A Scavenger Hunt for Aspiring Minimalists

Scavenger hunt for aspiring minimalists

If you want to become a minimalist, simplify your life, or just remove some of the excess, join the scavenger hunt for aspiring minimalists. Even if you don’t want to be a minimalist or call yourself a minimalist, this is a great way to declutter, have a little fun and inspire your simplicity journey.

While I believe that it’s not your job to convince your friends to simplify, or get your family on board, this is one way to get everyone involved in a really fun way. (plus there are prizes)

Before we get to the scavenger hunt items, here are a few ways to play the game:

  • Do it with a group of friends or family, locally or virtually. Find a two-hour block of time when everyone can play and compete to see who can collect the items fastest, or give each item a certain number of points and then tally up the points at the end of a time frame that works for you.
  • Come back here and share your results in the comment section to win great prizes or create a prize that works well for your group.
  • Make it a fundraising thing. Collaborate with your church or a local non-profit. Invite people to come together and play the game. At the end, use all of the collected items for a massive yard sale to benefit your organization or another worthy cause.
  • Family night. This is a great way to have fun with the whole family. I’ve made a special list for children so they can be just as involved. To keep everyone competing together, announce a prize that everyone can enjoy. For instance, if we collect all of our items in 2 hours, tomorrow we take a picnic hike, or have movies and popcorn. Pick an activity that your family really enjoys.
  • Play with the Be More with Less family. Even if you are alone at home, you are not alone in this game. Share your results and experience here in the comment section.

Your scavenger hunt items

  • 1 small kitchen appliance (toaster, food processor, juicer, blender – if you don’t use it, lose it)
  • 3 items from your closet that do not fit you
  • 1 item from your closet that still has tags
  • 20 hidden items (stuffed in your garage, shed, or another hidden storage area)
  • 2 coffee mugs
  • any candle holder that hasn’t held a candle in more than 6 months
  • 2 winter coats
  • 5 trinkets
  • 10 products in your bathroom that you haven’t used in more than 2 months
  • 2 pieces of art that you don’t like to look at or haven’t looked at in months because they aren’t on the wall
  • any expired food in your fridge or freezer (toss this please)
  • any unopened, unexpired food in your pantry that you aren’t going to eat (donate this please)
  • 2 tools you haven’t used in more than a year
  • 1 collection of goods to support a hobby you gave up (if you stopped camping, sewing, fishing, or coin collecting … it goes)
  • 5 pieces from a junk drawer that you’ve been saving just in case (even though you don’t know how to use them)
  • 2 throw pillows that should have been thrown months ago
  • 10 books
  • 2 cookbooks
  • kids toys in storage
  • 10 mystery items (anything goes)

Scavenger items for kids

  • 2 books you haven’t read because you aren’t interested
  • 2 books you read already but probably won’t read again
  • 1 shirt
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 1 of your mom’s shirts
  • 1 of your dad’s shirts
  • 1 movie or video game
  • 1 toy you outgrew
  • 1 toy you don’t play with much
  • 5 mystery items (anything goes, but it has to be yours and not your mom’s or sister’s)
  • 1 thing you think another child might enjoy more than you

Sell or donate your items on your own or with a group. Have fun with the scavenger hunt and enjoy discovering the benefits of a simpler life.


  1. Marta says

    Working on this tonight with my family. We decluttered 40 bags in 40 days during lent, but this list gives me some different places to look.
    Thanks! M.

  2. Melissa says

    I’m excited for this challenge; it gives me specifics for the garage sale we are having in a few weeks!

  3. Joanne Hodges says

    I’m in. I’ve got company coming next week so this is great timing for a scavenger hunt.

  4. TM6 says

    My 10 year old read this with me and wants to do it with me tomorrow! I have 5 kids with another on the way and will try to get as many of them involved as possible. I’m excited to do this!

  5. Pam says

    I moved twice in the past 20 months. I probably don’t have enough to left to get rid of. Only have 2 winter coats, no extra kitchen appliance, etc, etc. It feels really good to be down to the bare essentials.

  6. shebolt says

    I’ll do it, but you’ll have to pry my winter coats out of my cold, dead hands. Especially after the winter we just had. I’ve already pruned those down thoughtfully, so I’ll sub something else (it’s past time to go through hats/gloves/scarves).

  7. says

    Oh this is fun! I’m in…This is a great way to start the month of May, as I was planning to focus on decluttering!

    I’ll even print out the list for kids and have my girls get in on the fun. We’ll do this Saturday morning since my husband is out of town.

