If you have a donate pile put that box or bag in your car immediately! This will remind you to drop it off.
Day 3 – Declutter the Kitchen Cabinets and Counter – Tops
Start by going through your bake-ware and cookware avoid any cabinets with food. We will get them later.
Toss any pots and pans that are old just don’t cook like they used to. Get rid of and appliances you no longer use. Like that electric waffle maker or the hand mixer that used to belong to your grandma.
Anything you have two of, one should be tossed. Broken coffee makers and other broken appliances need to be trashed.
When you have more room in your kitchen you will find that it is less stressful during mealtimes.
Day 4 – Declutter and Organize the Pantry and Cabinets
We all have expired food. Sadly it happens. We go to the store without a list and we buy things we already have only to push the old to the back of the cabinet never to be seen or used again.
Go through your pantry and cabinets, shelf by shelf, and toss all expired foods. If you see something that is not expired and can be donated put it in a bag or box.
Once you are finished decluttering the pantry and cabinets make sure you put that box or bag in your car. Otherwise it will find its way right back into your cabinets defeating the purpose of the 30 day declutter challenge.
Day 5 – Clean out the Refrigerator and Freezer
Cleaning out the refrigerator is not fun. I know because I tend to always put this chore off until it just can’t be put off anymore.
So find a good podcast or some good music and get to work. The faster you start the faster you will be done.
I do suggest doing this the day before your trash gets picked up but you can do it any day such as day 5.
Throw out any leftovers, expired food, and empty condiment bottles.
If you have freezer burnt meat or other freezer burnt frozen foods in your freezer throw them out. Fill the empty ice trays and toss any containers that are no longer any good.
Tip: If your trash pick up isn’t for a few days simply sprinkle some bleach on the trash once you put in the trash can. This will help keep the raccoons away until pick up day.
Day 6 – Junk Drawers
It is time you tackle that junk drawer. I almost guarantee everything in the drawer can be tossed. After all it is a junk drawer.
Use a basket or a bin to sort through the junk drawer. Be sure not to hold onto things like chargers that you no have the connecting device or things like pens or receipts.
If you find receipts simple take a picture and toss it. That way you still have if you need it. Make sure you go through all bills so that you don’t accidentally not pay something. Late fees suck!
Day 7 – Declutter All Shelves and Bookcases in Your Home
On day 7 declutter all shelves and bookcases in your home. This also consist of entertainment centers, and cubes. These tend to attract a lot of clutter. You may find things like books that can be donated or trashed.
Old pictures that can be changed out or stored away.
You may even find that you have a lot of nick knacks you no longer want because you realize how much dust they attract.
Don’t forget shelves in the bathroom, laundry room, and garage.
Day 8 – Declutter the Bathroom Cabinets and Medicine Cabinet
Go through the bathroom cabinet and medicine cabinet if you have one. Keep in mind that medicine too has an expiration date.
Toss all expired medications both over the counter and prescribed. If you have new unopened tooth brushes toss the old ones and replace them with the new.
Day 9 – Declutter Under the Sinks
The kitchen sink and bathroom sink often get forgotten about. And sometimes things that don’t belong in these places find a home there.
On day 9 focus on decluttering under the sinks. Just like food and medication cleaning supplies have an expiration date too!
Day 10 – Declutter Tables and Desks
Go through your home and declutter all end tables, coffee tables, kitchen tables, desks, and even roll away carts.
Go through the drawers if there are any and be sure to check all shelves. Dispose of things like dvd’s, paper clutter, magazines, books you already read, and anything that hasn’t been used recently or will be used.
Day 11 – Declutter and Minimize Toys
I know all parents have a difference of opinions on this but there is no reason for a child to have an abundance of toys. Most children only play with their favorite toy leaving the rest alone to collect dust.
Go through your child’s toys and donate all the toys that are still good condition to your local Salvation Army and toss the rest. You may choose to have your child work with you on this as it will teach them importance of giving.
Day 12 -Paper Clutter
Unfortunately we all have paper clutter. This can be a stack of bills, receipts, or even junk mail. Our paper clutter usually ends up on our clutter magnet.
It is a small shelf that holds our bills and keys. My husband has a tendency to stick all the mail including junk mail in it. I often find myself going through it a couple times a week.
Another habit we have adapted from this is throwing away a bill once it has been paid. Most of our bills are paperless but for the paper ones we choose to throw them away as soon as they are paid.
Some might argue that they can come back and say you didn’t pay it. That is what checks and bank accounts are for. They keep records of what we spend our money on. Most banks can go back 7 years.
Day 13 – Digital Clutter
Go through your phone and delete all the apps you don’t use. Do the same on your computer, ipad, or tablet. Delete all and any files that are not necessary.
Make folders for the important stuff and move everything to its dedicated folder. Things that can be deleted:
- unsubscribe from emails
- delete desk icons
- clean up your social media friends
Day 14 – Declutter Old Make Up
As I have said over and over most things have expatriation dates. Make -up is one of those things believe it or not. Crazy I know.
Go through all your make – up and toss anything that expired, gunked up, gross, or you simply don’t use anymore. Like that glitter eye shadow you wore once. Or that lipstick that you bought and hate but held onto.
Day 15 – Jewelry and Jewelry Boxes
If you have a lot jewelry try not to get tied up this task. As I am am aware some pieces may have sentimental value.
Unless you wear the piece that has sentimental value it is important that you understand the feelings you are having and let them go along with that piece of jewelry.
Take my mom for example: she has a large jewelry box full of costume jewelry that she never wears. It is just taking up space in her bedroom. She swears that it all is worth something but that is just an excuse not to get rid of it.
