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!