Challenge: Declutter Your World in 10 Days


Confession: I’ve been wallowing lately. While I think there is a time and place to wallow, without a proactive stop, it can go on longer than it should and turn into something that it shouldn’t. When wallowing or worrying loses purpose, it’s time to move on.

How do I move on?

I’ve created an awesome way for all of us to move on together. If you are ready to put an end to the wallowing and worrying, I hope you’ll join me. Actually, this 10 day challenge is for anyone at anytime, but will be especially helpful during times of transition, emotional discord and uncertainty.

The best part? You don’t have to wait to get started. With the exception of a quick trip to the grocery store, you have everything you need. You don’t have to escape from your life, but for 10 days, you’ll discover what adds joy, health and tranquility to your life by eliminating everything that doesn’t. Clearing out the excess will make room to experiment with some new healthy habits.

While I believe that the best change is slow and steady and often happens inch by inch, a challenge is a great way to set clear boundaries and make time and space in several areas of your beautiful life. Consider this a self-imposed wake up call.

10 Day Declutter Your World Challenge Rules

  • Start where you are. Don’t wait until you are ready or decide to start after … (insert excuse here). Just start where you are.
  • Keep it simple. Eliminate everything you can, but remember this is not a project in suffering. Adjust the rules if you need to.
  • Write about it. Commit to the challenge by leaving a comment on this post and write about your 10 day adventure. Report back with the results (the good, the bad and the incredible)
  • Create your own boundaries. This is not one plan fits all. You are unique and will benefit most by creating something for your lifestyle. Outline your challenge on paper like mine above and keep it in plain sight (I taped mine to my laptop) so you can review your commitment every day. At the end of the challenge, decide what habits you most want to incorporate into your newly decluttered world.
  • Remember that it’s only 10 days. Don’t be afraid to get extreme and a little uncomfortable. Make daily commitments that will energize you. Eliminating sugar from your diet  might sound scary, but you can do it for 10 days. (you’ve had colds and company that lasted longer and you survived)

How to Create Your Own 10 Day World Declutter Challenge

We all have different needs and are in different stages of life. That said, our worlds are all in one world and there are some universal things that we could all benefit having more or less of. For instance, imagine your life with less meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, processed foods, Facebook, television, worry, and fatigue and then think about life with more real food, exercise, sleep, quiet moments, love and connection.

Commit to one small change or go all the way in each of the following areas of your life.

Shape Up

  • Food. Make one small change by eliminating meat or sugar or go all the way and get rid of everything but whole, vegan food. Keep things simple by identifying one meal for breakfast and 2-4 meals for lunch and dinner. You will save time, money and mental energy by enjoying the same few meals during your 10 day challenge.
  • Move. Make one small change by committing to a 10 minute walk everyday or go all the way and aim for 100 minutes of moving your body daily. A 30 minute walk + 60 minute yoga class and 10 minutes of push-ups, sit-ups and stretching = 100 minutes. Creating time may mean eliminating TV, phone and internet.
  • Sleep. Make one small change by giving your body a signal to sleep like taking a bath or drinking a cup of tea and reading for a few minutes. Go all the way by eliminating caffeine and alcohol all day and TV/Computer use after 6pm. Move all of the electronics (TV, computer, phone) out of your bedroom along with anything work related. Keep your room cool and as dark as possible to encourage peaceful sleep.

Pare Down

  • Home. Make one small change and place a box by your front door. Fill it with items to donate for 5 minutes every day or go all the way and choose a whole space to declutter over the course of 10 days or choose another decluttering project like going paperless. Commit to no shopping aside from essentials during the 10 day challenge.
  • Work. Make one small change and don’t check email until 10 am or go all the way and declutter your work space and cut/reschedule any non-essential meetings or commitments.

Tune In

  • Brain. Make one small change and commit to sitting in silence for 10 minutes a day or go all the way and start a daily meditation practice and unplug after 5pm every evening and for 24-48 consecutive hours during the challenge.
  • Heart. Fill your heart with gratitude and connection and commit to writing a letter or calling someone you love everyday for 10 days. If possible, choose someone different each day and let your 10 day world challenge brighten 10 other worlds.

If you can’t read my writing in the image above, my challenge includes: 100% vegan diet with 4 meal choices for 30 meals, no coffee or alcohol, nothing to eat or drink after 7pm with the exception of tea or water, 100 minutes of exercise a day, a commitment to go paperless and to review and eliminate work projects and commitments, meditate 5 minutes a day, write 1000 words a day, 1 thank you note a day (mailed) and a 24 hour digital sabbatical.

Quick reminder: Your world is not the world. During your 10 day challenge, don’t think about fixing anything or anyone around you. It doesn’t matter if anyone is on board or supportive. Give yourself permission to just work on you so that you can offer your best self to the world. Use the 10 day challenge whenever you need a shake up or proactive stop, or try it seasonally every September, January and April as a reminder to focus on what matters most. This isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.

How to Participate

  • Leave a comment below with a few of your 10 day challenge boundaries.
  • Write out your challenge and post it somewhere easy to see everyday.
  • If you write about this on your blog, share it with me.
  • Use #10daydeclutter on Twitter.
  • After your 10 days, come back and comment on your experience.

Disclaimer: You are responsible for your own challenge rules and to know and work within your ability. If your life improves dramatically, please don’t blame me. If you lose weight, sleep better, feel healthier or start to understand what you want most out of life, I am not responsible.  If this challenge opens your heart and quiets your brain, please don’t hold me accountable.



