The 10-10-100 Decluttering Challenge will help you have more fun decluttering, making it easier to let go of stuff and clutter. Even though we know how to declutter, our procrastination tendencies kick in when it’s time to get started. We think, “today is the day to start decluttering” and our friend, procrastination steps in and offers the following …
- “There is so much to do.”
- “Where should we start?”
- “Is that really the best place to start?”
- “What’s on Netflix?”
- “Did you exercise today?”
- “This is going to take forever.”
- “Come on, it’s your day off. Do you really want to spend it decluttering?”
- “There will be plenty of time tomorrow to get started.”
The secret to overcoming procrastination when it comes to decluttering is to build momentum. It also helps to trick procrastination into having fun. Instead of making your decluttering project a big chore, turn it into a challenge. Bonus: a challenge may interest decluttering resistant family members too.
The 10-10-100 Decluttering Challenge: 10 Spaces, 10 Minutes, 100 Things
Procrastination will fight our intention to spend a full day decluttering, but 10 minutes? We can do anything for 10 minutes. Choose a space, set a timer for 10 minutes and put 10 items from each space in a box or bag. By the time you finish, procrastination won’t know what hit him. Use the momentum you create by tackling another space, or going for 10 more items in the space you are in.
You may not need to declutter all 10 of these spaces so choose the ones that resonate with you and add on spaces as needed. Craft this decluttering challenge to fit your lifestyle. Pick any 10 spaces, set your timer for 10 minutes and remove at least 10 items per space. Make this challenge your own. Some spaces will take less than 10 minutes. If you don’t have the time or energy to work on 10 spaces in one day, spread your efforts over several days.
1. Start with your handbag.
Dump the contents from your daily bag. This might be a purse, backpack, briefcase, tote or other bag. Declutter all of the items you don’t use. Only add the items you use back in. After the intitial 10-minute declutter, consider a weekly reset for your bag to prevent clutter creep. Feel lighter by carrying less.
2. Declutter 10 items from your bathroom.
Get rid of old cosmetics (see this for expiry guidelines), expired prescriptions and OTC meds (here’s how to dispose of them). Take a sweep through each drawer and cabinet. If there are unopened items (toothpaste, shampoo, soap) or similar items that you know you will never use, donate to a local shelter. Check towels and other bathroom supplies. If you have an excessive amount, consider letting some go.
3. Take 10 from your hidden clutter spots.
What’s hiding in your hall closet, in the basement, or that other room you never go in. Hidden clutter is still clutter. If it’s been a while since you’ve been in these spaces, you may not even remember what’s in there. That means, you don’t miss it or need it and it may be easy to say goodbye.
4. Remove kitchen clutter from your pantry.
Donate fresh, unopened items to your local food bank or community fridge/pantry. Or, challenge yourself to the No-Spend Pantry Challenge and use everything in your pantry before buying anything new. Remove spices, sauces and other items you don’t use. If you feel inspired after declutter your pantry, try declutter your refrigerator and freezer.
Declutter anything from your nightstand that makes the space feel cluttered. Instead of a pile of books, prioritize the one you are reading. Create a slow, peaceful space that encourages sleep.
6. Clear out closet clutter.
Removing 10 things from your closet might not be that hard. Start with anything that doesn’t fit your body or your lifestyle. Then pull a few pieces that you never ever wear. If there are a few pairs of shoes in there that hurt your feet, they can go too. For more closet decluttering, try the Project 333 challenge.
7. Paper and photographs.
If you are on a simplicity journey, chances are you want to live with less paper and fewer photographs. Let the 10-10-100 challenge be a fun way to get started with your piles of paper and photos. To make extra progress in this area, declutter the piles while you watch your favorite movie. Temptation bundling allows you do something you don’t want to do while you do something you want to do. If a movie doesn’t work, try a podcast or playlist.
8. Get rid of those emails.
If your inbox has become a 2 year to-do list, start deleting for 10 minutes at a time. If it’s a lost cause, consider email bankruptcy (select.all.delete.). Moving forward, create an easy schedule that doesn’t stress you out or let emails build up. Try removing email from your phone and only checking in 1-3 times a day. When you open your inbox, select all of your messages and only de-select the ones you want to read.
9. Work on desk or office clutter.
Are there things on your desk, in drawers or hiding in a filing cabinet that you can easily let go of? Let go of the things in your office that don’t contribute to you doing good work. If your physical workspace is clear and clean, try removing 10 items from your digital work spaces.
10. Declutter your mind.
What’s swirling around up there? Write down 10 things that are on your mind, weighing you down, and preventing you from thinking clearly. The simple process of moving your worries from brain to paper will help you figure out the next step.
Come back to the 10-10-100 Decluttering Challenge anytime you want to create some space or make a dent in your decluttering efforts. Consider these other decluttering challenges and resources to continue to build decluttering momentum.