A 30 Day Decluttering Challenge with Calendar and How Decluttering Changed My Life ~ Trendy Mom Reviews
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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A 30 Day Decluttering Challenge with Calendar and How Decluttering Changed My Life



I recently took on a 30 Day Decluttering Challenge that surprisingly helped me with anxiety and helped me to feel much happier.  I didn't realize how much this decluttering challenge would boost my spirits until I was a bit over halfway through the challenge and saw major difference.  Let me start with a quick overview of the challenge:

  • What: 30 Day Decluttering Challenge
  • Time Allocation: A minimum of 15 minutes per day for the duration of the challenge
  • How: Remove items from your home that you no longer need and consider using these methods to get rid of them:
    • Gift items to friends and family (We gave a lot of items to friends with children who are younger than our children. We emailed photos of available items on a weekly basis for people to claim what they wanted!)
    • Sell items
    • Donate items
    • Recycle or track items
  • Measure your progress so that you are able to reflect on your accomplishments:
    • Cubic footage of items removed
    • Amount of money for selling items
    • Amount of time spent on tasks
    • Keep a journal of what you completed each day
Personally, the consistency was important to me. Whether it was the minimum 15 minutes/day or a super productive 8 hours/day, consistent contributions made me feel like I was moving forward. I had days where I spent the entire day decluttering a room and removed as much as 7 cubic feet worth of items. I had other days where I only did the bare minimum of 15 minutes and didn't even declutter 1 cubic foot, i.e., I went through papers and shredded things or took items that I sold on eBay to the post office.  I kept a journal because it helped my motivation to reflect on my progress.  The daily journal contained:
  • Day (1...30)
  • Description of progress
  • Measurement of the amount of items removed in cubic feet
  • Amount of money received for items that were sold
  • Cumulative cubic feet to-date
  • Cumulative money to-date
I kept a written journal, but let me share a few graphs that show my progress.  You'll notice that there isn't really a trend to the amount of decluttering or sales each day.  While I set a goal to spend a minimum of 15 minutes/day on decluttering, I informally set a goal in my head to try to reach one cubic foot of decluttering each day.  However, I wasn't strict with the one cubic foot/day goal because I didn't know how much clutter was in our house. (It became more challenging toward the end!) As I mentioned earlier, there were days when I didn't reach the goal of one cubic foot/day because it took me a while to go through papers to figure out what to shred or scan. I also had to take items to a donation center or the post office which took time.  In the end, we decluttered 58 cubic feet. (I feel embarrassed to admit this, but at least the majority of the items went to other people who could use them and very little went to the trash. Having two children that outgrew various things accounted for a large amount of the space.) 

Here is a graph of my daily progress in terms of cubic footage.


Here is a graph of my cumulative progress in terms of cubic footage.



Another measurement of my productivity was the amount of money from items that I sold.  This was not one of my primary goals because I was much happier to give things away.  I don't enjoy selling items because I find the "people aspect" of scheduling and meeting up to be a hassle. I am also not a big eBay fan because I was once scammed on eBay and they sided with the buyer.  In any case, I did sell some items and surprised myself that the money added up quickly. Sure, I lost money if you think about how much we spent on items compared to the peanuts that we sold them for, but they were sunk costs of things that we really didn't use anymore.  For instance, my baby never liked his baby swing and it was easy to sell for half of what we paid. We paid $100 and sold it for $50.  In the end, we collected a good amount of money by selling items that were taking space without being useful to us.   (Again, I feel guilty that we had that much stuff just sitting around, but am glad that the items went to people who could use them and that we received some of our investment back from the money spent on the items.)

Here is a graph of my daily progress in terms of dollars.


Here is a graph of my cumulative progress in terms of dollars.



Now that you've seen my progress, let me share my decluttering calendar.  In general, I recommend that you do whatever makes sense for your personal situation, but for me, I thought that a calendar like this would be helpful for those days when I felt like, "I don't know what to do today..."  You will be able to skim my calendar and see if there is anything that make sense for your personal situation. You will also notice that every Wednesday was an "*EMAIL DAY." Throughout my decluttering, I took photos of items that I was getting rid of and sent weekly photos to family and friends to offer for them to take anything that I was cleaning out.  This was a fun way to keep my momentum since others enjoyed being part of my decluttering mission.



After completing a 30 Day Decluttering Challenge, I feel happier and realize that the extra "stuff" was causing me anxiety and weighing me down.  In some ways, I understand how it happened. Our lives have changed in many ways over the years. When we were first married, we had more time for recreation such as riding our bicycles together or individual projects like crafts, sports, and more.  When our children were young, they needed various things that they quickly outgrew. (That baby bathtub was truly useful for the first few months! The special infant carrier was also handy.  I don't think that I could have lived without our Baby Bjorn at the time. The list is long...)   However, where we went wrong was that we did not regularly reflect on the changes in our lives and declutter at the appropriate phases of life. We allowed clutter to build for several years.  These were the downsides of not decluttering sooner:
  • The clutter cost us space. 
  • The clutter cost us time in terms of cleaning or even when we needed to search for items that were hidden behind clutter. We even moved clutter from one house to another.  
  • The clutter cost us money as we could have sold many items for more if we sold them when they weren't as old.  
  • The clutter cost us a bit in terms of anxiety as we were surrounded by "stuff" and an ongoing thought hanging over us that we needed to declutter.   
Now that the decluttering is done, our home is cleaner and life is more efficient.  The outcome was wonderful for us.  It was a lot of work, but there were some bright spots along the way:
  • We emailed or texted photos of random items to friends and family to ask if they wanted anything.  I'm sure that they thought that I was crazy at times (like, what are you doing with so many Star Wars costumes?), but they appreciated our thoughtfulness and were kind to support us with the Decluttering Challenge.  It was fun when people wanted items.
  • We dropped off donations and appreciated that the items would probably go to good use.
  • We sold items to people who were often excited and appreciated the great deals.
  • We collected several hundred dollars that we put to good use
  • We were able to reorganize our home, including everything from entire rooms to cabinets so that things looked nicer and were easier to find
Now that the 30 Day Decluttering Challenge is over, I feel proud of my accomplishments.  It was easier to let go of "things" than I imagined. I surprisingly let go over some anxiety too.  I'd like to say that we purchase fewer things after the decluttering challenge, but really, our habits were never that excessive.  We are just better about letting go of things sooner rather than later.  For instance, once my husband finishes playing a video game, he trades it in promptly rather than letting games fill a shelf. Once soccer season is over, we donate the uniform and move on.  I've also held on to the "consistency" aspect of the challenge, but instead of decluttering for a minimum of 15 minutes/day, I spend a minimum of 15 minutes/day speed cleaning. I set a timer and clean as much as possible in 15 minutes. It's a great way to direct some of my energy!

Good luck in your decluttering endeavors. I hope that you find bright spots along the way and feel a sense of accomplishment!



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