  1. says

    i’m in!

    a few of my boundaries:
    * {shape up} go to bed by 10:30pm every night.
    * {pare down} stick to meeting end times, whether the meeting is complete or not.
    * {tune in} only critical, non-work-related phone calls/texts are allowed when i’m with my kiddo.

    here goes…

    • Jeff Peck says

      Great ideas! Going vegan is one of the best gifts anyone can give to themselves. I know this from personal experience after taking this path just over a year ago. Health, vitality, and peace of mind will return to all that return to the natural diet that your body was designed to thrive on. However, I must warn everyone, it takes more like two months to really feel the benefits; not just ten days! So, don’t stop, give it a while. The rewards will be inesurable. After reading more than thirty books and watching countless Youtube lectures and documentaries, I would like to suggests to anyone considering this wonderful life-changing step to start by watching two easily available documentaries: (1) Forks Over Knives (2) Eating. The later can be viewed for free in it’s entirety on Youtube. Also, Paul McCartney has a great website called Glass Windows worth checking out. I encourage everyone to begin this beautiful path to simplicity and health. Jeff

  2. barbara says

    Shape Up
    Food. Take my lunch, a full meal to work 2/9 days.
    Move. Attend five yoga classes in 10 days.
    Rest. Take two baths in my tub with bath tea.

    Pare Down
    Home. Empty my outbox twice.
    Work. Finalize LFXBP Website.

    Tune In
    Brain. Listen to 2 meditation podcasts from JF.
    Heart. Follow RK exercise daily with flower petals

    • Courtney Carver says

      Awesome Barbara! Come back and tell us how it goes. (and let us know what LFXBP is) So curious now.

  3. Xanthi says

    well….I think I am gonna try it, and since I am quite shabby I will focus on a 10 day challenge regarding my eating habits starting with nothing in after 20.30 pm
    and since I already I have written past Sunday, a very long long letter to a dear friend of mine in Australia, (I m in Greece) I am gonna stick to that and try to write at least 5 letters to 5 different friends I have all over the world!!!

  4. Jennifer Johnson says

    I think this help me step in the right direction.
    Shape Up. No pop, just tea. I haven’t been more than 2 days without a pop. And I want to move more at work.

    Pare Down. Take 5 minutes to do a declutter search and no shopping for 10 days except for essentials.

    Tune In. Sit in silence for 10 minutes at work and call or write a piece of gratitude.

    I wish everyone the best in this challenge.

  5. Lori says

    This reached me at just the right time. With my daughter back in school, I found myself on the couch today taking an unexpected nap. Fine, so I was tired, I can forgive myself. But that isn’t exactly how I want to be spending my days, especially with deadlines looming and a few exciting projects I want to begin.

    Shape Up
    Streamline my lunches to be the same every day (homemade tomato salad) so I am not tempted to skip lunch or eat junk.
    100 minutes of exercise/day
    No electronic reading or computer use after 7 p.m.

    Pare Down
    Clean the kitchen every night before going to bed. (I know … most people wake up to a clean kitchen. Me? Not so much.)
    Declutter the basement shelves over the period of ten days. Whatever gets done, gets done. No judgement on what doesn’t get accomplished.
    Clean out my email inbox. (I will not confess publicly to how full it currently is.)
    Pack up my home office at the end of every day before getting my kiddo from school.

    Tune In
    Ten minutes/day of meditation/breathing exercise
    Write a daily gratitude list
    Daily morning pages and writing
    For ten days: No blog reading (except for this thread), no whining, no naps!

  6. Jodi says

    I have a work trip in the midst of these next ten days, but here’s to an end to excuses.

    Be completely vegan for the next 10 days
    Nothing but tea or water after 8 pm

    Tune In
    Write a personal note to someone different and mail them for the next ten days.
    Daily meditation followed by reading.

    Pare down
    Nothing but essentials for the next ten days

  7. says

    For me it will be to get rid of some of my clutter aka books that I have been hanging on to that I feel that I no longer need. This will also help a lot with our possible upcoming move.
    Thanks for the motivation to get off my franny and get started.

  8. Mr. H says

    This is such a timely reminder for me. I love the simplicity of three categories on three sticky notes.

    My 10-days:

    Shape Up:
    -Walk 60 min per day
    -Only water/coffee/tea at work
    -No snacks

    Pare Down:
    -Go through my dresser drawers and closet and give unused away
    -Go through books and magazines and donate/recycle
    -Get rid of vegetation debris pile outside

    Tune In:
    -Daily devotional/prayer for ten minutes per day
    -No Facebook except to post kid pictures
    -No Smartphone e-mail on weekends and no Smartphone access at all when kids are around (i.e. eyes and attention on them instead of gazing downward)

    • Courtney Carver says

      Awesome Mr. H! The kids will notice a big difference. Hope you check back in 10 days with your results.

  9. says

    I am not going to write my boundaries here (simply because I am in a bit of a rush), but let me just say that this post is incredible, Courtney! I actually printed it out so I can stare at it and act on it. The sleeping bit really hits home with me. I am recently off of coffee AND alcohol (UGH), so I am halfway there!

  10. says

    Excellent. I always say Less is More! And it is true. While people I know are always dealing with all their stuff, I get to out and about doing the things I like to do!

  11. Suzanne says

    Shape up
    food -no alcohol or soda
    move – 10,000 steps on pedometer/day including an evenings walk
    Sleep -pleasure reading before bed

    Pare Down
    Home – no shopping except for essentials including food shopping
    -bedroom decluttering overhaul
    Work – max. 40hrs/week at full time job (I frequently work upwards of 50)

    Tune In
    Brain -journal 1 page/day
    Heart-1 thank you note/day (have a lot of birthday thank yous to mail out!)

  12. says

    I actually challenged myself to completely eliminate procrastination in 30 days about 2 weeks ago. But I find that unless I keep track of even the smallest things I do, it can be hard to realize what falls in under that category. I consider it sort of a schedule-decluttering which is why this post reminded me, haha.
    I definitely need to actually declutter my living space as well though. Might set up my own little challenge for that as well!

