A 30 Day Declutter Challenge Printable is the perfect way to kick start your decluttering process into gear! I have created a printable guide to get you through 30 days of decluttering every area of your home.
Continue reading to learn how to declutter sustainably. The hardest part of decluttering for me is all the waste. I have certain items in my home that I have not decluttered simply because I do not know the best way to get rid of all the stuff. I don’t want to keep filling trash bag after trash bag.
This challenge is meant to be done in short bursts each day so you do not get burnt out. This is not a deep declutter of each space, but a quick once-over of each of the following spaces in order to lighten the load and give you extra motivation to make sure that everything in your home is intentional.
Why would I want to do a 30 day decluttering challenge?
Decluttering quickly through the entire house will help you take the first step toward decluttering your entire home. By the end of the month, you will have taken note of any areas that might need more attention in the future and you will have given every area of your home a little love. As I said, I am not trying to create minimalists here.
Once you complete the challenge, simple decluttering can become a simple daily task that you no longer have to stress over.
As humans, we change over time. Our interests change and we may no longer have use for items we once loved. That is okay. No guilt necessary! It is okay to change our mind on items and the best way to get rid of the guilt is to make sure that we declutter those items responsibly.
How to Declutter Sustainably
Just because you are decluttering does not mean you have to become a minimalist. This challenge is not here to tell you to get rid of everything you own. That is not sustainable, and not part of my values at The Homestead Challenge. But, even if we are sustainably minded or working our way to a more eco-friendly home, stuff somehow still seems to build up.
In my mind, a sustainable home contains all the things you love, need, and choose to hang on to for future use. I’ve read the Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’ve decluttered Marie Kondo style and while I love the idea of keeping items that “spark joy,” I also like to keep some extras.
Where can I get rid of my decluttered items?
- Thrift stores like your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other small local stores will accept items in good condition. If you donate undesirable items, they will not put them in stores and will instead put them in the trash, so be sure to only donate the nicest items possible.
- Facebook is one of my favorite places to make some extra cash. Between Facebook Marketplace and local $1 Auction Groups, you can not only sell items quickly and easily, but you can be sure that your item is going directly to another person and not to landfill.
- Most cities have a Recycling center in addition to their curbside recycling program. Simply search your city online and see what they accept.
- Terracycle is a company that specializes in recycling odds and ends that are not easily recyclable elsewhere. They have a variety of free and paid options for your home or work.
- Local churches are an excellent choice for donations because they often seek out specific families who need the items. They often take anything for kids and babies to help families in need.
- Women’s Shelters are also great places for kid and babies items. In addition, they often accept gently worn business wear and unused make up and skin care products.
The 30 Day Declutter Challenge
Click below to the day to find out how to sustainably declutter each category.
- Day 1: Tupperware
- Day 2: Clothing
- Day 3: Medicine Cabinet
- Day 4: Essential oil bottles
- Day 5: Fridge
- Day 6: Technology (digital)
- Day 7: Technology (physical items)
- Day 8: Catch Up Day
- Day 9: Old toxic candles
- Day 10: Junk Drawer
- Day 11: Kids toys
- Day 12: Pantry
- Day 13: Towels and Rags
- Day 14: Shoes
- Day 15: Catch Up Day
- Day 16: Mail and Paper Clutter
- Day 17: Garage Chemicals
- Day 18: Arts and Crafts Supplies
- Day 19: Holiday and Seasonal Decorations
- Day 20: Paperwork
- Day 21: Make up, skin care, bath products
- Day 22: Kitchen small appliances
- Day 23: Catch Up Day
- Day 24: Kitchen pots, pans, bakeware
- Day 25: Entertaining Items
- Day 26: Books
- Day 27: Memories
- Day 28: Kids clothes
- Day 29: Coat closet items
- Day 30: Catch up day
Day 1: Tupperware
The first thing you should declutter is Tupperware or food storage containers. This may seem silly, but as you declutter this area, you may find pieces you can reuse for other organizing projects.
I do not want you to buy anything new for this challenge. However, if you plan to make the switch from plastic to glass food storage (as I did when I rid my kitchen of plastics due to chemical concerns), now would be the perfect time.
