If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been spending a lot of time at home recently. Being stuck inside can lead to some serious boredom, and turn you into a professional couch potato. Before you make another trip to the fridge so you can Netflix and chill, why not consider using this time to take our 14-Day Decluttering Challenge!
If you don’t have the time or patience to take the Decluttering Challenge, don’t worry! You can still do any number of these decluttering projects in your own time, and in any order. Plus, however long you decide to participate for is entirely up to you.
LoadUp’s 14-Day Decluttering Challenge
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Take the 14-Day Decluttering Challenge
Being stuck inside for an extended period of time is already difficult enough. So when you’re sharing your space with a bunch of clutter, it can have some serious negative effects on your mental health and morale. Research has proven that clutter can cause increased stress, anxiety and even depression. None of us need that right now.
To make your time at home more healthy and productive, we’re happy to introduce the LoadUp 14-Day Decluttering Challenge!
Here’s how it works. Each day you’ll go down the list of decluttering projects that we’ve created below. There is no set amount of time that you should spend on this – the ultimate goal is to complete one decluttering task per day, whether it takes 15 minutes or three hours.
Once you’ve completed all the decluttering tasks in the 14-day declutter challenge, the most neglected and cluttered areas of your home will be neat and organized, and you’ll be free of a good deal of your excess junk. Easy peasy.
As soon as everything is ready to go, give us a call! Our outdoor pickup services allow us to remove all of your boxes and bags of excess clutter without ever having to meet face-to-face. Plus, you’ll get $5 off your junk removal pickup. With eco-friendly disposal methods, you don’t have to worry about everything you once loved ending up in a landfill. At LoadUp, we always try to donate and/or recycle as much as we can to reduce landfill waste, nationwide.
Ready to take the 14-Day Decluttering Challenge? Let’s do this.
Day 1: Pantry
Go through all the cans, bottles, boxes and bags in your pantry. Get rid of anything that has expired or been opened for a long time and gone stale.
Remove everything from your pantry and set it on a nearby counter or the floor. This will give you the opportunity to clean and organize. First, wipe down each shelf. As you put your pantry items back on the shelves, organize them. There are three different methods of organizing a pantry – pick the one that suits you and your family best.
- Organize by Type: This is the most common way of organizing a pantry. Put your canned goods together, and organize them by type of veggie, meat or fruit. Put rice and grains together, keeping like items with each other.
- Organize by Meal: If you are a meal-planner, organizing your pantry by the items needed for each meal will make it incredibly easy to find everything that you need when you need it. You’ll know exactly how many meals you have left for the week or month, and will be able to restock accordingly.
- Organize by Date: If you have a really well-stocked pantry and many of your items are the same or similar, you might want to organize everything by expiration date. Put items with the furthest date in the back, and items expiring sooner at the front. This reduces the number of canned, boxed and bagged goods that have to be thrown away in the future.
🍎 Help Fight Hunger Anything that isn’t expired but you no longer need can be donated to help combat hunger. Check with your local food bank, church or shelter to see if they have a specific need for your unwanted food items.
Day 2: Refrigerator & Freezer
If you’re like most people, you probably have at least one – but probably more – bottle or jar in your fridge that expired back in 2004. That jar of pickles, bottle of BBQ sauce or whatever it is has likely moved with you from house to house, too.
So that’s where you’ll start. Whether you keep jars and bottles in a side door or on a shelf in your refrigerator, begin there. Remove every single jar or bottle from your refrigerator, and inspect it. As yourself the following questions: Is it still good? Can you remember the last time that you used it? Will you truly ever use it again? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s time to trash it.
♻️ PRO TIP: Instead of throwing away glass or plastic bottles and jars, recycle them! Make sure to dump the contents into the trash, rinse the container and lid well, replace the lid and set it aside for recycling.
Wipe down each shelf and drawer as you go. Once you are done with the jars and bottles, go ahead and remove everything else, and get rid of anything rotten or expired. Once you have everything removed and wiped down, take a look at the shelves. Are they how you want them? If not, rearrange them!
Now is also a good time to assess the condition of your fridge. Does it leak? Is it constantly running? Does it refuse to change from “Cold” to “Colder” or “Coldest”? Does it not have adequate shelving or space? If you’re having any of these issues, it might be time to get rid of your old refrigerator and purchase a new one.
Now that the fridge side is all clean, it’s time to move onto the freezer. Do the same thing in the freezer that you did in the fridge. Get rid of anything that is freezer burnt, expired or that looks more like a science experiment than food.
If you have a standalone freezer, here are a few questions to ask yourself once everything has been removed and sorted through: Is it large enough to suit your needs or does it often end up cluttered? Is it typically so empty that it echos every time you open it to get some ice?
If either of these is a “yes”, it may be time for a change. Your appliances should work with you, not against you! Reducing the size of your freezer or refrigerator could save you money on your electric bill.
Similarly, upgrading to a larger appliance when you need more space will help keep things organized. When you’re able to see everything in your fridge or freezer, fewer things will get misplaced and expire. Boom. You just reduced your food waste.
