Starting on May 1, my wife and I began a project that a friend suggested called the “30-Day Decluttering Challenge”. The concept is simple – on the first day of the month, get rid of one item. On the second day of the month, get rid of two items. Continue to do so until the 30th day of the challenge, when you get rid of 30 items from your household.
All together the “30-Day Decluttering Challenge” will add up to 465 things out of your house! (I know that Steve at ThinkSaveRetire.com – who moved with his wife into an Airstream trailer – will think that number is less than amazing, but it is a a lot!)
The instigator of the challenge was my good friend, Maggie. We had lunch a couple weeks ago, and she was talking about things she has enjoyed doing in her early retirement. As a bit of a Type A personality, she said that doing this decluttering challenge would be right up my alley. Truthfully, I think she is more of an “A” than I am, but my wife, predictably, also loved the idea! My DW is a genuine neat-nik and although she has not put together a honey-do list for me, I knew this was exactly what she would love me to do.
One toughest parts of the challenge is to be prepared for the days at the end of the month when you need to get rid of 20+ things. I have decided that I would modify it slightly to knock off a number between #1-#30 on any given day so I can tackle some of the hardest numbers when it best fits into my schedule. Otherwise, I am afraid I will get to the end and have to really blitz to finish successfully.
For the first day, my wife and I went through the cupboard where we keep all of our bills, papers, tickets, coupons, and other assorted “adminis-trivia.” We probably got rid of about 100 papers, but I’m only going to count that as one thing, as it doesn’t do much more than fill a small box. From there, we started tackling some of the obvious places to start: I knew my closet would be a treasure trove of superfluous stuff and I pretty quickly took 30 things off hangers and brought them to the Goodwill Center. Next, I went through old paint cans and lawn chemicals in the garage (#16), and got rid of some old sporting goods equipment that we didn’t need (#11). My biggest task so far this month was going through our music CDs – we had well over a hundred of them and I needed to rip them all into iTunes before we got rid of them (I counted them as #29, since #30 was already taken).
Below is what the list looks like so far. I’ve clicked off 16 of the numbers in the first 17 days of the month. Most of the stuff has gone right to the Goodwill Store. A few things got recycled and only a few got tossed out.
30 DAY DECLUTTERING CHALLENGE (thru 5/16):
- 1 – Bill drawer/cupboard
- 2 – Birdhouses
- 3 – Banners/4th July
- 4 –
- 5 – Baseball hats
- 6 – Nylon Bags
- 7 –
- 8 –
- 9 – Health & Beauty Stuff (to Garbage)
- 10 –
- 11 – Footballs, Basketballs, Soccer, Skateboard
- 12 –
- 13 –
- 14 –
- 15 – Electrical Outlets / Parts
- 16 – Paint and Chemicals (to Recycling Center)
- 17 –
- 18 –
- 19 –
- 20 – Christmas Music
- 21 – Wife’s Clothes Closet
- 22 –
- 23 –
- 24 – Books (mostly business)
- 25 – Tools/Sprinklers
- 26 –
- 27 –
- 28 – Old Magazines
- 29 – Music CDs (100+)
- 30 – My Clothes Closet
I have to say that this challenge really is quite a challenge. Even though I am about halfway through the numbers, with 51% of the total 465 items decluttered, I have already hit a lot of the easy areas and find myself challenged to go back and look for more several times. Some of the numbers go up as I add things to stuff I decluttered earlier.
I have also made a list of the areas of our house that I think can fill in the big, open days between #20 – #29. These areas include VHS tapes, toys/games, holiday decorations, DVDs, and stuff in our workshop. These are the kinds of things that collect around our house and should be rich veins to declutter.
Since it is not easy, part of the reason I am publishing this post now is to ensure that I have some accountability to get it done by the end of May.
What do you think – are your ready for the “30-Day Retirement Decluttering Challenge?”
Image Credit: MrFireStation.com