Decluttering Challenge

So I did this thing today. It was both a very small thing and a very big thing.

It all started the other day I saw a post from Becoming Minimalist about the Anti-Procrastination Decluttering Challenge: 10 rooms, 10 minutes and 100 things. I’m definitely trying to shift my mindset to be more simplistic/minimalistic. So the idea of the challenge piqued my interest. I’m not going to lie though, I had to read it over a few times. Did they REALLY mean 10 minutes total? Maybe it was 10 minutes per room… Nope, 10 minutes total.

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I intend in the (very near) future to do Project 333, if you don’t know what that is you can learn more here. Why did I just throw that out there? I mention it because when I was looking into doing this Anti-Procrastination Decluttering Challenge I happened to notice that it had a link to Project 333! Which was super exciting for two reasons. One, it reminded me that I wanted to do a Project 333 and two because the only thing better than one amazing thing is two amazing things! I just found out there is a new Project 333 book! I’m a huge nerd and LOVE reading so you can understand my excitement I’m sure.

As I prepared (mentally) for attempting this decluttering challenge, Bacon thought it best that she supervised. She did this in her own Bacon style but pretty much getting underfoot and trampling over all my piles. But I mean, look at that face! She sat there patiently as I made my lists in my bullet journal.

Bacon supervising

My plan of attack

  1. My purse
  2. Bathroom (Main floor)
  3. Basement
  4. Bathroom (Upstairs)
  5. Kitchen
  6. Dining room
  7. Laundry room
  8. Sewing room
  9. Bedroom
  10. Upstairs hallway

That was the plan, 60 seconds per space. I had hoped that I would be able to get through some spaces quicker, leaving me extra time in other spaces. I started as I had intended with my purse as I figured it would be the easiest to get through. It’s a big purse, I made it myself (one of my other side hustles is The Honey Bagger) so it has a lot of room to acquire a multitude of crap. My plan was to dump it out, grab 10 things and move onto the next room before using up my whole 60 seconds.

Bullet journal

I blinked and I had used up 2 minutes!!!! A whopping 20% of my time was so I found myself having to reprioritize my whole approach. I decided to attack the spaces that I felt I had the best chance of getting through in the time I had left. I should point out that I did get quite a haul out of my purse, see for yourself.

Cleaning out my purse

My next stop was the upstairs bathroom, I figured this was an easy place to grab an easy ten things. I headed straight to the medicine cabinet and my overnight bag as I knew (perhaps you do too) that there was a gold mine in there that should have been cleaned out a long time ago.

Cleaning out the bathroom

Moving onto the bedroom I was quick and mentally knew what I was going after. More than any room I had a plan for this one and it showed in how quick I made it through my 10 items. Why I had two old DVD players sitting in a corner of the room for over 2 years I have no idea. I had old CDs as well, so those had to go, which for some reason was hard even though I have Spotify!

Cleaning out the bedroom

My saddest haul was in the upstairs hallway. The size of the pile does not imply there isn’t a load more work for me to do in the hallway. It is more that there was nothing obvious that could go (other than the sad little pile), that space requires some hard decisions that require more than 1 minute to make.

Cleaning the hallway

The kitchen was EASY…I could have probably got the whole hundred items just in that one room. Maybe all of it just from that one bottom drawer…maybe you have one too? Or the one cupboard that you throw things in and try and close the door real quick? Or the dreaded junk drawer! We did have one of those until last weekend when The Hubby went through and purged most of it. So in my one minute in the kitchen, I tackled the dreaded bottom drawer.

Cleaning out the kitchen

The dining room was another room that I could have gotten way more than ten items. When I was making my list of what I took out of the room it was the one place that I really felt I wasted money. There were things still in the packages! So this was also a room where I felt I could maybe make some money back on the things I wanted to get rid of. So I will be posting them on Bidding Wars this weekend to see if I can get a few dollars to put towards my debt. Even if I get $10, that’s $10 of debt I can get rid of, literally every dollar matters.

Cleaning out the dining room

I could have looked at this whole experience as a failure as I didn’t get through my 10 spaces. But honestly, I think that is the point! Why? Because it left me wanting to do MORE!!! Which is perfect as I have set a goal that 2020 is all about getting out of debt and simplifying my life. So I am challenging myself to a bit bigger challenge and you can do it too! I am keeping to the 10 spaces (but will replace my purse with the front hallway) and moving from 10 minutes total to 6 minutes per space.

Bullet journal

There were four spaces that I didn’t get to do as I ran out of time. They were the basement, the laundry room, my sewing room, and the main floor bathroom. They probably ended up last as I know they all need a lot of work. I did just do a huge clean out of the main floor bathroom as it turned into the “Not a” washroom many years ago. I am hoping to do a whole “farmhouse” bathroom renovation on it inspired by the retro ‘Wash Room’ sign I found years ago.

Washroom sign

Six minutes still isn’t a huge commitment in any one space but it does allow a bit more wiggle room in really delving into the space you have chosen. As I was flying through each space in the Anti-Procrastination Decluttering Challenge I noticed loads of things or other areas in the space I thought I could tackle. But when you really only have 1 minute per space you need to be laser-focused. So I decided to extend the time per space for my version of the Decluttering Challenge.

I found it helpful/encouraging to write down all the things I took from each space. I did this after the fact as a way to take stock of all the things that I had brought into each space and ultimately my life that I didn’t even feel needed to be there. It really drove home something I read on the Becoming Minimalist Facebook feed. I was this statement…

All that clutter used to be money.

Talk about an impactful statement, especially in a year where I am trying to get out of debt while supporting three people. It’s a lot, so every little bit counts. I am very proud that I have been able to pay off just over $19,000 in debt on my own in the last 14 months. Just writing that makes me smile. I also plan to have my house paid off in the next 5 years. So as you can see I have set some big goals for myself. This means I have to be very aware of anything and everything that I spend my money on or bring into my home. I even extended this thought process to my refrigerator. Curious? Check out my post on How to simplify your life and save money with an “empty” fridge.

While I can’t get back the money I spent on the things I am getting rid of (for the most part). I can at least get it out of my space so that it isn’t cluttering my life. I really do find I am most calm when everything is neat and tidy, which is much easier when there is less to clean!

So that said I am jumping head first into my own increased version of a Decluttering Challenge. You still need to choose 10 spaces but instead of 1 minute per space, we are going to allocate 6 minutes per space. This means you are still only taking an hour of your time, but you can make some deeper decisions about what to keep and what to trash/donate/sell. So if you want to give it a try you can get a copy of my 1 Hour Decluttering Challenge Worksheet just click here.

1 Hour Decluttering Challenge

Happy cleaning!

1 Comment

  • Vanessa l Existence as I Know it
    January 29, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    Decluttering was one of the most difficult things to me because I was too attached to material things. However, as you say, there is a feeling of freedom and simplicity that comes after you let go of certain things. Thank you for sharing!


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