I used to be really good at decluttering.
So good, in fact, that I landed myself on a minimalism podcast (Tiny Bites rocks!).
But things came to screeching halt at the end of last year, and I’ve been struggling to embrace decluttering like I once did.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what happened. In fact, I’d say it’s impossible. It was a confluence of so many things. The everyday chaos of life. Taking on a little to much when it comes to side hustling. Digging out from the most difficult school year I can remember.
I said enough was enough, and I just let the clutter stay.
It’s not that I haven’t tried to regain my momentum. There have been enough starts and stops to cover the dining room table. So much so that I now have to shove stacks (Organized chaos, I say!) out of the way to make space for my Chromebook to type.
I finally feel like I’m ready to do the hard work, and I’m pretty certain I’ve found a plan that will sustain my efforts. I’m not going to try to make the most money or ditch the most items.
Instead, for the next 40 days, I want to rehome things. I’m not going to look at this as an opportunity to fill as many garbage bags as possible to send to as many dumpsters and drop-off bins as I can find. I’m sure I’ll do some of that, too.
My main goal, however, is to find at least one item each day for 40 days that would serve someone else well…and get it to them.
The 40 Day Decluttering Plan
This project actually has two parts, and they will be challenging in their own ways.
Decluttering with a Purpose
So many times, I drive past collection bins or walk down aisles at my local thrift stores and wince. Terribly outdated items are one thing. But mostly what I see are people who are “donating” things that don’t belong anywhere besides the garbage.
Or maybe in J Crew’s denim recycling program.
Or other recycling programs that exist in my community.
But they don’t belong in stores or in donation piles.
I don’t intend to do this. It isn’t fair to the organizations that have to deal with the clutter, and it’s downright insulting to people who are offered the items. (Dignity should not be reserved for certain income levels.) That means that I’m not going to count things that are worn out, stained, or soiled beyond repair. I’ll declutter them, but they won’t go toward this particular project. Instead, my goal is to part with things that I don’t need that could still add value or happiness to someone else’s life.
There are so many people with so many needs, and I have so many things. It seems like it should be simpler to connect the two. Until it is simpler, I’m going to work to bridge the gap.
Throughout this project, I’m going to track two things. I’ll keep a running list of what I declutter each day. Plus, I’ll also keep track of where things end up.
I’ll check in halfway through on my blog to hold myself accountable (and if I get really motivated, I’ll do a weekly update on my Instagram page!). That means you can expect a list of what I’ve decluttering, plus updates on anything that has already been re-homed. Obviously, this smacks of self interest to keep myself going. However, I also figure it might be helpful to hear of places in my community that have needs to help you know where to look in yours (you know, if you’re playing along!).
The Starting Point
I have a small pile of notebooks next to me, and I know with certainty that I do not need them and other people do. So tomorrow, I am going to offer them to my students. If I don’t get any takers, I reached out to a local refugee group that does school supply drives in my community and nearby communities to see if they have an ongoing need or if it is seasonal.
I hope to replicate this starting point throughout our house. Find an item that’s practical or fun or somewhere in between and brainstorm a list of possibilities. Then, I will let it go!
Getting Started with the 40 Days of Decluttering Project
I don’t know that I can see this through. But I am excited to try. In fact, it’s the most excited I’ve been about decluttering in a long time. It’s nice to think about decluttering as having an impact beyond our four walls.
Here goes nothing!
So Tell Me…How’s the clutter in your life? Do you want to try this challenge with me?