Time for a Spring clean – and to do some good!

By Editorial on March 4, 2016

Ever heard of the 30-Day Minimalist Challenge? Neither had I, until this week.

The basic premise is that over a period of 30 days, you get rid of unnecessary junk, clutter and perfectly-good-but-unused-items. In only a month, your home will be a more minimalist, clear, and organised space.

On Day 1, you have to get rid of one item. On Day 2, you get rid of two items. Day 3 is three items, and so on, meaning that over the course of 30 days, you end up clearing out an amazing 496 items!

Get rid of old clothesSo what can you get rid of? Well, anything really – clothes, shoes, kitchenware, furniture, books, DVDs… If it’s been lingering around, taken up space and you don’t use it, you can earmark it for the chop!

Even better, if your clutter is in perfectly good condition, it can be sent straight to a charity shop to raise money for good causes and do somebody else some good. It’s that old adage, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. Why have it cluttering up your house when it might go to perfectly good use elsewhere?

A number of shoe shops, including Clarks, run shoe recycling schemes to raise money for international charities (Unicef in Clarks’ case). Your local drop-off point isn’t likely to be far away – my local shoe mender even has a deposit point outside his shop where you can drop off pairs of shoes to be re-used or recycled.

And if it’s not good enough to be used again by somebody else, you can get rid of your unused junk responsibly in order to avoid creating landfill. Council recycling points will take shabby old clothes, wooden or metal furniture, paper and cardboard, and even old electrical items – so it won’t be long before your toot can be broken down and rebuilt into something spectacular for somebody else to use.

Get rid of  old books, CD's etcLastly, there’s nothing to stop you selling your unwanted items and recouping some of the money. Ebay and Gumtree are good places to sell your items online, and nothing beats a good old boot sale. Put the proceeds into a savings account, treat yourself to a meal out or donate them to your favourite charity!

This month, I’ll be taking the 30-Day Minimalist Challenge myself. My flat is not the largest, but I live by the principle of ‘a place for everything and everything in its place.’ The trouble is, those ‘places’ are now bursting at the seams, and I could certainly do with passing along a few of my items to a better cause.

I’ve a feeling this is going to be easy for the first couple of weeks, but things will get tough around Day 17… Will I hit the magic 496? Maybe, maybe not – but I’m willing to give it a try! I’ll let you know how I do – and why not do it with me? Imagine the good our collective clearing power could do!

Guest post provided by Sarah KellewaySarah Kelleway

Sarah is a freelance copywriter and owner of Juniper Copy. She specialises in producing web copy for a range of businesses, but enjoys any form of writing project. When she’s not typing away, Sarah can be found either hunting for treasure in charity shops, experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen, or being smothered by her two over-sized and over-friendly cats.

You can find out more about Sarah and Juniper Copy at www.junipercopy.com.

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2 Responses to “Time for a Spring clean – and to do some good!”

  1. The Minimalist Challenge: the Final Outcome

    As I write this, my home is clearer, the charity shops are fuller and my smile is bigger.

    On the other side of my Minimalist Challenge – the 30-day process of clearing out my home by removing one item on the first day, two items on the second day, and so on – I de-cluttered more in a month than I had in the past three years.

    Before I go any further, I have a confession to make – I only made it to Day 23. This meant that instead of the 496 items I intended to discard, I moved 276 out instead. My reason for stopping when I did is that I actually ran out of things to de-clutter! With only a few rooms in our flat, I would have soon found myself furniture-less in a bid to hit the full 496, so had to recognise when I was beaten.

    Now, I do have a teensy shadow of a competitive streak, which meant ending the challenge early was not something I was proud of or relished. However, were I living in a four-bed house with three children, I’m sure that the challenge would have been much easier – so I’m giving myself a pat on the back for getting as far as I did!

    Confession out the way, I can get on to what the challenge was like. Well, the first few days were easy. As I did my jobs around the home, I’d keep my eyes peeled for things that had been there for so long, I no longer noticed them. If I hadn’t used them in a year, they were ripe for the cull.

    An old DVD here, a book I’d never finish there… A threadbare t-shirt or a pair of trousers that had never fitted properly… I was quickly racking up my targets for the day, filling crates and bags ready to be thrown out, recycled or passed on to others.

    The real challenge hit on Day 14. By this point, I had thrown out 91 items, most of which had been easy pickings. However, I now had to find 14 less obvious items to get rid of, all the while knowing that I’d have to find 15 the next day, 16 the day after and so on. However, one thing I loved about this challenge was that it encouraged me to be ruthless. I started thinking about what I had, what I needed and what someone else could put to better use instead.

    And so it continued, until Day 23. By this point, I was finding it very difficult to find items that I either did not need or did not treasure, and realised that to find 220 more items was going to be pretty impossible (unless I wanted my home to be completely bare!). So that’s where it ended for me – for now…

    However, despite not making it any further, I still saw the benefits of the Minimalist Challenge. I cleared whole shelves, creating space for a better filing system. I have fewer clothes in my wardrobe, making it easier to find an outfit in the morning. I no longer sigh at old pieces of toot around the flat and wonder why on earth I still have them.

    And even better, I was able to deliver mountains of books, mugs, DVDs, clothes, shoes, photo frames, ornaments and more to the local charity shops, which I hope will go on to raise lots of money for some wonderful causes along the way!

    If you also took on the 30-Day Minimalist Challenge, it would be great to know how you did. And if you haven’t done it yet, I thoroughly recommend it.

    The real challenge lies ahead of me now, though…keeping my home clutter free!

  2. Jill Poet says:

    Good luck with the challenge Sarah. It will be good to hear how you are getting on.

    Having a ‘good clearout’ really resonates with me. Last year, Mike’s father sadly passed away and an uncle also had to be moved to a care home, leaving us with two properties to clear out and sell. We spent a large part of last year wading through mounds and mounds of paperwork going back to the year dot; clothing that belonged not only his dad and uncle but other family members long since deceased; and countless items of memorabalia collecting dust in cupboards and corners.

    While we were clearing out, we were very conscious of trying to ensure we found new homes for everything we possibly could; as you quite rightly say, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’ We were able to send a lot of good clothes, ornaments and some furniture to charity shops. Other items of furniture will be upcycled. But there was a lot that just had to be thrown out, but naturally we separated everything as much as possible to ensure very little ended up in landfill.

    So apart from all the good reasons you mention above, I’m also very conscious that I wouldn’t want my children to suffer the same experience. I’m not sure how minimalistic I can actually be, but I’m certainly reducing my ‘stuff’ quite drastically each week at the moment!

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