30 Day Declutter Challenge

Confession: I'm the person that takes down Christmas decor as soon as it's December 26th. I loathe clutter. In my ideal world, I'd have all white furniture, a few plants here and there, and maybe some gold accents. However, I live in the countryside with two very muddy dogs and one slightly less muddy cowboy. He's a little bit of a hoarder, I'm a little too quick to throw anything away, so we have had to find a happy medium for the two of us.

But the New Year is the best time to play my favorite game, "Keep or Toss". I've put together a handy printable checklist that breaks up the decluttering process into a super simple 30 day challenge. By tackling one project a day, your house will be decluttered in no time!

Day 1: Gifts

You probably just brought home a boatload of wonderful gifts from friends, family and coworkers. Decide which ones you love, and which ones are just going to add clutter. Anything you don't want and won't be noticeable if absent when relatives come over,  add it to the donate pile.

Day 2: Holiday Decor

Time to put it all away, don't be the guy that leaves your lights up until Valentine's Day.

Day 3: Fridge

Start the new year off by tossing any holiday leftovers, expired condiments, or tempting treats you don't want messing with your healthy resolutions

Day 4: Pantry

Toss expired items, but also keep an eye out for multiples of spices, nuts, seeds, etc. If you buy in bulk like we do, it's easy to forget you already have a lot of the basics in your pantry. Now's a good time to bust out the label maker and organize the entire thing.

Day 5: Kitchen Supplies

Extra utensils, utensils you've never used in your life and that rusty cheese grater all get tossed.

Day 6: Clothes in Closet

Ok, this is the big one for most girls. My general rule is, if I haven't worn it in 6 months (except for seasonal reasons), toss it. If you have enough clothes to not wear something for 6 months, it's not important enough to keep around. Add it to the donation pile.

Day 7: Clothes in Drawers

Same philosophy. You don't need 4 t-shirts from the same band.

Day 8: Accessories

Socks, undies, mittens, etc. If you haven't worn it in a year or it's missing it's companion, let it go.

Day 9: Jewelry

Keep the heirlooms and the real stuff, if you're tossing diamonds we have some other issues to talk about, but the cheapie and trendy costume jewelry has a lifespan.

Day 10: Shoes

Similarly to jewelry, if the shoes are classic and long lasting brands, they stay. But there's no need to hang on to those bright orange espadrille wedges any longer.

Day 11: Makeup

Most people don't realize makeup has an expiration date. Mascara = 3 months, eye liner/foundation/concealer = 6-12 months, lipstick/lip gloss/blush/bronzer = 24 months

Day 12: Skincare Items

Moisturizers, eye creams, night creams, sunscreen, etc. are all good for about 12 months. 

Day 13: Linen Closet

You only need so many towels and extra throw blankets. 

Day 14: Medicine Cabinet

Check the expiration dates on all pill bottles and medicines. You might not need it today, but when you figure out that cough syrup expired in 2013, you're going to wish you would have checked.

Day 15: Junk Drawer

This speaks for itself. It's junk. Just toss it.

Day 16: Craft Supplies

Especially after the holidays, craft supplies are strewn all about and I often end up buying what I already have because it's disorganized. Consolidating will be more organized, and avoid duplicating.

Day 17: Receipts, Mail + Paperwork

If you don't already have a filing system in place, now is the time to start one. It makes your life so much easier, and it's great to not have random pieces of paper floating around.

Day 18: Books and Magazines

While I would never advocate throwing away books (I'm a bit of a book hoarder, but they are rainbow color coordinated), but if you have books you know you'll never read again and they are just taking up space, donate to your local library.

Day 19: Media (DVDs, CDs, etc.)

DVDs are the bane of my existence. Steven used to work at Music Trader and has shelves upon shelves of DVDs that never get watched in our house. If you can, consolidate as much as possible. Isn't that the beauty of netflix? 

Day 20: Desk

Clean out the drawers, organize the desktop, good to go!

Day 21: Data/Files on Computer

It's amazing how fast our computers can get cluttered with little files saved here and there. Trash what you don't need, organize into files what you want to keep.

Day 22: Pet Items

Old chew toys, extra dog blankets and all those bags of treats on top of the refrigerator can easily be tossed or consolidated. 

Day 23: Storage

Similar to the clothing rule, if it has been in storage for a year or so and still hasn't been used, you might not need it.

Day 24: Gadgets/Tech Accessories

You don't even have a Razr anymore, why do you need to keep the charger?

Day 25: Garage

This might be the big daddy. Garages may not be a one day process, but you can at least get started by trashing the obvious garbage and setting up the rest for organization.

Day 26: Car

Clean out the glove compartment, make sure your paperwork is up to date, empty the trash!

Day 27: Coat Closet

Especially when you live in a warmer climate like we do, it's not necessary to fill an entire closet with winter coats, especially ones that no longer fit or are in style. Donate it to someone who needs some extra warmth.

Day 28: Travel Items

You only need so many duffle bags and neck pillows for all those airplane rides you take, right?

Day 29: Multiples of an Item

Throughout the process you may find you own multiples of the same thing, which can range anywhere from multiples jars of cinnamon to three vacuums hiding in the closet. Pick your favorite, toss the rest.

Day 30: Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies also have expiration dates, and we often buy more than we need. Focus on multi-use products and keep the clutter to a minimum. 

So now that you have your 30 day checklist, a few things to keep in mind while decluttering:

  1. Declutter the easy stuff first
  2. Don't keep things out of guilt or obligation
  3. Don't be afraid to let things go

Happy cleaning!

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