  13. Karen T. says

    Shape up –
    food: nothing except water or tea after 9:00 p.m.
    move: walk everywhere except when I drive my kid to school, etc. or to grocery shop
    sleep: 7-8 hrs. every night (I usually short-change that)
    Pare down –
    home: no shopping except for food or other essentials
    (I’m already pretty decluttered in my home)
    Tune in –
    brain: finish formatting of ebook I’ve written
    heart: gratitude journal every day

    • Courtney Carver says

      Thanks Karen! Let us know where you end up in 10 days. Congrats on almost finishing your ebook.

  14. JulieB/Julie Spahn says

    I just started a new job that had decluttered my life – no more work at home! The timing of this is perfect. I’ve finally come home this week caught up mentally and physically (the first two days I dozed off before supper.) I’ve been meaning to focus on many of these areas, so this is my list:

    Shape up:
    Food – Eliminate wine, tweak lunch items (more vegetables – I’m still working on getting into the routine of packing a lunch), add a drink of water before breakfast
    Move – 15 minutes a day, every day non-work movements and test-ride/time a bike to work path on the weekend
    Sleep – Computer off at 9 (OK, I”m late tonight!), read in bed to relax

    Pare Down
    Home – finish reclaiming my bedroom 30 minutes a day (a project started at the beginning of summer before the job search)
    Work – start reclaiming my office and purging old school materials if the bedroom is finished in time – 30 minutes

    Tune In
    Brain – meditate/pray at 9 PM, Computer-free Sunday
    Heart – Daily Correspondence starting with thank you notes.

    • Courtney Carver says

      This is great Julie. Congrats on the new job. I hope the challenge helps in the transition.

  15. kristina says

    Love it! I have been ill, and so will adjust this to fit my current ability, perfect way to compliment my last few months of healing

    • Courtney Carver says

      So smart Kristina. Instead of giving up or passing up the challenge due to illness, you choose to work within your ability. Keep us posted on your progress and feel better.

  16. Jennie says

    I’m joining in too … I’ve become slack over the last six months, and have put on 2 kg (sigh). Here’s my list:

    Shape Up:
    Food – no chocolates or even “healthy” muesli bars containing chocolate (hot chocolate drink OK in emergencies!)
    Move – in addition to walking my dog, perform Tai Chi or other strengthening exercise each day
    Sleep – refocus on my 2013 goal to get a minimum of 7 hours sleep each night

    Pare Down:
    Home – Declutter the “junk box” and the “junk shelf” in the garage
    Work – Remove paper clutter – which I’ve kept just in case!

    Tune In:
    Brain – Meditate on who I am, what is important to me, who is important, what direction I want to take
    Heart – Gratitude journal

  17. Linda says

    I’m joining the challenge. It’s almost midnight now, just read this…I’ll get the “plan” figured out in the morning and post it here. I’m glad for the opportunity…since I’ve had a to-do list that’s not getting done… maybe this is the inspiration I need.

  18. Julia says

    I sort of started on this on Saturday with a massive cleanout of my home office so thanks for such a timely post! I also recently did a digital media sabbatical and need to focus on having less of it in my life as my days felt so peaceful and calm without constantly checking email etc.
    Shape up: make every meal primal, bed by 9:30pm, be diligent about taking horrible tasting medicine for whooping cough!
    Pare down: declutter bookshelves, sort linen cupboard and pantry, rearrange work hours to start at sunrise and be finished by 3pm so I can have a life (yes work is cluttering up my life!)
    Tune in: reduce computer time to 1hr max a day (no pinterest!), write daily in my journal, more time spent talking as a family, go for a beach walk with my best friend.

  19. Daniela says

    As it’s very likely that I will need lots of energy that next couple of weeks and months (possible relocation to another country), I’m in:

    shape up: bedtime 10pm, no excuses; meat for dinner only 1-2x/week; daily morning yoga routine of 15 min

    pare down: unsubscribing newsletters and catalogues (started already last month, but there are still some coming …); when changing wardrobe for cold season de-clutter

    tune in: posting 10 cards & parcels in the next 10 days (which is, truth to be told, not that difficult as it includes 4 b’day cards/gifts)

  20. says

    Shape Up

    Food – salad/fruits in dinner
    Move – 5 surya namaskars
    Sleep- no caffeine after 7pm

    Pare Down

    Home – decluttering 5 things daily
    Work – decluttering my workstation

    Tune In

    Brain – I’m already meditating daily in the morning and chantings in evening.
    Heart – One random act of kindness daily.

  21. Em says

    This couldn’t have come at a better day. I have just been diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue syndrome with sky rocketing cortisol levels. I can’t afford not to take action, so in the 10 day challenge I will:

    Shape Up
    • Food. Reduce caffeine intake by half
    • Sleep. Bed at 9:30 lights out 10pm.
    Pare Down
    • Home. Complete desk unclutter, 10 minute tidy at the end of each day.
    • Work. Leave the office at least once each day.
    Tune In
    • Brain. Meditate 10 minutes every day.
    No internet after 8pm each night and 2 hour limit on each weekend day (that one’s tough for me!)
    • Heart. Write 3 things I’m grateful for in my gratitude journal each night

    I have enjoyed reading through these posts and look forward to hearing how everyone goes.


    • Courtney Carver says

      Stay in touch Em. I hope this is just the thing to start helping you get your health back. Feel better!

  22. MelD says

    Although I do a lot of these things anyway, I’m obviously still not where I should be, plus we are busy with removals anyway just now, so it’s ongoing.
    However, I hope to reinforce some of the habits I started over the summer so that after the upheavals at the end of September, we flow straight into good habits!

    Food: stick to my 8-12-4-8 o’clock “French” mealtimes and only have one snack at 4! (I am home most of the time, so this isn’t always easy with a kitchen nearby!). I drink almost only water and tea anyhow.

