Saturday, May 5, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - 7 Items for 7 Days over 7 Months Challenge: Part 1

Over the next seven months we will be exploring the heaviness of accumulation and the lightness of letting go.  Each month, we will choose seven consecutive days to consciously declutter our homes and thus our lives.  We will baby-step our way to a new us!


The Goal:  FREEDOM!

Once you let go of the drama surrounding your life wonderful things will start to happen.  Change your relationship with your memories and your stuff and they will no longer own you.


The End:

I know this sounds like a really weird place to begin but if we don’t know where we’re going we will end up anywhere (loosely paraphrased from Alice in Wonderland).  Ask yourself these questions: “How do I want to feel when I enter (bedroom/bathroom/office) ________ room?”  “How do I want to use this room?”  "What does this room or my clothes say about me right now?"  "What do I want my surroundings and things to say about me?"

Do you have some pictures from magazines or model homes that will help you keep this feeling and guide you through the process?  Is a room going to have to be multifunctional, such as office/guest room?  Or do you just want to be able to actually wear the clothes in your closet and be able to see the floor?


The Beginning:

Let me start by saying that we all have clutter of one form or another.  We will delve deeper into the types of clutter at another time but for now we are concerned with letting go slowly and in a healthy manner.

Where To Start?

During this challenge, choose one room or section of a room per day.  Remember, it took us a long time to get where we are today so we have to be kind to ourselves and give us time to adapt.

Here is an example, let's say this is the first seven days:

  1. Seven items from the closet (Old items that were never worn or are in such bad shape that they're embarrassing to wear.)
  2. Seven items from the linen closet (Old, stained towels or empty containers)
  3. Seven items from the kitchen (Outdated food items or storage containers that no longer have lids)
  4. Seven books
  5. Seven items from the coat closet (Mittens without a match, outgrown boots, broken umbrella)
  6. Seven items from the garage (Broken garden tools, the old dishes from the kitchen)
  7. Seven items from the bathroom (Hotel soaps, lotions, shampoos or old brushes)

Other areas to consider for this week or next: desk, office space, under the bed, guest room closet, pictures that never got hung up, kitchen cabinets, pantry, junk drawer, mending pile, magazines...  Start with items that are obvious you're no longer using, beyond repair or you have no personal attachment.  That's not to say that someone else in your family won't be attached to an item, so be careful!

During the first week, let's concentrate on donating or throwing away items.  As we progress we can start looking at items for recycling or re-purposing.

Not really into donating your items?  Have a garage sale or post items on the internet at the end of each of the seven days.  You'll have at least 49 items to sell.  Make a rule with yourself that if the items do not sell then they are either to be donated or thrown away.  If you're not ready for that bold of an action, hold onto the items until the completion of the next seven day spree and try selling again.  Be sure to give yourself a deadline with getting rid of the item one way or another.

By the time we are done with the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 7-7-7 Challenge, we will have visited every room in our house at least once getting rid of anything we don't or haven't used, addressing items no longer in proper condition to use, and given a permanent home to the remaining items that we use and love.

Are you ready to start the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 7-7-7 Challenge?  Sign up below and share along with us what you were able to do each day and how you felt.