For a while now, our tribe has been on a bit of a mission to declutter our house, and our lives. In the past 34 years, I’ve moved house approximately 23 times (I’ve lost track now). I’ve become some what of an expert in letting go of material possessions… 1) because packing is a horrendous job; and 2) because unpacking is just as horrible, if not worse, as you open box after box of items and wonder why on earth you bothered to pack all this stuff in the first place!
The benefits of decluttering are not just in the physical space you are left with (less tidying, less dusting, less storage needed to store all the extra stuff!), decluttering also benefits your mental state. Less clutter, either in material possessions, scheduling, or junk mail in your email, can all result in less anxiety in your life, less stress, and more space and time for self-care or connecting with family and friends through experiences.
Decluttering a whole room, part of your life or entire house can be completely overwhelming. And more often than not you end up with a bigger mess than you started with and an unfinished job. The key to decluttering, like anything, is to start small. Even if it is just one item at a time.
We have created the Less is More: 30 in 30 Challenge: a challenge to declutter one non-essential item from your life each day, so that you can start enjoying your life more, rather than stressing over all the stuff in your life. It’s easy, everyday you get rid of one thing, either by giving something away, listing it for sale, or throwing it in the bin. And at the end of 30 days you’ll have a little less stuff and feel a little freer!
Less is More: 30 in 30
General guidelines: We are creatures of habit, for most people they will wear the same clothes, use the same utensils and equipment, over and over again. Each day find an item that either: you haven’t worn/used in 12 months; an item that is falling apart from overwear/use (think underwear and socks, plastic kitchen utensils, bed sheets); or an item that you no longer fit or no longer fits your life (stair master anyone?). This is the item you are letting go of today. If it is in good condition, perhaps you can list it for sale online (set aside one day a week when you’ll create your listings online), or give it away to a friend or op-shop (again, collect items to donate and deliver at the end of each week). If it’s worn out, then it’s time to throw it in the bin!
- Wardrobe: let go of one item of clothing. For some this may seem like the hardest place to start, and for others it will be the easiest. But, it is a space in your home that you go to every single day.
- Second drawer in your kitchen. We all have that kitchen drawer filled with useless utensils that we never use, and that get in the way to finding the utensils we use all the time. Let go of that Moroccan Harissa soup spoon, because let’s face it, if you haven’t made the dish nine years after you bought the spoons, chances are you’re never going too!
- Laundry Shelf/Cupboard. Hoarding broken pegs? Stashing a bottle of wool wash, but you don’t own anything made of wool? Let it go!
- Bathroom Cupboard: bottom shelf. The resting place for unused Christmas bath gift packs…
- Email subscription. Decluttering your virtual spaces is just as important. Today when you open your email, choose one email subscription list and unsubscribe!
- Pantry: FAD DIET!! Those 20 cans of Tuna may one day be eaten, but for now, consider donating just one to a local food bank.
- Desk drawer. Do you really need 20 different colours of post it notes? Or your pencil cases from primary school? Your local day care centre, Kindy, or playgroup may appreciate spare colouring in pencils, felt pens, crayons, etc.
- Outdoor patio/shed. Are you saving all of those plastic pots to one day try growing your own seedlings? Or the shells/sticks/rocks/leaves for that amazing creative project you thought of last summer? Maybe it’s a simple as throwing away one of the many chewed up dog toys lying around the yard?
- Kitchen Cupboard: Glassware. No one is arguing that you aren’t the world’s best Mummy or Daddy, but do you really need three coffee cups telling you this?
- Living Room: DVD drawer/shelf. With Online streaming so widely accessible now, when was the last time you watched a DVD? Regift some of your DVD’s or simply give away and allow someone else to enjoy.
- Bookshelf. This was always the toughest for me! When you’ve finished reading a book, see if a local nursing home or retirement village excepts donations for their library, or take to a book exchange or op-shop.
- Linen Cupboard. Still have cot size sheets, but no babies? Brand new sheet sets or towels from wedding gifts/baby showers/Christmas presents? There are many DV safe house charities that would love donations of new sheet sets or towels.
- Cleaning Cupboard. We’re all guilty of purchasing that ridiculous miracle cleaning product that really doesn’t work then sits in the cupboard for the next five years… toss it!
- Kids toy box/man cave/hobby room. It’s only one item!! You can do it!!
- Kitchen Cupboard: Vases/Serving Platters. There are three occasions in life where you may need more than one vase… when you give birth, when someone dies, or when you get married. Letting go of one vase or serving platter is not going to make a huge difference in your ability to entertain friends and family.
- Bedside Table Drawer. What are those keys from again??
- Garage. Take your pick! But toss, give away or sell something you no longer use or need!
- Handbag/Wallet. Out of date cards taking up space? Every receipt for every purchase you’ve made in the past month? You know what to do.
- Make up drawer/Body products. Make up has a used by date. If, like me, you wear make up once or twice a year (pretty much any time I go to a wedding), or if you wear it every day, but have multiples of smoky eyeshadows or eyeliner pencils, find the oldest piece (you know, the one you wore to your high school formal 18 years ago…) or your least favourite colour and bin it! For men this is usually the drawer where their razors go to die… throw one out.
- Baking Ware Cupboard/Drawer. That speciality shaped cake tin you bought for that character themed birthday cake when your little one was 4, you guessed it, pass it on to a friend or sell online so that someone else can experience the joy/terror of baking a novelty character cake for their little one.
- Fridge. Out of date bottles of food/condiments! Need I say more!
- Sock Drawer. Lone socks. Taking up space since forever.
- Cookbook shelf. There are so many amazing apps and online blogs/websites with recipes now. Cookbooks have become almost obsolete. Keep the ones you use regularly, but surely, that Swedish Cooking Cookbook can be passed along.
- Living Room: CD collection. See #10 DVD collection.
- Shoes. Do you own more pairs of shoes than you could wear in a week? Consider re-gifting a pair to a friend and make their day. You’ll probably feel pretty awesome for making someone feel happy too!
- Junk Cupboard/Drawer. We all have one. Open it and toss one thing out.
- Facebook Groups. Unfollow or unlike one Facebook page (Haloumi Cheese Facebook Page creating cravings for haloumi every time I open Facebook!) and remove some of the random virtual junk from your mental space.
- Jewelry Drawer/Stand. One piece. That’s all. Maybe you have a friend going through a break up or shitty time right now, re-gift them a piece of your jewelry and every time they wear it they’ll remember how loved they are.
- Belts/Handbags/Bags. Just one, either something you never use or that backpack with the broken shoulder strap…
- Plastic Container Cupboard. This should be an easy one… Find a container without a lid, or a lid without a container and toss it.
What other areas around home would you recommend to declutter one item from? Going to try out our 30 in 30 challenge, then we’d love to hear how you go!! Share your experience in the comments or tag us in your pics on Instagram @atribeofdreamers and use the hashtag #30in30declutter