    Exercise: make sure I walk more than I already do (leave the car at home!), implement more regular dog walks to enjoy the autumn, 30 minutes at a time, longer at weekends.

    Paring down is happening automatically as we pack up one place while decluttering as we go and declutter at home to make room for what is to come – the pick-up for charity is already arranged :)
    Plus I’m doing pretty good with the not-buying, yay for me!

    Tune in: no electronics after evening meal, just real books and catching up on correspondence/cards

    Another reason I need to do this is to be a good example to my husband and daughter, who aren’t quite on board, yet, and have various issues that could be helped by these kinds of things.

  23. Cindy I. says

    This post is timely, I needed to read something like that today.
    I am vegetarian (since I’m 13) with big vegan tendencies (no milk/eggs/honey/yogurt and I don’t bake cakes with butter/milk/eggs) – I’m not vegan yet because my town (and the majority of the country I live in, I’m pretty sure) don’t know what veganism is, so there are no vegan products.
    I’ve been drug free for 5 years (I am 19). And I don’t have any social network accounts.

    Food: eat even more fruits.
    Heart: take care of myself and say thank you to people I’m grateful for.

    Thank you.

  24. says

    I love this! It’s exactly what I’ve been needing lately. And I’m loving reading everyone else’s guidelines, so inspiring!
    Here’s mine, starting today:
    Shape up:
    Food: no eating after 9 o’clock (I work until 7 most nights so dinner tends to be late)
    Move: do at least 5 pilates videos over the course of the challenge, as well as doing my squats daily
    Sleep: no screens 1/2 hour before bed, I will read an actual paper book before bed instead
    Pare down:
    Home: declutter my bedroom, switch over my closet to my fall wardrobe
    Work: my job is going through a big change right now and has me working a lot of shifts, so I’m hoping to book off at least 2 days this month
    Money: re-do my budget
    Tune in:
    Brain: daily 5 minute meditation practice
    Heart: start a gratitude journal, reach out to at least 3 people I have fallen out of touch with
    I’ll be blogging my way through it to keep myself honest at and checking back here too. Can’t wait to hear how everyone else does!

  25. kathy says

    heart… letter or card daily. declutter…. a minimum of 15 minutes daily devoted to this…. doesn’t sound like much but it’s a start

  26. says

    Shape up:
    *Excerise daily- mwf walk at park tth weights
    *no eating after 9
    *only water or sleepy time after dinner
    *eat healthy snacks-no chocolate, or chips
    *go to bed by 10:30

    Pare down:
    *only shop for essentials and gifts
    *go through fall/winter clothes
    *fill diaper box with donations

    Tune in:
    *actually write in my one line a day journal
    *no Facebook
    *no phone when kids are around
    *read with daughter every night and play a game with her every day

    This is very ambitious, but I hope by putting it out there I will be more successful. Thank you for the inspiration!

  27. says

    Shape Up
    Food: no sugar or soda, eat only one serving and savor it.
    Move: 30 min jogging, 1000 jump ropes per day
    Sleep: bed by 10
    Pare Down
    Home: no shopping, attack kitchen and bedroom
    Tune In
    Brain: read I am the Clay by Chaim Potok, email/fb 2x/day, plus a 24 hr digital sabbatical
    Heart: rise at 5:30 for quiet time before the family gets up

  28. says

    Thank you, Courtney! I’m excited for this challenge. I’ll be away 5 out of 10 days. Fortunately, my meals will be prepared for me.

    Shape Up:

    no sugar
    no dairy
    daily stretching/yoga/walking
    No tech after 8pm.

    Pare Down:

    No shopping barring gifts, groceries or school supplies.
    Declutter/organize 15 minutes per day.
    check email 2x per day

    Tune In:

    Spend time outdoors.
    Write love letters.
    Journaling/writing 3 pages per day.
    Sit in silence and give attention to what is occurring within me.

  29. Brenda says

    shape up:
    – food: no sweets (including chocolate) for 10 days; minimum 5 fruits/veggies daily for 10 days
    – move: 10 minutes pushups/situps daily for 10 days; register for a 1/week swimming session
    – sleep: no screen time after 9:30 pm for 10 days

    pare down:
    – home: 5 minute “trash a stash” daily for 10 days; 5 minutes email purging daily for 10 days
    – work: 10 minutes email purging daily for 10 days; cleanup desk

    tune in:
    – brain: 10 minutes daily meditation for 10 days
    – heart: 10 ‘happy mail’ cards sent from home to friends; 10 ‘happy mail’ cards sent to colleagues at the office; 10 minutes uninterrupted/non-multi-tasking/non-distracted-by-other-things time daily with my husband (preferable a walk around the block a few times) for 10 days

    Thanks for the challenge. I’m looking forward to participating.

    • Brenda says

      Thanks for the challenge – I made some progress in all areas as noted in {} below.

      shape up:
      – food: no sweets (including chocolate) for 10 days {success most days – plan to reduce but not completely eliminate in future}; minimum 5 fruits/veggies daily for 10 days {success most days – plan to keep it up in future}
      – move: 10 minutes pushups/situps daily for 10 days {success all days – plan to keep it up}; register for a 1/week swimming session {done and looking forward to it starting this week}
      – sleep: no screen time after 9:30 pm for 10 days {success most days – plan to keep it up}

      pare down:
      – home: 5 minute “trash a stash” daily for 10 days {success some days – and 3 times I spent longer than 5 minutes once I got started – plan to continue}; 5 minutes email purging daily for 10 days {not much success – will drop for now}
      – work: 10 minutes email purging daily for 10 days {not much success and will drop for now}; cleanup desk {not yet}

      tune in:
      – brain: 10 minutes daily meditation for 10 days {most days and plan to continue}
      – heart: 10 ‘happy mail’ cards sent from home to friends; 10 ‘happy mail’ cards sent to colleagues at the office {send some and have made some cards – plan to keep at it – would like to send 5 home or work ‘happy mails’ per week; 10 minutes uninterrupted/non-multi-tasking/non-distracted-by-other-things time daily with my husband (preferable a walk around the block a few times) for 10 days {some success – will continue since I would definitely like this to be a part of our daily routine}

  30. says

    This is a fantastic challenge! I love what you write about clearing excess to make room to experiment with some new, healthy habits. As a professional organizer and Health Coach (currently in training) I agree that finding what adds health and joy and peace to your life is found by adding in some good and letting go of what doesn’t make you feel good (in body, mind and spirit).

