Know all about how to sustainably declutter from my previous post? Awesome, now let’s go! This challenge is great regardless how messy your space is, it’s really up to you how far you want to go with your decluttering right now. Remember: any progress you make is better than it was before!
This decluttering method is one that I have used many times and it can be done over 7 days straight (one are per day) depending on the size of your space and clutter. 🙂 It can also be divided up over a few weeks/weekends if you prefer. The key thing is to tackle one area at a time to sort through and remove the things you don’t want to keep, before you start with the next area. Yes, of course it’s OK to still be selling/donating some things from the first area as you start with the second one, but a key part of the momentum with this challenge is to work in sections.
What I’ve found works best for me is to to start with a fairly ‘easy’ room/area (like the bathroom) to gain some positive momentum. I would then recommend to move onto a bigger area where you can really see the difference (like the kitchen) even if there are a fair few areas to cover within the kitchen itself (cabinets, fridge, freezer and pantry).
You can see the full 7 step challenge below! This method and the room/areas it covers reflects how my home is organised, but if you want to change some of the categories to better suit your home, feel free to change it up.
- Day 1: Bathroom. Hair dryers/straighteners/curlers/shavers, makeup, towels, bathroom products, haircare products, any cleaning supplies you keep here, brushes/combs, skincare.
- Day 2: Kitchen. Pantry, kitchenware, bulk food storage (even if you keep this elsewhere in the house) appliances, fridge, freezer (including fridges/freezers kept outside of the kitchen), junk/stuff drawer, cutlery, utensils, cleaning supplies.
- Day 3: Wardrobe. All your clothes including shoes, jackets, accessories, belts, bags, seasonal clothing.
- Day 4: Bedroom(s). Bedside table(s), book shelves, junk/stuff drawer, photos/art on wall, candles, plants, under bed storage, dressers that don’t hold clothes.
- Day 5: Study/desk area. Important papers, sentimental items/papers/cards, pens, notepads, receipts, cables, electronics, batteries, decor.
- Day 6: Living room. Books, furniture, dvd’s, games, candles, records, tech gadgets, magazines, photos/art on wall, decor, cushions and blankets.
- Day 7: Storage or garage. Camping gear, tools, sporting equipment, extra blankets and pillows, linen closet/storage, broom closet/laundry/cleaning supplies, paint, seasonal decor.
- Optional Day 8: Kids room/playroom. Clothes, toys, art & craft supplies, games, furniture.
How do I know what to get rid of? Here are some simple reminders that always helps me:
- Some decluttering techniques will talk about things like “Does this item spark joy?” or “Do I love this item?“. Those questions sometimes works for me (especially with clothes), but more often I ask myself “Is this useful/practical?“. I don’t know about you, but my sandwich toaster/rain coat/ fruit bowl does not spark joy for me. They are pretty useful on a regular basis in my life though.
- When was the last time I used this? A key question to ask, and generally speaking I get rid of anything I have not used for more than 12 months. That way I’ve gone through a whole year and all seasons before I decide to get rid of something.
- Am I holding onto this because it was expensive? We all make shopping mistakes in our past, or get gifted expensive items that we feel the need to hold onto because they were expensive. Sell it or donate it and let it go. It’s not worth holding onto things that you don’t enjoy or find useful.
- What about sentimental items? I’ll cover this in a future video, but for the purpose of getting on with your decluttering challenge I would recommend you to group all your sentimental items together and go through them separately outside of this challenge. If you want to get started in this round, you may be able to scan/take photos of some of the items and then let them go.
Decluttering is a powerful life tool in so many ways. It reminds you of what you have and what you might need to upgrade. It confronts you with your past and current shopping habits. It helps you pass things onto someone else that needs it more than you. The physical transformation when you declutter will give you lots of mental health benefits as well. When things have a ‘home’ you don’t waste time finding things. You’ll also find that you argue with/nag your loved ones less when there is little mess to deal with.
Also remember that decluttering is not at all about perfection or ‘getting it right’. It’s about welcoming simplicity on your life and making space for more engaging things than wading through the clutter to find things. It’s a gradual process and I tend to come back to each area/room every 3-6 months and go through it again. Because no matter how hard we try, things will find their way into our home and we need to learn to consciously decide what we want to keep and not.