Can you feel the clutter creeping into your home, stealing your energy and stressing you out? This 30 Day Declutter Challenge is just what you need to take control of your space and live your life with less mess.
These tasks take just 10-20 minutes and hit hot clutter spots in homes. Do a task a day for a month or double up on the tasks and see a major difference in your space in just a few weeks!
Don’t be surprised if these small tasks get you motivated to tackle more clutter and bigger messes. Embrace it and reap the rewards of your labor!
Why Do a Decluttering Challenge?
Decluttering challenges, like this 30 Day Declutter Challenge, are effective. They often help people who are depressed and overwhelmed take baby steps towards a simpler life.
Once people declutter, they see the mental and physical benefits of having less stuff. Feeling the changes in their space increases energy and motivation and may even lead to lifestyle, shopping, and financial changes.
When Should I Do the 30 Day Declutter Challenge?
You can do this challenge any time!
Before the holidays, when you know you’re going to get walloped with a bunch more clutter? Perfect! Before school’s out for the summer, when you know you’re going to get walloped with kids and chaos? Also perfect! During spring, when you’re full of that spring cleaning energy? Still perfect. This challenge will have you tackling small spots around your home that will make a big difference.
Pssst – scroll to the bottom for a printable checklist!
What if I Get Stuck?
These tasks are short and sweet. I’m betting that once you see the changes in your space, you’ll keep going.
If you get busy and skip a day or two, add it to your to do list and jump back in! It can also be helpful to find an accountability partner to check in with (and to give you a kick in the butt if you need it!).
Still worried? Check out this list of 13 Tips for Success in a Decluttering Challenge.
Ready to get started! Keep scrolling!
30 Day Declutter Challeng
Go through the list below decluttering (and maybe even cleaning?) and soon you’ll see some big changes in your space! I created this list in this order on purpose, but feel free to jump around if that’s where your heart takes you!
Day 1: Mugs & Water Bottles
You know you have too many! Mugs and water bottles are items that seem to multiply on their own, cluttering up your cabinets without you realizing it.
Decide on a reasonable number of mugs & water bottles to keep. Pull out the mugs you don’t enjoy using or the ones you keep out of guilt.
If you like a mug, but don’t enjoy drinking out of it, use it to hold pencils, organize a cabinet, or plant a succulent.
Minimalist Tip: The fewer of something you have, the more you will care for that item. If your family members constantly leave their water bottles at school, work, or in the car, having MORE isn’t magically going to make them quit their bad habits — it’s enabling them. Get rid of items and hold your family members accountable.
Day 2: Food Storage
Just like mugs and water bottles, you very likely have too many food storage containers. If I had to guess, I’d say they’re in a teetering stack in the cabinet, with lids thrown in on the side. I’m also betting some of your containers have seen better days.
Go through your food storage containers and make sure they all have matching lids. Recycle containers & lids without matches and those that are stained and gross.
Stack the rest nicely.
Minimalist Tip: When shopping for new food storage, opt for glass and avoid anything that’s seasonal, branded, or have cartoons on them. Plain glass is timeless.
Day 3: Household Cleaners
When was the last time you cleaned out under your sink? Empty the cabinet out and give it a good wipe.
Put back only the items you use regularly. Donate the rest or put them in a backstock bin in the pantry, basement, or garage.
Instead of multiple cleaners for each purpose, aim for a multipurpose cleaner or switch from using spray cleaners and paper towels to microfiber like Norwex.
Since switching to Norwex a few years ago, we use very few chemicals and almost no papers towels now (seriously, one roll lasts a month or two). It’s also better for the environment for multiple reasons and I feel great letting my kids use it (Yay for kids doing chores!)
Day 4: Glassware
Today we’re looking up. Alllll the way up to the top of the cabinet where you keep those glasses you never use.
For a long time, we kept special glasses for when we had company. Then we realized most people would bring their own water bottles, drink from cans/glasses/juice boxes/bottles or we’d use disposable cups because there were more people than glasses. We literally never used the glasses, and I’m betting you don’t use many of yours either.
Take a few minutes and examine your glassware. If you’ve got glasses you literally never use either let them go OR move them to a more accessible spot and USE THEM.
Remember: Love it or let it go.
Day 5: Reuseable Bags
You know you have more reusable bags than you know what to do with. Keep a few of your favorites and let the rest go.
Go through your grocery bags first. Keep them in you entryway or car so you remember to use them.
