30 Day Declutter
How To Radically Organize Your Home In Just One Month
Whether you’re into white on white aesthetics and Kondo’ing as an art form, or you’re someone who is desperately waiting for maximalism to be trendy again, one thing’s for sure: people are tired of junk. Globalized industry revolutionized not only the pace at which we could create products, but the price at which we could purchase them. Questionable ethics aside, the American dream of having more, more, more has left people with a startling realization: their homes are crowded with things they don’t want, and don’t need, and they’re no happier for it.
That’s why minimalism is having its moment: it’s refreshing if not liberating to declare that you don’t need all of the crap the world is constantly trying to sell you on. Though the real lifestyle change is going to be how we shop and what we consume, the first step to getting there is really going through your home and decluttering it. It can seem like a daunting task at first, which is why it’s best to break it up into small pieces. Here, a 30 day guide on how to do just that.
Day 1: Throw out 100 things.
Grab a trash bag and go through your house and count one hundred things to throw out. It might sound like a lot, but you’ll probably get to the end of it and realize you need two more bags.
Day 2: Sort through “extra” clothes.
Before you go through your entire closet, first work through your clothing that’s in storage, as in, anything that’s packed away for other seasons or for later use. If it’s not something you used within the last year or two, it’s safe to put it in the “donate” bin.
Day 3: Pack your “suitcase.”
Instead of trying to go through your closet by just eliminating pieces (this doesn’t work) start with what you know you love and couldn’t live without: place all of the clothing you would HAVE to bring with you if you were moving and couldn’t return to your home. Then pack up everything that’s left and put it in a box in a place where you can’t see it. You’ll return to this at the end of the month.
Day 4: Go through junk drawers.
Everyone has those miscellaneous drawers in which junk seems to accumulate at no end. Throw out anything in there that isn’t of practical use, and then organize what is.
Day 5: Sort through cleaning supplies.
Gather all of your cleaning materials and throw out anything that’s expired, old, or that you don’t use. Organize the rest of it in one area of the house where you always know to find it.
Day 6: Shred old paperwork.
Go through any piles of miscellaneous mail and paper in your home. First make sure there aren’t any important forms, bills or notices that need to be addressed. Then, carefully shred or otherwise dispose of any leftover paperwork, being mindful to not toss anything with personal information on it.
Day 7: Create a paper “system.”
Paperwork will be flowing in and out of your house at all times. Make a “home” for your mail that isn’t junk, but isn’t going to be dealt with that moment (perhaps in a place by the foyer, or in your office). Then, make a place for invitations or other reminders, like in a folder or on the fridge. Lastly, organize any other paperwork you have so that it’s easily accessible to you. Perhaps consider investing in a fireproof filing cabinet.
Day 8: Clean out toiletries.
Go through old deodorants, sprays, and random miscellaneous stuff that’s taking up space in your cabinet and don’t seem to be used. Only keep things in there that are used every day, and keep one box of “extras” for “just in case” moments that could come up.
Day 9: Clean out medications.
Dispose of anything that’s expired correctly (don’t flush it down the toilet) and then organize the rest. Make sure that you have back ups of important medicines, and specialty things in one safe place in case you need it when you are feeling under the weather.
Day 10: Sort through books.
If it’s a re-read, keep it. If you didn’t get through it and have no intention of finishing it, it means you didn’t like it all that much, and it could be of better service to someone else either in a free neighborhood library or donated to school or other organization.
Day 11: Dump out the basement.
If there are any boxes downstairs which have belongings in there that you haven’t used or even looked at in over a year, toss it. It means that the items aren’t seasonal or even a “sometimes” kind of thing, they’re just extraneous.
Day 12: Sort through the bottom kitchen cabinets.
Tackling the whole kitchen at once will be a lot, so begin from the ground up. Sort through any old pots, pans and appliances that you don’t use and don’t need, and consider donating them.
Day 13: Sort through the mid-level kitchen cabinets.
