7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Woman organizing home
Photo by dreamerve / Shutterstock.com

Like many Americans, I suffer from TMSS — Too Much Stuff Syndrome. While I long to declutter, the sheer amount of stuff crowding the rooms is overwhelming.

I could start from one corner and work methodically around each room. But I’m more likely to follow through if I have a challenge to motivate me.

Here are seven systems I have considered to help get me going. They might also help you kiss the clutter goodbye.

5 a day

This is a simple concept, but it gives you a daily goal and breaks decluttering into bite-size bits. As the name implies, a “Five a Day” system involves unloading five items from your house every day.

I find it’s best to put a box in the back of my van and place usable items in the box each night. Items that can’t be salvaged end up in the trash.

When the box of usable items is full, it goes straight to the thrift store.

In my experience, packing a box in the house means you’ll have a box in the corner for weeks, if not months. Storing it in the van makes it easy to move unwanted items out of the house ASAP.

40 bags in 40 days

The 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge is the brainchild of blogger Ann Marie Heasley. It was created to coincide with the Christian observance of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. However, you can do the challenge at any time that is convenient.

Heasley’s system is essentially the Five a Day challenge on steroids. Rather than unload a few items each day, you ditch an entire bag of stuff. According to Heasley:

“Don’t focus on the bags. Focus on getting all of the unnecessary stuff out in one spot per day. Don’t go nuts and tackle five spots because you want to prove something. Don’t get all bummed out because you missed a day (or ten). Just focus on one. spot. per. day.”

2020 in 2020

If you need extreme decluttering, the 2020 in 2020 challenge may be right for you. This system requires — you guessed it — that you get rid of 2,020 items by the end of this year.

Blogger Rachel Jones first used this technique about a decade ago. According to Jones:

“The rules are your own: If you have a stack of magazines to get rid of, you may count it as one item, or you can count each magazine as an item. You may even guess the number! The point is just to get rid of it.”

We’re getting a bit late in the year, so you’ll need to be ambitious if you plan to tackle this challenge! If you don’t feel quite up to that, start planning for 2021 in 2021.

The 100 thing challenge

Popularized by author Dave Bruno’s book of the same name, this decluttering method challenges you to live with the bare minimum: just 100 things.

In Bruno’s case, he distinguished between personal items and family items. Shared goods such as the kitchen table, plates and food didn’t count toward the 100 things. Instead, he limited personal possessions to 100 items. Of course, you can make up rules that suit your family.

12-12-12

Maybe you don’t want to simply declutter, you want to organize, too. The 12-12-12 system combines both objectives.

Joshua Becker of the blog Becoming Minimalist came up with this approach. Each day, you find 12 items to donate, 12 items to throw away and 12 items that need to be returned to their proper location. Becker says:

“On more than one occasion, this challenge actually became a quick competition between my wife and me … and your kids don’t have to be too old to participate as well.”

Project 333

In her Project 333 “minimalist fashion challenge,” Courtney Carver came up with the idea of limiting her wardrobe to only 33 pieces of clothing for three months.

Once the challenge is over, decide which items of clothing are keepers and which need to go. Then, do it all again until you have permanently pared down your closet to a manageable size.

Pantry challenge

Take this decluttering challenge to clear out the pantry, freezer and fridge while saving money at the same time. A pantry challenge can be as short as a week or as long as a month. The goal is to eat from what you have on hand and severely limit your grocery shopping.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy. Here’s where I shop for these items instead of a warehouse club.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2020
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2020

Follow these tips to save — so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State
Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State

Are you on track to retire at the same age as most residents of your state?

8 Amazon Picks Under $30 for Coffee Lovers
8 Amazon Picks Under $30 for Coffee Lovers

We’ve brewed up a list of amazing Amazon products that are sure to perk you up.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease
Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

One type of food associated with the Mediterranean diet offers especially large benefits.

5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less
5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less

In this week’s podcast: tips on retiring overseas — from someone who’s been helping American expats for decades.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them
15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them

Retailers mark up products by hundreds of times their cost — but you don’t have to pay the premium.

Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security
Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security

Growing numbers of seniors are paying taxes on their Social Security benefits, but you might be able to avoid this fate.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.