Welcome to our New Year’s Resolution challenge and the latest simple adventure!
New Year’s Resolution: Declutter Your Life
Throughout the month of January, we’ll have a decluttering challenge for every day of the month. Check back here each day to find the next step in the new year’s resolution. Some days will have tips for reducing the clutter and stuff in your home. On several other days will be tips on how to declutter other aspects of your life and move towards living an intentional and content life.
If you missed a day, all of the previous posts are available at any time to subscribers.
Day 1. Get ready to declutter!
Make a designated box or bag in your house for the items that you’re going to purge. As you declutter, the items will get placed here. We’ll worry about getting them out of the house on another day. Understand the ‘why’ behind wanting to declutter. If you have a purpose in mind and make decluttering a habit, you’ll be able to keep your home clutter-free by the end of the month.
Read some of these posts and hold onto your ‘why’ for minimalism:
Day 2. Get rid of worn out and unneeded clothes.
Go through your closest and start with the easy stuff. Get rid of anything too worn out, or things that don’t fit you well. If you don’t wear it now because it has tears, stains, or doesn’t fit properly, you won’t miss them hanging in your closest. We’ll work on paring down other items later, but begin by removing things you know you don’t like wearing and clothing that doesn’t bring you joy. Work towards only having items that you love wearing and that fit your lifestyle. Discard worn out items, and place the rest in your donation box that you designated yesterday on day 1.
Day 3. Turn the hangers around in your closet.
Since you’ve purged the closet of any worn and poorly fitting clothes, you can probably get rid of some hangers too. Now that you’ve decluttered the obvious worn and old pieces that you don’t like, turn all the hangers around in your closet today. After you’ve worn an item, place it back on the hanger the other way around. If you have clothes in drawers, find another way to separate the clothes you’ve been wearing from those that go untouched. Turn the clothing inside out to begin. Or place everything in one specific drawer after you’ve worn it.
Find a system to discover what you actually wear and stick to it for this month. If you ever get dressed and end up changing because you don’t like the outfit, consider putting it in the ‘donate’ box instead of back in the closet. If it doesn’t give you joy you won’t miss it!
Day 4. Clean out the fridge.
Throw out the obvious: expired food or condiments. Now try making a meal-plan using what’s already in the fridge. If you use up the food in the fridge before buying more, your grocery lists will become more intentional and useful.
Declutter anything that is on the outside of your fridge too; discard old notes/lists/invitations/menus and anything that has been added to the side of the fridge. Moving forward you can try the ‘one-in, one-out’ rule if you place notes or children’s art on the side of the fridge. If another one gets added, one needs to go.
Day 5. Clean out the pantry.
Organize the pantry, throw out anything that is spoiled or can’t be used. If you want to make more space and use what’s in the pantry, then create a meal plan based on the food you already have. Cook with the food that is already in your pantry so you can use up what is there before purchasing more.
Day 6. Declutter the linen closet.
Go though the linen closet and be critical about how much stuff you really need. How many extra sheets and towels do you need around the house? Reduce the number of sets to only what you need. Go through bed sheets, towels, comforters, and blankets. If you have a closet in the guest bedroom, now is a good time to declutter that space too. How many items do you need for guests, and how many of the ‘extras’ never get used?
Day 7. Reduce the number of Tupperware and containers.
Tupperware seems to pile up and accumulate in the back of kitchen cupboards. Many houses have too many containers cluttering the kitchen. Put all your containers in one place to see how many you have. First start by getting rid of anything that is missing the matching lid or bottom. Then pare down to only what you really use on a weekly basis. If you run the dishwasher or do dishes on a schedule, you won’t need too many extras.
Day 8. Feel rested by getting more sleep tonight.
Sleep can do wonders for alleviating unnecessary stress and tiredness. Be disciplined about getting a proper night’s sleep and try to make time for more rest today – even if it’s going to bed 30min earlier than you usually do. Discover what a little extra sleep can do for your energy, rest, and clarity of mind tomorrow. Sleep can help you enjoy a more simple life. The American Academy of Pediatrics explains that “adequate sleep duration for age on a regular basis leads to improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.”
Day 9. Purge all unneeded kitchen items.
Look for duplicates that can be decluttered. Items that tend to accumulate are: coffee mugs, travel mugs, flatware, and larger cooking utensils. Try not to keep too many one-purpose items unless you get regular use out of them. For example, we got rid of our food processor and kept our blender – we just didn’t use the food processor enough to keep it. Or find appliances, bowls, and serving plates that can be used for several purposes.
There are several approaches to decluttering dishes. Some people might get rid of fancy dishes if they’re seldom used. Or you could keep them and use the nicer dishes on a daily basis. In my house we use plain white dishes for every day. I chose to get rid of many mis-matched coffee mugs and kept one nicer tea set to enjoy and gave away everything else.
Day 10. A thankful heart is a happy heart.
