Are you ready to declutter your spaces? You'll be surprised by how much this process will also declutter your mind. I've got a 30 day decluttering challenge with a free printable calendar to guide you.
Last January, I committed to doing a No Spend Challenge. I vowed to cut my spending drastically and I knew I'd have a lot of "free time" on my hands. So, I also decided to do a 30 day decluttering challenge.
I spent the entire month decluttering my home and committed to doing a little bit each and every day for 30 days. I printed out a calendar and kept track of which areas I'd completed and counted the number of garbage bags that left my home. By the end of the month, I'd tossed or donated almost 50 bags worth of stuff. It was liberating!
On top of having a clean home, free of excess clutter, I also managed to save a few thousand dollars. I cut my spending and sold some things that were just taking up space around my home.
Why Do a 30 Day Decluttering Challenge?
Few people have the time or energy to do a full house cleanout all at once. This challenge will help you tackle small or medium-sized tasks on a daily basis. I've got 30 days' worth of tasks for you to complete at your own pace. I specifically avoided assigning each task a specific day (an example would be day one: master closet). I don't know your schedule and don't know how big of a project your master closet would be. So, each day pick a task that you have time for that day and then cross it off as you go.
What exactly is clutter?
The act of decluttering can be tricky, especially if you're an over-buyer, hate to get rid of "perfectly good" things, or are very sentimental. Believe me, I understand. I have a tendency to want to hold onto things. When I moved into my first home my parents brought me all of my childhood belongings. I had completely packed trunks and bins of artwork, photos, books, friends' notes passed between classes, ticket stubs, and other items I hadn't thought about or seen in decades. However, my mindset shifted once I realized that these things were simply taking up space and causing me to live a cluttered life.
Clutter can be anything really. This means trash, recycling, paperwork that needs to be filed, knick-knacks, photos, books, cleaning products, food, antiques, artwork, and so on. Therefore, anything that takes up too much space and is disorganized can be considered clutter.
My life and mind feel more chaotic when I'm surrounded by clutter. Because I can't find things easily and I lose things more often. Plus, sifting through the nonsense to find necessary items takes up too much of my time. I'm not a minimalist by any means, but I do keep a neat and tidy home by decluttering often.
What do you need for this decluttering challenge?
The only thing you need for sure is garbage bags. I like to use heavy-duty contractor bags, but kitchen bags work well too. Whether you're planning to throw things away or donate them to charity, bags work fine.
As you're preparing for this challenge, assess the need for organization tools that you may need. For example, if you're organizing your pantry or cupboards, maybe you need containers or tiered vertical shelf organizers for cans or spices. In your closet, you might need new hangers. Maybe you'd like to use clear acrylic bins to organize your bathroom or refrigerator. If you're on a budget, think about using empty gift boxes or boxes from your electronics.
How Exactly Do You Declutter?
My method of decluttering will feel familiar if you've seen Get Organized with The Home Edit or Marie Kondo's Netflix series, Tidying Up,
First, completely empty the space you're trying to declutter. This allows you to see how big the space is that you're trying to fill. The rule is simple, if you don't have space for all of the things you own, then some of them will need to go.
Once the space is empty, assess what came out of the space and what should actually be there. If you're cleaning out your junk drawer, you can probably rehome quite a few things to more appropriate places.
Next, touch every single thing and decide whether to keep, toss, or donate it. Not sure where to begin? Ask yourself a few key questions:
- Did I know I owned this item?
- Have I used it in the past 6 months?
- Will I need it in the immediate future?
- Is it in good working order?
- Is it within the "use by" date? (do not keep expired food or medicine)
- Would someone else use this item more than me?
- Am I keeping this just for sentimental purposes?
- Does the item fit my current life or lifestyle?
This will get easier the more you do it. Every time I declutter the spaces in my home I find that I can let go of more and more.
Organizing your decluttered spaces
Now, it's time to clean and organize the space. First, take the time to thoroughly clean the space before putting the items back. Wipe out your fridge, vacuum the crumbs out of the kitchen drawers, and dust those shelves. Your home will thank you.
Put the items back in an organized way that makes sense. In the pantry, keep food groups together. Grains with other grains, canned vegetables near soups and stocks. Make it easy for yourself to find things. Use bins, use labels, and set yourself up for success.
