It’s not quite spring yet, but I can feel it coming soon. While spring is a great time to spring clean your house and your finances wouldn’t you rather be outside soaking up the sun instead of stuck in your basement or bedroom cleaning it out? Me, too. Before we can get started on cleaning up our finances this spring (excited to share that challenge with you soon!) I’m working on cleaning up our clutter.
Why focus on cleaning up the clutter?
Clutter cramps my style. I loathe clutter. To me it’s just more stuff to put away, clean, or fix. I would much rather have less stuff so I can spend more time doing more important things like watching House of Cards.
More importantly clutter also represents wasted money. Those $1 spot bargains don’t look like such bargains when you have 500 of them. That third pair of black flats you bought-so not necessary. The 21st jar of tomato sauce in your pantry? Let’s just say you will be eating a LOT of pasta this month.
My former career as an organizer
In a previous incarnation I worked occasionally as an organizer. I would help clients organize their spaces and figure out the ‘why’ behind their clutter. It was like being part psychologist and part cleaner. It was a great job, but it definitely took a lot of energy. You seriously wouldn’t be able to tell if you look at my house now though-it also takes a lot of time, something that is at a premium these days. So, instead I focus on our problem areas once a week and do big organizing jobs once a month. It still doesn’t mean our house is perfectly organized, but it helps.
Organizing helps you find money (sometimes literally)
Whenever I worked in someone’s home we literally found money. One client! found several hundred dollars in gift cards-all still usable! Another found savings bonds she had been given many year ago. Another client had been hunting for some important tax documents and we found them and she was able to file her taxes for the prior year and get a hefty tax refund, too. They would often find It happens in my house, too. Like the time while cleaning out my coat closet and found a $20 bill in my pocket.
Beyond finding actual money you’ll also find stuff you no longer need or want. You may find items that you can sell. You can set those items aside and spend an hour or two once a week posting them online. We’ll also cover a ton of ways you can sell items and the benefits of donating, too.
Are you ready to get started?
The 5/Day Clutter Challenge
The guidelines are simple.
- Dump 5 things: Find 5 things a day that you can get rid of. Size doesn’t matter. It could be a spoon or a chair. you have to dump them though. Break up with them. Tell them ‘it’s not you, it’s me, I need more space.’ (It’s true!)
- Set them aside: Find somewhere to put your things aside like your garage, laundry room, or a front hall closet. Use a box (my preferred method) or a reusable bag (if you’re like me and have 600 of them). Don’t worry-at the end of the 30 days or once a week you can get rid of your items. We’ll talk more about that later.
- Mark it down on a list: If you’re going to track what you’re selling or donating a list is handy. A quick item note, an estimated dollar amount for something used, and you’re good to go.
- No shopping: Oh yeah, and you can’t buy anything for 30 days that isn’t a need. No shopping from Target’s dollar spot (in fact just stay out of Target), and no buying more stuff. Obviously you can still buy groceries and buy new sneakers if yours need to be replaced, but if you can wait-wait.
- Get rid of it all: At the end of the week or 30 days (whatever works for you) those items will be gone or in process of leaving. And you’ll be ready to keep going.
By the end of 30 days you’ll have 150 things to get rid of, though I suspect you may get rid of much, much more. Even better now you’ll be ready to start spring with a clean slate and maybe even a little cash in your pocket.
Ready to get started?
- Get started. No, really. It’s that easy.
- Sign up for our email list and get daily tips, ideas, and links you can use. You’ll also get two handy checklists. I made a simple one (hey, it is about simplifying!) and an itemized one for those of us who are organizing nerds. It will help you track where your items are going/went and how much you earned or donated.
- Follow my social media accounts for updates: Facebook, Instagram, and twitter. Tag your updates with #5adayclutter
- Share the challenge. Tell your friends, your neighbors, your college roommate, and your mom. Share it on Facebook. Tweet about it. Repost my Instagram. The more you share, the more clutter we get rid of collectively.
[Tweet “Dumping clutter and simplifying? Sign me up! #5adayclutter challenge w/ @centsiblelife http://wp.me/pu3A7-3KP “]
- Join our Facebook group to get inspired and stay connected with other 5/day challengers.
Have questions? Check out our FAQs page or ask in the comments.