Welcome to day one of the 40 Day Declutter Now! Challenge. We’re passionate about what we believe and know if you stick with the challenge, you’ll succeed at decluttering the unnecessary and unhealthy from your life. You’ll end up with more time, money, space, energy, freedom and joy for the things that matter most, ultimately, having more of all you need to abundantly serve God.
We’ll spend five days on each chapter from the book, so after 40 days, you’ll have triumphantly passed through a comprehensive decluttering journey. We urge you to really do the work. Listening to the ideas is just the beginning, but you have to put your own effort into play to reap the rewards and actually experience the life changing benefits.
Keep a pen and pad handy and take lots notes as we go. So with that being said, let’s get started.
Chapter 1 is titled Having Everything You’ve Ever Wanted by Letting Go of Everything You Never Needed.
Decluttering, by basic definition, involves “letting go” or removing the unwanted / unnecessary, but WHY do we clutter to begin with?
We believe there are (3) main culprits for physical clutter:
- Clinging to the Past – You can’t let go of anything because EVERYTHING has a special meaning, a wonderful memory, or an indispensable purpose.
- Operating in the More is Better Mindset – Are you all about the acquisition? Keeping up with others? Fear of not being able to replace things if they break or become worn out, so you just keep collecting?
- Allowing your Life to Run You – Do you suffer from a lack of time, structure, or energy? Is your front door more of a turnstile and your schedule hindering you from being home long enough to tackle anything?
Whatever your reasons, the end result is bondage to things you don’t need which hold you back and suffocate your space and life. ANY successful declutter attempt will start by decluttering from the inside out, so take some time and reflect on exactly what promotes the physical clutter in your life.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19) The truth is, we really don’t need so much “stuff”!
We challenge you to consider what has been the biggest instigator in your life for holding on to clutter and make a personal commitment to hit it head on as we jump into the rest of the week.
This is one of the most basic challenges we’ll present, yet may prove to be one of the hardest for you. You have to DO something. Remember, a great idea remains ONLY THAT, just a great idea, unless you put action behind it. You gotta “GO!”
Choose one area, just a small one to start, that you’ve been meaning to clean or sort through forever; a space that calls to you every time you look at it with disgust.
It might be your desk top? Do you sit down, day after day, and work around the clutter instead of clearing it off? Maybe it’s your garage shelf? Pantry? Perhaps towels are thrown every which way in your linen closet and the disorganization constantly aggravates you? Is your pool table or treadmill a clothes rack and you feel guilty every time you look at it?
You can change all of this in just a few minutes!
For us, it was our kitchen junk drawer. WHY did we put off a task that took us (well, okay, it took Sherry) 20 minutes to complete and made SO much difference? EVERY time we open the drawer, we’re grateful for the decluttered organization. It’s hard to explain just how much difference a simple effort made.
The drawer was an absolute disaster. We could hardly shut it because pens (most broken that we would try and then throw back in INSTEAD of throwing out!), twist ties, nails, lighters, tape, old papers with notes scribbled on them, buttons from the kitchen set we no longer own, vinyl patch kits with dried up glue, etc., were crammed in. We now have three compartments with pens that work, scotch tape, scissors and a few things we use regularly. We just can’t explain how much we appreciate our clean little junk drawer! In fact, she almost deserves a new name!
You HAVE to give it a try!
So make the effort. We challenge you to start with a small area and do it! Don’t think about it; no procrastinating here…..just make it happen. And then tell us about it!
firstname.lastname@example.org We want to cheer you on!!!!!
Hopefully, you’ve tackled your first area to declutter, but how do you take that initial, small scale idea and apply it to all the other areas in your home and garage when the task seems overwhelming?
Even if you’re not a list maker, work with us on this one. It’s time for a clipboard or spiral notebook and a pen. Seriously, get one out and walk your house, inside and out, like a foreman surveying a job. Big or small, write down EVERY area that needs decluttering – shelves, closets, drawers, counters, staircases, backyards, etc. No holding back here….this is your “Declutter Dream List”!