30 Day Decluttering Challenge Printable
Click HERE to save the PDF version of my 30 Day Decluttering Challenge. There are two pages in the PDF. The first page is the printable above with 30 different spaces to declutter. The second page is blank with 30 spots for you to fill in. I did this for those who don't have kids or who want to customize their own challenges.
Areas of your home to declutter
As I mentioned, you can do this challenge in no particular order. Choose a task that you have time for and get to work. Cross them off as you go.
- Junk drawer - rehome anything that doesn't belong here.
- Pantry - toss expired food. Donate any food your family dislikes. Inventory the rest so you know what you need. The Pantry Check app is really helpful.
- Food storage - tackle that jumbled mess. Toss anything without a matching lid.
- Spices - check expiration dates and toss anything that's past its prime.
- Fridge - check expiration dates. Do a deep clean while you're here.
- Kitchen cabinets - toss anything cracked or chipped. Donate any cups, dishes, or small appliances that you haven't used in the past 6 months or a year.
- Kitchen drawers - clean and organize all drawers. Toss or donate anything not used frequently.
- Laundry room - take inventory of what you have and use it up before buying more.
- Linen closet - group sheet sets and towel sets together. Get rid of mismatched, stained, or threadbare linens.
- Master closet - evaluate every piece of clothing, every pair of shoes, and all accessories. Consider donating anything that you haven't worn in 6 months and anything that doesn't fit right now. A good tip is to turn your hangers backward. When you wear an article of clothing, turn the hanger around in the proper direction. Anything that remains backward in 6 months should be donated.
- Master bedroom - go through every dresser, nightstand, under the bed, and all surfaces. Rehome anything that doesn't belong here.
- Kids' bedroom - depending on how many kids you have, this might be quite the task. Give yourself extra days here if necessary. Focus on cleaning bedding, dressers, and any extra storage spaces.
- Kids' closet - again, this might take a while if you've got multiple children. Sort and organize all clothing. Donate any clothing that doesn't fit or that you won't be able to hand down to other children. Discard stained items. Store away seasonal clothing in Space Bags or storage bins.
- Guest bedroom - clean out the closet, under the bed, all nightstands, and dressers.
- Master bath - go through all drawers and closets. Discard expired items and those you haven't used in several months. Donate any products you haven't used and won't use in months to come.
- Medicine - discard expired medicine.
- Kids' bath - clean all surfaces, drawers, cabinets, and closets. Discard any used or empty bottles, tubes, etc. Kids have a tendency to collect things so rehome anything that doesn't belong.
- Entryway or mud room - Rehome any items that don't belong.
- Living room - go through each drawer and every surface. Get rid of anything that doesn't fit your current aesthetic or lifestyle. Downsize any excessive throw blankets and knick-knacks or decor.
- Home office - clean out and organize your desk. Clean all surfaces. Stack papers that need to be filed.
- Paperwork - discard any old bills or statements. File away (think about investing in a filing cabinet or accordion file) any papers, certificates, warranties, etc. Group together any very important paperwork like birth certificates, marriage certificates, social security cards, passports, and the like in a fire-proof box or safe.
- Books - only keep books that you will read again or haven't read but plan to. Donate books that no longer interest you. Don't forget that there are several free programs through local libraries that will give you access to free e-books or audiobooks. My library uses Hoopla and it's been amazing at cutting down on my costs and clutter.
- Kids' toys - if you've got more toys than space, donate or sell anything that isn't a favorite. Or, consider cycling your kids' toys. Put half of the toys away in storage bins and put them out of site (in an attic, basement, or storage closet). In 3-6 months swap them out.
- Garage - depending on the size of your garage and clutter, this could be time-consuming. Discard worn-out items, those with missing parts, or that are broken. Donate equipment, toys, or items not used in the past year.
- Attic - discard anything that is broken, too old to be used, or soiled. Donate anything that isn't serving your current lifestyle.
Other things to declutter
- Computer files - consider backing up any important files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Delete anything that is taking up space like large PDFs.
- Email - delete old emails! Delete any marketing emails or expired offers or coupons. Create folders for better organization.
- Phone photos - delete old screenshots and duplicate photos.
- Board games - dispose of any games with missing pieces. Donate games that haven't been played in the past year.
- Cleaning supplies - discard any old or unliked cleaning supplies. Thin out your supply of rags, dusters, etc. Consider using this day to split up your garage or attic if you don't have a lot of supplies to go through.
Now, let's get going! Print off this calendar and start today! I'd love to see your progress. Tag me on social media (@vivaveltoro) to share.