Take our 7-in-7 Declutter Challenge
Get ready to take on the 7-in-7 Declutter Challenge!
Ahead we’ll show you how to tackle the biggest clutter zones in your home with an easy-to-follow day-by-day plan. Plus, you’ll need to spend just a few minutes each day to achieve your challenge goals. Let’s get started!
Goal: Begin with the end in mind
Action Step: Close your eyes and do a mental scan of your home, pausing for a moment at each trouble spot:
- Your messiest closet stuffed with clothes and shoes you no longer wear;
- The uppermost kitchen cabinets that just collect knick-knacks and old dust-covered appliances;
- The bedside stand that stores books you’ll never read again;
- The troublesome dresser that has a couple of socks sticking out of the drawers;
- The towel cabinet in the bathroom that’s proven to be the final resting place of the curling iron and kids bath toys that are no longer used;
- The dust-covered entertainment center that’s home to a forlorn DVD player and the discs that go with it — which you haven’t played since you signed up for Netflix;
- The catch-all closet by the front door. You know the one, it’s stuffed with old boots, umbrellas and sporting goods from that brief moment when you thought you’d take up a new hobby?
These are the areas that will be decluttered in just a week! Yet before you get started, begin with the end in mind and think about what you’ll be doing with the items you no longer want. Some, you’ll toss out to the garbage or recycle bin, but for the items that are too good to throw out, why not donate them to help America’s veterans? Take a moment to schedule a free donation pickup with the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) now, and by the time you’ve completed this 7-in-7 Declutter Challenge, you’ll be all set!
Goal: Declutter the closet of your nightmares
Action Steps: Start by gathering at least three mid-sized boxes or bags, one that you’ll use for your headed-to-the-garbage stuff, one for your recyclable items (like old shoe boxes) and one for the items you’ll be donating to help America’s veterans.
Now open that closet and dive in — trust us, it won’t bite you, no matter how scary it looks! Begin at the top and work your way down, deliberately and methodically. You’ll want to touch every item, and consider if it’s a keeper, a recycle/trash, or a donate. You may be surprised at what you find…including that little sweater you like so much that you’ve completely forgotten about.
Pair up all the shoes and boots that have been tossed into the corner, and consider if you need the space more than you need the shoes. Speaking of space, now’s a great time to install a new closet or shoe organizer.
Once you’ve made your way to the bottom, take a final moment to make one last pass, where you’ll straighten up the hanging clothes and maybe even change out or install a new air freshener.
Then finish by giving yourself a figurative (or literal, if you prefer) pat on your back — you’ve tackled the hardest challenge of them all!
Goal: Cook up the kitchen of your dreams
Action Steps: Sure, you could spend way more than 7 days just decluttering your kitchen, but our challenge is limited to just a few minutes each day. Never fear, we’ve got you covered – you’re going to tackle the cabinets that are your least-used, and often your messiest. You won’t believe the impact that will make.
Start by assessing which two-or-three cabinets are your worst…mind you, you need to rule out the cabinets right next to the stove or fridge that you open thirty times a day. Instead, we’re challenging you to clean the ones you use the least. Open them and remove all the cookware, dust-covered small appliances, kitchen gadgets, and that ceramic turkey that your Aunt Janet gave you and place all the items on a kitchen table (we’ll get back to them later).
Next, fill the sink up with some soapy water, or grab your favorite kitchen cleaner and scrubber, and dive into the now-empty cabinets, wiping away the dust and gunk, especially from the corners. You may even want to replace or finally add the cabinet liners you’ve been meaning to use. If you have wooden cabinets, be sure to take this rare opportunity to give all of the wooden sides a coating of wood moisturizer or preservative. You can find them in the cleaning supplies of your supermarket.
Now it’s time to assess what goes back into the cabinets. Chipped items or those stray plastic lids that are missing their partners should go straight into the garbage. The roaster or cast-iron skillet or what-have-you can go back into the freshly cleaned cabinet, but for the items you haven’t used in more than a year, why not add them to your donation box, so another family can give them a new life? That includes the ceramic turkey; it might not be your taste but someone else will surely love it!
And just like that, your kitchen’s dustiest corners are clean and inviting. Time for another round of back-pats.
Goal: Put your bedroom clutter to sleep for good
Action Steps: Grab a dusting spray and some cleaning cloths and bravely approach that small-but-mighty bedside stand. We’ll give you the strength to wrestle it under control! Start by throwing away all the garbage on top and in the drawer or cabinet beneath.
Next, you’ll want to do what you did yesterday with the kitchen cabinets, and remove everything, putting it aside for assessment later. Then clean the empty drawers and the deepest recesses of the cabinets, and don’t forget to moisturize the wood if you need to — the fresh scent will be a bonus!