How to declutter: There is no reason to throw away the old plastic containers or the containers with missing lids. As you move through other sections of your home, you can use them in drawers to organize non-food items.
Day 2: Clothing
Clothing is usually one of the easiest things to declutter because we don’t often have a major emotional attachment to them. As a reminder, I am proposing a quick once-over for this challenge. No need to take it all out and try it all on this time around.
How to declutter: Good clothing is easy to “dispose” of. Any local churches, shelters, or thrift stores would be more than happy to have good quality clothing. You can also sell them on Poshmark or to a local Plato’s Closet or Clothes Mentor.
My problem stems from having clothing that shouldn’t be donated or it will just end up in the trash. This includes stained clothing, those weird free t-shirts with a company logo on them, and anything with holes or broken zippers. I have a hard time finding what to do with these so they don’t end up directly in landfill.
If you don’t have the sewing skills to make them into something else yourself, consider Terracycle. They have both free and paid options for recycling different types of clothing (you can even send in your old underwear to recycle for free!).
Day 3: Medicine Cabinet
According to a Harvard Study on Drug Expiration Dates, “90% of more than 100 drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date. So, the expiration date doesn’t really indicate a point at which the medication is no longer effective or has become unsafe to use.”
How to declutter: Take note of what you need to stock up or find alternatives for and you can make the personal choice whether to declutter the expired meds or not.
If you choose to dispose of old meds, recycle their original containers and put all of your meds in one baggy to dispose of at a local drug disposal drop location.
Day 4: Essential oil bottles
Once essential oil bottles no longer dispense, there is likely still a little bit of product left in the bottle.
How to declutter: Turn your old oils upside down in Epsom salt for a day or two and it will soak up the oils. You can then use the Epsom salt for a bath and reuse or recycle the empty oil bottles.
Day 5: Fridge
Now is the time to do a quick clean out of the fridge. Find any expired food or old leftovers.
How to declutter: Throw away any old cooked food and recycle the containers. If you have any less than desirable produce, place it in your compost. Check out my article on practical fridge ideas for functionality so you can be sure to stop wasting food in this way as much as possible.
Day 6: Technology (digital)
Our online and digital world can also get a little messy. It is the day to delete old emails and other online storage.
How to declutter: According to Green Matters, deleting old emails (and unnecessary duplicate or blurry photos) could actually help reduce your carbon footprint since cloud storage takes up a lot of electricity.
Day 7: Technology (physical items)
Today is the day for the physical items that come along with old technology. If you have old cameras, TVs, appliances, computers, or phones that cannot be sold, now is the time to recycle!
How to declutter: There are many local drops for recycling technology. One of the easiest is the Best Buy Recycling program. They take up to three items per household per day and recycle more products than I even knew could be recycled.
Day 8: Catch Up Day
While I said these tasks are meant to be quick once overs, I understand that things happen. Sometimes tasks may take more than a single day. Maybe you have a day or two that you simply do not have much time. I built in 4 buffer days for you to catch up so no matter where life takes you during these 30 days, you can successfully complete the challenge.
Day 9: Old toxic candles
I am here to push my non-toxic agenda again. I cannot even recommend using up the old candles before buying new. Please don’t use paraffin wax candles any more. Please don’t use faux fragrance oils. There are many reasons to rid these toxins from our home, but my biggest reason has been that they are endocrine disrupters and can cause infertility and other hormonal issues in both men and women.
How to declutter: If you want to be able to recycle the containers or reuse them to make beeswax candles, you can freeze the candle and pop out the old wax with a knife. Throw away the old wax and reuse or recycle the jar.
Day 10: Junk Drawer
We all have them. I am not about getting rid of the junk drawer. I think it is a good idea to have a place to keep the little things that you may use eventually.
How to declutter: Do a quick look for trash and recycling and make sure the drawer still opens easily and move on. If you happen to have dead batteries, find your nearest single-use battery recycling center.
Day 11: Kids toys
Since this is a quick declutter, now might be a great time to get the kids involved and ask them which toys they want to donate to help other kids in need or even sell in order to make money toward a new toy.
