Decluttering Challenge: Downsize Your Possessions Easily

Challenge yourself to a declutter challenge and see the benefits of downsizing your possessions.

I hate clutter, and when I say hate, I mean HATE. I have always been like that, since I was young. Maybe it was because I was around people who were generally messy people, but it is ingrained in me that clutter is bad. And having a young child, there are times I want to scream, but I obviously understand that kids will be kids. 

But not mine! Mine will learn that clutter is bad. She hasn't learned yet, mind you. I think I just gave up on that challenge. It is one I am not going to win.

See all posts on Minimalist Father about decluttering tips and advice.

Declutter Challenge - Why Should You Do One?

Decluttering will help you regain control over your surroundings. Studies have shown that physical clutter has a direct impact on our mental well-being, leading to heightened anxiety and decreased productivity. 

As you sift through your possessions, you will be forced to confront your values, needs, and aspirations. Each item becomes an opportunity for self-reflection, prompting you to question its purpose and relevance in your life. This process will help you develop a deeper understanding of your true desires.

Decluttering will have a positive impact on your finances as well. As you declutter, you will become more mindful of your purchasing habits. You will start questioning whether you truly need an item before buying it, leading to a reduction in impulsive and unnecessary spending. Owning fewer possessions means spending less time and money. By decluttering, you can free up financial resources that can be allocated to more meaningful pursuits.

Again, no one size fits all when it comes to decluttering. When I declutter, I tend to do it just before Christmas and the influx of new things (if I am lucky!). You may do a declutter challenge quarterly, twice a year, or just wing it and do it when you feel it is necessary; it's completely up to you.

The first time you declutter, you might even make some money because certain possessions you own that you no longer use can be sold. Other items you may give away to family and friends or a second-hand shop

Declutter Challenge Tips

- Set your goals and develop a plan. 

Define your decluttering goals and the areas you want to tackle. Start with one room at a time and develop a plan outlining how you will approach each area. Go through all the rooms.

- Start small and with a purpose. 

Begin with smaller and less emotionally charged areas before tackling larger spaces. Starting with a small victory will boost your confidence and motivation. 

Consider the purpose and usefulness of each item. Keep items that serve a practical purpose, bring you joy, or hold significant sentimental value. Let go of things that no longer serve a purpose or don't align with your current lifestyle.

- Decluttering by category rather than location. 

Start with clothing, then move on to books, papers, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items. Hold each item in your hands and ask yourself if it sparks joy and brings you any physical or emotional value. If not, let it go.

- Try not to have more than one item that serves the same purpose. 

Keep the best one and let go of the others. This applies to kitchen gadgets, tools, and any other items that tend to accumulate over time.

- Countertops and tables are prime places for clutter. 

Try to keep your countertops as clear as possible. Only leave out items that are used daily or that truly enhance the functionality and aesthetics of the space. Put away appliances and other non-essential items to create a clean and organised look. (And get rid of the ones you hardly ever use!).

- Make games out of it with your family. 

For example, give everyone a big bag, and they have 5 minutes to fill it with stuff. Once an item is in a bag, it is gone. No, I'm not taking it out. Trust your instincts and try not to overthink it too much. Making it a game can help make you stick to your decision.

- Get into habits for the future. 

For example, start with the "one in, one out rule for future purchases. For every new item you bring into your home, remove one item to maintain a clutter-free environment. This will help you keep on top of things and not let them spiral out of control again.

- Once you have decluttered, commit to regular maintenance. 

Schedule decluttering sessions to reassess your belongings and keep clutter from creeping back in.

These rules are meant to guide you, but feel free to adapt them to your specific needs and circumstances and make up your own rules as well.

Declutter 30 Day Challenge:

Day 1: Declutter your wardrobe. 

Get rid of clothes that no longer fit, are damaged, or you haven't worn in the past year.

Day 2: Declutter your kitchen cabinets. 

Remove any expired food items, duplicate utensils, or appliances you no longer use.

Day 3: Declutter your bathroom. 

Dispose of expired medications, empty bottles, and old toiletries.

Day 4: Declutter your bookshelf. 

Donate or sell books you've already read and won't read again.

Day 5: Declutter your workspace. 

Clear off your desk and organize any loose papers or unnecessary items.

Day 6: Declutter your digital space. 

Delete old files, organize folders, and unsubscribe from unnecessary email lists.

Day 7: Declutter your pantry. 