If you have pieces that are worth money then set them aside to sell. If you have pieces that you want to pass down then ask the person if they even want them.
More times than not we inherit things that we do not want and then we feel bad getting rid of it. Don’t be that person.
Day 16 – Off Season Clothes
Although we already visited the closets and the dressers we don’t always keep our off season clothes in those places.
A lot of the time we pack them away until that season arrives and then we switch them out with the now off season. However, sometimes we tend to pack away clothes that we can no longer fit into or some other reason like the zipper is broke but we swear we will fix it.
So in this case pull all your off season clothes out and go through them.
You may find that you have several items you haven’t worn in years but somehow they make their way to your closet each winter and back to storage each spring.
Day 17 – Declutter and Clean Out Your Vehicles
Vehicles sometimes get overlooked when we declutter our homes. However, our vehicles can become just as easily cluttered.
Go through the glove box and throw out anything that does not belong. Sometimes things make their way into our glove boxes that should have been thrown away.
Seriously, was you really going to try that key in that brand new car to see you won?
Be sure to check under the seats and in the trunk. After all what we don’t see can hurt us.
Day 18 – Declutter Your Purse and/or Wallet
Purses! What would us women do with out them? Now I know not all women carry a purse. But for those of us that do we need to get into the habit of cleaning those clutter magnets out at least once a week.
Yes I said once a week!
Why is it that everything always ends up in our purses? Things from candy wrappers to snotty tissue. You don’t want to know the things I have found in my purse.
Day 19 – Electronics
You might be thinking why would I get rid of my electronics? Here’s the thing. If you have DVD players that aren’t being used then get rid of them.
The same goes for VHS and old phones. This includes house phones. You know the ones we talked on back in the 80’sand 90’s growing up? I just aged myself there.
Here are several things to look for:
- musical keyboards
- computer keyboards
- computer mouse
- walkie talkies
- digital cameras
- disposable cameras
- old cell phones
- house phones
- water based foot massage
- heating blankets that no longer work
- gaming consoles
- computer games
- gaming controllers
- gaming headphones
Day 20 – Declutter Your Calendar
Decluttering physical items is hard enough but we often forget about our To Do List. What on your list is actually important and what isn’t?
It is important to declutter your calendar from time to time. This allows us to refresh our minds and get clear.
When our calendars are always full we tend be more stressed out. Take time for you and declutter your calendar.
Day 21 – Declutter Your Finances
This is something that needs to be done from time to time. Just last month my husband and I was able to declutter almost $150 a month from our finances.
Simply go through your monthly bills and determine what can be cancelled and what can save you money.
Day 22 – Declutter Credit Cards
If you have more than two credit cards with a zero balance then you should really think about cancelling those cards. Yes you may take a small hit to your credit but it is nothing that can’t be raised back up.
Holding onto credit cards can be dangerous. Not only are tempted to use them but someone could get a hold of them and potentially steal your identity.
Day 23 – Too Many shoes?
All though we cleaned the closets already I have a feeling many may have skipped over the shoes. I get it! I too love shoes!
Sadly, there should be a limit to how many shoes we own. The ideal shoe collection should be:
- one pair of sneakers
- one pair of dress shoes
- one pair of sandals
- one pair of boots
That is just ideal. Therefore my suggestion is throw out all shoes that are torn, worn down, old, or you haven’t wore in the past 6 months.
Day 24 – Clear Kitchen Counters
Yes we have already gone over this but you will find that somethings like kitchen counters need to be decluttered often, sometimes weekly and sometimes daily.
Day 25 – Foyer
If you have a foyer you may have things in there that need to be thrown out. Some Foyer’s even have closets. Use day 25 to go through those closets and Foyer and dispose of anything that does not belong or you no longer use
Day 26 – Hall Closets
Hall closets sometimes collect everything from extra blankets to game boards. You may have more than one hall closet so make sure you go through and declutter each one.
Day 27 – Garage or Shed
The garage and/or shed can be clutter magnets if you are not careful. Especially if you are married. My husband has so many tools that I honestly don’t think he uses them all.
I highly encourage you not to throw your husbands things away. That could end very badly. Therefore just go through and declutter anything that belongs to you that you no longer use. You might find that you can sell the kids old bikes and make a few bucks.
Day 28 – Declutter the Attic
Not everyone has an attic. If you do spend an hour going through and sorting as much stuff as you can. Get rid of everything that has not been used in the past year.
If you don’t have an attic then re-visit a previous day. To keep clutter away is an ongoing task.
Day 29 – Clutter in the Basement
Again if you don’t own a basement then revisit a previous day. If you do own a basement then do your best to sort through and sonat, sell, or trash what you can.
Day 30 – Storage Units
Not everyone has storage units but those of you that do you will need to visit your unit. You may be surprised at how little you need the things stored away. In some cases folks are able to clear out their units completely which saves them some extra money every money!
And in some cases many have their belongings stored away at a family members house. If this is true for you make it a point to visit your belongings and go through them. I am sure your friend or family member will thank you.
Conclusion to the 30 Day Declutter Challenge
Decluttering takes time especially if you are not a declutterer. It is important to understand why you feel the way you do about certain items.
You must also understand that no physical item can ever replace the memories you hold in your heart. If something is that sentimental to you take a picture that way you will always have it.
Make healthy habits and choices and do your best to be aware of what you are holding onto.
More Posts on Clutter You May Find Helpful:
- 41 Things You can Toss
- 13 Signs You Have Too Much Clutter
- 3 Actionable But Effective Decluttering Steps
- A Checklist to Declutter Your Home