Practicing gratitude can actually make us happier. Practice being mindful of the good things in your day today. Be thankful throughout the day and see what effects it has on your day and mood. Gratitude can help us to be satisfied, give more generously to others, and live in the present. Being thankful for what we have can also combat comparison, competition, and envy. When we’re happy with who we are and what we have now, then there is no need to chase after more material things.
Day 11. Declutter your shoe collection.
Sometimes less is more. Since reducing the number of shoes I own, I now take the time and money to invest in shoes that are good quality. I find shoes that are comfortable and going to last. Pare down the number of shoes you own. If you’re trying to decided which ones to keep, consider these two blog posts to help you. Minimalist Shoes: Shopping For Quality Over Quantity, and Capsule Wardrobe: Create Your Own.
It’s been over a week since you turned all the hangers around in the closet. If you’re interested in creating a capsule wardrobe, make note of the items you’ve reached for in the past week. A capsule wardrobe can be created by taking a few core pieces and finding ways to mix and match clothes to create more outfits. In the following weeks, continue to turn hangers around as you use items in your closet.
Day 12. Reduce your screen time today.
Find a source of media that takes up a lot of your time, and try to cut down your use for today. For example, spend less time watching TV, scrolling through Facebook, or on Instagram. Discover what happens when you turn off the distractions for a while. Find other ways to spend your time today and see what happens when there are less pulls on your attention. Or find ways to limit screen time in future.
What if we could go through the day with no distraction? Fully present for what is happening in that moment. Read: When Your Phone Creates A False Sense of Urgency.
Day 13. Minimize kids toys in your home.
Minimize kids toys today and finally stop tripping over toys in the halls and bedrooms throughout the house! Remove toys that are no longer used and cycle toys in order to have less out at once. Keep toys that are good for creative play, and most importantly find ways to involve your kids. Read these 10 tips to minimize kids toys. Children can learn to declutter too, and sometimes they might surprise you by being able to let go of things more easily than we can! If you don’t have kids toys in your home, then take this opportunity to declutter your craft supplies or media (DVDs, video games). Purge, donate, and only keep what really brings you joy! If you haven’t used it in the last year, will you really use it in the next?
Day 14. Clean out the car.
To begin decluttering the car, remove garbage- that’s the easiest stuff to remove first. Find the other miscellaneous items in the car and return them to their proper home. Take everything out of the trunk of your car and replace only what is necessary.
Day 15. Accessories.
The next category to decutter: Accessories. This can be jewellery, watches, sunglasses, scarves, hats, bags, or purses. Go through everything in this category and pare down to your absolute favourites. Some of the tips for creating a capsule wardrobe might help you decide which accessories to keep. For example, choosing items that can mix and match, and keeping accent colours that you love.
Day 16. Slow down your schedule today.
You’ve made it half way through Simple Adventure’s new year’s resolution! Today, try to slow down your schedule for the day. Make room for a walk outside, or a meaningful conversation with a friend. Do something to relax and unwind. Look at your calendar and question whether all the activities you have planned are necessary and enjoyable. Is there something you could remove from your schedule to give yourself more time to slow down?
Day 17. Eliminate paper clutter.
Get rid of the paper clutter; whether it’s mail, the desk, or the filing cabinet. Throw out old receipts, bills, or other paperwork. Don’t worry about sentimental items yet. If you have cards or notes from loved ones, put those aside for now. Unsubscribe from any unnecessary mail that you no longer wish to receive, and move to online billing. Create a system for mail or paper that comes in the house and have a designated place for it to stay until you can go through it.
Day 18. Toiletries and medicine cabinet.
We’ll tackle the bathroom in two steps: 1) declutter the medicine cabinet today and 2) go through towels, faceclothes, etc tomorrow. Properly dispose of expired medication. Then go through toiletries and evaluate what you actually use. Only items that haven’t been opened can be donated. If you have too many you could make a ‘no buy’ list for items that need to be used up. Then moving forward, only buy as needed when something is running low.
Day 19. Declutter the bathroom cupboard.
Towels, face cloths, etc. Find out how many you need and keep a number that works for you. How many people are in your home and how often do you each use a towel? Get rid of unnecessary extras and only keep what you need.
Day 20. Find out how contentment makes us happier.
Consider how being content with what you have can calm the craving for more. While discontent is something that can eat away at our hearts, contentment can make life more happy and a lot more simple. We can learn to be content both in who we are, and what we have. Read about how contentment makes us truly happy.
Also take this opportunity to reflect on clearing away your emotional clutter. By this, I mean anything that weighs us down and impacts us negatively. Clutter is a distraction that pulls us away from the things that really matter- this applies to our minds and hearts as well. For example, limit the things that drain you in order to re-direct your heart’s resources to be better spent.
Day 21. Declutter and organize the entryway or front hall closet.