    I will:
    *Eat nothing after 9pm
    *walk 30 minutes on my non-gym/crossfit days
    *get 8+ hours of sleep each night (this will be a challenge but I already know what has to be given up to achieve it….Good bye TV)
    *Pare down my inbox til it’s empty. (I am constantly purging every other area of my life but that damn inbox still gets me)
    *sit in 10 minutes of silence a day and read more before bed
    *send cards and make calls each day. I usually do this kind of thing but lately feel like I have been missing the mark. Thanks for the boost and reminder of it’s importance. :)

    You’re great Courtney! Thanks for what you write and what you give. Have a great week (10 days!)

  31. Caryn says

    Courtney- This is amazing! I didn’t have time to read it yesterday, so it was the first thing that I read today- my 50th birthday :-) Perfect inspiration.

    I worry- it is the thing that clutters up my life the most (physical clutter I banish quickly and easily).

    So, my challenge will be to banish worry for good-
    Mantra “Don’t worry, be happy” (yes, with the song going through it should help!)
    That and writing down what I am grateful for everyday.

    thanks for the inspiration!

  32. says

    Great timing as I’ve been working on some of these things. I’ll keep it really simple and manageable:

    Shape up: Go on a 20 minute walk every day (I’m 4 weeks post-partum and can’t wait to throw in more rigorous exercise)

    Pare down: Spend 10 minutes decluttering each day (I have a whole list of decluttering projects)

    Tune In: Free write every morning. (I’ve been fortunate that baby wakes up a little before 5, so I just stay up after tending to her and write. Makes it really easy.)

  33. says

    I have been working toward a more minimalist lifestyle the last several months and have been donating and giving away things like crazy. But I’ve hit a roadblock recently and this challenge is just what I need to kickstart me into action again!

    Pare down – home.
    Over the next ten days I will go through 1) my bedroom/bathroom, and 2) my balcony and balcony storage closet, purging like crazy.

    Not nearly as ambitious as most of you ladies, but I am excited at the prospect of focusing on these two areas and what they will look like ten days from now!

    Here we go!

  34. Cindy says

    Thanks, Courtney! I need a jump-start, too!
    My 10-Day Declutter includes:
    Shape Up – No sugar
    No dairy

    Pare Down – clear out my 4-drawer file cabinet so that one drawer is empty

    Tune In – write 5 notes to loved ones

  35. Bette says

    Over the next 10 days:

    No electronics, including TV after 10pm

    Make a list of tasks that need to be completed on my computer. No mindless Internet surfing.

    Do not eat stale chips from bag in the back of the car that has been open for at least a week. Be more concerned with the quality/quantity of food that passes my lips.

    Spend more time doing art.

    Check out only one book at a time from the local public library (I work there) read it and return before checking anymore out – otherwise they tend to get piled up and unread. Just add the titles to my private list for future reading.

    Visit with a friend.

    Write my uncle within the next week

    Purge purge purge all the piles stacked up around my house.

    Look into buying inexpensive computer desk. Get printer off floor.

    Do gentle exercises with light hand weights. I already walk lots.

  36. Jen says

    I just did a small plan like this for the month of Aug. I gave up soda and didn’t go on Facebook the whole month. It’s now Sept and I gave up soda for good. Cravings stopped after about 3 weeks. I’m back on FB but limited. I have other things I always wanted to try, start or give up. Now’s the time. Instead of 10 days I’m going to go for 30 because it seems that’s about what it takes to stick for me. I love your blog!!! Thanks for all the thought provoking articles. Jen

  37. Anna says

    LOVE this!

    Shape Up
    • Food. More water/tea.
    • Move. Yoga every day.
    • Sleep. Internet shuts down by 930. In bed by 10:00.
    Pare Down
    • Home. Scan pictures. No shopping for 10 days.
    Tune In
    • Brain. Meditate everyday. One 24 hour period without using the Internet.
    • Heart. Daily gratitude list.

  38. Devin says

    I am new to the minimalist lifestyle and have a comment/question.
    I understand the idea behind not eating meat or reducing your intake in that it take a life of something else, but I am confused on the Vegan idea. I was vegetarian for years before the raw kick and lots of beans, cheese, and pasta/grains. I now notice that a lot of the options put forth in the veg/vegan area are highly processed, which seems to me to go against the idea of minimalism.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Devin, If you are talking about faux meats/cheese, I agree. They can be highly processed. That said, you don’t have to include those items in a healthy, vegan diet. They can make the transition easier, but aren’t necessary in terms of nutritional benefits.

      • Jodi says

        As an almost vegan (I have a weakness for milk in coffee). I eat a diet rich in unprocessed, whole foods. I do not eat vegan cheeses or faux meats. The only “processed” foods I am usually guilty of are blue tortilla chips and Ezekiel bread. My diet mainly consists of whole fruit, vegetables and grains that I prepare myself. As with any diet, it is the choices that you make, any diet can be one of mostly processed foods or not.

  39. Allison says

    This is great timing; I allowed some bad habits back into my life over the summer and need to get back on track.

