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?
Join the January Challenge: Declutter!
January 1st, 2010 at 10:22 pm