When you’re finished, scan the list and mark an “A” next to the tasks that are the MOST important, a “B” next to the ones of medium urgency, and “C” next to those which are of least concern. Now, look at the “A” list and decide which, out of the group, is the number one concern and mark that, guess what??, “A1”! Figure out what your “A2” is, your “A3”, and so on. Do the same for the “B” and “C” groups as well.
You now have a project management tool which instantly reduces your daunting task into manageable chunks. When you begin, start with “A1” and focus only “A1”. Don’t let the rest of the list intimidate you or hold you back. Make a pledge to get “A1” done and honor that commitment, then move on to “A2”.
We challenge to make YOUR ‘Declutter Dream List’ today! You can do it!!
Tomorrow – What to do with what you have?!
As you start to work through your list, what do you do with what you have? GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE…THAT’S WHAT! Ok, we jest… NOT!
Set the cut. If you haven’t used something in a pre-determined timeframe of your choosing (we use 6 months – 1 year), get rid of it. If you haven’t touched it in that length of time, chances are you’ll be in exactly the same boat next year and there’s simply no point to surrounding yourself with stuff that just takes up space and collects dust. Commit to action!
Who or what would benefit from the items you’ve gathered? In some cases, your garbage can is the way to go. Use it! You may want to consider a yard sale or two and use your “found” money” to pay towards a credit card, make a small home repair, or treat yourself to something special. Whatever the case, make it work for you.
Every community has those in need. Donate your clothes, jackets, blankets, etc., to those less fortunate. Give your household goods to a new person or family setting up their first apartment. There are companies building homes for the needy and are always looking for furnishings and decorations. The avenues to tap into are endless.
“If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns that the land your Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.” (Deut 15:7-8) Make a difference as you recycle the unnecessary. And if you donate to a non-profit organization, don’t forget your tax receipt! There’s no shame in being financially wise.
We challenge you get rid of the clutter without delay! Has this sparked any ideas or desires? If so, be sure to tell us about it! Good luck!
It’s challenging to condense an entire chapter into five days, so we thought we’d wrap this week up with assorted thoughts / tips to make your physical decluttering journey just a bit easier.
- Keep in mind who will be the proud recipient of all your clutter when you are gone. Your kids. Most likely not a gift you want to leave them. Save them the time, energy, and heartache of having to declutter your home for you at a time when they’ll have so much else to deal with. In a few weeks, we’ll discuss the gift you really want to give them – teaching them to declutter when they are young!
- Items such as photos / mementos / family heirlooms are meaningful and should be treated with care. If they are tucked away in dusty storage boxes, dig them out and display them so they can be viewed and enjoyed. Do you have people in mind to pass some of these items along to after you’re gone? If these treasures are just hidden away anyway, why not share them now?
- If you have it – USE IT! Don’t “save” things because you’re afraid to break them or wear them out. This defeats the purpose. Enjoy them.
- It’s just stuff. One of Sherry’s pastors used to preach, “I ain’t never seen no hearse with a U-Haul behind it.” Kind of says it all.
- Storage Units – Unless you have a good reason for renting one (e.g. storing things while your home is being built), don’t fall into the storage unit rut. You not only clutter your life by hanging on to things you don’t use or need, but you clutter your finances by the expense. Use it or lose it.
- “Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’” (Luke 12:15) Focus on what’s truly is important.
We challenge you to really put your heart into this effort. Trust God – Take a no regret approach and jump in. He’ll provide for your needs; every last one of them.
There’s much more, but we hope the first week of the challenge got you off to a great start. Your feedback is valuable to us, so please be sure to share. We love having you onboard and appreciate you giving the 40 Day Declutter Now! Challenge a try.
Next week, we’re moving on to decluttering relationships. Stick with us! It’s only going to get better!