Toss expired food items and organize the remaining items by category.

Day 8: Declutter your living room. 

Remove any unnecessary decorations or furniture that no longer serve a purpose.

Day 9: Declutter your garage or storage area. 

Sort through items and donate or sell anything you no longer need.

Day 10: Declutter your linen closet. 

Donate or recycle old towels, sheets, or bedding that are worn out.

Day 11: Declutter your electronics. 

Dispose of broken or outdated devices and cables.

Day 12: Declutter your junk drawer(s). 

Organize and discard any items that don't belong there.

Day 13: Declutter your shoes. 

Get rid of shoes that are uncomfortable, damaged, or rarely worn.

Day 14: Declutter your fridge and freezer. 

Discard expired food, condiments, and anything you won't consume.

Day 15: Declutter your digital photos. 

Delete duplicates and blurry images to free up storage space.

Day 16: Declutter your hobbies/craft supplies. 

Donate or sell any materials you no longer use or need.

Day 17: Declutter your medicine cabinet. 

Dispose of expired medications and organize the remaining items.

Day 18: Declutter your car. 

Remove any trash, unnecessary items, and organize the essentials.

Day 19: Declutter your accessories. 

Sort through jewelry, belts, scarves, etc., and donate or sell what you no longer wear.

Day 20: Declutter your pantry (part 2). 

Check for expired spices, condiments, and canned goods.

Day 21: Declutter your digital subscriptions. 

Unsubscribe from newsletters, apps, or services you no longer use.

Day 22: Declutter your paperwork.

Shred or recycle old bills, receipts, and documents you no longer need to keep.

Day 23: Declutter your outdoor space. 

Remove any broken or unused items from your yard or patio.

Day 24: Declutter your cleaning supplies. 

Dispose of empty bottles or products you no longer use.

Day 25: Declutter your pet supplies. 

Donate or discard any unused toys, accessories, or expired pet food.

Day 26: Declutter your bathroom cabinets (part 2). 

Organize toiletries and discard any duplicates or expired items.

Day 27: Declutter your children's toys. 

Donate or sell toys they have outgrown or no longer play with.

Day 28: Declutter your email inbox. 

Delete unnecessary emails and unsubscribe from mailing lists.

Day 29: Declutter your sentimental items. 

Keep only the ones that truly hold meaning and let go of the rest.

Day 30: Celebrate!

Take a moment to appreciate the progress you've made in decluttering your space.

This is just one idea for a declutter challenge, you can do your challenge however you want.

Common Questions:

How does the declutter challenge work?

The declutter challenge typically involves setting aside a specific amount of time each day to focus on decluttering. Participants can choose to tackle one area or category at a time, such as clothing, books, or kitchen items.

What are the benefits of participating in the declutter challenge?

Participating in the declutter challenge can have several benefits. It can help create a more organized and functional living space, reduce stress and anxiety caused by clutter, save time and energy spent searching for items, and promote a more minimalist lifestyle

How do I get started with the declutter challenge?

To get started with the declutter challenge, you can set a specific start date and duration for your challenge. Decide on the areas or categories you want to focus on and create a plan or schedule for each day. Gather any necessary supplies such as boxes or storage containers for sorting items. Begin by tackling one area at a time, making decisions about what to keep, donate, sell, or discard.

What should I do with the items I want to get rid of?

- Donate: 

Consider donating gently used items to local charities or organizations that accept donations.

- Sell: 

If you have valuable items that you no longer need, you can sell them online through platforms like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

- Recycle: 

Check if any of the items can be recycled, such as paper, plastic, or electronics.

- Discard: 

For items that are no longer usable or in poor condition, dispose of them responsibly by following local guidelines.

How do I stay motivated throughout the declutter challenge?

- Set small goals: 

Break down your decluttering tasks into smaller, manageable goals to make progress more achievable.

- Track your progress: 

Keep a record of the areas or categories you have decluttered and the items you have removed. Seeing your progress can be motivating.

- Reward yourself: 

Treat yourself to small rewards or incentives after completing certain milestones or tasks.

- Enlist support: 

Get a friend or family member to join you in the challenge or share your progress with others for accountability and encouragement.

Try using this list to help you along the way. Inspired by KonMari. Or read our guide to who Marie Kondo 'Kon Mari' is.

Decluttering is more than just a superficial act of tidying up. It is a journey that will bring you more positive mental clarity and overall emotional well-being.

May the decluttering be with you!