Decluttering Challenge For Beginners

Posted in Lifestyle
on January 16, 2017


I believe that decluttering can have a positive and powerful impact on our lives. One day, I decided to declutter my closet, which lead me to pursue a more minimalist lifestyle. Now, almost a year later, I can confidently say that taking that initial leap and decluttering my space set the tempo for my decision to continue to a more simple and more minimal life.

It’s the first month of a new year, which is the perfect time to set aside a day where you can tackle some spaces in your home and make a difference in your mindset, outlook and more! There are so many benefits to taking on a more minimalist lifestyle, and it all begins with the decision to try.

I created a simple, decluttering challenge for beginners who are looking to free up more space in their homes, simplify their life and potentially look into pursuing a more minimalist lifestyle. The challenge is simple: you have 30 days to go through and complete the challenges. You can take several days to complete one challenge, and you can do as much or as little as you’d like. The purpose is to keep the challenges open-ended for each individual to interpret and make those decisions for themselves.

1| Remove everything from your closet you haven’t worn in over a year.

We all know there are a ton of things in your closet right now that you probably haven’t worn for several years, so why keep them? Go through your closet and carefully edit your wardrobe. Does it fit your personal style? Does it fit? Do you love it? If you answered no to any of those questions, then out it goes.

2| Recycle/donate old magazines and books you won’t read or reference.

Unless you know you’re going to reread the book or reference the magazine or textbook, there’s no need to keep it in your home. I have several books that I love and plan to keep for years to come. But if it’s a book that can be donated, make sure to donate as much as you can. You won’t believe the space you’ll save.

3| Sort your mail, bills, etc. Toss what you no longer need and file important documents.

Make sure you go through mail anytime you receive it to keep from paper clutter catching up to you in your home. Pay your bills as soon as possible, sort any files you know you’ll need for long-term, etc. If it’s trash, or direct mail marketing, toss it unless you plan to use it within the next week.

4| Clean out all other closet spaces in the house. Donate old/outgrown items.

Go through your spare closets, guest bedroom closets, and coat closets, and organize when appropriate. Do you need to keep the coats you haven’t worn in years? Donate them to a charitable cause like a coat collection for local homeless shelters in your community. Do the same with boots, winter scarves, hats, and anything else lingering in those spaces.

5| Donate all kitchen/dining room items you don’t use or need including: old tupperware, utensils, mugs, plates, gadgets, appliances, etc.

No matter what you say, you don’t need 15 mugs when there are only two people living in one home. The same can be said for excess utensils, dishes, tupperware, and anything else in these rooms that you feel you won’t need. Do you really need five tablecloths even though you only use one of them twice a year? Be ruthless when it comes to these spaces in your home.

6| Go through beauty products, makeup, etc. and toss expired items.

Similar to the unnecessary mug collection, you can get rid of a lot of things from your beauty closet, makeup collection, and bathroom storage areas. Go through your linen closet and toss anything that’s old and expired or you know you won’t use. Then organize the remaining items into baskets putting similar products together.

7| Organize your office space and digital space. Unsubscribe from emails, delete old contacts, unfollow people on social media, sort through emails. Shred old files you no longer need.

Create an organized filing system for any important documents at your desk. Keep your desk area minimal with only the essentials on your desk. Organize your digital files into folders. Sort through emails until you have none in your inbox. Unfollow people that don’t inspire you on social media, unsubscribe from any email marketing, go through your contacts and delete those acquaintances from high school you haven’t heard from in five years.

8| Toss expired food from your fridge or pantry.

Remember those small jars of mustard from your Hickory Farms gift from two Christmases ago that you said you were going to use, but never did? Yep, toss those whether you had promise yourself to eat it or not. Do the same with anything in the pantry or fridge that may be expired.

9| Miscellaneous items throughout your house in the garage and basement.

The garage and basement can be huge targets for keeping old items that you don’t use or want. Whether it’s old furniture or home decor items you’ve never used, or equipment you know you will never use ever again. Donate/toss or sell anything miscellaneous from these specific spaces.