  8. Mike A says

    I have moved a few times in the past 4 years back in Washington to stay. I don’t have any of those things to get rid of. I only have 1 winter coats, no extra kitchen appliance. It feels really good to be down to the bare essentials.

  9. Carrie Kemp says

    I’m definitely doing this, as our office had become a dumping ground for everything. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on.

  10. says

    This totally sounds like fun. Love the kids list, save for the part about moms things. (I have 5 kids.)

  11. says

    I’m doing this at work. I have a dance wear shop that I’ve inherited from it’s previous “mama” and it still has tons of things to go through and to declutter both from her time and from mine. To make space for what’s really important.

    • says

      Did this last week on Saturday at work. Found 69 items in two hours (and had some customers to serve in the middle of it all) and sorted them out to be recycled to either the local charity shop or to the recycling centre, and the ones (paper, glass, cardboard, metal) that fit the bins allocated to them outside on the shop yard found nicely their way out of the shop and into their rightful places. Love this. I think I’ll do it again :)

  12. katy says

    This is a great, inspiring challenge. My Sangha is having a yard sale at the end of the month so I have passed the challenge on to the members to motivate them

  13. Lana says

    I did this today!! Just dropped off consignments & have 2 boxes for good will next stop. Hubby has his garage items to go to a good home. Put several on eBay , feels great!!

  14. Monica says

    Doing this right now. Not waiting! Great idea because I am moving soon and I really want to have less to move. If I keep it, I really need it or love it. Otherwise, the item goes. Thanks for the challenge! :)

  15. says

    I’d love to take part but I think I have done them all already.

    Kitchen: juicer went last week.
    Wardrobe: culled at least 50 items in the last month
    Wardrobe: nothing in it with labels
    HIddenn items: all outbuildings cleared, nothing in them other than items that we use (we do live on a small holding)
    Coffee mugs: done right now.
    Candle holders: The only ones we have are either in use every day or are the silver candlesticks that come out regularly but not every day.
    Winter coats: Three went last week.
    Trinkets : I don’t think we have any left!
    Art: Hmm sore point here. I have a pile of artwork I want to shed, husband not so sure. Having said that we did agree to let go of 8 prints last month.
    Freezer: we do weekly menu plans and shop from the freezer before we buy anything.
    Larder: ditto
    Junk Drawer: I no longer have one :)
    What are throw pillows 😉
    Books: three boxes this month alone.
    Cookbooks: see above
    Storage: we don’t have storage
    Mystery items: This week – a collection of hair slides, a bag of socks, a bag of scarves, a selection of dvds, five pairs of shoes, elderly underwear.

    We let go of items every day now. It’s almost part of the daily routine.

  16. Val says

    Enjoying my lazy Saturday – seems like a good time to poke around in the closets!

    • Val says

      And done! I boxed up a lot of things that had survived earlier purges and moves. The ‘urgency’ of the ticking clock helped a lot – having to choose between keeping that thing and finishing the hunt was just enough to pry things loose.

      My best find, from the bag of stuff I’d cleared out of my old car before selling it, was antibiotic cream that expired in 2001.

  17. Jamie says

    Clothing and pillows done tonight, the rest will go tomorrow. I always think I’m decluttered and then the “stuff” seems to find its way back into my home. Thanks for the inspiration! Love your blog!

  18. Beth says

    I’m in! I thought my house was uncluttered already but I’ve found a few of the things on the list that can go.

  19. Allie says

    I am so grateful for this post. Our little village has an annual garage sale and I was doing the whole “I should sell some of this stuff” noncommittal thinking for weeks beforehand. I’m extremely introverted and the thought of facing the crowds was overwhelming to me (it’s a small village but the garage sale weekend attracts people from all over – cars double parked literally all the way out of town). I read your post and thought “I can do this. WE can do this” and asked my husband for help. We sold:
    – a car that had not been driven since the fall including an extra set of tires
    – an old aluminum fishing boat that came with our house that we’d never used and didn’t know what to do with
    – ditto an outboard motor for said boat
    – a speaker we’d replaced
    – a belt with tags on I never wore
    – a belt I had, ahem, outgrown
    We also gave a baby swing our girls had outgrown to the nice young couple with a sweet baby girl that bought the car, and dropped bags of outgrown children’s clothing in the charity donation box in the village, hoping to help others less fortunate now rather than let their needs go unmet while we procrastinated. I am tired this morning but proud that we did it! Thank you for your encouragement!

  20. says

    I’m in!

