Day 1: 30 Day Decluttering Challenge

“You really only wear a few of your favorite clothes over and over again anyway.”


That was the argument I’d heard for getting rid of clothes. But it wasn’t enough for me.

Clothing Challenge

I actually did wear all of my clothes so I didn’t have to do laundry as frequently.


Maybe that was ok for college life, but after that, the amount of clothing I had was no longer practical. It was a big burden.

What helped me was slowly weeding out my least favorites and then realizing which ones I reached for most when all my clothes were clean.

I tried putting my favorites aside and only wearing those for a while.

This helped me notice any clothes that I thought were my favorite but didn’t end up being a favorite compared to my other favorites.

In less than a year, this process helped me go from about 20 pairs of jeans to 3. And I never feel like that isn’t enough. I really can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think it’s the perfect amount for me.

I used to think I needed variety in jeans, but now I instead value jeans that are versatile in that they look good with anything. Then my shirts can provide the variety.


Today’s Task: If this is your first time tackling clutter, or if it’s been a while and you’re trying to establish a habit, then start small. Just try getting rid of 3 pairs of pants. OR you could try only keeping 5-10 of your favorites (if you’ve done this before, you could try to get it to a smaller number).

Here are some things that made it easier for me:

Get rid of them if…

  • they had holes in the back pockets (Ya’ll, I seriously kept them for the longest time and just wore a really long shirt with them. So embarrassing!)
  • they were too tight or too big
  • they were too short
  • they had stains that annoyed me


If this has you excited or was helpful to you in any way, be sure to add your email address to my list (so you’ll get each post sent to your inbox as a reminder of the challenge). And share this with your friends so they can join in the fun and freedom. Thanks!

30 Day Clutter-Free Clothing Challenge!

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.

-Ralph Martson

After the huge response during my Clutter-Free by Thanksgiving Challenge, I’ve decided to do another one to help those of us who are trying to have less clutter in 2016.

Clothes is a great place to start, and I’ll explain why once we get started. Plus, I’ve been doing my first capsule wardrobe and can share what I’ve learned after a month or two.

The focus will be on clothes, but most of the tips and quotes could be applied to any category of items.

It seems like just having a daily reminder and inspiration went a long way for everyone who participated last time.

Clothing Challenge

Below is what a typical email will look like (plus a quote like the one at the top of this post):


Pre-Challenge: Day 0

I use the KonMari method of decluttering, which is basically going through each item you own and getting rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy.

Last January, as I helped people establish decluttering habits, I found out that they had gotten rid of a lot during December because they were home more.

So if you’re motivated now, why wait until January?

Let’s get some preliminary stuff out of the way so it’ll be easier to keep going when school/work schedules kick back in.


Today’s Task: Set yourself up for success by setting up a box for donations. That way, whenever you find something that doesn’t spark joy, you know where to put it. Also, whenever you know you’ll be going near a thrift store (which is 45 minutes away for me), you know where to go to grab all the items you want to donate.

And if you haven’t already, then subscribe to my newsletter so you’ll see each day’s challenge in your inbox.

That’s it.

I intentionally keep them short because I want you to spend your precious time applying what you’ve learned instead of just reading a lot about decluttering and not doing the work. 🙂

I also don’t want you to glance at an email and think, “I don’t have time to read that now.” I want this to be something that can work even for people with busy schedules.

So what are you gonna do today that could improve all your tomorrows?

Clutter Rules!

Decluttering used to seem about as fun as following a list of rules against all the things I like doing. So I wanted to make a new list.

This one’s for the Rule-Breakers.

Clutter Rules

I hope you enjoy this bit of fun reverse-psychology to help you conquer your clutter:

Rule 1: Throw everything out the window!

Rule 2: Buy things just because they’re on sale.

Rule 3: Put anything you don’t have a place for in the floor. Keep adding to the piles.

Rule 4: Fit as much stuff as you can into one room so you can close the door when company is over and then take hours to find stuff when you need it! Who’s excited?! 😀

Rule 5: Don’t bother trying to encourage others to declutter.

Rule 6: Whatever you do, don’t read stories about how people downsized.

Rule 7: Don’t watch hoarders. I know you want to, but resist the urge. I believe in you!

Rule 8: Don’t get rid of anything even if it would only take 5 minutes.

Rule 9: Don’t be grateful for what you already have. Always be on the lookout for something new!

Rule 10: Accept anything that’s free. It’s free! Hello! Take it home and fill your house with free stuff until you have to buy a bigger house because you have so much awesome free stuff. That isn’t a hassle at all.

Rule 11: Remember, you might use it one day. It’s not like you could go to a thrift store or dollar store or Amazon Prime and get it if/when you actually want to use it. No, you need to keep it now in a pile that makes you cringe to go near it because it screams obligation.


Don’t those sound like great rules to live by? Got any other Clutter Rules? Leave them in the comments or share them on social media to let me know. #ClutterRules!

Oh, I’ve got one more:

Bonus Rule: Be sure to miss next week’s post about the 30 Day Challenge in January, and don’t subscribe to my newsletter or you’ll get it in your inbox! Eek!

Why the Holiday Season is a Good Time to Declutter

After I’d written this and scheduled it to be posted, I had a lady in my Clutter-Free by Thanksgiving course post to our Facebook group that she wants her living room to be clutter-free so that pictures of opening presents aren’t ruined by junk in the background.

It was such a good point, I couldn’t believe I didn’t already have it on the list. Below you’ll find 8 more reasons to declutter at this time of year!

