Spring Declutter Challenge

Spring has been thought of as a time to regroup, organize, clean and prepare for an enjoyable summer for quite some time now, but during this pandemic, not only do most of us have more free time, most of us are reflecting on a life that we’ve overlooked for awhile. The simple habits, like cooking a meal for family or tidying up every day instead of letting clutter build up. Most of us never had this amount of time to really make our homes feel more calming and become more functioning. Whether because laws are restricting us to a certain life now or our jobs and lives have been affected by this pandemic, most of our lives are slower now. We came up with this challenge well before any of us knew our lives would be like this in April, but now all three of us have the time to really focus on our homes and creating better energy from them.

This post isn’t about how to best clean baseboards or clean your carpet, but more about taking small household items you see every day but don’t use and decide whether or not to keep them. When a drawer is too full to easily close, when your makeup bag is too full to zip, when your pantry is overflowing with half-eaten snacks so you can’t find what you’re looking for. That’s what we plan on fixing this month. We are challenging ourselves to get rid of 30 items in our homes in April. We can either consume the products (like beauty items and pantry staples) or get rid of the items, by either donating, recycling, or trashing. And we are giving ourselves one item each that’s broken but if we fix it, we can keep it. Even if you’re already pretty good at keeping an uncluttered house, we think it’ll be still easy to find 30 items to get rid of. All three of us grew up with parents and grandparents who hoarded to some capacity, and all three of us do a good job of detaching ourselves from things that we don’t need. But even with us, we found plenty of things to discard or consume for the month of April.

If 30 items still seems like a lot, we are breaking them down to categories to make this challenge less overwhelming. You can obviously add or take off categories depending on your lifestyle, but here’s what we came up with:

  • Clothes and accessories, including winter gear, old cheap jewelry, and bags
  • Beauty and health (from half-used shampoo, to expired medicine, to eyeshadow, to broken brushes)
  • Pantry (food you bought on a whim but haven’t felt like using yet. Or you used once. Shelf stable items that you didn’t realize you had for so long and are expired)
  • Hobbies (old DVDs, workout equipment, art supplies)
  • Office (pens that don’t work, charger for a phone you don’t have anymore, paper clutter)
  • Linens (old bedding, sheets, and towels)
  • Decorations (picture frames, candle holders)
  • Books (old school books, books you’ve had for a long time and don’t want to keep)

Now just set a goal of how many of each category you think you can purge. I have more clothes than I do makeup, and I have a really small pantry (closet that has a shelf for dry goods), so I don’t have much there. So here’s what I (Taryn) plan on getting rid of:

  • 15 articles of clothing and accessories, including junk jewelry
  • 5 beauty and health items. Will mostly try to consume these instead of discarding
  • 3 pantry items that I’ve had for too long
  • 3 hobby items, like a couple DVDs and maybe a book
  • 2 linens, probably old towels
  • 2 office items. I have a pen and notepad problem that I should address this month

Alexys is more into health and beauty products and also uses more spices in her dishes than the rest of us, so her plan is:

  • 10 items of clothing 
  • 10 makeup products 
  • 5 old books 
  • Other old skincare and beauty products 
  • Spice cabinet (throwing away old, expired spices, condensing certain spices into fewer containers, and cleaning out empty jars to either save and reuse or recycle)

And Bethany is the most mature, in that she has a functioning house (no roommates, not an apartment), so she has more stuff around the house to get rid of, so her plan is:

  • 10 old t-shirts and shoes
  • 5 old jewelry
  • 5 cooking utensils and baking dishes
  • 5 blankets 
  • Medicine cabinet

Now that we have an idea of what we want to do, we’ll pick a couple days each week to gather what we have and see what we can get rid of. I almost never wear nail polish but I probably have ten different colors and most are too old to work anymore. I’ll be pulling out my spring clothes and storing winter wear. If when I take a cold weather item out of my closet and haven’t worn it this past season, I’ll ask myself why and consider getting rid of it. If when I open my box of spring clothes and I don’t get excited about a particular piece, I’ll ask myself why I’m still holding on to it then. I’m tall and don’t try on clothes often enough, so I have tons of dresses that have great patterns and would look wonderful on someone who’s 5’3″, but they’re way too short on me. I tell myself I can wear them with tights in the cooler months, but I almost never do that. I already have a bottle of conditioner and moisturizer in mind to use up this month. And I have a few pieces of cheap jewelry that have turned colors. They once looked nice and expensive, but now it’s obvious that I bought them for $10 and I just need to trash them.

So that’s it. 30 items in 30 days to discard, mend, consume, donate, or recycle. We hope you take the time to do this challenge with us. Let us know what other categories and items you come up with!

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