    With thanks in part, due to your inspiring example, we simplified our life in SLC to the point that we could give up our big 3300sqf house (not including basement) in Corner Canyon and buy a 1600 sqf urban delight of a home in Portland, OR. We are in the process of unpacking right now and although I thought I had pared down as hard as a family of five possibly could… of course, I had no idea what half the size would feel like.

    So we definitely have a few more things to get rid of.

  21. Matthew says

    Thanks for the multiple ways to enter! Since I’ve been doing this minimalism thing, I find that I don’t actually *have* the stuff I’m supposed to find and toss. But I will use the list to double-check and make sure.

    Also, part of my de-cluttering is digital, so my Facebook and Twitters are gone and I never got into that pinetrest thing.

    Good idea and happy scavenging.

  22. says

    Ooh…this sounds like fun! I’m in the process of moving to a new city so perfect time and opportunity to lessen the packing. Thank you for organizing this activity.

    Tania Welch

  23. Judy says

    I will be participating. I did the minimalist game a few months ago and doing it again this month so will be doing both at the same time.

  24. Kim says

    1 small kitchen appliance – I had three crock pots. All of different sizes. I donated two of them to the local soup kitchen.
    3 items from your closet that do not fit you – This was easy between the 333 project and losing weight fighting cancer I am always changing out my clothing and donating them to the women s shelter.
    1 item from your closet that still has tags – I couldn’t manage this one. Like I said above I have a minimal selection and it changes every few weeks. SO no tags here.
    20 hidden items (stuffed in your garage, shed, or another hidden storage area). Actually taking early advise I had stored items I wasn’t sure that I could part with. It has been at least 6 month since I boxed these items up so I donated these boxes containing nick-nacks, picture frames, baskets of various sizes and vases. One box contained paperwork that I was storing for my great aunt dating back to the 1940’s. Yes I parted with it all.
    2 coffee mugs – Done
    any candle holder that hasn’t held a candle in more than 6 months – I parted with three candle holders and the candles. I dont use candles anyway as I have 4 large dogs and I fear they would only knock them over or catch a tail on fire. They were pretty much for looks.
    2 winter coats – No coats I donated all but one during the 333 project.
    5 trinkets- I recently painted our “library” wall to wall shelves of books, music and trinkets. All but 3 or four trinkets were returned to the shelves. It looks so much neater and fresh.
    10 products in your bathroom that you haven’t used in more than 2 months – While I was struggling with the breast cancer issues and my appearance I bought a lot of product I thought would make me feel better. Some still sealed, most unused, all donated to the women’s shelter. In the end I found that just relaxing within my own skin was most comfortable therefore nothing in the form of “girly” stuff was going to make me feel better.
    2 pieces of art that you don’t like to look at or haven’t looked at in months because they aren’t on the wall- This was a hard one. I had paintings from my great aunt, grandmother and father that had been stacked in the corner of my sewing room. I gave my siblings and children the option of owning them and they declined so I took some of the older items to an antique store where they will try their hand at selling the items and others were donated.
    any expired food in your fridge or freezer (toss this please) – Done…
    any unopened, unexpired food in your pantry that you aren’t going to eat (donate this please)- We do this every three to four months just because.
    2 tools you haven’t used in more than a year. I had 6 screw drivers. I think I can live with two.
    1 collection of goods to support a hobby you gave up (if you stopped camping, sewing, fishing, or coin collecting … it goes). We donated (what was still usable) scuba gear to the local emergency dive team. My husband and I haven’t dove in years.
    5 pieces from a junk drawer that you’ve been saving just in case (even though you don’t know how to use them) – I don’t have a junk drawer….
    2 throw pillows that should have been thrown months ago- I dont have throw pillows.
    10 books – We did sort through the books being returned to the shelves after our painting project. I think there were about 20 books or more. We filled a box and donated it to the library.
    2 cookbooks – Several cook books were removed from the shelves and donated to my daughters and the library.
    kids toys in storage – No toys in the house.
    10 mystery items (anything goes) This was a hard one because we did a lot of donating so far. So I elected to donate earnings, necklaces, and shoes that I am not using.
    OK next challenge…..

  25. Anita says

    This is just what I need to get started. Have been thinking of clearing out “stuff” and now I have an easier way to accomplsh it – thanks!

  26. says

    This was fun. I live pretty simply already (my Mom thinks I get rid of too much stuff). I was surprised to even find almost all the items. Here are some highlights;

    SMALL APPLIANCE – all ready down to bare minimum, so I got rid of my two DVR’s AND cable!! (It just so happens I was going to do this when the challenge came out).

    CLOTHES W/TAGS – none, but I did find some small dishes, still in box w/tag, so included this.

