What I Learned from 30 Days of Decluttering


I absolutely LOVE doing the 30 Day Decluttering Challenge each year.  Your participation and feedback is what I live for and it's so much fun to be doing this with you. 

This year though, I though "Well...we've been decluttering and minimizing for 3 years. I don't think I'll have anything to let go of".  Yeah, so I was wrong.

While I posted photos each day of "suggested" categories to declutter, I was mainly going through my own sentimental items.  That included the rave fliers in the photo above (they will be worth something on eBay one day!!!!!), travel souvenirs and photos.  Oi.  I am EXHAUSTED.  The trip down memory lane is a Loooooooong Drive.  

In the middle of that trip, I decided to take a detour to one of our closets.  Our new room has two.  One for our clothes, one for our coats, TV and dresser.  The shelves were a complete sh*tshow. Because things that worked in a previous house just didn't work here.

Exhibit A:


Thankfully, TJRossMarshalls had a few baskets that helped us get this under control.

Exhibit B:



The Bins Contained:

Bedding:  2 bins for bedding, including our spare sheet set for our bed, spare flat sheet, 2 extra blankets and a couple of pillow cases for guests.

Electronics: The miscellaneous phone cords, tripod, lens, external backup hard drives and an external DVD player/burner.

Art Supplies: This bin housed my oil pastels, drawing paper, glue, colored pencils, glitter and paper cutter.

Office Supplies:  Since I don't have an office, this one bin holds stamps, cards, highlighters, a few paper clips and binder clips, pens, pencils, and a ruler.  It's amazing how few office supplies one needs and having a small bin to corral them keeps them under control.  

Hats: This one holds hats, beanies, gloves and scarves.  An ever-present necessity for an always cold person living near San Francisco.

So yeah.  While I do advocate less in general, having a few well-chosen bins and baskets can make all the difference in the world. For $40 I now feel cool, calm and collected.  That's less than half a dinner out in San Francisco.  Win.  

They also keep categories under control.  If they are overflowing, it's time to pare down.

Thank you, everyone that played along with the decluttering challenge.  It was fun and helpful for me too!

30 Day Decluttering Challenge - 2017

This is seriously my most favorite time of the year.  I love hearing from you all every day and seeing what clutter you're removing from your home (and life!) in order to make more room for what's important (hint: it's not the stuff).  

You'll also be entered to win a free session with Amy or myself ($399 value) or a month of phone coaching with me if you're not in the area. 

30 day simple challenge = 1 entry into drawing

Mins Game = 2 entries

Having an Clutter Buddy = 4 entries

Doing the Mins Game with a Clutter Buddy = 5 entries

Simple Challenge:

  1. Remove 1 item from your home each day (donate, sell, recycle, or trash)
  2. Post what you removed in a comment on either the daily photo on our Facebook page or on this blog post.  i.e. if you threw out a magazine, you just need to write "magazine" in the comments (or post a photo or video!!!!!!!) 

Mins Game:

 If you're super motivated to make a huge change in your living space, I'd like you to take the 30 day challenge to the next level and play the Minimalism Game.  To play, you remove one item on the first day, 2 on the second, 3 on the third and so on.  

Use the hashtag #MinsGame in your comment and you'll be entered 2 times.

Clutter Buddy:

If you'd like to be paired with an clutter buddy, email me and I'll set it up!  You can also choose a friend to do this with.  If you both complete the 30 day challenge, you'll be entered 4 times!

Use the hashtag #clutterbuddy in your comments.  Put both #minsgame AND #clutterbuddy if you're doing both!

A couple notes:

I will be posting a daily photo of a suggested category to get declutter, i.e. shirts, pots and pans, pens, etc.  You can choose to declutter something in that category or any of your liking.  

You may find it helpful to keep an "outbox" in your entryway or garage to put your donation items in each day.  As it fills, take it to Goodwill.  Rinse. Repeat. 

Favorite Organizing Items

I've spent a lot of time telling you that you have too much crap and need to get rid of a good portion of it, so I thought I'd throw you a bone.  While there are no magic bullet organizing products to make you organized once and for all (besides tossing most of your crap), there are a few that can make life easier and more beautiful.  

1.  Matching Hangers - You're an adult.  It's time to donate the 143 mismatched hangers and buy 40 that match.  40!?!  Matching?!? Well, yeah, it's hard to use more than 40 items of clothing in a month, so, if you've recently joined the capsule wardrobe bandwagon, 40 should about do it. As for the matching - well, look at all the closets you've pinned on Pinterest.  They all have less than 40 items, the hangers match, and they look gorgeous. Case closed.  While I use the thick plastic ones from Bed, Bath & Beyond, the wood ones or the fuzzy ones from Amazon also look stellar. 

2.  Keepsake Boxes - You all probably know by know that I'm a sentimental softie, and generally encourage you to keep some keepsakes.  Kid's first shoes, a bracelet your grandfather gave you in kindergarten, the bar receipt from the first time you met/served drinks to your now husband (oh, is that just me?).  Anyway, if you're going to keep some mementos, at least give them a beautiful home

3.  Matching Food Containers - Now go check out those gorgeous kitchens you've pinned.  Chances are the food is in matching containers.  Right?  Please recycle those BPA laden, discolored, mis-matched, crusty old ones you've been holding on to. Please. I personally love cheap and easy ball jars, but French canning jars or anything glass and matchy matchy will work.

4.  Plastic Bins - These are still a favorite.  Simple, useful.  Because even if you don't have much crap, it still looks like a lot when it's spread out over all of your surfaces.  Group your like items together and contain them! :)

5.  The Ikea Kallax Unit - Or any of it's ilk now available from Target and other stores.  Basically it's a piece of furniture with 4, 8 or more cubes that can be used organize darn near anything.  This here is the craft cube, this is the sewing cube, the toy cube, the car wash cube.  Especially helpful for kids.  Or vinyl collectors. I keep my record collection in one.