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Join the January Challenge: Declutter!

January 1st, 2010 at 10:22 pm



The depths of winter are always a good time to turn our thoughts inward and focus on "cleaning house."

No, I'm not talking about the dusting or vacuuming. I'm referring to the rejuvenating effect of decluttering one's living space. How many of us can think of closets, desk drawers, basements, attics or other stashes full of who-knows-what that's been accumulating, untouched, for years? You may disagree, but I'm of the mind that living with clutter tends to clutter the mind as well. I also believe that simplifying one's daily existence can often lift an enormous weight from one's shoulders.

Over the years, as I've read your blogs, many of you have expressed a desire to shed the burdens and responsibilities that so much excess "stuff" creates, whether it's a loss of time spent in maintaining that stuff, the loss of money spent in buying that stuff or the loss of space in storing that stuff.

And so, borrowing from an idea suggested by wowitsawonderfullife, I urge you to join me in the first month-long challenge of the New Year by committing to "purge" 30 items in your home during the month of January, whether it's unwanted books, old clothing, furniture, other household items or even old paperwork you've held onto for way too long.

The goal of this challenge is twofold: 1. Declutter your home, and 2. Make some money.

Ideally, you'll do both, but depending on the way you dispose of your unwanted items, you may only be able to accomplish one of these goals. No matter! Progress is progress!

Here's how you'll earn points:

3 Points: Sale of item on Craig's List, eBay or elsewhere.
Since we're all trying to save money, it makes sense to award the most points to those who can declutter their lives and recoup some money at the same time.

1.5 Points: Bartering the item.
Bartering for what you need rather than buying something new is easy on the wallet and easy on the Earth. However, while you're replacing an unused or unwanted item with an item you can use, you're not actually reducing your clutter, so for purposes of this Challenge, you'll only earn 1.5 points for a barter.

1.5 Points: Recycling the item.
More and more items can be recycled these days, from old sneakers to electronics.

1.5 Points: Donation.
If you can find a charitable group, family member, friend or coworker who can use your item, you'll earn 1.5 points.

1 Point: Trashing the item.
Your trash can should be a last resort, but I believe you're still making progress by decluttering, as long as you don't plan on replacing what you've thrown out.

A 3-point bonus will be awarded to those who hit the target of 30 items purged by January 31.

Now, 30 items may seem like a lot, but if, for example, you have a stack of books, count them individually and you could be halfway toward meeting the monthly challenge. If you have trouble finding items to purge and it's getting near month's end, pull out a drawer you've been meaning to clean out anyway and start there.

If I'm on my game, I'll post each week asking for progress reports and consolidate them all on January 31. All you need to do is keep a numbered list of how you've lightened your load in 30 ways.

Are you in?

21 Responses to “Join the January Challenge: Declutter!”

  1. HouseHopeful Says:

    I am completely in! I did a bunch of purging in November. But there's always room to find more stuff!

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    We're in! NT was planning on taking a couple bags of clothes to the church charity shop, so we'll count those up and we might have already hit the goal. We'll keep looking for stuff to purge, though. Smile

  3. pharaohsmom Says:

    Count me in, too.

  4. monkeymama Says:

    I doubt I will purge 30 things in January - but I make it a habit to always purge unnecessary items. I suppose this is a challenge to jumpstart such a habit!

    I have a coat sitting out to donate, and a hat and a couple of pairs of gloves given to me for christmas - ill-fitting and unnecessary. Charity comes to our door every couple of weeks... I also have one gift to return - tomorrow!

    The kids are also trained extremely well - though my dh should certainly stand to get rid of 30 items. I should bug him about that! Big Grin

  5. boomeyers Says:

    I'm in. Don't know how much will go, some I save for our garage sale in April. Will keep you posted!

  6. frugaltexan Says:

    I'm in! Not sure I'll be able to find 30 items ... But will be good to try. Smile

  7. debtfreeme Says:

    i'm in!

  8. homebody Says:

    Crap I purged way more than 30 items in the last month preparing for YD's visit. I can probably find 30 more!

    I donated everything. Actually I still have a small box sitting in my office to drop off. I can start with that!

  9. Ima saver Says:

    i'm in too! I will start today!

  10. princessperky Says:

    I want to join, I hope I can convince my husband to join to, I might get him psyched about being able to earn more points by selling, something my junk is not likely to do.

  11. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    I'm in and so is my 13 year old. He's agreed to sell his unused Dangerous Book for Boys game. We're on our way!

  12. beawealthywarrior Says:

    I would love to join but I will be at somewhat a disadvantage becuase I head back to Iraq on 7 Jan. Oh well I guess that means I will have to get those donations done within a couple of days. I may not have the most points by the time all of this is said and done but I will have fewer items around the house.

  13. DeniseNTexas Says:

    I'm in! Not sure about the man person though he's mentioned perhaps selling some music equipment he has. We'll see about him but I'm definitely on board. I did Freecycle a few things already this month. Is that considered donating or recycling? lol

  14. jj76 Says:

    I am in. Although, I could prolly triple that number! lol...
    I will get started tomorrow!

  15. Analise Says:

    I'm in and will start by getting rid of some old books today.

  16. creditcardfree Says:

    I'm in. I found 79 cd's that need to be tossed in addition to 26 others that can be sold or donated! I've got to get busy getting these out of the house.

  17. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    Go team! I will cheer only because already am a fanatical declutterer and donate monthly to the thrift and other charities.

    To inspire the team, here's some of what happened in Dec:

    1. Donate color TV to Boys & Girls club
    2. Donate 3 vhs boxes with dozens of movies to B&G club
    3. Freecycle another color TV
    4. Give away 30 gallon aquarium, supplies, even fish!
    5. Swapped 4 or 5 paperback books on Paperbackswap.com
    6. Filled big shoebox with scrapbook supplies for foster child wish list
    7. Filled big shoebox with bead and jewelry supplies for foster child wish list
    8. Took 1 large extra blanket to Humane Society

    I'll check in and add ideas if anyone needs, Nina

  18. my english castle Says:

    Great Challenge!
    I'm in and counting the three books I sold this week.
    9 points there.

    Can I count my husband's (gasp) 10-year-old spices he brought from the UK if I recycle the jars????
    I'm starting with two so he won't notice! (3 more points!)

  19. fern Says:

    My English Castle, if you have a compost pile you could recycle the herbs, too!

  20. my english castle Says:

    I'm not sure about recycling 10-year-old tumeric.
    It might be toxic waste! But it's a good idea, and probably do-able with some of them! Now if I could just find the compost pile under all this snow.

  21. crazyliblady Says:

    I joined the Challenge yesterday and didn't even realize it until today. I had 2 pairs of jeans in my truck and some plastic bags and was trying to get to the Goodwill to donate them. I tried to take them during the holidays but Goodwill was closed until January 4th. I took them to the Salvation Army yesterday. Later, I found another pair of jeans, more plastic bags, and 2 shirts. That's something to take care of on Saturday by getting them to the Goodwill or some place. There's nothing really wrong with the clothes. We just don't want them anymore and didn't want to throw them away when there are people who don't have clothes. I must spend some time next Saturday and Sunday looking for more stuff to get rid of. This is fun.

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