5 Fast Challenges to Help You Conquer Clutter

Updated: Jan 27, 2019


{Quickly Clear Away the Clutter}

Clutter sneaks into our homes under many guises, but the most insidious form of clutter is the "just in case" category of items that are kept around with the best of intentions and the worst results. It can be so difficult to let go of things which are in perfectly good condition and simultaneously fall into the category of being potentially useful. These are the items which choke our junk drawers, lurk inside cupboards, and gather dust bunnies under the bed. It's the spare charging cords, left over materials from projects, and items which you might just one day use. Get rid of excess back-ups, "just in case" items, and duplicates by following these easy to remember guidelines and challenges. 


The 20/20 Challenge

This rule is easy to remember. If you have anything that you’re storing because of the potential that you might use it, then use the 20/20 guide to determine if it’s really worth it. If you know you can replace something for less than $20 in under 20 minutes then just let it go. These are the items that are truly clogging up your living space. Make room for the items you use and love using this simple guide. (Original Challenge by The Minimalists)


The Box Challenge

If you’re having a difficult time making a decision about whether or not you need certain items (such as unread books, fast fashion pieces, and “just in case” items) this idea is for you! Organize the items of uncertainty into boxes clearly labeled as "keep or toss?" and stow them away in a spot you don’t typically access. Set a reminder in your paper and/or digital calendar to pull out the box in a certain amount of time. This could be anywhere from 2 weeks, 6 months, or 1 year depending on what works for you. If during the set time frame you completely forgot what was in the box or never needed to pull out these items, then it is a strong indicator that you don’t need or use those things. Time to let them go! 


The Duplicates Challenge

There are definitely instances in which storing duplicates may be super practical such as bulk consumable items like toothpaste and toilet paper. But let’s face it, there are plenty of unintentional, space wasting dupes that collect around your home. Tackle areas in which these are frequently found such as junk drawers, tool kits, kitchens, and bathrooms. Sort by category and not by room so that you can see how much you have. Do you have 2 bathrooms but 3 toilet plungers? Let the extra one go. In my case, I had so many duplicate tools that I was able to separate and organize them into 2 tool kits. Now I have a set of my best tools that are easy to access, and a loaner set on hand. Good things can come from even the smallest of decluttering challenges. 


The Charity Challenge

One of the things that can be challenging about letting go of perfectly fine items is the feelings of guilt, wastefulness, or worry that can come hand in hand. To combat this, set up a charity box for items that you are decluttering. Turn your mind towards the community around you. Do you have anything you don't use that is in good or great condition? Donate it! The item you are getting rid of could serve a purpose for someone else instead of sitting in a box wasting space in your home. Set a goal for how many bags or bins you would like to fill with good items that could be donated to charity or thrift shops. 


The 20 Questions Challenge

If you are facing uncertainty about letting go of stuff, quiz yourself or a friend with these 20 questions that will help you evaluate your belongings. Write down a list of questions to ask about each item that will help you to focus on identifying the purpose, use, and value (or lack thereof) for holding onto said belongings. Then have the list on hand and in plain sight for reference during your decluttering. I like to have these 20 questions on hand, because I feel that it fully encompasses the range of items I have. Alternatively, you can make a list that works best for you.


The 20 Question I Use:

  1. When was the last time I used this?

  2. How likely am I to use this in the next ____________ (relevant time period)?

  3. Can I easily and affordably replace this using the 20/20 guide? 

  4. Am I holding on to this for the wrong reasons? (I.E. guilt, obligation, habit)

  5. Can this item be re-purposed?

  6. Can this be recycled? 

  7. Could this make someone else happy? (I.E. re-gift or donation)

  8. Can this be re-sold?

  9. Do I enjoy/like/love this? 

  10. Do I need or use this? 

  11. Did I even know or remember that I had this? 

  12. Is this a duplicate item? 

  13. Is this item more trouble than it’s worth?

  14. Can this item be returned? (I.E. recent impulse buys) 

  15. Is this a fast-fashion or trend item? 

  16. Is this worn out/missing pieces? 

  17. Is it broken/expired? 

  18. Why do I have this? 

  19. Do I associate bad feelings/memories with this? 

  20. Where did it come from? 

Visit the freebies page for a free download of the 20 questions game. 

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