Today, go through any mismatched tupperware, plates you don’t use, or forks that have seen their expiration date and put them in the “donate” box. Remember: if it’s not something you use every day or on holidays, it’s probably not something you need.
Day 14: Sort through the pantry.
There’s inevitably a whole host of expired or rotten things lurking in your pantry cabinets. Don’t believe me? Grab a bag and start tossing things that you aren’t able to use anymore, and try to be mindful of only buying what you can realistically consume.
Day 15: Look under the beds.
Try moving the beds in your home and see what’s underneath. Likely, you’ll find a whole pile of junk you totally forgot about. Save what you need, and toss the rest.
Day 16: Prepare for “just in case.”
One of the biggest things that holds people back from decluttering is wanting to hold onto things “just in case.” Instead of hanging onto random clutter you wouldn’t be able to find in an emergency regardless, work on creating an emergency medicine bin, a storage container for next season’s clothes, and so on.
Day 17: Remove extraneous home decor.
You don’t have to wipe your walls clean of every accessory or piece of artwork… instead, look around and remove anything that doesn’t actively bring you a positive or sentimental feeling every day.
Day 18: Organize your underwear drawer.
Make things easy to access, and get rid of anything old, or that you’d be embarrassed to show someone.
Day 19: Get in the garage.
Your garage is one of those places where things can easily and quickly build up if you’re not careful. Bring out some trash bags and get rid of the junk you’ve never used and don’t plan to.
Day 20: Organize your tools.
If you keep power tools and other accessories in the house, put them all in one place and organize them in an efficient manner, so you’ll be able to access them when you really need to.
Day 21: Rethink sentimental items.
If you’re someone who hangs onto every card, gift and note they’ve ever received, rethink what “sentimental” really means to you. You definitely don’t have to keep everything you’ve ever been given. Sort things into a tier, and keep anything that you really love or has a lot of meaning.
Day 22: Organize home office supplies.
Likely, you need a host of envelopes, stamps, staplers and pens to keep your household running. Organize those items into easily accessible trays and get rid of anything you don’t need.
Day 23: Set up “homes” for things that always get messy.
Do your shoes always end up in an unflattering pile by the front door? Do you always seem to have mail hanging around the house with no place to go? Purchase a small shoe shelf for the foyer, or a hanging mailbox tray where everything can be placed when you walk in.
Day 24: Clean your surfaces.
Go around your house with a spray bottle and cloth and try to clean down every surface you can find. If you discover that it’s difficult to do that because there’s so much stuff to move around, it probably indicates an issue. Clear off your surfaces to the point that you can easily wipe down your surfaces.
Day 25: Clean out the bathroom cabinets.
These tend to be holding units for random toiletries, barely used makeup and other nonsense. Pack up everything but the essentials, and set it in a bag where your other boxes are. If you can’t remember what’s in there in a month, toss it. You didn’t need it anyway.
Day 26: Organize pet supplies.
Between medications, foods, treats, toys and other accessories, pet supplies can easily take over a space. Make a special area just for your pet’s belongings, and keep them all there.
Day 27: Clean out your car.
Yes, your car counts as a space that impacts you just as much as your home does. Don’t only get rid of trash and clean the interior, also organize your compartments and stock up on any emergency supplies you should be keeping on hand.
Day 28: Toss old plants.
Greenery can make a room come alive… that is, when those plants aren’t dead. Get rid of anything that’s beyond resurrection, and replace it with some fresh stems. Set reminders to keep up with watering and sunlight.
Day 29: Toss that thing that always annoys you, but you keep justifying.
You know the one… or maybe, the few. These are the things in your house you don’t want and don’t need and don’t use, and yet somehow keep justifying keeping around. Just toss them. You’ll feel better.
Day 30: Do you remember what’s in those boxes?
If you can recall something in a box, or if you needed it within the past 30 days, take it out. It means you really want it. If not, send those boxes off to donation. When you stare at everything you’ve packed in storage, and realize that you can’t even recall what’s in them, you’ll start to completely realize just how much you’ve been wasting.
By: Brianna Wiest