Could you find 2,017 things in your home to declutter in 2017? Sounds overwhelming, right? Believe it or not, last year I not only got rid of 2,016 things, but 7,000 things! And the year before, 2015, I got rid of…. you guessed it 2,015 things. Now my home is calmer, my load lighter and my heart warmer. Let me share with you my secrets to success.
A Novel Idea from an Inspirational Minimalist
I first heard of this type of challenge from an awesome minimalist I follow, Joshua Becker. You can read his story here. On his journey to living with less, he had the great idea of working on removing X amount of items for the year X. Each year he did the same following the same guidelines.
After I found Joshua’s post, I knew this type of challenge was a great one for me. It was analytical (I am a rule follower and love a good competition even against myself) and also simple to follow. I started in January 2015 by vowing to clear my home of 2,015 things.
I actually thought this task would be easy. I quickly realized it was not. 2,015 things is a lot especially when you don’t have a ton of time to devote to it. And how do you keep track? And what do you do with the stuff? Yes, it may seem overwhelming but if you like a good challenge and want to clear out some stuff this “game” is for you.
The 2017 Things in 2017 Game
What you need:
Three bins or boxes you will use over and over: one donation box, one trash box, one “goes somewhere else or to someone else” box
A pen & notebook for tracking
A plan for what you will do with the items you don’t want. Examples would be donate it all, sell some on eBay, have a rummage sale, etc.
A desire to want to live with less
How to Play
Start with one room of your home and go through the entire space to clear out any and all excess. You may be able to tackle it all in one day or it could take months. Some good places to start are easy spots such as the kitchen or living room. When you remove an item, simply make a hashtag in your notebook. I usually added them up until there were 100 and then started another row. And it doesn’t have to be 100% accurate. Good enough is good enough. Here is a complete list of areas you could declutter from:
office space at work
backyard (sandbox, shed, play areas, etc)
But what about…..
There were a lot of questions that came up as my decluttering started to unfold. Do I count a whole box of crayons as one thing or many? What if I’m simply am replacing something – does that count? Do I count paper, expired medicine, etc? Below are some “rules” I gave for myself. Use them as you’d like but remember, your journey is your journey. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Heck, you may not even have the time or desire to count things. But, if you do, I can guarantee you will soon begin to notice the positive effects it has on the home.
2017 Things in 2017 Basic “Rules”
Count an item that has many pieces as one thing: a puzzle, a board game, a box of crayons
I typically don’t count items I am simply replacing like a toothbrush, new tennis shoes because the other ones are worn.
I do count things like paper files and photos but typically by the handfuls. Each handful is one “thing”.
You can even challenge yourself by trying to do an X amount of items in one day or one weekend or from one area. I would often say to myself “Ok, let’s try to declutter 100 things this weekend from the office”.
I never counted consumables like food or toiletries.
I never took pictures of the item or wrote down what it was — although I have heard of other people that do!
What You Gain by Letting Go
When removing this large amount of items from the home, you will instantly begin to feel more calm inside the space. Less things to clean up. Less things to dust. Less things to take care of. You will also start to feel more in control of how you choose to life your life. Your possessions no longer possess you! You begin to realize what you truly need to be happy and content and also what things you can go without. You start to appreciate your possessions more as you discard those that don’t serve a purpose.
A change inside the heart begins when we let go of the “things” that have a hold on our life. We realize that life is more than just what we “have”…. it is about the internal and unique gifts we can share with others. Realizing our identity is not defined by what we keep but rather what we give away.