Minimalist in DC

The Quest for Less "Stuff" & More Time

Tag: trash

Throwing Away 10 Things A Day: October Challenge Wrap-up

That’s a funny title for this post since the whole point is to tell you [spoiler alert!] that I won’t be wrapping up my habit of throwing away 10 things a day.

Over the month of October, I have thrown away a grand (conservative) total of 493 things. 115 of those will be donated or given away and the vast majority of the rest have been recycled.


That’s a pretty big number, but I still feel like if my house were an iceberg, we’re still chipping away at the ice above the water. I’ve successfully cleaned out only three major areas:

  1. Linen closet
  2. Upstairs bathroom
  3. Kitchen

We have a 1700 square-foot home with four bedrooms and two stories. That leaves a lot of rooms and spaces to minimize.

As I move into November, I will adopt a new theme, which will be unveiled on November 1st, but I will continue to go through each drawer, storage bin, and room until we have created space everywhere.

Throwing Away 10 Things a Day Continues

My goal is to be done by January 1st. I will purge items from one space a day for the next 60 days. It’s an aggressive goal and a massive undertaking, but I want it done yesterday. Let’s do this!

So much for “wrapping up”.

10 Things Check-In

Remember the October Challenge? Finding time to throw out 10 things a day has been fairly easy. There are a couple days that I completely forgot, but most days I’ve thrown away far more than 10 items.  In fact, on average, I’ve found 23.27 items to throw away each day.

I’ve had to stop randomly walking through the house and have started systematically cleaning out drawers and closets. Based on these photos, the exact number of items removed from the house is around 420. I still have a lot to do, however. I think I’m going to need a bigger month.


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?

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