    Shape Up
    Eat breakfast every day
    No alcohol for 10 days
    Lights out by 11 pm every day
    Move 60 minutes every day

    Pare Down
    Clean out summer wardrobe, transition to fall wardrobe
    Organize list of projects for the rest of the year
    No shopping except for groceries/essentials

    Tune In
    24-hour digital sabbatical on next 2 Saturdays
    Meditate 15 minutes every day
    Write 15 minutes every day
    Write to 3 friends/family members
    Don’t check work email in the evenings or on the weekends

  40. Kat says

    I really need to do this.

    Shape Up:
    – no more iced tea
    – replace unhealthy snacks with healthy ones
    – nothing to eat after 9:30
    – exercise every day (at least 15mins)
    – no electronics after 10pm, in bed by 10:30

    Pare Down:
    – work 15mins / day on clearing out the office (it’s the drop zone for everything without a home)
    – list 5 items / day to sell
    – work 15mins / day on deskwork backlog

    Tune In:
    – meditate for 5mins / day
    – 5 letters to be mailed before the end of the 10 days

  41. says

    shape up: more water/tea
    more dinners “IN” (less eating OUT)
    exercise 5 days a week
    in bed by 10pm and- no internet (including iPhone) after 10pm

    pare down: declutter for 15 minutes a day!

    tune in: spend more time outdoors
    spend time at least one day doing one “artistic” thing per week (photography, soap-making etc..)

  42. Brenna says

    Shape Up-Cut out sugar, walk/bike daily for 30 minutes

    Pare Down-clear inbox/get rid of unnecessary belongings

    Tune In-meditate daily/finish reading When Panic Attacks/Gratitude gratitude gratitude

  43. Courtney Carver says

    Your comments are so wonderfully inspiring. I love that you are each so open and honest and willing to make such healthy commitments. Let’s keep the conversation going! Feel free to come back after your 10 day challenge and let us know what changed.

    Thanks you so much for participating and contributing.


  44. Katie says

    What a great challenge! I’m in!

    {shape up} Commit to walking 10,000 steps per day!

    {pare down} I’ve gotten into a bad habit the past two weeks of eating out a lot. Even though it’s all healthy food, it’s not helping my cash flow. I commit to only cooking meals at home, save for a girls night I already have planned during this time.

    {tune in} Commit to an early morning and evening yoga/meditation practice. One or the other, but do either (or both) morning and night.

  45. Jo@simplybeingmum says

    I needed some motivation to get myself into gear – thanks Courtney. Kids are back at school and there’s “stuff” hanging around and things I need to do. Firstly sleep… We toured the Dorset coast this summer in a caravan (trailer?) and with little stimulation in the evenings I found I was dropping to sleep earlier ( up to two hours than when at home). It clicked after all ths time maybe I’m not a “night person” as a given. Maybe I am keeping myself awake? So more sleep is top priority! As is training. Running went on the back burner whilst school was out. There’s a half- marathon looming and I am behind in my mileage and general effort. And as always there is decluttering. I’m tired talking about it and blogging about it. I know it’s a journey and not a destination, but I want to be further down the path. It’s time to get ruthless. Whilst touring we lived with very little. And guess what… It was fantastic!

  46. Anki Palm says

    Perfekt idea!

    Mine is as follows:

    Shape up-Green breakfast and Green smothies
    Mysoreyogaclass twice a week
    Dancingclass once a week
    Going or bicycling to work

    No TV at all
    No internet after 20.00

    Pare Downs

    Declutter the bathroom

    No shopping except for food

    At work when feeling stressful, say NO, and do otherwise.

    At work: checking email three times a day. Not more!

    Tune in

    Surya maskara A and B every morning except for mysore-mornings.

    Phone/Mail my close relatives and friends, one each day.

    Thanks, Courtney!

    • says

      Ten dags later: Mostly I managed to hold on to the agrement with my self. I had difficulties though and still have not using internet after 20.00. That due to the inspiring course in creating Your own Microbusines. A paradox so to speak.
      I will continue this agrement with some small changes. Thank You Courtney for the initiative!

  47. Arianne says

    Ready, set, go!

    Food – no candy or dessert, no alcohol M – TH
    Move – at least 30 min yoga on days I don’t teach it, play with my dog every day
    Disconnect – no computer after 6:30, fb limit of 15 min
    Pare down – remove excess furniture in 2 rooms of my house
    Brain – quiet time while drinking tea before bed (no reading, listening to music, watching to tv)
    Heart – snuggle with my dog every night during quiet time.

  48. says

    I am so with you about real change coming slowly. So to continue with the theme of doing less I am going to only commit to one area that needs to shift in my life but one area that will ripple through the rest of my life. I used to have a strong daily mediation practice and then my son’s father got sick and died from lung cancer. When they first found the growth on his lung I stopped setting my alarm clock because the grief took every ounce of my energy. As a result I most days I don’t wake up early enough to sit and meditate. I try to sit in the evening but most of the time I forget or don’t have time. So for the last two years I have been sitting maybe 3 to 4 days a week. The intense grief has abated and I think it time for me shift my mornings. My commitment is for the next 10 days I will set my alarm so that I have time to mediate everyday for 10 days. I will check in and let you know my progress.

  49. Lori says

    I happily join this challenge, Courtney! The timing is perfect since I’ve been decluttering at home and work for the past year. I have donated or sold a ton of non-essential things that were no longer useful or no longer brought me joy having them around. I simplified my wardrobe so my closet is now such a nice place to enter! I love the weight that has been lifted off of me by paring down my possessions. Now, I want to work on decluttering in other areas of myself. Here is my 10 day personal plan:

    -no white flour, takeout, boxed or highly processed foods, sugary foods
    -no diet sodas; drink more water and tea
    -10 minutes of quiet meditation in the morning before my workout
    -less t.v. and Facebook, more reading of positive and uplifiting books, blogs, etc.
    -Check in with somebody each day via a note or a personal visit

    Excited to participate! I will check back with you on the 17th to reflect on my progress and lessons learned.