10| Get rid of anything that makes you unhappy or stressed.

Are you one of those people who has kept clothing in storage for when you lose those final 10 (or 20) pounds? Donate it and remind yourself that if you ever do lose the weight, you can treat yourself to a new wardrobe. Don’t old on to items that can trigger stress and unnecessary expectations. If it brings you stress or sadness, get rid of it.

With the beginning of a new years comes an exciting time of new opportunities for yourself and a time of self improvement. With this challenge, you’ll be able to take the first step in decluttering your home, and simplify your life for 2017.

Do you think you can complete this challenge? What have you been decluttering lately? Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Ki Signature



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  • Ah! I’ve been thinking about decluttering but never know where to start – this really helps! I think I’m going to start with expired stuffs and mails 😀

    • Yes! That’s a wonderful place to begin with decluttering! Best of luck as you work on decluttering your home!

  • Reeni Geiser

    Thanks for the easy way to get started decluttering! I needed this for the new year:) We decluttered a lot last year, but stuff piles up so quickly!!

    • I completely understand where you’re coming from! After a huge declutter, I try to focus on better shopping habits where I’m more conscious and aware of what I need and don’t need.

  • I love this challenge! I’ve already started doing some of these things over the course of the past few months, but now I really want to get to decluttering. Thanks for the inspiration, girl!

    • You’re very welcome, Rebecca! I’m happy to know you’ve been working on these over the last few months! Keep working on your decluttering projects!

  • I love your steps! They seem easy and quick to achieve. Perfect for any beginner!

    • Thank you, Erin! I know you’re way past the beginner challenges; but I’m sure we can come up with some interesting challenges for ourselves now that we gone through a lot of clutter in our homes.

  • Meghan

    I’m such an organizing junkie, but I’m way overdue. Especially for the closet declutter. These are great tips. Pinning for future reference!

  • I am so bad about not taking the time to declutter. I really do need to implement some of these tips because I have got to weed out some clutter!

    • You’ll feel amazing once you do, Kristin! Why keep something you don’t use or love when it can be a blessing for someone else. That’s what I like to remind myself in the process! 🙂

  • I love this! I’ve been wanting to set aside some time to declutter for quite some time. No more excuses to save those clothes I haven’t worn in over a year!

    • Exactly, Rachel! Why keep something if you won’t wear it when it can be a blessing for someone else? Love your attitude on this!

  • Cassie

    So helpful to have a list for this kind of stuff! I never know where to start, but I actually just went through my entire closet and got rid of a ton of stuff! It feels SO good.

    • That’s amazing, Cassie! A great place to start is your closet because that’s where we can be the most honest with ourselves. Glad to know it made you feel good about your hard work on decluttering!

  • I need to go and do these things ASAP. Especially cleaning out my closet.

    • My closet was a huge project for me. It’s secretly still a work in progress because now I’m constantly going through things and being more conscious of what I wear and don’t wear.

  • Candy Kage

    Always feel good to go through closets and drawers and get rid of accumulated stuff. Amazing how much stuff we collect thinking someday we will wear it or use it. Motivated me to get started again.

  • stefanih

    Thank you for all of these tips and tricks! SOOO helpful!!

    • Thank you so much! I’m happy to know it helped you! Good luck with your decluttering process!

  • Abbey Phipps

    This is great! 3 and 5 are so crucial!

    • Thanks, Abbey! Paper clutter is something people overlook a ton when decluttering but it’s so important to go through as well.

  • While I don’t think I’ll ever be a minimalist, I do feel so much better when I declutter. I am going to try and take the challenge. Last year I read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and made lots of progress. However, I need to do more!

    • It’s funny you mention this because I always talked about how I could never be a minimalist. But by that, I was referring to a specific type of minimalist who only had 100 or fewer items they owned. That would never be me. But I realized that I didn’t have to be that. I could do minimalism to fit my terms and needs in my life; and you can, too!

      • That’s a good perspective and one I can embrace. Thanks for sharing that.