    2 WINTER COATS – only got rid of 1, and also got rid of a blazer

    2 PCS OF ART – this was tough, I got rid of a painting an old friend painted for me about 20 years ago. I never hung it up, and we are not friends anymore.

    10 BOOKS – I only own 10 books!!! Got rid of four

    FUN! Don’t have enough stuff to do on a regular basis, but once in a while is great. The biggest thing for me was the picture my friend painted. I have dragged that thing to 5 houses and never once hung it up! Can’t believe I kept for so long!

  27. Emily says

    I’m into this fun little project. I’ve been minimalizing all weekend, so this will give me more ideas on how to downsize a little.

  28. says

    I mentioned this challenge to my husband and I couldn’t believe that he thought it sounded like fun. We’re in!

  29. christine says

    I love this idea! I have been planning to downsize further and this will add a lot of fun to the process! Thank you :)

  30. Brandy Hubbard says

    Did the challenge on Sunday. I found once I started decluttering, I couldn’t stop! It was actually fun!! This is only the beginning for me though… ; )

  31. leslie richman says

    I’m in- I also did the 40 Bags challenge another reader mentioned and I’m up for more!

  32. Andrea says

    Dear Courtney, I just discovered your website today. I felt a little bad because last week I donated four large bags of stuff. I have been de cluttering for the last two years. My husband, our son an I moved from a large home to a rambler. It was our choice. We didn’t want to be slaves to stuff anymore. Since then we have been having more fun, we have taken more vacations and life has been better. Letting go of stuff has been bittersweet, though. Your challenge, the scavenger hunt, came at the perfect time. I have my house organized so getting through the challenge was more difficult. I did it! The only problem I had was finding a kitchen appliance that I don’t use and a piece of clothing with tags on. Instead of these to I decided to toss some spices and organize my spice rack. You have inspired me. Thank you for your blog. Like I said I want to keep doing this and I’m looking forward to reading more about what you have to say. So please count me in, I’m up for the challenge!
    Sleepless in Seattle

  33. Jennifer Johnson says

    I’m in! I’ve got to remember to take pictures of the items I decide to sell/donate.

  34. Muntaha says

    Hi Courtney, I’m in! Even though I just had my first and last yard sale ever, your list was detailed enough to get me to consider even more items I should part with right now! So here goes the list of what I collected:

    1. Small Kitchen Appliance: An unopened sandwich-maker and hand-held mixer
    2. Closet Items that don’t fit: Two shirts and a pair of pants I can’t zip up!
    3. Item from closet with tags: I don’t have any with tags but found a shirt my husband had.
    4. 20 Hidden items: My toddler’s clothes in case I had another (I don’t want another!)
    5. 2 Coffee Mugs: one says “I love my wife” and the other is plain, I think my husband will still love me if I donate it!
    6. Candle holder: Four tealight holders that have never ever been used, bad romance. sigh.
    7. 2 Winter Coats: Donating my huge down jackets that made me look like a black bear!
    8. 5 Trinkets: Hmmm…I don’t know what trinkets are but I just got rid of 5 shiny things!
    9. 10 Bathroom Products: Multiple spa products because Momma ain’t got no time for that!
    10. 2 Pieces of Art: Does a three-piece canvas combo count???
    11. Expired food: Out goes the freeze-burned ice cream!
    12. Unexpired food: Gave the brownie mix to my sister-in-law, sabotage much?
    13. 2 Tools not used in a year: one do-it-all swiss thingymajigy and a screw-driver
    14. Hobby I gave up: My picnic basket that never ever made it out in to the light of day
    15. 5 junk drawer pieces: two carabiners, some rope, random metal pieces (let’s go climbing)
    16. 2 Throw Pillows: Two out of four gone! (I use the other two)
    17. 10 books: Religion books donated to relgious organization (wasn’t helping me -_-)
    18. 2 Cookbooks: EPIC FAIL; never owned any! (sneakily donating my mother-in-laws maybe?)
    19. Kids Toys: Oh let me count the ways…a box full given the heave-ho!
    20. 10 mystery items: memory box items I no longer want to remember!

    Still have so much to get rid of even though I though I did so well with my yard sale :(! Thanks for the inspirationa as usual!

  35. Leslie says

    I am joining the scavenger hunt! I recently found your site and am enjoying going through your old posts. My husband and I recently were looking into buying a bigger home, so we started to declutter for the sake of “staging” our current home for sale. We now have decided to stay where we are and I have discovered I am loving having less stuff! I did not realize how much stuff we have that we really do not need! My house is not over loaded with stuff; I even have space in some cupboards, but we still have more things than we truley need to have. I will get the list started. Thank you for the encouragement!

