The Ten Things Challenge
If you’re like most people in America you have far more things than you need. The clutter can become overwhelming and more importantly you’re spending time and money maintaining these things (cleaning, buying things to store things, you name it). So what would life be like if you had fewer things? That’s the point of the 10 things challenge.
Here are the basics:
Every week you get rid of ten things. These things can go to the goodwill, be put up on Freecycle, sold on eBay or Craigslist or put in the trash, given to a friend, whatever. They just need to leave your home. They can be big things, small things, whatever. The choice of what it is and how you count them is up to you. That old car you never drive? That’s a thing! That single sock you’ve been saving for a year hoping to find its mate? That’s a thing! Within reason there’s nothing too small or too big. If it feels like a countable thing to you it is.
Sometimes things take a while to leave. If you’re selling something it might not be sold and shipped in one week’s time. That’s OK but you must have put ads up on whatever site you intend on using to sell them. If they don’t sell you’ll likely want to lower the price or consider donating instead. It’s not OK to have “gotten rid of a thing” by having it on endless sale on eBay for a price no one will ever pay! Remember, this is about decluttering and your home, so don’t cheat yourself by not really getting rid of a thing.
You can do more but not less. Part of the challenge is to declutter but another aspect is looking at all this stuff we have and if we truly “need” it. As most know getting more stuff doesn’t buy us happiness but it can buy us lots of debt and unhappiness. By being more mindful of the things we’ve accumulated we can hopefully become more mindful when we think about getting more. Creating a new habit requires regular practice so don’t cheat yourself by skipping weeks or doing this only once a month. At some point you may have decluttered as much as you want. That’s great! It’s time to stop but until that time be true to yourself and the challenge by getting rid of ten things every single week.
If you’re going on a long vacation or have to be away for a while feel free to bank up extra stuff before or after your journey. You can also choose to skip if that’s more appropriate for you. You might even declutter on your vacation by donating things you no longer need rather than bringing them back home!
Don’t use this as an excuse to go out and get a bunch more stuff. The goal is to have less in your home, not more or the same. A good rule of thumb (for everything other than food, tp, etc) is one in one out. Bring home a new magazine? Add an extra item to your 10 things this week. Bring home a new kitchen appliance? Make room for it by getting rid of something in the cupboard you never use.
These aren’t really rules. This is about you, your home, your stuff, your mental state and what makes you happy. The above are simply suggestions based on psychological research regarding habit that seems to be a good place to start. Want to do more items each week? Awesome! 10 is too much? Really? If so that’s OK too. Be consistent and if you change the above “rules” write them down for yourself so you can be true to them in the future.
This challenge is inspired by many different books on simplicity, downsizing, and happiness but most recently by this book. Check it out from the library (or buy it and then sell it!)
You can learn more about the author Tammy Strobel on her blog rowdy kittens.