If you’ve still got time and energy, tackle:
- tote bags
- lunch boxes
- luggage and duffle bags
Hot Tip: Fill the bags with donation and drop them off at Goodwill!
Day 6: Junk Drawer
Today we’re going to declutter those junk drawers!
If you’ve been following Life with Less Mess for a while, I’m REALLY hoping that your junk drawer is less junk and more organized miscelaney. Even with organizational systems in place, junk drawers get a lot of action so they can get messy quickly.
While decluttering your junk drawer, aim for a combination of minimal and functional.
Do you really need ALL those pens, or is 12 enough? Is the full set of screwdrivers necessary, or will 2 do? Exactly how many chapsticks are you storing in there?
Organization Tip: Normally, I say you don’t have to buy things to be organized, but it can really help with the junk drawer. Here’s my favorite junk drawer organizer.
Day 7: Alcohol
Are you hanging onto bottles of alcohol you don’t like or use? Why do we let these items take up space in our lives?
Clear the alcohol cabinet out. Use what you don’t love in a recipe, give it as a gift, put it out at a party, or google some fancy drinks you could create with it. I’ve also had friends successfully declutter alcohol by offering it up to local friends on Facebook.
Don’t forget that certain alcohol, especially those that have cream in them, doesn’t last forever. Dump it down the drain and recycle the bottle.
Day 8: Shoes
So. Many. Shoes.
We’re a family of five and there are literally shoes everywhere. Someone’s constantly growing out of shoes and needing new ones and we aren’t always on top of making sure the old shoes get donated/binned up.
Take a few minutes today to go through your family’s shoes — especially those that are kept in your mudroom, coat closet, or entryway.
Organizing Tip: If there are more shoes than you can handle that live by your door, consider keeping only the frequently worn shoes in this high traffic area. Keep the less frequently worn shoes tucked away in closets.
Minimalist Tip: Kids don’t need different shoes for every outfit. Stick with a color theme and buy shoes in those color families so you can have more shoes match the same outfits.
Day 9: Boots & Umbrellas
If you live in a climate that gets cold, it’s important to be prepared before the first storm of the season.
Check out your family’s boots and make sure everyone’s got boots that fit and are in good shape.
Check your umbrella collection, while you’re at it. How many do you have? How many does your family realistically need?
Declutter any items that are no longer needed.
Minimalist Tip: If you have multiple kids and pass boots on, purchase plain black or grey boots so everyone’s happy with their neutral boots. You’ll save yourself a good chunk of money!
Day 10: Books & Magazines
Books and magazines are HARD to declutter, but if you’re a book lover (or if you live with one) you know collections can get unruly. If you’ve got an extensive collection and don’t have enough time to get through it all, just take care of the books you see every day that will make the most impact.
Let go of magazines you’ve read and won’t read again or magazines you’ve been meaning to read for ages, but have never gotten to (I know it’s painful, but if you wanted to read them, you would have).
Repeat this process with books. Click the link below if you need some extra inspiration.
Drop extra books and magazines at nursing homes, local schools, or Little Free Libraries (check the Little Free Library Registry here).
Day 11: Gift Wrap & Supplies
Do you love wrapping gifts for others? I definitely don’t. I’m more of a “toss it in a colorful bag with tissue paper” kinda mom. Because of that, what we keep on hand is pretty minimal.
Look through your wrapping supplies. Let go of any paper you won’t use again. I’m also willing to bet you have more gift bags than you need. Donate them!
Take an inventory of what you have and what you need.
Where to Donate: Many organizations that host toy drives and angel trees will also take wrapping paper and bags, so donate them where you can. You can also trade wrapping papers with friends.
Day 12: Makeup
Today we’re spending some time on Mama’s stuff — makeup!
Look through your makeup collection and toss anything you never reach for OR anything you opened more than a year ago. Makeup has expiration dates that vary from 3 months to 18 months since it collects bacteria and oils within it could go rancid.
Unfortunately, you cannot donate used makeup. Unused, recently purchased makeup may possibly be donated to women’s shelters.
Day 13: Medicines
I know you’ve got some expired medicine hiding somewhere in your home. While we all probably keep medicine a little past its expiration date, it’s definitely a good idea to clear out anything that’s too old.
You’ll also want to take an inventory of what you have and what you need — you definitely don’t want to be caught unprepared if a sudden illness comes on.
