When I told my husband, Ryan, that I wanted to complete a decluttering challenge by removing 2,018 things from our home in 2018, he looked at me like I had two heads. “I don’t think we have 2,018 things we could get rid of.” Ha! Challenge accepted! I knew we could get rid of at least that many things!
Why a Decluttering Challenge?
Decluttering is a great way to change the look and feel of your home. There are tremendous psychological benefits to ridding your space of clutter that weighs you down. Plus, decluttering is free! And while the results can be inspiring, the work it takes to get there can be overwhelming at times. By participating in a decluttering challenge, I knew I would stay motivated. I’m a numbers girl. Once I set my mind to doing something, I’m stubborn to completion. Here’s the lowdown on what I tried and how it’s going so far.
Decluttering Challenge Rules
Trick statement. There are no rules! I didn’t have a structured plan to follow, but in order to keep the challenge authentic, I knew I needed to establish some consistent guidelines. Here are the parameters I came up with:
I would track all items that left our home on an app on my phone
- I downloaded an app called Counter+ from the iPhone app store. Any time I discarded something, I added it to my record. I didn’t track what I was discarding, just the number of items.
I would count anything I decluttered that I was inclined to keep for a future purpose
- I’m notorious for keeping containers, egg cartons, and mason jars for future crafty purposes. Anytime I discarded something I thought about keeping, I added it to my list.
How I would handle multiples:
- I counted multiple items as one if the items came into my home as one unit. If I got rid of a box of crayons, I counted it as one item, not 24. Since I was discarding them as one unit, I only counted them once.
- If something took a lot of effort to discard or find a home for, I counted the items individually. For example, we gave away 50 porcelain tiles. To get them out of our home, Ryan had to list them for free on a local selling app, drag them up from the basement, load them into his truck, and then deliver them to the lady who needed them. And, since he’s a gentleman, he helped load them into her vehicle, too! Since this process took a lot of time and energy, I counted each tile individually. It was a lot more work than tossing a box of crayons!
I would count every item as I recorded it in my app
- I’m a rule follower, so if I was going to record an item as discarded, I needed to feel totally honest about the count. I didn’t estimate items because I wanted to feel completely truthful when I stated I accomplished my goal by the end of the year.
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Decluttering Challenge: The Process
I knew that to accomplish my goal, I would need to declutter an average of 5-6 items a day. However, I also knew that as a busy mom, it would be difficult for me to commit to a daily amount. Instead, I chose to declutter in waves. I tackled projects in chunks and decluttered several items at once from a particular space. I might have gone days, or even weeks, without tossing anything. Then I might spend a few hours decluttering part of the basement or a room and dispose of 100, 200, or more items in a day!
July 1st: We’re Halfway There!
(Cue Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer)
While the year started off slow, my decluttering challenge count really amped up over the spring and early summer (adios, morning sickness!). This little book represents my halfway point!
This was the 1,009th item I decluttered from my home this year. It also might have been done on July 3rd. Remember, no hard and fast rules or deadlines (other than decluttering 2,018 items by December 31st!). It was reaffirming to see that although I hadn’t discarded my 6 items daily, the law of averages had worked out and I was right on pace to accomplish my goal.
Why an Annual Decluttering Challenge?
Over the next sixth months, I plan on continuing to declutter our basement, garage, and closet spaces. I know that as my deadline approaches I will get even more ruthless in parting with things to accomplish my goal. Having a goal that spans a year, versus a shorter time frame, has given me a lot of freedom and flexibility. I don’t feel as pressured to accomplish daily tasks, knowing that I can catch up the next day or next week. I don’t feel overwhelmed about falling behind.
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How a Decluttering Challenge Can Produce Change Your Life
Participating in a decluttering challenge is a great way to stay motivated as you tackle the excess in your home. By setting a goal with a deadline and tracking progress, you’ll be more inclined to follow through. Consider participating in a half year challenge, a month-long goal, or a weekly one. The more you practice the act of decluttering, the easier it becomes. Build some minimizing muscles by tackling your own challenge and consider joining me next year. Decluttering 2,019 items in 2019 sounds pretty good to me!
P.S. Sometimes the sentimental stuff really hampers our decluttering journey. If you are feeling bogged down by your collections and memorabilia, be sure to check out my post on The Container Principle to help you overcome the struggle!
Decluttering Challenge- End of Year Update!
The countdown is over, the midnight kisses have been exchanged, and Auld Lang Syne has rung out around the USA.
So how did I do on my first ever decluttering challenge? While I was definitely decluttering until the final days, I am excited to report that I officially surpassed my goal!
That’s two thousand, forty-six items removed from our home last year. And while that is quite an accomplishment, I still feel like we can unburden ourselves from more stuff! So, I’ve decided to take on another round of #decluttertheyear and go for 2,019 items removed in 2019. If you’d like to join me in this decluttering challenge, check out updates on my 2019 progress and join our Declutter the Year Facebook group!
Need some help simplifying your home so it becomes a place you love? Don’t forget to download your FREE copy of the Empty a Space Decluttering Guide! This 7-page guide walks you through the decluttering process step-by-step, transforming even the most stuffed spaces into tranquil places!