    • Lori says

      It’s only day 3 and I am really missing everything from the top of my challenge list! No energy today at all. Must have been really addicted to that junk. Hoping to feel better in another couple of days.

  50. says

    Yes, I need this! What a wonderfully constructive and doable wake up call this is, Courtney…thank you!
    Here are some of the things that hit me as I read your post…

    1. Stop eating potato chips
    2. Eat oatmeal for breakfast every day
    3. Check Facebook only once a day, and stay for only 15 minutes
    4. Read one meaningful blog post each day, and leave a thoughtful comment
    5. Set a specific time to get up in the morning, instead of “whenever”
    6. Listen to my body when it tells me to stop working and rest
    7. Spend some quality time each day getting ready to move to my new home

    I feel so energized already…looking forward to seeing how this unfolds, for me and everyone else participating :)

  51. Sarah says

    Great idea – I’ve been needing a push!

    Food: mostly vegan, no coffee shop food (no muffins!)
    Move: 30 min of exercise/day
    Disconnect: no internet after 7pm
    Pare down: 3 bags of donation items, empty all miscellaneous bags in house
    Brain: sit in silence 10 minutes/day, read at night
    Heart: contact one friend/family member per day

  52. Molly says

    Well, I’m feeling better about my life already! Reading this I realized I am already doing almost everything on this list! I’m going to need to sit for awhile to come up with a different challenge for myself that will fit within the same spirit as this one.

  53. Rose says

    I love this post.

    My plan is to:

    Attempt to reduce refined sugar as much as possible. Drink herbal teas instead of alcohol.

    Attend exercise classes 3-4x/week.

    Begin an online retreat on the 15th.

    Read favorite books instead of getting on the Internet for entertainment.

  54. Laura says

    Thanks for the post. I have been inspired to boost my decluttering projects. I just completed cancer treatment & welcomed my first grandchild this month. My life is in the midst of change. It seems overwhelming to faces huge challenge but I think the 10 day challenge is a perfect start. We are going on a family vacation this week so I am planning to start when I return the last 10 days of the month.

  55. says

    I’m in! My goals for the next ten working days:

    Begin every day with a big breakfast
    Learn 5 yoga positions
    Do not leave cell phone on bed shelve during night

    Take one room a day and declutter what you can
    Create a lovely working space

    Write two new articles
    Meditate 5-10 minutes every day.

    Hope I can do this… I’m not good with this kind of commitment, as I quickly lose hope!

  56. Jennie says

    My main aim was to re-focus on my priorities. It has definitely been successful in that regard, so thanks for issuing the challenge. I’ve also “owned up” to having put on three kilos (and have already lost one of them!). Here’s my overall progress report:

    Shape Up:
    Food – no chocolates or even “healthy” muesli bars containing chocolate – YES
    Move – in addition to walking my dog, perform Tai Chi or other strengthening exercise each day – PARTIAL – My dog received his daily walk, and I did some extra exercise, but not every day
    Sleep – refocus on my 2013 goal to get a minimum of 7 hours sleep each night – PARTIAL

    Pare Down:
    Home – Declutter the “junk box” and the “junk shelf” in the garage – YES – Whilst the “junk box” is only half cleared, I’ve been spring-cleaning the house, and disposed of a lot of paper clutter, so I think that counts
    Work – Remove paper clutter – which I’ve kept just in case! – YES – I’ve looked at all the paper clutter, and removed at least two thirds of it.

    Tune In:
    Brain – Meditate on who I am, what is important to me, who is important, what direction I want to take – PARTIAL – Work in Progress
    Heart – Gratitude journal – PARTIAL – Work in Progress

  57. says

    Oops, I think that I got to this challenge a little later than anyone else. And I’m only doing 9 days. But thanks for an inspiring idea and post. I am posting my updates on my website. Oh and my awesome 14 year old has decided to do her own challenge.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Albert, It’s never too late to start this challenge! I love that your daughter is starting too!

  58. barbara says

    Shape Up
    Food. Take my lunch, a full meal to work 2/9 days. Done
    Move. Attend five yoga classes in 10 days.
    Rest. Take two baths in my tub with bath tea. Attended 3

    Pare Down
    Home. Empty my outbox twice. done
    Work. Finalize work Website. Done

    Tune In
    Brain. Listen to 2 meditation podcasts from JF. Not done
    Heart. Follow RK exercise daily with flower petals done 5 times

  59. says

    Incidentally, 3500 extra Calories of energy translates into a pound of fat, so if you leave a 500
    Calorie deficit each day, you will lose one pound each week,
    guaranteed. In losing weight, one should keep in mind that they should lose excess body fats only.
    The effort of the cycling is another factor in fat loss while cycling.
    Consult your doctor before starting any weight loss program
    so that you know exactly how much pounds you need to shed.
    Unfortunately, these fatty acids can’t cross the blood-brain barrier.

  60. barbara says

    Shape Up
    Food. Take my lunch, a full meal to work 2/9 days – still doing this!
    Move. Attend five yoga classes in 10 days.
    Rest. Holding steady at 2 per week
    Take two baths in my tub with bath tea – not yet but had tub grouted

    Pare Down
    Home. Empty my outbox twice – yes do this weekly

    Tune In
    Brain. Listen to 2 meditation podcasts from JF. Not yet
    Heart. Follow RK exercise daily with flower petal – yes about 2x per week.

  61. Monica says

    Shape up

    -food: more fruits and vegetables

    -move: back to the gym for my postural exercise

    -sleep: become early riser, 6,30 am, and sleep 7h per night

    Pare down

    -home: clean my bedroom. Remove stuff everyday. Put my clothes in the closet every night before go to bed.