Day 3: Cleaning Supplies
Whether you store your cleaning supplies in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room or a combination of all three, today is the day to pull them all out and take stock.
Half empty bottles of soap and bleach that have been out of sight and mind for months or years don’t necessarily have to be tossed out. If you are able to combine any of your supplies into the same bottle safely, (ie. Mr. Clean with Mr. Clean, Bleach with Bleach, etc.), go ahead and do so. Rinse out any bottles that can be recycled and throw away the rest.
Did you know that cleaning supplies have a shelf life and expire? Here’s a list of some of the most commonly used household chemicals and their shelf lives:
- Antibacterial Cleaners: one year
- Laundry Detergent: six months to one year
- Fabric Softener: one year
- Disinfectants: two years
- Dish Soap: 12 to 18 months
- Dishwasher Detergent: three months
- Multisurface Cleaners: two years
While you’re pulling things out from underneath your sink, inspect the area for any leaks or holes that may have gone unnoticed. If you find evidence of leaks, your bathroom or kitchen cabinet might need to be replaced.
When it’s time to put everything back, place the most frequently used items closer to the front. This will help reduce bottles of chemicals from being knocked over, spilling and creating more clutter.
Day 4: Duplicate Items
Many households have duplicate items. There are usually four main reasons that there might be duplicates of certain household items and appliances in your home, including:
- Gifts from a wedding, baby shower or birthday
- You replaced a broken item like a toaster or microwave and either forgot or didn’t know how to throw the old one out
- You’re intentionally holding onto doubles because they can’t/won’t be picked up by your curbside trash or recycling service
- You and your partner/spouse moved in together which resulted in an extra mattress, coffee maker, television, area rug, fan/heater, etc.
Whatever the reason, duplicates happen all the time. When you come across duplicates that have been long forgotten, now is the time to purge them.
You may have trouble convincing yourself to let duplicates go, but unless it sparks joy or you use it on a regular basis – which you likely don’t – get rid of it! When something has been “out of sight, out of mind” for at least three months, disposing of it should be pretty easy.
Day 5: Clothing
This one is really easy. Today is the day to get rid of any clothing items that you either don’t wear, don’t fit into or are old and worn out.
You can do this for your and your children’s clothing, but we don’t recommend taking it upon yourself to declutter your partner’s closet. If your partner has a messy or cluttered closet, talk to them about what you’re doing and encourage them to participate.
Disposing of old clothing doesn’t mean it has to end up in a landfill. Remember, “one (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure”. Old clothing can be either sold, donated or recycled. All of these options are way better choices than the landfill, plus give you a way to make a little extra cash and do some good.
While you’re going through your clothes, make three piles: sell, donate and recycle. Clothing that is in good condition and doesn’t have too much wear and tear might be able to be sold to a local consignment store. Keep in mind, most stores that buy and sell clothing second-hand are very picky about what they will accept. Don’t be surprised if they turn away half or more of the clothing that you think is great. If an item of clothing isn’t currently in style, they probably won’t be interested.
Day 6: Office Furniture, Supplies & Books
Books: Unless you’re holding on to a valuable first edition or a signed book by your favorite author, you probably will never pick up those old books that have been sitting on a bookcase for the last three years. Pull all of your old books off the bookshelf, box them up and set them aside for donation or recycling.
Office Furniture: Do you really need that extra large filing cabinet if it’s only holding files in one drawer? Is your rickety old office desk being held together by duct tape and a dream? Any office furniture that is broken or isn’t being used to its full potential can be tossed.
Office Supplies: You don’t necessarily need to get rid of office supplies, because they probably do get used enough to hang onto them. However, it’s important that you organize your home office so everything in it doesn’t build up as clutter around you.
Clutter reduces productivity, and if you’re working from home right now, you definitely don’t need something disturbing your focus.
Day 7: Toys & Games
If you have kids at home, today is the day to get them in on the action. But before you do, it’s a good idea to do the first round alone. Any toys that are broken, haven’t been played with in years or came as a prize with a fast-food kids’ meal should be pitched. Kids tend to get excited about old toys they haven’t seen for a while, so doing an initial cleanout can save you from a potential screaming match and a melt-down later.
Once you complete the first round of decluttering, grab the kids. Have them sort their toys into two piles – keep and donate. Box and bag up all of the toys for donation and set them aside for now.
If you’re still left with a lot of toys, it might be a good idea to organize them into a weekly rotation. By putting a random assortment of toys into separate bins that are rotated through on a weekly basis, your kids will play with the toys that they do have more, and all the toys will eventually be played with. A weekly rotation keeps things fresh, exciting and new for your kids, and will make cleanup and organization much easier in the end.
Day 8: The Dreaded Junk Drawer
If you don’t have a junk drawer, congratulations! You’ve got a day off. You’re also probably about as rare as a unicorn, so take pride in your uniqueness! Even the most organized people usually have at least one drawer in their home that holds all of their small and random household junk items that they simply don’t know where else to put.