Day 14: Towels
Before starting today, decide on a reasonable number of towels to keep per person or per space. Quickly go through your kitchen towels, hand towels, and bath towels. Let go of any that have seen better days or anything you have an overabundance of.
In our home, we keep two bath towels and one hand towel per person. We also have about a dozen kitchen towels. Do what feels right for you and your family!
When you’re done decluttering, take a few minutes to fold the towels nicely and put them in neat piles.
Where to Donate: Animal shelters are always in need of towels, blankets, and sheets. Drop your extra towels off there!
Day 15: Shower & Bathtub
Take a few minutes to evaluate what you’ve got in your shower and what you actually need in your shower.
I know I can’t be the only one who can’t resist opening a new shampoo before I finish an old one. Look through everything you’ve got in your shower and eliminate anything you don’t use, don’t need, or is empty.
Check out those bath toys, too. Have your kids grown out of anything? Let it go.
Give everything a good cleaning, while you’re at it.
Day 16: Toys
Don’t panic, I know this is a big category, and I promised you 15 minutes, but you don’t have to do ALL the toys. Today, spend a few minutes doing a quick sweep and reset of whichever toy spot needs to the most help.
Pull out any (literal) garbage, any large plastic items they don’t love, and anything broken.
When my kids were little, they’d fill a giant sack of toys for santa to TAKE with him to refresh and give to other kids. It saved the elves SO much work ;).
Day 17: Games & Puzzles
Today, we’re tackling games and puzzles, which are one of those items that kids regularly grow out of, but they still stay on the shelves.
Let go of any puzzles that are not appropriately challenging for your kids. Donate any games your kids are too old for or that are just no fun.
Another fun idea is to host a puzzle and game swap with friends!
Where to Donate: Schools are ALWAYS in need of age-appropriate puzzles and games for kids to play during indoor recess. Local Boys and Girls Clubs and churches with children’s programs may also accept donation.
Day 18: Markers & Art Supplies
- You probably have too many markers and art supplies.
- Some of your supplies have probably seen better days.
- Your kid will probably get more soon.
Tell me I’m wrong!
Today, take a few minutes to look through markers and art supplies. Toss any dried out markers, crusty glue, and coloring books that are thoroughly colored.
This is also a great way to take an inventory of what you have, so you know what favorites need replacing.
I know it seems wasteful to throw these items in the trash, especially when they’re made of plastic, but Crayola has suspended its marker recycling program indefinitely because of Covid.
If items are still in good shape, consider donating them to local schools or church programs.
Days 19 & 20: Socks & Underwear
Let’s take a peek in those drawers!
While looking through socks and underwear, toss anything that is holey or stretched out. For socks without a match, collect them all in one place and match whatever you can. Toss the rest. I know it’s wasteful, but sometimes it’s just got to be done.
Repeat this process with every sock and underwear drawer in your house.
Day 21: Cords & Chargers
If you’ve been an adult since the 2000s, I’m betting you have a box (or two) of cords and chargers somewhere in your home.
Take a few minutes to look through the box(es) now. Make sure every cord goes to a device you still have and use. Donate or recycle old cords and chargers at a facility that recycles old electronics (Best Buy, Staples, your local recycling center).
Side note: Is recycling electronics a pain? Yes. But with great power comes great responsibility. Be a good human. ❤
Day 22: Fridge
It’s time to declutter (and clean?) the fridge. Take out anything that’s past its prime. Be realistic about what your family will eat in the next few weeks and let go of anything that doesn’t make the cut.
When you’re done, give it all a good wipe. Now you’re ready to stock it back up in an organized way!
Here, we don’t use a lot of bins and containers in our fridge, but we do sort items into zones. Aim for the same and you’ll always be able to find what you need quickly.
Day 23: Kitchen Counters
Look around the kitchen. Many people keep too many appliances and decor on their kitchen counters, which makes them hard to clean and look cluttered.
If you tend to make piles on your counter of things to handle, take a few minutes to handle it today.
Recycle any junk mail. Scan any receipts. File any important papers. Stick addresses of new friends in your address book so you can send them a Christmas card next year.
Clear counters look nicer and make your kitchen easier to clean.
Want to go a step further? Make clearing your counters a routine. Do it every evening or on a specific night of the week, whichever works for your schedule.
Day 24: Small Appliances
We’re in the home stretch and tackling small appliances today.
