Why Declutter Challenges Work

You may have noticed a few “Declutter Challenges” taking place and wondering why in the world people do them or if they work. I am here to tell you that, yes, they do work and why. Of course every person is motivated by different by different outcomes/ goals/ and strategies but this one is especially effective for clearing clutter.

A few years ago, I participated in my own “declutter challenge” called The Mins Game 30 Day Challenge that I learned about from The Minimalists. Their challenge suggested that on each day of the month, get rid of that date’s number of items. For example day 1, get rid of one item, day 15 get rid of 15 items, day 30 get rid of 30 items. This came to a grand total of 465 items which made a huge dent in my closets, pantry, garage, and drawers. I blogged about it (here, here, and here are some links and you can read all 30 for fun!) which certainly put my feet to the fire in terms of accountability. If you know people are watching you, your motivation to keep going certainly stays high!

You may have seen some declutter challenges going on now during Lent called 40 Days, 40 Bags where you fill bags of stuff to get rid of for each day of Lent. There is even a step by step guide that tells you specific areas of your home to focus on each day. Some of my favorite bloggers and are doing it, too, so it’s fun to see others participate. You can search #40bags40days to see who’s up for the challenge.

Do why do these challenges work? What makes them special? Declutter challenges work because they give you:

  1. A measurable goal
  2. A specific time frame
  3. Most important, a mindset shift

Instead of looking for more storage or room to put things your brain is 100% on getting rid of stuff. You’re saying, “What in here is trash/ donate-able/ not being used/ extra.” You want to find things to get rid of so you can meet your challenge for the day. For me, all of those Amazon boxes I was keeping “just in case” were immediately tossed in the recycle bin because they added up to whatever number I was on. Ditto for the toys that the kids no longer played with (and didn’t know existed in that cabinet in the garage anyway), mate-less socks, extra hangers from the dry cleaners, plus a full set of china I never used (this went to my sister in law so it is well loved now).

When you shift your mindset and your focus is on giving away instead of keeping, suddenly everything is fair game for donation or trash in your house. You really start to question whether or not you really need something. You have a specific goal which is to get rid of things, either to fill a bag or fill a quota.

Even if it’s for a shorter time, you are still going to be more effective than if the goal were just a generic “declutter the house.” What does that really mean anyway? Nothing. When you’ve got a time limit the goal doesn’t seem as difficult. I only have to fill this bag today or find this many items. When you’ve decided to focus on getting rid of as much as possible, it’s a lot easier.

A quick definition of Declutter, according to Neatsmart: decluttering means getting stuff that you no longer need out of your home. That could be taking out trash or getting rid of boxes and paper that can be recycled. It can mean donating items to charity or giving things you no longer use away to a friend. It could be selling items via consignment or in an online store. You’re just removing it from your premises because it no longer serves you or brings you joy.

Have you done a declutter challenge? Do you want to? Leave a note in the comments or send me an email and I’m happy to help you with your own declutter challenge. Decluttering is pretty much my jam so I’d love to help answer any questions you have. 🙂

Happy organizing!


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