Minimalist in DC

The Quest for Less "Stuff" & More Time

October Challenge: Throw Out 10 Things a Day

Between work, commuting two hours and taking care of the kids my weekdays are already packed.  To jump-start my de-owning adventure, I needed a lightweight method that fit into my current routine.  Based on Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness book, I know that habits are much easier to form when you perform them every day and so I’m going to spend October getting into the minimalist mindset by throwing out 10 things every day.  I can’t remember where I first heard this tip, but some people do this for a whole year.  The rules are simple:

Gather 10 things – anything – including trash, items you don’t need, recyclables, etc and get rid of them.

Over the past week I’ve basically ended up with two kinds of refuse:
1.     Things I can trash/recycle.
2.     Things I can donate.

At first it was really easy to walk around and find junk mail and old magazines to throw out (why didn’t I do this sooner?!), but then I had to start digging through drawers and getting to some tougher decisions.  The first week was fairly easy and required zero input from my family.  I suspect that will change quickly.

Day 1 DeclutteringDay 1: I threw out mostly garbage: an empty oatmeal container, receipts, shoeboxes, and an old craft project. The most substantial thing in the pile is my Badger aluminum water bottle. This was a sacrifice. I love you, Bucky, but this water bottle is too small to be useful, so it’s got to go.  I will donate it to a good family.

Day 2: More trash: a gift box, old menus, a broken coaster, congealed honey, random junk I got in the mail. The Bucky bib will go to my sister and the other bib I’ll donate.
Day 2 Decluttering
 Day 5 - Decluttering
Day 3: I found few old books, birthday cards (although I definitely appreciate having received them!), a pair of magnets, a sticker, and a plastic princess ring.
Day 4: An old highchair drop cloth, two ice packs, some plastic bags, dozens of sauce packets from Chinese take-out, and some old plastic utensils, probably from the same place.
Day 4 Decluttering
Day 5 Decluttering
Day 5: I raided a table in the basement and discovered several old, used-up note pads, two shards of tissue paper, plastic cups, a tiny owl pot, and some random pamphlets.
Day 6: I started to pick through the hall closet and found a bunch of old samples, a stain pen that I know for a fact doesn’t work, and a tiny comb.
Day 6 Decluttering
Day 7 Decluttering
Day 7: I decided to come to grips with the fact that I may never use 20 pairs of hotel shampoo/conditioner bottles.  Plus, I found some dirty kid toothbrushes, lotion, a broken barrette, and broken thermometer.
I feel like this is only just the tip of the iceberg.  By the end of October, I will have eliminated at least 380 items.  A good start, but will it be nearly enough?


  1. I might try this but I think I’d have to cut it to 5 things a day for a month 🙂

    • amberrking

      November 4, 2014 at 9:25 am

      5 things is great, Danielle! I think you’ll find that you naturally try to overachieve and you’ll end up throwing away far more than that some days.

  2. Tsegga S Medhin

    November 4, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I just started this and threw more than 10 things just from my bathroom area!

  3. I really like this blog and discovering it is perfect timing for me! I am cleaning my sewing room. I’ve managed to accumulate a lot scrap fabric and yarn. We did something new at the park this year for Christmas. Kids of all ages were invited to make several different Christmas crafts. I’m hoping that some of this extra fabric and yarn can be donted to that for next year.

    • amberrking

      December 31, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Ellen, I love your Christmas craft idea for getting rid of excess sewing room items! That may be one of the toughest rooms to clean and that’s a great way to know your unused items are going to a good home.

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