Small appliances are one of those items that almost every kitchen has too many of. I’m betting you have at least a few items you can let go of today. Which ones are the furthest back in the cabinet, gathering the most dust, and still in the box?
We don’t need a small appliance that does every little task in the kitchen. Personally, I’m too lazy to wash a million pieces, anyway. Do any of your small appliances do the same thing? Can you simply use a knife instead of a chopper? Consider this as you declutter.
Day 25: Dining Room Table
How is your dining room table looking right now?
My dining room table often becomes a dumping ground/staging area for all things in transition: gifts I have to give, items I have to return, things to put away, etc.
Spend a few minutes clearing the dining room table. It will make your entire house feel neater.
Hot Tip: If your dining room table collects clutter, set it! It’s MUCH harder to pile junk on top of pretty plates and napkins than an empty table!
Day 26: Nightstand Drawer(s)
The last thing you need in the middle of the night is chaos in your drawer as you’re reaching for your Chapstick.
Take a few minutes and empty your nightstand drawer. Only put back items you need when you’re in bed. Use drawer dividers to keep all your items separated and in their homes for long-term organization.
Items I keep in my nightstand include lotion, a notepad, a pencil, a nail file, glasses, a box of tissues, and a Chapstick. That’s pretty much all I need!
Day 27: Cozies (Blankets, Candles)
Today, our challenge is to declutter “cozy” items, like blankets and candles. Often, we think having a lot of candles and blankets will make our home cozy and more comfortable, but if we take it too far, it can have the opposite effect by creating clutter, mess, and stress.
Don’t believe me? Read Cozy Minimalist Home for inspiration!
Think about a reasonable number of items for your family to keep (maybe one blanket per person?) and donate the rest.
As for candles, only keep your absolute favorites (or ditch them altogether for better indoor air quality).
Day 28: Coats & Winter Gear
Not ever snowy in your neck of the woods? Go through something else like beach gear or coolers!
Go through your coat closet and bin of hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves. Check those coats and snow pants, too. Make sure all the gloves have matches, all the mittens fit, and all the hats and scarves aren’t too itchy. Make sure the coats and snow pants are the right sizes.
Donate any items your family doesn’t need to shelters or ask at local schools if they can use them for a coat drive.
If there’s something your people are missing, add them to a list and grab them when it’s time!
Day 29: Pet Toys & Supplies
Pet toys are often overlooked when decluttering, but I bet you can find some to let go of!
Hopefully, your pet has some kind of bin for his toys (if he doesn’t, establish one. Like, now!). Look through the bin (and under the couch) and evaluate all the items. I’m betting some favorites have seen better days and there are some that are still pristine.
Toss the toys your furry friend doesn’t love (donate them to a local pet shelter) and replace the ones he does.
Day 30: Jewelry
Depending on your style, you may or may not have some extra jewelry lying around that you haven’t worn in quite some time.
As a teacher in my 20s, I had chunky necklaces for every outfit. When I became a stay-at-home mom, I had a bunch of friends that sold costume jewelry and I was a *very* supportive friend.
Needless to say, I’ve now learned a bit more about my style and the benefits of minimalism. If you’re reading this, I’m betting you have to. It’s time to look through that jewelry you haven’t worn in forever and let it go.
Costume jewelry can be donated. Valuable jewelry can be sold back to some jewelers.
30 Day Declutter Challenge Checklist
Ready to get this done? Print the list below and check off each item as you go. Bookmark this blog post, email it to yourself using the buttons at the top of the page, or send it to a friend so you have an accountability partner.
After the 30 Day Declutter Challenge
After the challenge, box up your donations and drop them off at a local charity shop, shelter, or Goodwill.
Then, take some actions to maintain your decluttered spaces:
- Be mindful of what comes into your home.
- Revisit your decluttered spaces regularly to keep them in check.
- Keep a box for donations handy and add items to it regularly.
- Cancel subscriptions to emails and purchases.
- Stop following influencers that encourage you to shop.
- Say no to freebies and giveaways.
- Read books about minimalism and decluttering.
30 Day Declutter Challenge
Having a 30 Day Declutter Challenge is a great way to tackle the clutter in your home. After you’re done, you’re going to feel a massive sense of relief. Don’t stop now! What areas of your home could still use some decluttering? Add these items to your list and keep working.
Remember: Your home didn’t get cluttered in just 30 days so it probably won’t get decluttered in just 30 days, but it’s a great start!