    • Leslie says

      Okay I am done! I took me bits of time over the last few days, but I did it!
      Kitchen Appliance: Grilled Cheese maker
      Closet: 5 I don’t wear anymore and 3 that don’t fit
      Tags: I did have one item that had a tag (1 and only)
      20 hidden (I have a crawl space where we dump everything and anything): planter, labels for DVDs, a small container of old party supplies, 2 purses, 3 Easter baskets (we had 5 and only have 2 kids), 2 vases, wedding veil, wedding shawl, wedding knife and lifter set, bachelorette party supplies (all my friends are married now and I just never used them), stroller with rain cover, small booster seat, outdoor toys: ball, rackets for badminton (we have more than one set).
      coffee mugs: 2
      candle holder: 2
      winter coats: none, we save the ones for our young child and get rid of them as she grows out of them
      Trinkets: stone cow, 2 picture frames my child made, and wedding pin (a bag of jewelry when last weekend)
      Bathroom products: I got rid of a bag of products last weekend as well as a shopping bag of expired medication
      art: none
      Expired food from the freezer: bag of fish
      Pantry food: A few spices, a box of crackers, a package of oat meal
      Tools: tire gage (my hubby has most tools at work
      Hobby item: Knitting needles and how to book
      Junk Drawer: electrical plug covers, incent sticks, metal frames for boxes, nail file, cloth pins
      pillows: 2 from our bed (my hubby hates them anyways)
      Books: 11
      Cookbooks: 3
      Toys: 5 barbies, 3 pairs of dress up shoes (daughter kept one), 7 stuffed animals, tractor and track
      Mystery Items: sandwich cutters, glass cream pourer, volleyball, 2 Kleenex covers, wallet, 13 plastic hangers, bubbles (we have many bottles), old brushes and combs, timer, and a few bath toys.

      Many items are for sale and will only hold onto them for a couple weeks, a few items to friends, and the rest donated. It feels great!
      I still have more, so what is the next challenge!

  36. Ari says

    I’ll give this a go with my husband, some things we don’t have but a list is always fun.

  37. Vicki K says

    It took me (maybe) two hours but over three days…

    1)No small appliance so I subbed kitchen items:1 fork, 2 wooden spoons, knife, pie server
    2)3 tops gone from the closet
    3) No items with tags
    4) Hidden in the attic: gift wrap organizer, 6 rolls wrap, 8 bows, 10 tags
    5)No extra mugs: let go of nine custard cups instead
    6)Two mostly-gone jar candles
    7)A jean jacket & a winter coat gone to GW
    8) Trinkets: 4 unmatched earrings, pincushion, pillbox, set of pink buttons
    9)Bathroom items already culled but tossed 2 lipsticks, some cleaning products
    10)Two pieces of art that had been sitting around are now in the car for me to take to match frames to and get them on the wall
    11)Cleared frig of expired food
    12) Unexpired food: 2 dozen K-cups went to the office, and a bag of pasta and canned food is ready for the postal collection on Sat
    13)Tools: extra 6 pairs of knitting needles gone
    14)Hobby: Finished knitting up final ball of cotton for charity project
    15)Junk: 2 metal runners for drawers I don’t have, pen components, broken ruler
    16) Two regular bed pillows gone
    17)Eight books and two DVDs are in the car to take to used bookstore
    18)Cookbooks are already down to four…
    19)Wrote a list of toys to ask permission to declutter
    20)Twenty mystery items: sconce, 3 pkgs doilies, buttons, two bath towels(to the vet), 16 berry sprigs decor, mystery screws, dried up ink pad, paintbrush, two glasses holders, set of index cards

    That was fun!

  38. Erin Connor says

    I am participating and excited! Thank you for the inspiration and motivation!

  39. Beth says

    That was fun and I surprised myself with what clutter I still had. Here goes!

