Declutter Challenge (Jan 2023) - Part 1

I’m already not one that’s prone to clutter, but with a large household consisting of my wife, 6 kids, an English Mastiff, a cat and me… things build up.

I decided that in addition to my Year Without challenge, I’d use the month of January to also do a declutter challenge. I’m using the method detailed by The Minimalists that can be summarized as succinctly as you eliminate the number of things that matches the numerical day of the month, for an entire month. While gamification is great, I didn’t want to set things aside to sandbag, so if I have more things to get rid of than the day of the month, so be it. Below is a log of the first 15 days:

  • January 1 - I cleaned out an entire sock drawer in our master closet dresser. Also go rid of Christmas pajamas that we used for our yearly family photo, but that didn’t fit great after a wash and we knew they wouldn’t get added into normal rotation. Total haul was two 8 gallon trash bags of unneeded stuff.
  • January 2 - I’m a firm believer that digital clutter shares much of the same anxiety inducing qualities of physical clutter, albeit not the same trappings of a home overflowing with stuff”. Today I went through the App Library on my iPhone and deleted 11 apps that I either no longer used, no longer needed, had never used or simply didn’t want to have such frictionless access to via the computer that’s always with me.
  • January 3 - Today was my first day back to work after the holidays. Due to a fractured ankle back at the beginning of October, most of my work from my home office had been from my knockoff Eames lounger so that I could keep my foot elevated. Since I’m back to being able to stand for longer periods, I spent portions of today gutting the closet in the office and discarded two trash bags worth of things I no longer need. A few items got listed on Mercari to sell off vs. donate or discard.
  • January 4 - Discarded more items from the home office (another small trash bag full). Also cleared out my entire newsletter queue in Mailbrew. Feels light and great to have both physical and digital clutter removed. First day back at the standing desk is tomorrow!
  • January 5 - By some purest measurement, I failed the declutter challenge yesterday because I didn’t rid myself of 5 physical nor digital objects that I can remember. I’m okay with that, because what I did rid myself of was the crushing mental weight of not having my home working environment the way I find most productive. Working at the standing desk yesterday was so freeing after the last 3 months of ankle issues. Yesterday was also an amazing evening with my lovely older daughters and wife seeing Hamilton for the first time as a live show. What an amazing day all around.
  • January 6 - Another day of failed declutter challenge, but not feeling bad about it. Between work in the morning and a trip to celebrate a family birthday out of town, our day was pretty packed. I did manage to clear the anxiety of having not sent any newsletter update in some time. Yesterday was just a heads up on the platform change, but next week the letters start flying again and I’m super excited about all the changes in my process.
  • January 7 - Went through my coffee kitchen cabinet and rid myself of tools, mugs and other related goods I no longer need or use. Removed well over seven items. Also deleted over 600 pics from my Apple Photo Library that were one-time use images or screenshots that served no purpose and were just backed up for no reason other than they existed.
  • January 8 - While I discarded a few items (a Corkcicle tumbler, a book, etc.) I don’t know if I hit 8 things or not. I’m okay with it since I know progress is progress.
  • January 9 - I discarded 10 edible items which I decided I couldn’t in good conscience consume the entire container. Sometimes we check a box, but 9 or more things is 9 or more things.
  • January 10 - Donated a couple of ankle injury items (scooter/leg crutch) to a contact. Listing a laptop for sale that’s no longer used. While it isn’t ridding ourselves of items, all the indoor Christmas decorations were put away today, which as the space feeling fresh. Also cleared a ton of articles out of my read-later app that are either no longer relevant to me or were read and never archived.
  • January 11 - Discarded the original set of key caps from my Keychron K6. So however many keys that is, it’s more than 11.
  • January 12 - I uninstalled a ton of apps on my iPad today. Also did another pass at mechanical keyboard key caps and discarded ones that are part of my current set, but that don’t fit my keyboard layout.
  • January 13 - Busy day, don’t believe any items of relevance were discarded.
  • January 14 - spent some time deleting a ton of bookmarks that were things I no longer needed in Raindrop. The count was over 100.
  • January 15 - I cleared out more read-later app articles and deleted old notes from the Apple Notes app I no longer needed. There’s so much digital cruft that gets left behind simply because it doesn’t occupy more than hard drive or cloud storage space”.
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