30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Days 1-6
It’s time for our first 30DMDC Update: Days 1-6. This past week has been insane. Not only has the weather shifted from beautiful, warm spring days to shivering, cold, rainy, hail-filled days, but our house has shifted from managed clutter to uncontrolled chaos.
Because we are working our way through the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. What is the old saying…? Something like… “it has to get worse before it can get better.” That has never been more true for us. In completing the daily tasks, our living room has become a war zone for our things.
We have a giant pile that we are donating, tossing, or otherwise getting rid of, a pile for things that we need to keep, but that need a new home, and a stack of boxes with things we are keeping, but that we are unable to put away since the storage area is in the process of being overhauled.
In any case, we are super excited to have this challenge to get this clutter out of our house once and for all. And we know that it is bound to get better as this month goes on. So, without further ado, let’s see what we did for each of the challenge days in our Update: Days 1-6!
For those who are new to this challenge, read this first!
For everyone else, feel free to skip ahead!
If your family is anything like mine, you’ve felt the frustrations of a cluttered home. My wife and I moved into our small house about two years ago from college dorms and apartments. We settled in, we decorated, we stored, we received gifts, we stored, we went shopping, we stored, etc. etc. etc. Now, after two years of living in our cluttered and chaotic home, we are realizing the importance of simplicity in life. We are striving toward debt-free living, but a healthy life is more than finances alone. That’s why we have decided to complete our first ever 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – and we want you to join us!
The 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge was created by Erin on A Welder’s Wife and she has graciously allowed me to share the challenge with you all. I would love to have you all join for as much or as little of the challenge as you are willing! Don’t worry, you can start whenever you feel ready!
30DMDC Update: Days 1-6
Day 1: 5 Items
Day 1 was exciting for my wife and I. We were so ready to get a move on for our 30DMDC that we threw away way more than the recommended / required 5 items.
First of all, I need to admit something to you all. When we started this challenge we still had all of our Christmas decorations up. Yes, you read that right. In April, we still had our decorations up. Yikes.
So, we decided to start the challenge by taking down Christmas and going through ALL of our decorations in the process (for every holiday) and deciding what we needed to keep and what we didn’t. We ended up getting rid of a TON of items and are super excited about it.
Then we moved on to the actual challenge topic of 5 items. We picked 5 items that we knew needed a new home:
- 2 Umbrellas – we had four umbrellas in our house and there are only two of us. Needless to say, it was time to get rid of two of these.
- A Whiteboard – this one was hard for me to get rid of because my parents left me notes on it for a long time. They were all still there and hadn’t been erased, but because it was so full, we couldn’t use it. Instead, we were simply storing it because we didn’t want to get rid of the notes. So, we decided to compromise by taking a few pictures of the notes and then letting it go. Camp will use it and enjoy it, we’re sure!
- A Lunchbag – it was time to get rid of this lunchbag. It was taking up space and we never used it..
- A Movie Stand – this used to be used to hold our CDs near our stereo system, but we rarely use the stereo and we rarely listen to CDs anymore – it’s all MP3 or record (funny how the world works, isn’t it?). Time for this guy to stop taking up space!
Day 2: Countertops
Our counters were insane. We have two kitchen counters (one is wrap-around bar into the dining room) and a living room counter (our old cabinets were repurposed into a new entertainment center. They were both FILLED with stuff and we couldn’t believe how big of a difference cleaning them off made.
Now, in each of our updates I’ll be sharing pictures of our progress. So, here are some pictures for our Update: Days 1-6. I don’t have a before picture of our kitchen counter, but here is the one of our living room counter.
Here’s the after of the living room counter:
Here’s the after of our kitchen counter:
Day 3: Meditate for 15 Minutes
I’ll be honest with you guys, I’m not so good at the meditating thing. My wife and I tried multiple times throughout the day and just couldn’t get it down. I feel like we failed miserably at this day of the challenge, but we definitely tried. On the other hand, we did watch part of the sunrise of the lake…so…
Day 4: Junk Drawer
Today was a hard one for us. Why? Because we don’t necessarily have a junk drawer, per say, but we DO have a TON of places where we keep a lot of junk. We decided to focus on two of these places and tackle those – it took longer than expected. The first was the cabinet under the living room counter. We kept all hosts of electronics, tangles of cords, tools, duct tape, amps, movies, etc. down there. So, we took some time to sort through it all and threw away a TON. Here’s a before photo of just one section of the area (it has three sections, the center one is as larger as the other two combined).
