Decluttering together! Join the challenge and get rid 80 items in 40 days! Perfect for Lent!

40 Days of Decluttering

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Until we bought our home Mr. Kiwi and I had moved every year for the previous six years. First individually, each year at college, and then together in our new hometown. Moving every year is a great way to reset and go through all of your items. It helped to make sure we didn’t start hoarding all of our garbage finds, hand me downs, or things we bought. Also, we were always living in small spaces, sometimes with only a 10’x10′ space to ourselves, so we couldn’t own things that weren’t important.

Decluttering 80 items in 40 days, the frugal decluttering challenge
We own a LOT of kitchen utensils. We probably don’t need them all.

Then, we accomplished the American dream, and bought a suburban home of our own. While we don’t own a mansion, we do have more than enough space for our pack, which we proceeded to fill. First, we got the guest bed, so we can host overnight guests. Then we took our childhood items that our parents had been storing for us. Next, my parents downsized, so we inherited some of their furniture and decor. Finally, we started getting serious about woodworking, crafting, and creating and splurging a bit excessively and ambitiously on those hobbies.

It is awesome to have all of this space, but our home has quickly filled up, and the walls are closing in on us. Our basement shelves are full of hand-me-downs and neglected items, and our cupboards are brimming with pint glasses.

I’m slow to commit to this being our forever home, but it is our for now home. And I thrive in a space that is uniquely mine. As we’ve filled the nooks and crannies, the simple charm of our 1960s home has faded.

So, in 2018 I am committed to building a better space to create more and consume less. Which, for me, starts with subtraction.

Subtracting 40 Things

I recently finished Cait Flanders’ book The Year of Less, which is a wonderful and raw account of her year long shopping ban and so much more. I knew before opening the book that I wanted to decrease my attachment to physical things, and I hoped the book would inspire me to take on some form of a minimizing challenge.

Challenges work well for me. I mean I am currently doing a February plank challenge (up to 90 seconds!) and I’m on day three of a 30 day yoga challengeDecluttering 80 items in 40 days, the frugal decluttering challenge

I thrive when I have a constrained and focused time to devote my energies towards a measurable goal. So, unsurprisingly, I chose to jump on the call from Ms. 99 to 1 Percent to join a frugal Lent challenge. Thus, Mr. Kiwi and I have set the following goal:

We will each get rid of one item every day during Lent.

That will be eighty items in total, and we will not be able to count any of those items we have sitting near the door currently ready to donate.

40 days, 80 things lighter

Like any good challenge, we built some structure and rules:

1. The items must be out of the house at the end of the 40 days, and we can:

  • Sell the items,
  • re-home the items to a friend or community member, or
  • donate the items.

2. No need to get rid of one item every single day, we can do it in batches.

3. Sets of things count as one thing. (No getting rid of extra pens and counting each individual pen.)

4. I will track the 80 items that Mr. Kiwi and I get out of our home.

Ideally we’ll be able to re-home most items, since much of what gets donated ends up in a landfill. Read this to help prevent sending clothing to the landfill. And, while I’m excited that at the end of the forty days our home will have fewer things, I’m hoping that it is a long enough period that we will have reduced our attachment to many physical items.

Minimalism and Decluttering Resources

Before reading Cait’s book I watched some documentaries and read some other books about simplifying, minimizing, and decluttering. Here are some of my favorite resources:

  1. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  2. The Minimalists (podcast, books, and documentary)
  3. Becoming MinimalistsJoshua Becker
  4. The Frugalwoods decluttering strategy

And, thanks to an awesome reader suggestion, also check out The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson. Thanks! I put it on hold at my local library!

Our Why of Decluttering

Over the past three years we have gotten pretty good about not buying things that don’t align with our values. However, our home is still filled with things we bought before setting our current path (or have been gifted). I know we spent money on many of the items (even if they were from yard sales), and long term we may have a use for them, but I would like to be more intentional about the items we have. Decluttering 80 items in 40 days, the frugal decluttering challenge

Staying in one place long term should not equal filling it with things. I hope to develop my own form of frugal minimalism, where I keep a spare or two, but not twenty. I want organization and simplicity, so I’m rarely running around looking for a tape measure.

And I hope to recognize the things that we have that we simply won’t use, find acceptance, and get them to someone who will.

Finally, we are decluttering and simplifying beyond physical items. We canceled Netflix, drive less, don’t shop aimlessly, and have reduced restaurant eating.

