Now that the year has started (and flown by), it's a good time to hit the reset button. Insert our "30 Days to a Simpler Life" guide here. This guide includes purging different parts of your home and your life, physically, electronically, and mentally. Our hope is that this guide will serve as a placeholder to come back to whenever you’re in need of a reset.
Every task, including the order it is in, was part of our design. Each 4-day group of tasks starts with a medium level task, then a hard task, and an easy task. The last day is typically finished with a non-material task or time to reflect.
When completing these tasks, be cognizant of how you discard items. Try to dispose of any items properly in a responsible way. You can donate to any number of organizations in your area, including Goodwill, The Salvation Army, your pediatrician's office, a homeless shelter, a women’s/ children’s shelter, a daycare, etc.
Did you know you can even recycle old clothing that might not be fit for use? Find a textile recycling location HERE. For old appliances that are broken, contact some repair shops in your area to see if they would be interested instead of just dumping them. They can use these for spare parts or may even be able to give it a second life.
Day 1: Let’s start fairly easy and clean out your junk drawer. First, empty the drawer out and wipe it down. Next, toss out anything you forgot was in there in the first place (this means you probably don't need it). Now it's time to reorganize. Use small boxes to create dividers and bins if needed. If you have a ton of papers and other mailings, save those in a separate box to organize at a later date.
Day 2: Next, let’s minimize junk mail you receive in your mailbox. For this one, take a peek at our Ditch The Junk Mail post. It has all the details you need to start the process of minimizing the paper clutter that enters your home.
Day 3: Clean out the junk/spam folder in your email. Take five seconds to unsubscribe from newsletters you automatically hit “delete” on anyways. Studies show that cluttered emails can lead to decreased productivity.
Day 4: Unfollow accounts on social media that do not bring you joy or do not add value to your life. The same goes for Facebook groups. If you aren't active in the group or it doesn't add value to your life, just leave it, and don't look back.
CLEAR YOUR MIND
Day 5: Time to update your phone. Delete, combine, or update old contacts. Update any important apps or information on your phone. Delete old messages and voicemails. Go through and delete old apps you do not use anymore. Make a list of paid apps you are subscribed to (we are going to purge those later). Delete old or duplicate photos. This might seem like a daunting task at first, but instead of aimlessly scrolling social media today, use your time to do this instead. Once you get started, it is amazing how much better you feel!
Day 6: Back to the real world. Now that we have minimized our junk drawer or “catch-all” area and junk mail will stop flowing in soon, let’s start minimizing the general paper flow through the home. If possible, scan and save onto Google Drive or some other cloud-based data storage. If you must keep a physical paper copy of something, repurpose old folders or trays and organize just one area of your home to hold it all. Don’t worry about the kids’ art right now - we will get to that, soon!
Day 7: Update or delete old banking and credit card info on places like PayPal, Amazon, Google Play, Apple Pay, etc. While you are in there, update and delete old addresses as well.
Day 8: Finally… paid apps day is here! Time to unsubscribe and delete old apps from your devices. Don’t forget - some require you to CANCEL your subscriptions, not just delete, to stop charges. Time to save money and stop paying for things you no longer use.
KIDS’ CLEAN OUT
**If this category doesn't apply to you, move ahead and use your extra days at the end to circle back and complete any tasks you skipped**
Day 9: Next up, kids’ documents and art. Repurpose old folders to organize important school documents. As we did on day 6, try to scan and upload as much as possible. Old art can be placed into a box or hope chest for later. We use Artkive, an amazing online option to create sweet books of your child's art that can be treasured for many years to come. Use our link to save $20.
Day 10: Onto closets. Donate. Donate. Donate. Old clothes, old costumes, old bags, old sports equipment, old shoes, etc. If they're in great condition, consider listing them on Facebook marketplace or another local buy/sell/trade group. If it’s too ratty to donate, recycle it though GemText instead.
Day 11: After an exhausting day cleaning out the kids’ closet, next up is a quick toy purge. This means just removing the toys that have broken and incomplete pieces. Or, if there is a toy that is not being used frequently, put it in a box away from the kids. If they don’t ask for it in one month, it is probably safe to sell or donate.
Day 12: Taking a break from actual purging and organizing, today we are going to simplify the kids’ extracurricular activities. This is very dependent on age appropriateness. Make a list of your kids’ activities through school or private lessons. Prioritize and cut out activities they (or you) no longer enjoy. For younger kids, or for during the summer, sit down and make a list of free kids’ activities in your area. This way you have a list of fun things to do instead of trying to make plans at the last minute. For ideas, check out your local library, bookstores, toy shops, parks, Kids Bowl Free, etc. There are SO many fun activities coming up especially with the warmer weather.
