If you made a New Year’s resolution to free yourself from unwanted clutter, you’ll want to check out this 31 day decluttering challenge. This challenge will help you to hit the ground running, while building habits that will help you continue to remove clutter throughout the year.
With this challenge you are only working on one thing at a time, not a whole room, just a small area that needs attention. The idea is to not overwhelm ourselves, but to keep it simple so that we can complete the task and feel good about what we’ve accomplished. The ultimate goal of this challenge is to build the habit of decluttering on a regular basis.
Each day we will be focusing on a different task. Then, working in 15 minute bursts, you’re going to purge as much as possible and then take a break. If you have time, do it again until the task is completed. If you don’t have the time, schedule to complete it on another day, or better yet enlist some help.
Day 1 – Christmas Decorations
Before putting your decorations away for the year, take a little time and go through them. Donate any items that you haven’t displayed in years. Then, throw out anything that has been smashed or broken. Neatly store the things that you love and use in totes.
Day 2 – Dresser Drawers
Working on one drawer at a time, decide if an item is worth keeping, donating or trashing. Clothing that you’ll want to purge are items that are, stained, damaged, doesn’t fit, haven’t worn in over a year, you don’t look good in it, you don’t like the way it fits or it’s not in style.
Day 3 – Bedroom Closets
Working on a section at a time, you’re going to do like we did with our dresser, decide if the items are worth keeping, donating or trashing. Purge the items that are stained, damaged, need repair, doesn’t fit, haven’t worn, you don’t look good in, it’s not in style or you don’t like the way it fits.
Day 4 – Toys & Games
Katie’s Kottage makes a game out of decluttering the kids toys. The best part is that it gets the kids involved and helps to minimize any meltdowns.
Day 5 – Books & Magazines
To purge your books, you want to ask yourself two questions. (1) Do I love this book? (2) Will I need or have a desire to read this book in the near future? If you answered yes to either question, then it is definitely worth keeping.
To purge your magazines, cut out any articles that interest you and throw out the rest of the magazine. Store the articles in a folder or binder.
Day 6 – Linen Closets
For decluttering your linen closet, you have to decide what is really needed and worth keeping. One way I minimize the clutter is by putting limits on things. For example each person in our home is allowed two bath towels, two sets of sheet, and two blankets.
Day 7 – Under Beds & Night Stands
Many folks store things under their beds, but it’s also a black hole for lost items and dust bunnies. To remove the clutter, go through your stored items and purge anything that you haven’t used in a while. Then return any lost items to their designated home. While you’re under there, you might as well remove any dust bunnies.
Day 8 – Coat Closet
If you have a large coat closet or you are limited on time, you’ll want to work in small sections. You’ll want to use the same rules that we used when we decluttered our dressers and closets. (Day 2 and Day 3)
Day 9 – Laundry Room
The laundry room is usually overlooked when it comes to decluttering, but it does need your attention. Toss any empty detergent containers, used dryer sheets, trash, unmatched socks and miscellaneous items floating around.
Day 10 – Under Bathroom Sink
One of the hardest places to keep organized is under the bathroom sink, I don’t know why that it is. Before you start decluttering and tossing out any unused items, outdated products and hidden junk, make a pledge to yourself to live with less. Living with less will help keep the clutter under control.
Day 11 & 12 – Garage
If your garage is anything mine, you’re going to need more than a day to get the job done. We’ve actually allotted two weekends to complete this decluttering project.
Where to Start. First, to avoid being overwhelmed and getting sentimental over forgotten items, set a timer and work as fast as you can in 15 minute bursts. The goal is to purge as much as possible in that 15 minutes. Then take a 15 minute break and then do another burst.
What to Purge. Things that your rarely use, things that are broken, things that you don’t love, things that you can live without and things that can be replaced cheaply. Download our DeCluttering Cheat Sheet that will help you decide if an item should be tossed out, donated or kept.
Day 13 – Medicine Cabinets
For today’s declutter challenge we’re going to throw out, any prescription or over-the-counter medications that have expired or you’re not going to use. We’re also going to get rid of any expired or excess first aid supplies. Be sure to safely dispose of medications.
Day 14 – Movies & Music
Decide how much space you’ll designated for storing your movies and music. Then, dwindle your stash down to fit that space. To maximize space, I like to use disc organizers, they hold quite a bit and they look nice.
