30 Day Pare Down Challenge
Day 1 - Go through your mail, everyday.
Day 2 - Organize a small space. Take 10 minutes to go through items in that space. Get rid of what you don't need and make sure the rest it has a home and that you will use it. The pictures on the left show an organizer that wasn't quite so organized. It became a "catch all". So, I took everything out of it, threw away what I didn't need and put everything else in its spot so that everything is now easily accessible.
Day 3 - Go through your shoes. Get rid of the ones you don't wear. Put the seasonal ones, like sandals in the back of the closet.
Day 4 - Make your bed everyday. This goes more for that feeling of accomplishment and efficiency, but watch the video for additional reasons. It's worth the time!
Day 5 - Open a drawer and organize it. When you open a drawer in the kitchen, take a few minutes to go through the items, get rid of what you don't use, and straighten out the rest. Pick a different drawer each day and soon you will know where everything is and you will have gotten rid of what you no longer use.
Day 6 - How many pens do we really need? I understand maybe having a package of five pens, but an entire canister full of them? Nope, I don't get that at all. Get rid of them. Get that number down to five or fewer and promise yourself never to accumulate that many again. Ever.
Day 7 - Lids without containers and containers without lids. Go through your plastic storage containers. It makes no sense to keep items that don't have a match. Get rid of them and then put the items you use most toward the front so you don't have to go on a mission to find them.
Day 8 - Recycle. Recycling is all about paring down your garbage and doing something great for our environment. The picture above shows some of the recycling we've collected over the last two weeks. Find a place that will hold your recyclables. Ours is in a closet. We put our items in reusable bags and take them to a recycling center once every two weeks. We have gone from 4 bags of garbage a week down to 2 bags. Our ultimate goal is to get down to 1 bag of garbage a week.
Day 9 - Do a social media cleanse. Unfollow or unfriend anyone who is not a positive influence, expresses views that you find offensive, or just has a habit of bringing you down. Life is too short to get caught up in another person's drama.
Day 10 - Do a '10 minute declutter' daily. Each day set a timer and take 10 minutes to pick up and put things in their place. If something doesn't have a place, then get rid of it.
Day 11 - One dresser drawer. - Pick a dresser drawer and go through the clothes in it. If you wear something often, then keep it. If you don't remember the last time you wore it and it's in good shape, donate it. If it's in bad shape, throw it away.
Day 12 - Get rid of magazines. - Instead of letting them stack up, go through magazines and tear out the articles you want to keep. The get a file folder or organizer and file them in categories for easy access.
Day 13 - Clean out your refrigerator. - Plan to do this once a week. Go through a get rid of leftovers that didn't get eaten, check freshness dates, and organize items that should be close together for ease of use.
Day 14 - Prioritize. - When we prioritize we pare down what needs to get done, and that means we then gain more time to do what we want.
Day 15 - Bags! - This one is for the ladies out there like me who love purses, bags, etc. I had 23 different purses and bags and after today I'm down to 5!! Instead of having seasonal bags, just keep what is necessary. Here are the five that I kept: one purse (it's black and I have vowed to keep it for one year - I bought it in early December), one gym bag, one school bag, a fitness purse for travel or going to farmers' markets, and one fun bag that is multi-functional. That's it!
Day 16 - 30 Day rule! - As you work to declutter and get rid of things, consider the things you have kept made the first cut. In 30 days, go through the items again. If you haven't use them in the last month, they go. If you used them, then they stay.
Day 17 - Use Evernote - Get an Evernote account to help you organize your priorities, make plans, hold documents, etc. I'm just starting to use it, and it has really helped me figure out the chores to do around the house each day and to make my to-do lists. It helps me be more accountable to myself.
Day 18 - 3 Day Lists. - Using Evernote, create a note where you organize each day for three days. I write down 2-4 professional items to accomplish during the day and then 1-2 chores to get done. Then I make sure that they get done before I go to bed. At the end of the third day, then do the list again for the next three days. Notice how much more productive you are when you have your time focused on what you want to accomplish.
Day 19 - Closet Cleaning - This is a take on the one dresser drawer, but you're doing it for the items in your closet. If you've worn it recently, then keep it. If you don't remember the last time you wore it and it's in good shape, donate it. If it's worn out, then throw it away.
Day 20 - Email Decluttering - At the beginning of the day, check your email just to see if there is anything that needs to be attended to right away. If so, do triage and do it. Then shut it down until early afternoon when we usually have a dip in energy. Sit down and take the time to go through it, send responses, and delete items that were informational.
Day 21 - Do a Music Cleanse - It's equally important to go through our music to get rid of what we no longer listen to. Why are we keeping it if we no longer give it a listen? Do this once a month.
Day 22 - Pare down the pantry - Yep, it's time to go through your cupboards and get rid of anything that's outdated or you look at and realize you're never going to eat it.
Day 23 - Be choosy with your time - Realize that your time is important and what you do with it is just as important. Jot down how you spend your day and notice any time wasters. Then, get rid of them!
Day 24 - Needs vs. Wants - When you go to a store and are tempted to buy something, ask yourself if it's a need or a want. Don't buy it yet. Wait 24 hours and think about the uses for that item and then decide if it's still a necessity.
Day 25 - 30 Day Challenge - Beyond doing this 30 days, a great way to get rid of excess is to do a 30 challenge. Beginning on the first day of the month, get rid of one item, on the 2nd two items, on the 3rd three items, and so on. I learned this fabulous idea from The Minimalists. By the end of 30 days, you've gotten rid of over 500 items.
Day 26 - Only get what's on the list - This is a tough one, but a great one. Put together a grocery list, and then ONLY buy the things on the list. If you suddenly remember something that you should have put on the list, too bad. Only get what is on the list. It saves from impulsive buying.
Day 27 - Reuse - Always look for ways to reuse items if at all possible. If it can't be reused, then get rid of it.
Day 28 - Wait it out - When you think you need or want something, wait at least 24 hours and then decide whether or not to get it. Sometimes you might even wait a lot longer. I "lost" a pair of sunglasses last summer. I just "found" them yesterday in a purse before I donated the purse to the Shepherd's Frock. Patience paid off!
Day 29 - Budget! - When we budget our spending, we see where it goes and we are more liable to take care of our money.
Day 30 - Cash - Along the same lines of budgeting is taking a certain amount of cash out for the week for spending and when that money is gone, it's gone.