It’s that time of year when declutter challenges are sweeping across our social media feeds. Now that we all need to stay inside as much as possible, decluttering is an even more popular project than ever before.
Let’s talk about popular declutter challenges and how you can get on board with your own declutter project today.
Pick a challenge that works for you
The Fabulous app’s 30-Day Declutter Challenge encourages participants to focus on clearing a different space from clutter every day for (you guessed it) 30 days. They recommend decluttering everything from organizing your bathroom toiletries to clearing your mind with meditation.
The 2022 in 2022 Challenge takes a slightly different approach, with Nourishing Minimalism’s author, Rachel Jones, challenging you to clear your house of 2022 items over the course of the year. You can download a tracking sheet so you can visually check off each piece of clutter that leaves your home and reward yourself after you reach significant milestones. You can join the Facebook group for this challenge here.
If getting rid of 2022 items feels too overwhelming, try looking at these 22 areas of your home that can be easily cleansed of extra stuff.
The 91-Day Declutter Challenge also offers a Facebook community of home organizers, as well as weekly blog challenges, supplemental reading, and printable guides. This challenge—presented by the blog Mary Organizes—is structured around clearing one area of your home every week for 13 weeks.
You don’t need to subscribe to a specific declutter challenge to start working on your own decluttering project, but committing to a plan makes sticking to your goals easier. Of course, you can also customize your approach to becoming clutter-free.
Get Social with your decluttering efforts
Whether you’re sharing your decluttering wins with a friend or one of the online communities mentioned above, stay motivated and accountable to your goals by not going it alone.
Consider joining (or starting) a local Buy Nothing Group, where you can give your possessions to someone in your community who could really use them. You can search for a group near you at freecycle.org. Check to see if anyone is offering free storage containers that you can use to sort and hold items before they leave your house.
Get your kids and spouse involved by having a friendly competition to see who can pare-down and tidy their spaces the fastest.
Feel good about giving your unneeded possessions to a good home
It’s not great for the environment or your psyche to throw away things that no longer bring you joy if they could still be appreciated by someone else.
- Make some cash by selling locally through Facebook Marketplace or Letgo.
- Pare down and update your wardrobe at the same time by stopping by your local consignment shop or trying out an online consignment retailer like Thredup.
- Donate clothes and scraps of fabric to a textile recycling program that operates in your area, like the Salvation Army and Canadian Diabetes Association, where you can also donate household items.
- There are plenty of other local and national charities that can use your gently used belongings as well; many will even collect your donations for free.
- Donate large items like furniture, appliances and leftover renovation materials to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore program.
Target the clutter you carry around with you
Whether it’s your purse, wallet, backpack, gym bag or even your jacket pockets—we all get weighed down by stuff we don’t need to lug around with us every day. The same goes for your vehicle, especially if you normally chauffeur multiple kids around. Even if you’ve been cooped up at home lately, designate a day to sort through all of that travelling clutter.
Just because it’s edible (or used to be) doesn’t mean it’s not clutter
Why should your closet and garage get all the spring cleaning? Tackle the disorganization in your kitchen. Obviously you want to toss anything that expired in 2002 or that has rotted past the point of recognition. However, there’s also an art to managing your fridge and pantry in a way that makes cooking and snacking a breeze.
- Prioritize cooking with perishable foods that will soon lose their freshness. You can use a website like SuperCook or an app like Dinner Spinner from Allrecipes to help you find recipes that use ingredients you already have on hand.
- Defrost your freezer and toss anything that’s freezer burnt to make room for freezable foods you want to preserve.
- Consider donating extra nonperishable food that’s been taking up space in your pantry.
- Don’t forget to keep it green! Wash and sort your empty food packaging into your recycling bins and compost your food waste as much as possible.
Clean up your digital spaces
Digital clutter is especially insidious because it’s constantly slowing you down, but it’s not an eyesore or physical inconvenience like regular clutter—hiding your favourite sweater or causing you to trip over boxes every time you venture into the garage.
- Use an app like Freedom to help you declutter your mind from digital distractions. Ban yourself from checking social media for a chunk of your weekend and you’ll be amazed at how much decluttering you’ll suddenly have time to get done!
- Delete any apps you downloaded and never ended up using.
- Arrange the essential apps on your phone based on category, for example: food delivery apps, rideshare apps, consumer rewards apps, team productivity apps for work, etc.
- Organize your desktop folders in a way that’s intuitive to you: don’t just dump everything in your “Documents” and “Downloads” folders.
- Delete the 5 out-of-focus photos you have on your phone for every good photo. Remove duplicate and unneeded files from your computer.
- If you need extra space, consider purchasing external hard drives or a cloud storage account to store important but large files (like photos and videos) for safekeeping. A Google One plan gives you 100 GB of storage for less than $30 per year.
- Organize your calendar and to-do lists. If you don’t normally keep track of your appointments and meetings in the same place, across all of your devices—now’s a great time to start.
- Clean up your inbox. Even if you don’t want to delete any emails, you can still sort them into folders and get stricter about what messages you classify as spam and junk mail.
- Sort out those passwords! It’s a pain when you have to reset the password for a different account every other day. Create a secure spreadsheet or use a password manager to organize all of your account login info.
Save the sentimental stuff for last
Tossing expired food and deleting useless apps is one thing, but chances are most of your clutter’s emotional weight comes from items that hold significant sentimental value. When you’re cleaning out a space, move everything from its original place, so you can evaluate each item’s value in your home and in your life. Don’t spare your sentimental belongings from this process. Your most precious keepsakes will remain in your home and you’ll be able to appreciate them more after you’ve removed all of the unnecessary clutter that was surrounding them.
Store anything you want to let go in a designated area while you tackle the less emotionally-weighted objects in your home. This way you can set a pace for your toughest decluttering decisions—only making them when you feel ready and allowing you time to decide on each item’s new home.
The goal of any declutter challenge is to help you break down the daunting task of sorting through your huge inventory into more manageable steps. Your personal declutter challenge can last for 30 days, 2 days, an entire season, or longer. Decluttering your life will help you feel more at peace with your environment, in control and ready to tackle new challenges with a renewed sense of focus and energy.