    -work: be more focused. Avoid distraction like smartphone and facebook!!! Fb, my addiction, just 30min per day.

    Tune in

    -brain: study for my english toefl exam… For 3hours Every morning.

    -heart: meditation and gratitude.

    Greetings from Italy!!!!

    I hope somebody has started this challenge just today or few days ago. I don’t want to feel alone in this process.

  62. stacey says

    I am in the process of transitioning out of a job of 15 years and into a brand new job with a brand new company – talk about a blank slate! However, I have one library table of clutter from household stuff that has also caught the contents of my old office. Thanks to tips from “Becoming Minimalist” over the past 6 months, the rest of my house is in pretty good order. My challenge is to:

    Declutter the big, deep library table.

    Take your go outside mini mission challenge with my kids, starting with a hike and photo scavenger hunt in the gorgeous Idaho fall day.

    Hot yoga 3x/week with some extra meditation time at the end just for me.

    Call/contact one person per day, starting with my grandfather.

  63. says

    I’m a little late to this, but I’m on board!
    Food: reduce sugar
    water & lemon instead of other drinks
    Move: MJ’s routine 8/10 days (MJ’s my brother and a personal trainer!)
    yoga e/day
    Sleep: Read 9.30 – lights out 10pm

    Home: Wardrobe de-clutter (preparing for Project 333)
    Work: Minimise paper on my desk (never-ending struggle!)

    TUNE IN:
    Brain: Play guitar or piano instead of wasting time on the net
    Heart: Gratitude journal entry

  64. says

    I love this article! Just reminded me of Gifteng, a site focused on its community members giving and receiving free stuff they/others don’t want. Fits really nicely with decluttering.

  65. says

    Courtney, Thank you for inspiring me! I feel like I’ve been working on decluttering and letting go of stuff from our family of four forever! I first heard of you in my podcast world…. Simple Life Together, Becoming Minimalist, Zen Habits,

    You have all made a huge difference in our family’s day to day life. I listen to you on podcasts while I clear out excess from closets. drawers and cabinets….YOU have encouraged, motivated and inspired me to keep going…I listen to the minimalism community at the gym & walking the dog…everyday I have another bag packed up to give away or donate! It’s absolutely freeing! I may still have a long way to go but I feel lighter each day. The stuff was been weighing me down and I didn’t realize it until I let go!

    I’ve been blogging for about 5+ years w my stories of random family life as a mom with a sense of humor.. Blogging changed my life–I literally entered a whole new world of incredibly supportive people!

    I’ve decided to start a new blog on my simplicity journey….I’ve been taking pictures as I go. I hope I’ll be able to inspire others who are as overwhelmed as I once was.

    I’m so very grateful. I wish you all of the best!

    Liz Neighbors

  66. Cindy says

    My 10-day challenge to cut out dairy and sugar turned into 5 months of no dairy, sugar, rooted vegetables, or processed foods. I have uncluttered 40 pounds from my body & I feel healthy & svelte.I didn’t move as much as I hoped, but I was walking some. As for the letters, I wrote them, though it took me longer than 10 days. However, that file cabinet wasn’t even touched… alas.

    I needed the jump start challenge!

  67. barbara says

    I took the challenge last year and liked it so much, I am doing it again!

    Shape Up
    Food. I will take food from home each day (maybe not a whole lunch, but I will bring food from home to eat at the office..
    Move. I will do yoga each day (maybe a a 50 min class, maybe a 5 breath down dog).
    Sleep. I will not have coffee after 2 PM and I will reduce alcohol to only one glass per meal
    Pare Down
    Home. I will empty my outbox this week (freecycle or trash) and will store the canning jars until we can again. I will schedule and plan for my new wardrobe and begin planning for the transition. I will not buy any new clothes for 10 days.
    Work. I will go to 2DD before email each morning.
    Tune In
    Brain. I will meditate for 1 minute each day before going to bed, I will study my German for one unit each day
    Heart. I commit to reaching out to one loved one each day, in addition to myself.

  68. Deb Birdsall says

    Your challenge appeared to me today, just as I enter a very stressful time in my life. So I’m going to give it a go.
    Shape Up-eliminate sweet snacks, walk to work every day, drink boiled water at bedtime
    Pare Down-fill a box of donations for charity and only shop for essentials
    Tune In-Meditate for 10 minutes a day, and identify at least one reason to be thankful every day.

  69. says

    This has come to be at a time of great change and stress. I have to do something positive, so I’m in:
    Shape Up – eleminate sweet snacks, walk to work every day, drink boiled water at bedtime
    Pare Down – fill a box with donations and only shop for essentials
    Tune In – meditate for 10 mins a day and identify reasons to be thankful every day

  70. Jill says

    Here I go!
    Shape Up. Feel hungry for 30 minutes before I eat. 30 minutes exercise per day. Wake up & get up with the sun
    Pare Down. Home Office – Aim for paperless office, keep less paperwork, scan & save documents I need to refer to, keep only important papers (personal, insurance, car registrations etc). Home – A place for everything & everything in its place, if there is no place for it, send it away.
    Tune In. 30 minutes reading time per day, at least 10 of these reading the Bible. Family/Friends – phone at least 1 person a day
    Financial – No Spend, 10 days of spending only on essentials (food/fuel)

  71. barbara says

    This is my third or fourth time doing the challenge. What works best for me is to actually calendar the activities that I committ to doing this time:
    I have post its on my keyboard like you .. too!

    Shape Up:
    Have an early lunch instead of second breakfast
    Do one non yoga activity at the gym each week

    Pare Down:
    Desk Top out box
    Go to 2DD before email

    Tune In
    Read one full article or watch one full video each day, on something that interests me and share about it meaningfully somewhere
    Reach out and spend time with someone from work each day I am at work.