Now it’s time to decide just what you need to keep nearby, what you can put back where they really belong (for example, the hairbrushes that belong in the bathroom), and of course what you should donate. Chances are, you’ve uncovered a book or two that would be a great donation item. Or maybe it’s just time to replace the bedside lamp that was a better fit for your old place than it is this bedroom…the Vietnam Veterans of America will gladly accept all lamps and furniture that are in good working order and are small enough for one person to carry!
You’re halfway through today’s challenge. Keep up your decluttering momentum by turning your attention to your dresser. Remove the clothes piled deep within — the bed’s a good place to do the sorting. Then one-by-one, assess whether you want to keep the item, trash it, or donate it. If it’s the latter, into your donate box it goes. But if you’re keeping it, take a moment to fold it nicely and put it back in its proper drawer, with all its friends. You’ll get into a quick rhythm and in no time that daunting pile of clothes will be cut in size and stored neatly out of sight!
Congratulations! You’re more than halfway through our
7-in-7 Declutter Challenge!
Goal: Stop throwing in the towel
Action Steps: The bathroom is today’s decluttering destination. Specifically, the cabinet that catches everything from towels to bath toys — of course, depending on your home, that cabinet might not actually be in the bathroom and instead in the hallway nearby; regardless, you know the messy location we’re tackling today.
By now you can probably guess our first step: Empty everything. And the second step: Dust or scrub the cabinets, cleaning them and moisturizing the wood if it’s required. Next up, take the towels and washcloths and give them a good once-over. Is it clean and in good, torn-free shape? If no, you might just want to toss it. If yes, ask yourself if you regularly use it, or never at all? If yes, then fold it up (or roll it up, depending on your preference) and put it back in the cabinet. If no, add it to your donation collection, knowing that another family can soon be putting it to good use again. Follow the same process for the other stuff from the cabinet, and in just a couple more minutes you’ll have a clutter-free bathroom…and you have our permission to celebrate with a relaxing bath!
Goal: Make the entertainment center fun again
Action Steps: Much of what you do with this segment of the 7-in-7 Declutter Challenge depends on what type of entertainment center you have in your living room or den. If you have the kind that’s nearly ceiling-high and full of shelves, you’ll want to start by removing all the non-essentials (don’t bother with unplugging the TV and related equipment you regularly use). Then give all the surfaces a good cleaning and dusting, and follow that up by cleaning and dusting the items you’ll put back in their regular place — provided of course you actually want to keep those books, lamps, frames, and various knick-knacks. If not, consider donating them.
Regardless of the size of your entertainment center, it’s going to have a TV and probably attached electronic equipment, right? Now’s when you should decide if there’s anything wired up that you aren’t using. Maybe the grandkids have outgrown the game center you kept for them? What about the DVD player and the discs that go with it?
Like we mentioned above, if you now only go online to a service like Netflix to watch your movies, disconnect the disused equipment and add it (and their associated discs) to your donation box. You’ll be putting it all to very good use helping America’s veterans and their families.
After you complete a deep-dusting of the TV and stand, take the opportunity to swap out the batteries in the TV remote, if you’ve noticed it’s been a bit sluggish as of late. Then finish up by organizing any visible wires (consider tying them together with zip ties you can purchase at your home improvement center).
Just like that, you have only one day left in the challenge!
Goal: Go behind door number one
Action Steps: You’ll finish up our 7-in-7 Declutter Challenge by cleaning up the catch-all closet, wherever it may be. For many people, it’s just inside the front door, but you’ll have to decide which closet is yours…maybe it’s in the garage? Or near the kitchen? Wherever it lives you’ll be employing the methods you’re now well-trained in: Start by emptying it from top to bottom, then cleaning/dusting, then assess what you’ve pulled out.
The difference with this task is that much of what you’ve pulled out you’ll want to put back somewhere else. Shoes and jackets you’re keeping go in the bedroom, kids toys in the toy box, sporting goods out in the garage or wherever you store them, etc. Of course, you’ll want to donate the stuff that’s still good, but you just don’t use!
Finish up by adding some new hangers so you’ll have a place to hang your jackets and not just toss them on the floor. And be sure to replace the light bulb if it’s been burned out for months!
Did we mention you’re done? In just a week, you’ve completed our 7-in-7 Declutter Challenge, leaving your home’s worst clutter spots clean and shiny, and now you’re ready to help America’s veterans. Double-check your donation date you scheduled earlier this week and be sure to place your items in a bag or a box outside your door on the scheduled day. Don’t forget to label your bags or boxes with “VVA” so our drivers know what items to take. We bet you’ll find this bonus step is the most rewarding of them all.