Day 9: Garage
Now it’s time for a big one. Decluttering a garage is a pretty large project, and will likely take a good chunk of time. Grab your Bluetooth speaker and put on your favorite playlist. It’s about to get real.
Over the years, your garage has likely gone from the place you park your car to being overrun with clutter. When an old appliance dies, a piece of furniture breaks or your old exercise bike is in the way of your new Peloton, these things often end up in the garage because disposing of them is a real pain.
Appliances can be recycled, but not in the curbside bin. The same goes for many old furniture items including couches, futons and even bulky plastic playsets. If any of these items have been taking up space in your garage, today is the day to decide their fate.
The easiest way to get rid of excess clutter in a large space like a garage is to have it hauled away by a junk removal company. LoadUp offers nationwide removal and disposal services for all different kinds of junk items. With Loaders in over 170 cities across the country, we can have everything picked up and hauled away as soon as tomorrow.
If you plan on having us pick up and haul away your unwanted items, you can leave them where they are! Our professional Loaders can remove everything from right where it is, making your job much easier in the end.
Once everything is gone, you’ll have a better idea of how much space you have to work with when it comes to organizing your garage or basement in the future. We don’t want to overwhelm you, so the main focus of this challenge is decluttering. You can get to organizing at a later date!
Day 10: Basement
Ahhh, the basement. We love this room because of all of its space and potential, but when it comes to junk and clutter, oftentimes the basement is the most neglected space in your house.
Whether it’s been refinished as a cool man cave, is only used for storage or has been converted into a teenager’s bedroom, today is the day for your basement to shine.
Any games or furniture that is broken or hasn’t been played or used in the last year is on the chopping block today. Since things like ping-pong and air hockey tables tend to be incredibly heavy and difficult to move. Instead of trying to haul everything up the stairs yourself, make a list of all the things that need to be removed, instead. Then once you’re ready to get all the clutter you’ve found over the last two weeks out of your life for good, you can get a quote or book a pickup online, and we’ll haul everything away from whatever room it’s in – even the basement.
Day 11: Arts & Crafts Supplies
Go through all of the arts and crafts supplies in your home. Any dried up markers without caps, broken crayons, pencils without erasers, clogged glue bottles, and dried up paint should go directly into the trash. Everything else should be kept, sorted and organized.
Now that all the crafts are sorted, they need a permanent home. If you’re homeschooling your kids, try setting up an arts and crafts educational station or a temporary homeschool classroom! A small desk with a cabinet, a couple of rolling carts or some small storage bins will help keep all the arts and crafts supplies organized and in one spot.
Day 12: Electronics
You know all of those weird charging boxes and charging cords that have been wadded up in a drawer for the last four years? Toss ’em! You’re never going to need the cord to your old flip phone from 2001 or the frayed extension cord that somehow never makes it to the trash.
Elecronics is a broad section. We are referring to any electronics that are broken or no longer used. Many people hang onto broken or old electronics because of strict electronic waste (eWaste) disposal laws or restrictions.
In many states, things like CRT (tube) televisions, old stereos, computers, monitors and more are illegal to throw into the trash and must be recycled. If this is the case for you, don’t worry – here’s the silver lining. When you hire LoadUp to haul away your decluttering efforts, we’ll also take your old electronics for recycling, so you don’t have to deal with them. This is especially beneficial right now, since many eWaste and electronics recycling events have been postponed indefinitely.
Day 13: Magazines & Junk Mail
This one is super easy. If you’ve been holding onto mail because it is important, it’s probably no longer truly “important” if it’s been on your desk or kitchen table for the last year. Any mail that has sensitive personal information should be shredded, if possible, before disposal.
Shredding your mail will help combat identity theft. However, if you don’t have a shredder, blacking out personal information with a black indelible marker like a Sharpie is the next best bet. Once you black out personal info, rip it up by hand.
Day 14: Beauty Supplies
You made it to the final day of the decluttering challenge! Congratulations!
The final step of our 14-day decluttering challenge is to purge any broken or unused beauty supplies. Here are some of the things you should be looking to get rid of:
- Makeup that is either old, empty, broken or the wrong shade
- Empty body sprays, perfumes and colognes
- Combine half-empty bottles of shampoo with opened ones, where possible
- Any shampoo or conditioner that has expired. (Pro tip: There’s actually a little symbol on the back of many professional products that shows an open container with a number on it. This is the number of months your product is good for after it is first opened.)
- Unused or broken sauna, jacuzzi, bidet or tanning bed
Call LoadUp for Fast and Easy Junk Removal
Thanks for taking the 14-Day Decluttering Challenge with us! We are confident that your home has been purged of all the unnecessary items and things are feeling cleaner and more organized.
If you haven’t already scheduled a junk removal pickup appointment with us, doing so is the final step to a newly decluttered home.
Stay safe and well, and we look forward to hauling away the efforts of your recent decluttering project soon!