    1. Coffee machine – never used. Donated.
    2. 2 blouses, 1 T short – donated.
    3. Nothing still with tags on but I found 2 borrowed items that will be returned today.
    4.All sorts of bits and bobs from shed, loft and car. Quite a lot of it broken or unidentifiable. Bits of wood and old glass jars going for recycling.
    5. One cracked mug tossed and 2 perfect but surplus to requirements donated.
    6. No candle holders but one old electric candle tossed.
    7. Found one winter coat that I hardly wear so its being washed ready to donate.
    8. Bracelet, 1 pair earrings, small vase, fairy trinket box all donated, and found some old silver jewellery and some pearls which I’ll clean up and wear or sell :-)
    9. Tossed some old make up and some shower gel/bubble bath stuff that is half used and disliked by everybody, evidently (some I kept for cleaning toilet, a la Flylady!)
    10. All our unwanted pictures are gone already so nothing else to part with.
    11.Expired food tossed – 2 packets flour and some cinnamon tea bags.
    12. I buy a couple extra cans of food when I do weekly shop to drop in the food bank by the door.
    13.Broken moss rake taken for recycling, plus a couple rusty old drill bits.
    14. A cross stitch kit I never even started – donated,
    15. 2 pens, key to unknown lock, Xmas gift puzzle, pack of cards, wooden skewer things (I think) donated or recycled.
    16. Got no throw pillows to toss!
    17. 7 books donated and 3 borrowed ones ready to return.
    18. Kept 2 but found one to donate.
    19. Kids grown up and toys already gone.
    20. 3 dvds, sandwich box, small gravy jug, plastic flask, multi plug socket, old mobile phone, 3 magazines, pyrex cookware all donated or recycled.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  40. Jessica says

    My mom, sister-in-law, and I did this as a competition with each other…who could find the most?! I LOVED it! Setting the timer kept me from giving up when I was feeling a little worn out, and it kept me from wasting away my day on the darn iPad, as I am known to do! Gives me inspiration to do this on a weekly (maybe daily-starting out) routine! My Mom won…she found 64 items, my sister-in-law found 30, and I found 52! Great start, I think!

  41. says

    I’m in! My daughter and I are doing it on sunday- going all out, we have a list each!
    Thanks so much
    Jo and Grace xx

  42. Dawn says

    I’m in!!! Perfect timing! I just found your wesite this week. I’m new to the minimalist way of life, and this gets me off to a GREAT start. Wish me luck :)

  43. Katherine Foster Parramore says

    Got rid of hand mixer, blender, coffee maker and coffee grind when moving last August. Nothing left in the “small appliance” category that doesn’t get used. in fact my entire kitchen only contains 2 “small appliances” – a kuerig and a toaster. Both get used daily.

    3 items that don’t fit: None; my weight hasn’t changed more than 4 lbs since high school. However I did get rid of a couple of pairs of shoes that I literally never wore (don’t know how those escaped the moving purge) and decided that two necklines look good on me these days for anything that is something casual (e.g. no buttons) — so anything with a non flattering neckline got donated – 4 tops in all.

    1 item from your closet that still has tags: None, but have a gift with gift receipt that probably counts as a tag. But if I haven’t bothered to exchange it by now, I’m not going to so off it goes to the Youth Ranch Thrift Shop :)

    20 hidden items (stuffed in your garage, shed, or another hidden storage area) Since I literally still have a Bose Wave tape player, I still have tapes. A big decorative case full of tapes. Seriously – and I’m under 50. But decided — even tho no one else will probably give them a loving home — that anything I hadn’t listen to in the past year could get sent packing. So there’s you 20. So long Gin Blossoms…

    2 coffee mugs: Yep, but still have a bunch. Use the same 4-5 every week, but still will continue to hold onto things like my “Welcome Aboard Marine One” that is totally non-workable for a microwave (gold edge on it) just because how often to you get to ride in the Presidential helicopter?

    any candle holder that hasn’t held a candle in more than 6 months: Got rid of one wall sconce that I haven’t hung up since I moved. All others get used. Happy to take votives off anyone’s hands – LOL!

    2 winter coats – well, got rid of two coats, but one was a raincoat

    5 trinkets. Is a trinket a “shelf sitter” or “dust collector”? or is it jewelry you don’t wear? I purged jewelry en masse in Aug of 2013. But did manage to find that there was stuff I was keeping (mostly for the “don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings when they visit” factor) that could now find a new home.

    10 products in your bathroom that you haven’t used in more than 2 months: Couldn’t come up with ten, but what I did come up with still surprised me – again, give The Big Declutter of 2013. Still by some standards I probably have a lot of stuff — but I collect travel sizes for the 10 days of the month I do that, and when I get things from Costco it takes me a long time to use them up as a household of one. Thank God Listerine has no expiry date :)

    2 pieces of art that you don’t like to look at or haven’t looked at in months because they aren’t on the wall. Well, I took some professional certifications out of their frames, donated the frames and scanned the certs, then tossed the paper. Not “art” but were framed and not hanging. Just don’t think anyone wants my PMP certification to hang on their wall — but the frames will be great for someone else.

    any expired food in your fridge or freezer (toss this please)Potato pancakes with freezer burn seemed like a good starting point. Ditto wilted lettuce.

    any unopened, unexpired food in your pantry that you aren’t going to eat (donate this please) All of that got donated pre-move. This is why I now only buy gas, paper products and a few other items at Costco. How long does it take a single chick to eat 10 cans of white albacore tuna? Answer: long enough to learn not to buy things in sets of ten.