Make a place for everything. When you come in your house, is there a designated place to put your wallet, keys, purse, or coat? Whenever you come in the door, let there be a clear place for these items instead of dropping them on the floor or on a chair. Note how when the closet is less cluttered, it is easier to put away your things! My kids each have one hook on the wall, and they know that as soon as they come in the door, the backpack goes on the hook. Inside the closet they each have a box (labelled with their name) for their shoes, and one for their coats. By making it within their reach they are able to learn to put away their own things when we come home.
Day 22. Clear out the junk drawer.
Every house has a catch-all… a place where clutter accumulates easily and we never go through it. Go through your junk drawer, bookshelf, counter, or cupboard- whatever the place is in your home. Remove trash, recycle old papers, relocate needed items to their proper home, and purge unwanted items.
Day 23. Books.
Decluttering books can be difficult, but they’re also a great item to get passed on or donated to a local library. You can read about how I decluttered my bookcase using the KonMari method. Pick up each book and really ask yourself whether it brings you joy. Do you use it on a regular basis, or can you borrow it from the library when you want to read it again? Our family makes good use of the library. This way the kids always have new books to read, and the books get returned after a few weeks so there won’t be clutter in the house either!
Day 24. Holiday decorations.
Go through your holiday decorations and try to identify what you really love. What makes you happy and really brings you joy to use? You might end up with a smaller collection for each holiday. Or you might only keep decorations for your favourite holidays.
For example, I personally don’t keep holiday decorations except for Christmas. I LOVE Christmas, and it makes me happy to bring out the Christmas lights – especially during the dark, cold, winter months. Try to be objective about how much you need for your own home. Is more always better? If you know that every time you decorate the Christmas tree there’s a box of ornaments left over, then there are more in the house than can actually be used. Keep your favourite ornaments and then when you feel there is enough, let go of the rest.
Day 25. Declutter online.
Now that you’ve had a day of reducing screen time (Day 11), consider what you might eliminate completely. Or perhaps there are ways you could reduce online distractions. For example, whether it’s email, social media, or news feeds – consider unfollowing things that don’t bring joy or value to your life. Perhaps you could create set times during the day to check email and social media. Read about these 5 Areas of Life To Simplify including #2 on the list (Social Media) and #3 (Screen Time).
Become intentional about the online conversations you have, and the things you follow during the day. See if there is anything you want to ‘declutter’ online by the end of today, or if you want to set boundaries around your time spent online.
Day 26. Living room and home decor.
Hopefully you’ve removed some clutter of magazines or newspapers when we eliminated paper clutter. Take this opportunity to declutter the coffee table, end tables, or re-evaluate what is truly beautiful and useful in your living room. Declutter the every-day decorations around your home and keep only what brings you joy. And remember that clear surfaces and counters make for a more calm atmosphere in your home; Sometimes less is more.
Day 27. Sentimental items.
Sentimental items might be the hardest category to go through and minimize. Recognize your emotions and memories associated with an item, and give yourself permission to let go of the physical object. If it brings memories of a loved one or a specific time in your life, consider keeping only one thing (instead of a box etc), or take a photo to remember. Don’t keep anything because of guilt, and allow yourself to let go of things that don’t serve a purpose or bring joy. When we recognize that the sentiment is found in the stories and memories, then it becomes easier to part with sentimental items. It’s less about the stuff we own, and more about the people we love.
Day 28. Storage.
The dreaded storage or basement! Things that haven’t been used in a long time and are collecting dust. As someone in the facebook group said, ‘the place where household items go to die’… Examine what you really need and let go of the rest. We often get stuck by holding onto items ‘just in case’. If it helps, you can give yourself a timeline. For example, The Minimalists use the 90/90 rule to let go of possessions. When you get stuck on an item, ask yourself if you’ve used that item in the last 90 days. If you haven’t will you use it in the next 90 days? If the answer is no, then you probably don’t need it.
Day 29. Turn the hangers around, and purge items in your closet.
It’s been 4 weeks since you turned the hangers around in your closet. We’ve gone through the closet at the beginning, but here’s one more chance to remove more items. Anything that hasn’t been turned around means that it hasn’t been worn in the last month and you probably won’t miss it! Do one last purge and enjoy your smaller and intentionally chosen wardrobe!
Day 30. Move stuff out of your house!
Look up a local goodwill, thrift store, or shelter that is in need of household items. Pile everything into your car and bring all your decluttered items today. Some places will even pick up at your home if you call ahead. Complete the final step in your decluttering process and watch as more space opens up in your home. Enjoy a less cluttered space and experience less stress, less time cleaning, and less time organizing. You’ll find there’s more time for the people and activities you love!
Day 31. Move forward living with less stuff and more life!
Congratulations on completing the New Year’s Resolution: Declutter Your Life! As you’ve cleared some of the extra ‘stuff’ from your life, what has been added? What new simple adventures have come your way in the past month as a result of removing the clutter and focusing on what is important? Live your simple adventure, and dare to take a different path.