As you can see, it’s very much a junk area, filled to the brim with stuff we definitely don’t always need. So, we got rid of a ton and cleaned it out. Here are some after pictures:
The center cabinet:
The far cabinet:
After that, we took to tackling a china hutch that we had sitting in the living room. It was filled with diabetic supplies, pet stuff, mailing stationary and stamps, batteries, you name it. I guess this could have been our “junk cabinet” if you didn’t know that the one under the living room counter existed – haha!
We decided that instead of simply going through the cabinet, getting rid of what we don’t need, and reorganizing it, we would find a way to empty it out completely and use the space under the living room counter for this stuff as well. Now that the china hutch is empty, we can put it in storage until we have a good home for it. It’s hard to fit in our tiny house, but once we buy a larger home, we know that we will want it.
Here’s what our junk pile (stuff we are donating or tossing) looked like after this day’s task! Pretty crazy for only halfway through our update: days 1-6, right?
Day 5: Clothing
Wow! Who would have thought this day would be so difficult? My wife and I went through our clothing not long ago, so we thought that this day would be easy. Boy, were we mistaken. We had so many things to get rid of / donate by the end… And, since our dresser was falling apart, we decided to get rid of it completely. You’ll notice it missing in the before and after pictures.
We got rid of enough items that we can now fit all of our clothing into only two closets – leaving our bedroom free with tons of space – hooray! We repurposed an old garbage picking find for a t-shirt cabinet and added some boxes that were empty for socks and unmentionables. It feels so much more spacious and clean now!
Bedroom Closet 1 Before:
Bedroom Closet 1 After:
Bedroom Closet 2 Before:
Bedroom Closet 2 After:
Hallway Closet Before:
Hallway Closet After:
Day 6: Digital Cleanse
Well, this day came as a surprise to me. I didn’t think that it would be possible – especially since my wife was out of town for the day and I knew I would want to be talking to her. However, since I was at work for 15 hours straight yesterday, there wasn’t much time for anything digital. So, it wasn’t too bad. I will admit though: I used my phone a little bit. I texted my wife a few times and I also used it for GPS to get us to a few locations.
Update: Days 1-6 – Week in Review
Favorite / Least Favorite
I think my favorite day during this first week was the countertops (day 2). This one really made me think about what we actually need out as opposed to what we simply set on the counter because we don’t want to find something else to do with that item.
My least favorite day was probably the meditation day. It’s not that I have anything against being alone with my thoughts, but I really struggle with the process of not thinking of anything – of simply breathing. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me, but it really is. I guess that’s definitely something that I’ll be working on in the future.
Number of Items Removed
Honestly, with the giant pile of stuff that we have removed from our lives, I haven’t had a chance to count any of it. My goal is to have it counted by next week’s update. Until then, you can look at this picture of the mountain that is sitting in our living room and guestimate what that number may be:
One Thing I Learned
I’ve learned so much already in this short week of the challenge, so it’s hard to choose only one thing. I would have to say that the most important thing I learned this week is that you don’t need to keep things for “just in case.”
This is such a hard lesson for me because I was raised to believe that it’s better to have things than to need them later – not that that’s a bad lesson, it’s just very, very different than what this challenge is teaching me.
When I look at things, it’s hard for me to accept that even though there’s a possibility I may need it in the future, it’s not necessarily worth storing for the time being because it only adds to the clutter. Now, there are cases where that is different – things that you inherent from your parents or things that you want to pass down to your children, those are worth keeping.
That being said, we had two griddles – a large one and a small one. The large one would be awesome for making grilled cheese, pancakes, etc. for a large number of people. We were saving this “just in case” we needed it when we have kids. We aren’t even in the process of trying for kids yet so this item was being kept for an unknown time in the future that is at LEAST years away. How crazy is that?
Hard lesson, but good lesson.
Update: Days 1-6
So, that’s it for the Update: Days 1-6. Coming up next week we have a ton of great things to do to get our house clean and rid ourselves of the clutter! I think right now, I’m most looking forward to the pantry day. My wife and I don’t do a lot in regard to shoes and accessories so those days will be good, but won’t produce the giant results that we are so excited about!
I hope that you’ll join us for the challenge or take it on your own, but regardless of how you do it be sure to share your results with us here, sign up for the e-newsletter at the top of this email, and join our awesome Facebook groups: Frugal Living Community and/or LGBT Frugal Living Community.
What does your Update: Days 1-6 look like? What was your favorite / least favorite day of this week? How many items have you gotten rid of so far?
Let us know in the comments below!
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