I’m 28 and grew up in a family of hoarders.  I picked up my family’s habits of holding onto objects and becoming too emotionally and financially attached to them to get rid of them. I decided it was time to quit living a cluttered life.

How did I decide to live a less cluttered life?

Between college, work, and fellowship, I moved 8 times in the last 9 years before I settled in a 950 square foot apartment in  the Washington D.C. area with my new husband. Before our current apartment, we had two places totaling 2100 square feet and two apartments’ worth of furniture. I collected stuff all through my travels and paid ridiculous sums of money to move it all around to each temporary home. Suddenly all 121 boxes of it was sitting in my living room! I was starting to see a problem.

After watching a video by Dave Crenshaw about time management I realized that I wasn’t feeling stressed because I was managing my time badly. No, I was stressed out because I had too much in my life, in every way.

How did my-parents-the-hoarders affect my decision to start decluttering?

At this point I also started to take a serious look at the home environment I grew up in. Every time I would go home I would find myself getting more frustrated with the offices that were filled to my shoulders with junk, the piles of boxes that didn’t belong to me but kept ending up in my room, and the 1000-square foot basement that was entirely filled with junk. I realized that this wasn’t normal. No, my parents are hoarders. I was not going to turn into my parents.

What’s the 365 Day Decluttering Challenge about?

I’m clearing out the physical stuff in my life one day and one object at a time. I don’t expect  that I’ll ever live a minimalist life like some of the folks on my blogroll, but I think I’ll be better for it. It’s about learning to find other things to do other than shopping. It’s about learning not to use stuff as a coping mechanism.

Part of this challenge is also for me to add up the total cost to myself of impulse purchasing stuff. I’ m coming to believe that all the junk that marketers convince us to buy is doing real harm to our psyches, our communities, our environments, and our wallets. In 365 days I hope to have a better idea just how much damage that is. And keep it from happening to me again.

Take the challenge

If you want to live a less cluttered life, I encourage you to take the challenge to throw out 365 things in the next year. No, you don’t have to do it every day. But I do want you to try. And if you or I can’t get to 365 things, that’s okay. Maybe 30 decluttered things is enough for you. Or 100 things. The point is that you start thinking about living with less stuff. Who couldn’t benefit from living with a bit less clutter?

This blog is for you, too!

Please let me know what you’d like me to write more about. Please comment, too! I have so much to learn from everyone else who has struggled with these issues. Thanks for reading!


ps. Yes, the junk-filled room in the banner is my folks’ basement. It’s really that bad.


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