Grechen Rubin Quote

1. You’re home more.

That’s where a lot of the clutter is. So many people find it difficult to declutter because they are hardly ever at home. Especially if you are a student or teacher, take advantage of this time to declutter instead of filling your calendar with places to be!


2. Other people are home more.

They can help declutter or watch the kids so you can focus on the clutter.


3. You’ll be getting an influx of items as gifts.

Instead of letting that get you further behind, get rid of stuff now so that you’ll have a place for the new. This can be a good way to approach the topic with kids. Discuss the negative affects of keeping all of the old and the new (less space to play, taking longer to clean up, etc). Wouldn’t they rather get rid of some of the old instead of not getting anything new?


4. You’ll know what to add to your Christmas list.

Or at least you’ll have a better idea of what you already have and don’t have (or would like to replace because it doesn’t function as well as it used to).


5. Decorations!

Go ahead and get them out and evaluate what you actually want to use. Get rid of the rest (this is the time of year that will be easiest to get rid of it because people are using decorations right now) and reduce the chaos in the attic.


6. Attack the attic!

Speaking of the attic, while you’re there you might as well glance around for another box or two that you could go through to get rid of stuff. You know, the ones you said you’d unpack later. The ones you forgot about. The ones you had the best intentions about. There’s probably stuff up there that would be easy to get rid of, stuff you’ll think you were crazy for thinking you’d ever use. This is the time to get rid of it. Don’t put it off for a more convenient day because it probably won’t come.


7. Check your gift stash.

If you’ve done so well all year at buying gifts so you could be prepared, make sure you’re sorting through it so that you don’t end up wasting money buying more than you need to. You’re welcome! Then you’ll also be getting rid of those gifts soon and freeing up more space. Win!


8. New Year’s Resolutions are around the corner.

If you start decluttering now, you’ll have some routines and momentum established to keep you going as you return to work. Even if being clutter-free isn’t at the top of your list, decluttering can impact so many other areas of your life. You know, the ones a lot of people make New Year’s Resolutions about.

“People tell me, ‘I cleaned my desk, and now I feel like I can go running in the morning!’ ”

-Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before, a book about how to change our habits

(Check out her fascinating interview on The Lively Show podcast!)


If you could use some help decluttering, I’d love for you to sign up for my newsletter! That’s where I share even more free tips and challenges (I’ve got one coming up in January!) and gifts of appreciation.


14 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas

Not only do gifts have the possibility of becoming clutter for the recipient, but they can take up a lot of space in your home until you give them away.


The list below will help you as the giver but can also help you come up with ideas of what to say when someone asks what you want for Christmas. (Some of them do take up space but not a lot.) I also love these gifts because the focus is on creating memories not just on possessions.

  1. A class. Dance lessons. Karate. Painting. Pottery. Financial Peace University. So many fun things to learn.
  2. A subscription. For kids who like Legos: (like Netflix with Legos). For clothes, I’ve heard people who love Gwynnie Bee (women’s sizes 10-32…I’m super jealous that this isn’t in my size!) and StitchFix. I don’t know if you realize how great Amazon Prime is, but I feel like everyone must know by now. If not, do yourself a favor and sign up for their free trial. Even though subscriptions like this can be pricey for a Christmas gift, some can be given to a whole household so you’re covering more than one person on your list.
  3. A seasonal pass. This could be to a theme park, a state or national park, or a local science center. If you’re like me and have siblings with lots of kids, this could be fun for a whole family.
  4. An online course. You can find online courses about pretty much anything. Just check out Udemy. If you know someone who is trying to declutter, you could give them my Clutter-Free by Thanksgiving course. Or if they wonder how other people accomplish so much each day, they could sign up for Heather Parady’s time-management course.
  5. E-books. Or if they don’t read e-books, you could give them a book about decluttering. My favorite is the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
  6. A recording. Depending on your skills, you could record a song, a video, or a book you’ve written. This is so fun and can allow for a lot of creativity while still being an amazing gift even if you keep it simple.
  7. Food! It won’t take up space for long. It could be cookies, pie, or Rice Krispies. Or you could buy all the ingredients to a recipe. Or give a busy mom a freezer meal. Buy a college student a nice supply of their favorite snacks. People will love you for this gift. 🙂 Or give them a subscription to Nature Box.
  8. Make a donation. A lot of places let you make a donation in honor of someone, or you could do it in memory of someone very special to them. A year or two ago, I wrote a note to my mom on her mirror that I was donating to a camp for kids who have lost someone in their immediate family. She still has it on her mirror. I donated to that camp because her mom died when she was 12. Over the years, I’ve realized how much it affected her and still affects her. This can be a really meaningful gift. If you’re looking for a charity to donate to, The Hope Effect is a great one!
  9. Tickets. Movies. Concerts. Ballgames. Plays.
  10. Day Pass. Chuck E. Cheese. Laser Tag. Ice Skating. Bowling.
  11. Vacation. Roadtrip. Camping. Marriage Conference.
  12. Homemade Coupons. Foot massage. One phone-free (or electronics-free) day. Cook a meal. Play a game together. Go for a walk. Help them declutter! Give a coupon for whatever they like to do and agree to do it when they’re ready to redeem their coupon.
  13. Pay for a Sitter. Or be the sitter. Let the parents go on a date, run errands, or just have some free-time.
  14. Organizing Supplies. This one’s tricky because some things we typically think of as organizational items can actually invite clutter. Bins and containers aren’t the best option. My favorite items are things that help utilize vertical space. Hooks for over the door, shelves, or those clear plastic drawers.


Which ones are you gonna try? Did I miss anything? Leave a comment to let us know!