    2 tools you haven’t used in more than a year. Only have hand tools, a Swiss Army knife and a Leatherman. Still, three tape measures seemed like two too many.

    1 collection of goods to support a hobby you gave up (if you stopped camping, sewing, fishing, or coin collecting … it goes)I collect art glass and walking sticks from around the world. No anything needed to support the “hobby” except bestowing gratitude on the wondrous talents of those that have created same. Beautiful art — especially when it “tells a story” is soothing to the spirit, at least for me

    5 pieces from a junk drawer that you’ve been saving just in case (even though you don’t know how to use them) Well, I know HOW to use a book mark, just don’t use them. So the Harry Potter book mark (Harry with his wand) is joining the entire collection of HPs donated for the “10 books” below. Some others followed suit; mostly business books written prior to our everything-internet-is-evolving-in-the-next-five-minutes age of being…

    Other pieces: a bunch of frig magnets from doctors I don’t go to anymore or pizza joints that probably won’t deliver from the Outer Banks all the way to the Boise foothills…

    DVDs that went along with a core exercise ball that my pooch popped a couple of months ago. I like the smaller core ball over the big one anyway and probably could lose even more DVDs for my yoga/Pilates/Zumba routines. But if I use things, I keep them. Even if I have watched “The Hunt for Red October” so many times I have all the lines memorized –LOL!!!

    2 throw pillows that should have been thrown months ago. HA! Found one renegade that had escaped from last fall. I still have other throw pillows, but I like the ones I have and they get used :)

    10 books “The Collected Works of JK Rowling” and other tomes, as above. But paltry compared to the full set of Nancy Drews bestowed upon a deliriously happy 8 year old in 2013. Gotta love Freecycle.

    2 cookbooks: none left to toss, but did get rid of any editions of “Cooking Light” from the last six months that I haven’t pulled/scanned pages that I’ve then cooked from

    kids toys in storage … don’t have kids, but did unload some of my dogs stuff. HE collects things he finds in our creek, so after any storm we grow a collection of baseballs, street hockey balls, lacrosse, tennis – you name it. Off to our friend the dog trainer they go, they go.

    10 mystery items (anything goes)

    1) bed pad (unused) for a bed that didn’t get moved

    2,3,4) Three lamps with silk shades. My guest rooms in VA had no overhead lights, here every room has a ceiling light or a light/fan combo. So no need for table lamps!

    5) 2 sets of blue/brown window panels that probably made the trip because they were good for wrapping up art work
    6) a digital camera from years ago still in the blister pack
    7) a burn phone, still in the blister pack

    8-9 — okay, not giving these away, but am selling off a set of Bose wireless speakers that I’ve never hooked up, and Bose noise cancelling headphones that I wore once and pawed off my head like a dog pawing off a muzzle when I went to sleep on the plane.

    10) and an “air player” that I’ve never even taken out of the box. Think it’s for streaming internet radio? I don’t own an Ipod or any type of MP3 player and don’t subscribe to any cable/wireless anything beyond hi speed internet for my work. If anyone knows what an AirPlayer is, be sure to clue me in.

    Think that covers it!


  44. Andrea says

    I’m done and so happy! Thanks to you I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Like 200 pound backpack!

    So this is what I have accomplished today!

    1 small kitchen appliance – I do not have any that I don’t use, I donated many when I moved two years ago (from a superlarge home to a rambler), but I found an extra blades for the electric meat slicer I donated last year. While looking for stuff I found about 11 knives I don’t use so I donated them all

    3 items from your closet that do not fit you – my closet is already very organized but I found a couple of T-shirts that I really don’t wear anymore (only wore one once)

    1 item from your closet that still has tags – that was hard as I don’t have any but I decided to return a new jacket with tags on that my neighbor has given me so I took it back to her. It was two sizes too big and she has a friend who would like it.

    20 hidden items (stuffed in your garage, shed, or another hidden storage area) – I found a bunch of baking items, about 22 different cookie cutters and pastry brushes I don’t use. It was all hiding in my small storage shed.