Day 15 – Pantry
Remove everything from the pantry, if you’re limited on time work in sections. Sort through the food, tossing out any food that has expired and donating the food that you’re not going to use. I like to use a permanent marker and write the expiration date in larger numbers so that I can use it before it expires.
MORE TO LOVE
Day 16 – Under Kitchen Sink
Remove everything that you have stored under your kitchen sink. Then, merge anything that you have duplicates of, toss anything that you haven’t used in the last year and relocate things that don’t belong.
Day 17 – Upper Kitchen Cabinets
Decluttering the kitchen is a big job, so we’re only going to work on the top cupboards today. Remove items from only one cupboard at a time. Then decide which items are worth keeping, which ones should be donated and which ones need to be dumped.
Day 18 & 19 – Garage (See Day 11 & 12)
Day 20 – Lower Kitchen Cabinets
Today we’re going to tackle the lower cabinets, working on them one at a time. Like we did with the upper cabinets, remove items and decide what to keep, donate or toss.
Day 21 – Refrigerator & Freezers
This is a declutter job that most of us do on a regular basis. To make it a little easier check out these 7 things you can do to organize your refrigerator. They’ll really help the next time you need to clean out your refrigerator or freezer.
Day 22 – Kitchen Drawers
We’re going to finish up decluttering the kitchen by going through each of the drawers. Working on one drawer at a time, remove the items and discard anything that you don’t use anymore.
Day 23 – Purse
Today should be pretty easy, we’re going to be cleaning out our purse and wallet. If yours is already neat move on to something else that needs attention. Start by emptying the contents, then wipe down the inside and out of the wallet/purse. Finally, replace only the contents that are essential.
Day 24 – Makeup
This could be an easy or a difficult task depending on how much you love your makeup. I only have a few items so this doesn’t take me very long. If you have a lot to go through I suggest reading this article from Fashion Magazine, it will make the job of decluttering a lot easier.
Day 25 – Car
If you have kids you’re probably going to need a little more time for this task. To declutter the car, take everything out and sort it into 3 piles; trash, items that don’t belong in the car, items that do belong in the car. Put the items that do belong in the car back and put the other piles in their proper places.
Day 26 – Photographs
Gather all of your pictures together in one place. Then, go through them one by one and discard or delete images that don’t look good or are duplicates. Finally, organize images in a way that makes sense to you.
Day 27 – Paperwork
A simple way to declutter paperwork is to gather it all together and then sort it into separate piles. Keep only paperwork that is important, such as birth certificates, marriage licenses and taxes. Other items that you don’t need the originals of can be scanned and organized on your computer, in a way that makes sense to you.
Day 28 – Computer Storage
There really isn’t a quick method for completing this task, I suggest setting aside a specified amount of time per day removing items that you don’t want or need. Monster has a really helpful 4 step method for cleaning out your computer.
Day 29 – Emails
Going through your emails one by one, delete any emails that are junk, expired or that you never signed up for. Then, create a folder system for storing emails that you will need to reference in the future.
Day 30 – Smartphones
Our phones need to be decluttered every once in a while, to free up space and get rid of useless stuff that may shorten our battery life. To declutter, delete any unused apps, and move images, downloads and music to the cloud or separate hard drive.
Day 31 – Craft Supplies
If you’re not a crafter, move on to something else that needs your attention. If you are a crafter this may be the hardest decutter task yet. I don’t have any pearls of wisdom to share with you, but Simple Lionheart Life has some great tips to get you started.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS
✔ Remember it has taken years to gather the clutter, so don’t put unnecessary stress on yourself and try to get it all done at once.
✔ Make the job fun, like Mary Poppins suggests! Turn on some lively music, the louder the better, get the kids involved, make a game out of it. The more fun you have, the more likely you are to complete the task.
✔ Don’t get overwhelmed! Some days you may have more time then other days. Deal only with what you have time for.
✔ Avoid distractions! Put your phone away, turn the TV off, and find something for the kids to do, if they are not helping.
✔ Work as quickly as possible! I use a timer and try to get as much done as possibly can before the timer goes off.
Take a Before and After Picture. Then share them on instagram with #31DayDeClutter and @FlusterBuster so we can check it out.
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