How to declutter: Depending on which route you take, local churches are a great place to donate toys and Facebook Marketplace is my favorite spot to sell.
Day 12: Pantry
Pantry decluttering is never a fun task when you find out just how much food you may have wasted.
How to declutter: Go through everything, throw away or compost old food and recycle the boxes. The most important thing to do now is to take note of what you have so you do not over buy and use up anything that is about to expire.
Day 13: Towels and Rags
Towels and rags are along the lines of old clothing. It can be so hard to get rid of soiled items! I try to move the “pretty towels” to become cleaning rags, and then the cleaning rags become garage rags.
How to declutter:
If the towels are in good condition, consider donating to an animal shelter. If they are severely soiled or torn, check out cloth recycling through Terracycle.
Day 14: Shoes
Whether out of style, the wrong size, or simply unworn, shoes can take up a lot of space. Try to be realistic with what you actually wear.
How to declutter: If the shoes are still in good condition, donating to a local shelter is your best option. If they are not, check with the specific brand of shoe you are looking to declutter. Many shoe companies take back their own brand to recycle.
Nike accepts any brand of athletic shoe for their shoe recycling program.
Day 15: Catch Up Day
Day 16: Mail and Paper Clutter
Mail and paper clutter end up on my counters pretty regularly, despite my best efforts. I found that I am never going to actually deal with the mail right away or bring it to our office. My best advice for those who also struggle is to simply have one big basket to collect the clutter and go through it on a regular basis.
How to declutter: Many paper or cardboard ads can be easily recycled. Unfortunately, anything with foil or a coating cannot. Of course, do not recycle anything with personal information such as credit card applications. Shred those and toss.
Paper padded mailers can be recycled curbside, but you will have to take bubble wrap and plastic mailers to wherever you recycle your plastic grocery store bags.
Day 17: Garage Chemicals
This category can be your garage or basement. It is wherever you keep old paint, oil, or harsh chemicals. These items often hang around for years because we simply do not know where to dispose of them.
How to declutter: For paint, determine if the paint is bad. If it is still good, post it to a local “curb alert” page on Facebook so it can be used. Many larger cities have a hazardous waste drop off that will accept old unusable paint.
The same principles apply to chemicals. First, see if someone else wants the product if it is still usable. Next, check into your city’s hazardous waste drop centers.
Check if your city accepts used motor oil. If not, many Auto Zone locations will recycle it for you.
Day 18: Arts and Crafts Supplies
If you are sustainably minded, any little odds and ends can become “arts and crafts” supplies. From pinecones to paints, and markers, and recyclables, things can pile up quickly. Take a look at any “projects” you had good intentions of completing and get realistic. If you do not think you’ll ever get to it, get it out of your space so you do not feel guilty every time you look at it.
How to declutter: If you don’t plan to melt down your old crayons to make new ones, check out the recycling program through Crayon Collection.
Many marker caps can be recycled as #5 recyclables, but sadly, you will have to throw away the main barrel.
Other papers and trinkets can often be recycled just like anything else through your curbside recycling program.
Day 19: Holiday and Seasonal Decorations
My taste in decorating has changed quite significantly over the years and I find myself having a lot of holiday decorations that no longer match my personal style. On top of that, holiday decorations tend to be a bit more emotional if they relate to any special memories.
Since this is a quick declutter, just think about those items that you leave behind in the bin year after year that never actually make it out to decorate. Time to get rid of them and the guilt associated with hanging on to that Santa with the creepy face or the live laugh love pumpkin.
How to declutter: Depending on the time of the year, Facebook Marketplace or a curb alert group are great for these items. They will actually go to someone who will use the item. Often times, holiday décor can get tossed at thrift stores because they simply have more than they can sell.
I personally hold on to seasonal décor and clothing items until right before that specific season and try to sell or donate online.
Day 20: Paperwork
In addition to the paper and mail that come into your house, you may find that important documents and papers you decide to save also pile up in your home office or desk area. Find an easy to use system to collect these items and try to go through them on a monthly basis.
How to declutter: While some locations may accept shredded paper in their recycling programs, many do not. This is mainly due to the size of the paper scraps and the fact that there is likely plastic mixed in. If you cannot recycle it, try to use it for a papier-mâché or other craft project. Otherwise, you have to toss it.