Check back Wednesday for what new/used items I plan to bring into our home in 2018, and which items land on our shopping ban list.

If you are interested in taking on a frugal Lent challenge, check out the roundup at 99 to 1 Percent.

Do you have a favorite challenge? Are you minimizing or decluttering? Are you planning a frugal Lent challenge?

16 comments on “40 Days of Decluttering”

    • Rebecca
    • 2018-02-12

    Yes to this! I am a firm believer in letting go of excess belongings. Let them go out into the world where someone else can use them. I lost my home and belongings to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and started anew with a clean slate. Even today I have to be careful to keep unneeded things from creeping back in. One thing that motivates me is the wish not to have my grown children burdened with sorting through and deciding what to do with my things after I am gone. I am on the reserve list at my library for this book which I am very much looking forward to reading. Have you heard of it?

    1. Reply

      I just put the book on hold from my library! Thank you for the suggestion!

      I am so sorry you lost your home and belongings during Katrina. That is a horrible way to minimize. And I am so glad my parents downsized already once, hopefully they’ll be around for a few more decades, but it was incredible how much they were able to get rid of during the move.

    • Amy
    • 2018-02-12

    I hope all goes well with your decluttering challenge! It was fourteen years ago this month that I decided something had to change and started working towards simplifying my life. It was crazy back then.

    I was a single Mom, working two part-time jobs (full-time hours), taking 15 credit hours a semester, and had a 3 hour round trip commute Monday through Friday for school. I started working on a plan to make life simple. After I moved to graduate school eighteen months later I did my first huge decluttering I got rid of half of what I owned and because I was getting rid of things I didn’t need my then 5-year-old son decided to get rid of things he no longer wanted.

    Life was so much easier with less crap, a 5-minute drive to campus, only needing to work my TA position and taking 9 hours of classes. I got to take my son to school and pick him up almost every single Day. I got to put him to bed 6 nights a week. We got to have an actual life. Simplifying our lives was the best decision I made at that point.

    I now regularly go through my items and the household items decluttering as needed. My husband and the three kids are responsible for their own items. I will help them if they ask but I never initiate getting rid of anyone else’s items.

    Last March we moved into the tenth place that my husband and I have lived in since we’d got married nine years earlier. We move a lot. Maybe it’s just I move a lot I’m 37 and have moved 27 times.

    1. Reply

      Thanks for sharing your inspiring story! I think it’s great that everyone is responsible for their own items. And you definitely move a bit more than me, I’ve only lived in 9 places in my 30 years!

  1. Reply

    Definitely need to get re-committed to our decluttering efforts. The thing we’ve found is that if you let up for one minute, it seems to all come crashing down. Definitely never ending!

    1. Reply

      Just like keeping papers/mail off my kitchen counters!

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  3. Reply

    Thanks for joining the challenge! I love your decluttering idea. I might have to borrow it for next year 🙂 It’s better than debating whether we should give up alcohol or TV 🙂

    1. Reply

      Haha, yeah, my commitment is a bit easier than yours! When I read your list, I was impressed. Yay to driving less, watching less TV, and no alcohol!

  4. Oooh this is a fun one! I can’t wait to see how y’all do with the challenge! I’m really bad about obeying timed challenges, but I’ve been continuing my Resolution to live a healthier lifestyle. I’ve been working out regularly, although the diet could use a little less junk food. 😉

    1. Reply

      Challenges don’t work for everyone! But living a healthier life is always a great choice!

  5. Reply

    Our place is full of clutter right now. Stacks of random paperwork on our desk and piles of boxes stocked up in our living room. Hopefully we plan to de-clutter soon just like how you plan to do it for the 40 day challenge.
    I have Cait’s book on hold at the library, hopefully I’ll get it soon! Sounds like a great read.

    1. Reply

      It’s a quick read too!

  6. We had this same experience – college for me, military for him, then my time with him as a military wife, then back to our home area, then finally buying our home. The best part of moving was definitely getting rid of stuff each time. It’s so much harder to do a good job decluttering now that we’re settled in our forever home!

  7. Reply

    I tried the one thing a day approach for a while and then fell off the wagon. I need to try batch now. I struggle with this a lot :/

  8. Reply

    I don’t have the discipline to do one thing a day. But this idea looks good. I think I can try to get rid of 100 things by easter.

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