    2 coffee mugs – I don’t have any that I don’t use but I found a small plastic mug with an alligator picture on it that was my son’t and he doesn’t use it anymore.

    any candle holder that hasn’t held a candle in more than 6 months – I found about 12 of those, this was a good one

    2 winter coats – an ugly white fluffy jacket I bought, it was big and I only bought it because they didn’t have my size and I wanted a white jacket. I also donated a big jean jacket I found in a consignment store and had to have it.

    5 trinkets – I found 7 pieces of cheap jewelry I no longer use

    10 products in your bathroom that you haven’t used in more than 2 months – three nail polishes I don’t use and 7 samples of various stuff from Birchbox – and yes, to make my life more simple I will unsubscribe from Birchbox – too much clutter.

    2 pieces of art that you don’t like to look at or haven’t looked at in months because they aren’t on the wall – four large prints from Alphonse Mucha that were faded beyond recognition, I didn’t donate, I recycled

    any expired food in your fridge or freezer (toss this please) – an old hoisin sauce and an old cheese that was moldy

    any unopened, unexpired food in your pantry that you aren’t going to eat (donate this please) – I gave some chocolates to my son’s school, they were still unopened and I got them as a gift and I don’t really care for 80% cocoa chocolate

    2 tools you haven’t used in more than a year – I have only tools we use but I have donated a folding rack for the car that was taking space in my closet

    1 collection of goods to support a hobby you gave up (if you stopped camping, sewing, fishing, or coin collecting … it goes) – knitting stuff I haven’t used in ages, now I just do armscarves

    5 pieces from a junk drawer that you’ve been saving just in case (even though you don’t know how to use them) – I got rid of two empty checkbooks, some stickers I won’t ever use, some pens and pencils that were broken

    2 throw pillows that should have been thrown months ago – I did this after Christmas but this time I donated a blanket.

    10 books – that was easy, I had over 35, took them to our local library.

    2 cookbooks – I took five to a local library

    kids toys in storage – I got rid of that a couple of years ago, instead, we organized pens and pencils and got rid of the ones that don’t write well

    10 mystery items (anything goes) – 27 items included empty wine bottles I was saving so I could make candle holders someday (yes, candle holders :)) I also donated several CDs and DVDs, a doll, a bell, and other small items.

    Thank you, thank you for this blog. I feel so much better and organized. I also organized my purse today and vacuumed and cleaned my car.

  45. Jenn says

    This will be my project this afternoon since our neighborhood has “bulk” pickup service in the morning and I’ve scheduled a donation truck pickup. Thanks – this will kick-off my de-cluttering resolution and I can’t wait to begin when I get home from work.

  46. Mitty says

    I’m in! Our church is having a yard sale, so that gives me extra motivation. The “mystery” items sound like a fun challenge!

  47. Elise says

    I’m in! My list will be an ‘interpretation,’ but will stay as close to the original items as possible! I even found a babysitter for a couple hours tomorrow afternoon so I could do this — it’s a Mother’s Day gift to myself!!

  48. Judy says

    20 items from closet -11 items event to consignment store, 9 items to Goodwill
    2 shirts with tags to consignment store
    24 various items from garage and basement. Majority of items were trash, some went to Goodwill. My husband is still working on garage
    2 coffee mugs
    I found a candle holder never used and a pack of candles. All went to Goodwill.
    2 winter coats to Consignment store
    Trinkets – 9 pieces of jewelry to Goodwill and consignment store
    10 bathroom products
    2 pieces of art went to Goodwill
    I threw away food from freezer and refrigerator.
    I gave my grandchildren granola bars we will not eat.
    2 tools found which were no good.
    Some candle wax and book on making candles will be donated
    5 pieces from junk drawer were thrown out
    2 throw pillows were thrown out
    10 books and 2 cookbooks were donated
    12 mystery items collected from wellbeing and storage were thrown out.
    I could not find any kitchen appliance. In the last couple of years I have donated or sold an espresso maker, rice cooker, bread machine and juicer so every appliance I have, I use.
    Also, I have no toys in storage. My grandchildren play with the games and toys we have when they visit.
    The scavenger hunt was fun and helped to get rid of a lot.

  49. Amy says

    Unfortunately, I didn’t see this post until after the 9th, but I still wanted to see if I was up for the challenge of this scavenger hunt! I thought I had done a great job of decluttering last month, but realized I still had so much in my home that I needed to deal with. We’re hoping to move in the next few months, and since we’ll be moving ourselves (no company hired truck this time!), this challenge has been a real eye opener!

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  51. Anne-Marika says

    Courtney, did you choose the lucky winners of the digital goodies? Who were they?