I’ve GOT IT!
I’m the kinda girl that loves a good challenge. If someone else is telling me what to do, and there are prescribed rules to follow, and yet it’s completely voluntary whether I participate, I’m game. I can quit any time I want, and I choose not to, because it’s a challenge! I’m never one to let a good challenge get the best of me!
What the poop is this girl babbling about? you ask.
I’ll tell ya.
My biggest complaint about undertaking this decluttering/cleaning/blogging project is that I have not been able to maintain it the way I want. Something every day. One sentence and one bag of trash to the dumpster. Real life keeps happening.
Oddly enough, though, I’ve noticed that there are certain things I do daily regardless of what else is going on. Things like… challenges. This is because they’re broken down into small components that don’t seem like much at the time, but when you look back at the end, it’s kind of overwhelming to see how much has been accomplished.
Will it work the same way if I make my own challenge?
Maybe. I looked around the internet and about the only thing I could find was, “Throw something away ever day for a month!” See, that doesn’t work for me. There’s nothing challenging about that, and I know that, for me, the results at the end of the challenge will be severely UNDERwhelming. I need something with a gimmick, something that inspires a little creativity.
This is what I am setting out to do right now, this moment: I am going to come up with a 30 day challenge – because 30 days is reasonable – that can be done repeatedly. And I’d love for you to join me and share your feedback on how the challenge works for you! If it can be tweaked to be more fun and productive, it will! There’s so much more potential that could be added to the list, but for sanity’s sake, I think I’ll limit it a bit for now.
Day 1: Clear out all existing trash bags. Take them to the curb or the dumpster (if it’s not trash day and you have trash pickup, set it in the garage until trash day).
Day 2: Clean out the fridge & freezer. Food storage guidelines here will help you decide what to toss. If it’s still good and no one in your household has touched it recently, get rid of it. If it’s unopened and no one has any expressed any interest in changing its status in the last three weeks, give it to a pantry.
Day 3: Toss obvious trash from bedrooms. By obvious trash, I mean those little scraps of paper we write phone numbers on, receipts that get stacked up on the dresser, new clothing tags, that soda bottle that’s been sitting there forever, etc.
Day 4: Toss obvious trash from bathroom(s). Don’t forget to check for expired medicines and vitamins!
Day 5: Toss obvious trash from living/dining/game rooms.
Day 6: Toss OBVIOUS trash from craft rooms and workshops. I can’t stress the “obvious” part of this sentence enough. If you have scraps that are just sitting around, toss them. Plans that are done and never going to be touched again? Toss them. Try not to think too much on this one.
Day 7: Toss your partner’s most disgusting piece of clothing. Obviously, you may want to warn them first. But you’ve been working hard, and you deserve a reward. Those pants with the hole in the crotch they keep wearing? That shirt with the pit stains that won’t wash away? The moth-eaten underwear? Whatever it is, get it out. Maybe you want to offer them a chance to do the same.
Day 8: Empty the house of trash bags again!
Day 9: Go through one shelf of books/media. Pull anything that you don’t intend to use again and that doesn’t have a significant meaning to you. Pull anything that you acquired over a year ago and haven’t touched since.
Day 10: Go through another shelf of books/media.
Day 11: Go through another shelf of books/media.
Day 12: Go through all remaining books/media.
Day 13: Everything you’ve pulled off the shelves over the last 4 days – take it to your local library for a donation or give to a thrift store or shelter.
Day 14: Toss your kid’s most annoying outgrown toy. When they’re not looking.
Day 15: Halfway there! Trash day! Take all the bags in the house out again!
Day 16: Go through your closet and dresser. If you haven’t worn it in a year, if it doesn’t fit, if it looks shabby, get it out. Don’t forget shoes and accessories!
Day 17: Help your partner go through their closet and dresser.
Day 18: Go through one child’s closet and dresser.
Day 19: Go through another child’s closet and dresser. If you have more than two children, you may want to divide your time equally over day 18 and 19 between their closets.
Day 20: Take all the clothing, shoes, and accessories you’ve pulled over the last four days to a thrift store, a shelter (particularly children’s clothing!), or second hand clothing store.
Day 21: Clear the bathroom(s) of products that haven’t been used in the last 6 months. I’m talking about mostly used-up shampoo/conditioner, lotion, soap bottles that are 7/8 empty. My kids are 4 and 6. I will probably never use those two bottles of Johnson & Johnson’s that are sitting under the sink and have been since my son was 1 year old.
Day 22: Do the trash dance! Get those bags out!
Day 23: Games and toys. Start in the playroom, if you have one. If not, then just work through the main part of the house – staying out of the bedrooms. Toss anything that is broken, missing pieces, or not age-appropriate. It may be wise to do this when the children are asleep or in school. And the partner is at work. If it’s been tucked away for three months and more and forgotten about, toss that too. Obviously, it won’t be missed.
Day 24: Did you get the closets yesterday? Make sure the games and toys are pulled out of the closets too and checked for the above criteria!
Day 25: Toys & games in one child’s room.
Day 26: Toys & games in another child’s room. If you have more than two children, you may want to spread your time amongst their rooms evenly over this week.
Day 27: Toys & games in your room. You know they end up there – those toys the kids just have to “share” with you (and you’re thinking, “What the hell am I going to do with a Bakugan ball??), or the toys that get hidden under your bed after they’ve been used to bludgeon a sibling one time too many. You know you have them.
Day 28: Take all those old toys & games and just take them to the curb or the dumpster. If it’s something that really is in good condition, but just isn’t appropriate for the family, get it out of your house and to your choice of donation sites NOW. Don’t let it sit around waiting to be discovered by your children or partner who’ve forgotten how “awesome” this thing is, and will likely forget again within a week. This is where the decluttering process traps us.
Day 29: Happy Trash Day! Last one for this challenge, too! Kind of sad, isn’t it?
Day 30: Pick one thing – ANY thing – that has just been sitting in the back of your mind over these last 30 days as something to toss, and do it. Throw it out. No more excuses!