Day 21: Make Up, Skin care and Bath Products
No matter how hard I try, I still accumulate personal care items. From gifts, freebies, and a constant effort to fix my aging skin, these products pile up fast. Unfortunately, they tend to go bad fast too.
How to declutter: Most personal care products come in recyclable packaging. If the product is bad, empty the product and recycle the packaging.
For gently used personal care products, ask friends and family first. I have also had good luck giving these items away on my Facebook curb alert pages.
For unused items, consider donating to your local women’s shelter.
Day 22: Kitchen Small Appliances
This category includes coffee makers, microwaves, blenders, waffle makers, panini presses, and any other small electronics hanging around in your kitchen.
How to declutter: If the items is in working order, you can try to sell it first or donate.
Some local recycling centers accept small non-working appliances. If yours does not, check with local scrap yards to see if they might accept your appliance for copper and metal pieces.
Day 23: Catch Up Day
Day 24: Pots, Pans, and Bakeware
I feel like you can never have enough kitchen cabinets. If you are like me, pots, pans, and bakeware take up a lot of space! I try to keep only what I use regularly but it still piles up as I am given gifts or replace the old.
Another small agenda push: now is the time to get rid of Teflon and aluminum pans. They are toxic and I don’t recommend keeping them unless you do not have the means to replace. Better options are ceramic, stainless steel, copper, and cast iron.
How to declutter: If the items are still in good condition, you can sell or donate. If you have very scratched old pans and your local recycling center does not accept them, try the Calphalon Sponsored Terracycle program.
Day 25: Entertaining Items
Maybe this category is just for me. I am obsessed with pretty tablescapes for different holidays.
In a dream world, I would have an entire butler’s pantry full of different place settings, bowls, and servers. Unfortunately, I do not have this kind of space. I have resorted to having one simple set that matches each holiday and I try to fill in my table with natural greenery, pumpkins, berries, fruits, and the like.
How to declutter: Good condition items can easily be sold or donated. Chipped and broken items are sadly not recyclable. They must be wrapped and tossed as broken glass (unless of course you have a glass mosaic arts and crafts project in mind).
Day 26: Books
This category includes books, old magazines, and the like. I go through phases of wanting to keep a full library and wanting to get rid of everything and replace when needed. Whatever you decide, you probably still have a book or two that needs a new home.
How to declutter: Donate books to your local library, teen center, or create a little free library in your front yard. Books with severe tears and missing pages can be recycled.
For magazines, check on your curb alert page to see if anyone wants them to read or for a project before recycling.
Day 27: Mementos
Dealing with memory and memento items is definitely one of the hardest tasks. Since this is a quick declutter, just think of a few items off the top of your head that have been weighing on you and get them out of your space.
How to declutter: Mementos can be anything. If you truly think you will miss the item, take a photo of it before disposing so you can keep the memory.
Day 28: Kids Clothes
This category can be for kid’s clothes or any other family member you are responsible for managing. These clothes can be managed the same way as your clothing from earlier this month.
How to declutter: I have had less luck selling kids clothes on Poshmark than adult clothes. For kids clothes, I have the best luck selling in bundles on Facebook $1 auction sites. Other options are local kids resale stores like Once Upon a Child or quarterly consignment sales such as Rhea Lana’s or similar events.
Day 29: Coat Closet Items
Coat closets and other storage spaces can easily become unusable if they are stuffed too full. Coats, hats, gloves, scarves can often spill out of the closet easily and sometimes make their way to other areas of the house. By keeping these items minimal, it is easier for family members to keep up with proper storage.
How to declutter: Winter items are best donated to homeless and women’s shelters. For anything in poor condition, recycle as you would other clothing items.
Day 30: Catch Up Day and Completion of the 30 Day Declutter Challenge!
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About the Author:
I’m Brittany, totally modern and mainstream turned crunchy mama!
Read more here about how I went from a totally incompetent cook and hyper-consumer to striving to live a more meaningful life from scratch.
I can’t wait to share my modern homesteading journey with you and I hope I inspire you to join along!