Day 13: Moving on to the rest of the house… the living room. Consolidate remote controls, recycle old TV manuals (everything’s online now), go through the bookshelves or storage, recycle old magazines, organize or donate DVDs and CDs. Make this space clean, relaxing, and clutter-free.
Day 14: The big kitchen purge is up next. Arguably the most used area of the home, this room typically becomes the dumping ground for everything and can get cluttered real fast. Time to go through old or duplicate gadgets. You can sell, gift, donate, take in for repair, or trade-in/up (check the manufacturer for details). Limit your amount of dishes; unless you’re regularly hosting dinner parties, chances are you don’t need more than 8 of a kind for each dish. And, I promise… you don’t need more than one can opener, wine opener, or whisk. This purge includes only the cabinets and counter spaces. The refrigerator, freezer, and pantry will be next week.
Day 15: Before bed tonight, do a quick nightstand purge. Take out old magazines, papers, random knickknacks, etc. All you really need is a good book, your fave Urban Oreganics lip butter, and a calming essential oil roller. Very quick and simple and will help you sleep better.
Day 16: Sit down and make a plan for date nights (or girl's nights out). Research fun activities, pick a list of trusty restaurants (read reviews and look at menus), find a reliable sitter (if applicable), and start penciling dates into the calendar.
STORAGE CLEAN OUT
Day 17: Time to head outside and start organizing. First up, outside toys, furniture, old potted plants, gardening tools, etc. Try to consolidate and organize all these pieces so it doesn’t get overwhelming once spring starts.
Day 18: It's time for a full clean-out of your garage, attic, storage shed, basement, etc. Understandably, this may take multiple days. But start today, and list items for sale on Facebook marketplace immediately! Use storage tubs or built-in cabinets to organize the items you're keeping. One very important thing to remember… dispose of products as responsibly as possible. Paint, batteries, and other toxic items need to be taken to the proper facilities. Check with your city’s waste management company before just leaving out by the curb.
Day 19: One last quick purge/clean out before a much-deserved break. Your car. Super short and sweet. Empty it out, wipe it down, vacuum, and then only add back in what you really truly need.
Day 20: This is a good time to take a break, play catch up, relax, and reflect. Feel free to use this time as needed.
ONE LAST PASS THROUGH
Day 21: Take a minute to think about any last areas of your home that you have not tackled… an office, bookshelves, storage areas, closets. Go through and do a quick purge of those areas.
Day 22: One last BIG kitchen purge. Today, we will tackle the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Toss expired/soiled food (compost if you can!), organize your pantry by type - use bins or cut down cardboard boxes. Start keeping empty glass jars to store your dry goods in and create that swoon-worthy pantry you've been yearning for.
Day 23: Bathrooms. We didn’t forget about the bathrooms! Time to go through and do a cabinet clean-out, including any old body products and medications. Call your local pharmacy about getting rid of expired meds - DO NOT FLUSH OR THROW AWAY! Sort through your towels; cut old towels down to make rags for around the house, or donate them to vet clinics or animal shelters.
Day 24: If you have not already, time to clean out the diaper bag, your purse, your wallet, your laptop case, etc. I usually do this when waiting in the school pick up line, and it feels so good when it is all done. And next time you are out shopping, ask for no receipt or an electronic receipt.
SIMPLIFY YOUR ROUTINE
Day 25: Simplify your tasks. Create a system for a weekly checklist and calendar that works for YOU. Make your own if you have to.
Day 26: Simplify your meals. Now that your kitchen is cleaned out, time to simplify your meals. Check out our entire meal-prepping series to get started.
Day 27: Simplify your skin. Time to sit down and find out what your real needs are. Customize our simple three piece set for your best skin. All of our products are also multi-purpose, so you don’t need a bunch of different products for different areas of your body. Contact us to get started on a personalized skincare routine.
Day 28: Simplify your fitness. Commit yourself to an easy exercise/fitness plan. This can be yoga, walking, going to the gym, or continuing your current plan.
FINAL PURGE AND REFLECTION
Day 29: Here is the last purge… YOUR clothes and shoes. If you have not worn it or it does not fit, time to sell or donate it. Just like with the kids’ closet purge, be sure to recycle if they are too tattered.
Day 30: Time for reflection. You can take this last day to catch up on any previous tasks. Today is a good time to reflect on any items you purged or let go of. Now that the physical space around you is purged, minimized, and organized, this will set up your mind space to be happier and healthier.
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You did it! Now that your spaces feel calmer, your bank account may be bigger, and your mind feels at peace, be sure to ask yourself these five questions before you bring something new into your home. Take a minute to answer honestly, and help prevent future clutter and waste.