  • I have been decluttering lately as I open cabinets and drawers. It feels so good to know everything I have in the ones I’ve sorted through so far is stuff I want, need, or brings me happiness. I will try some of these tips as well!

    • Thanks for your comment! It’s nice to take the process of decluttering on your own terms; like how you’re doing it as you go through your cabinets, etc. That way it’s not overwhelming.

  • Laina Turner

    I’ve just started the decluttering process and its so overwhelming. These are helpful tips to keep in mind.

    • It can be very overwhelming in the beginning because it’s when we have this huge ah-ha moment: “I have way too much.” It becomes easier every time as we sort through those items.

  • I’m starting a decluttering process this week and I’m so excited about it! This list definitely reminded me of additional things to do!

    • Let me know how your journey goes, Erica! If you need any inspiration, let me know! 🙂

  • Katie Kinsley

    I just took two boxes of unused goods to Goodwill yesterday!

    • Awesome job, Katie! That’s so amazing. Keep it up throughout the year!

  • I NEEDED this!! Like, for real. So good!

    • It feels even better once you’ve gone through everything and see the results from the challenges! 🙂

  • These are great ideas. I have a tendency to hold on to everything.

    • You’ll find that once you begin getting rid of things, the easier it will become! I promise! 🙂

  • Erin

    Love these tips! I always hold on to old makeup.. I don’t know why! I know they get so bad after a while but I just can’t help but have “back-ups.” Definitely going to tackle this task!

    • Once I learned how quickly makeup can go bad is when I stopped stocking up on products. It’s amazing how much longer we use products once they are no longer good.

  • Faithfullymeblog

    wow, amazing ideas here. I definitely need to work on #5 and #6. My make-up drawers are full of expired stuff i’m sure.

    • That’s completely okay! You wouldn’t be the first! There were so many things that I immediately dumped because I knew they were years old.

  • Great tips! We’ve been pretty good about decluttering in the last year, especially when it comes to clothes.

    • Clothes are my favorite to go through because once you have that initial declutter, you see how easy it is to let something go. At the end of the day, it can be replaced down the road if necessary!

  • Amazing! I just started my decluttering last weekend (I try to do it once very 6 months at least)

    Closet, makeup, book shelf, linen closet and “clutter spots” (tops of tables mostly) are all done. Now it’s time to tackle the kitchen and any files, but at least that stuff is more tucked away.

    I think I threw out two garbage bags of stuff and we managed to donate two big bins of clothes, a bunch of books, and purses, and a stereo!

    Gonna follow your list to finish the rest.

    Laura @

    • WOW! That’s so amazing, Laura! I’m so happy to hear all your progress from your decluttering so far. Make sure to keep me up-to-date on your progress–I would love to see how much more you can get rid of!

  • I’ve done a lot of this this new year and it feels so good!

    • It’s definitely a good feeling after the initial declutter!

  • I just finished reading ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ and while I don’t agree with everything she says and I’m a relatively clean and organized person already, I am using it to inspire me to declutter a bit more!

    • have always been organized and clean, but I still had too much stuff. What shook me was, “Eliminate instead of Organize.” I kept noticing my organization that I realized I was better off getting rid of things instead. 🙂

  • Emily Bendler

    I love this list! It is totally doable. Plus I am finally ready to go through my closet. I have been putting it off since I had baby girl because who knew what clothes would fit/look good. But now at 8 months post partum, I think I can honestly assess what to keep and what not to.

    • So happy to hear that you’re ready to go through your clothes and your things! Please update me on your progress as you go through decluttering your closet and other areas of your home!

  • Flavia Bernardes

    Love this list! They’re all very useful, specially this time of the year… I’m in the middle of decluttering and organizing so this will sure will help a lot! 🙂

  • This is a great list!!! I try to clean my closet out every few months. Over the last year I have gotten rid of about 10 bags of clothes. I throw away magazines as soon as I am done reading them. They definitely can pile up!Decluttering is so rewarding!!!

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