Get Chucked Challenge the way to go, Victoria Lambert finds out.
One gourmet thermometer, two party hats, a pair of custard-yellow slippers (actually, two pairs of slippers) and, goodness, 13 glass ramekins. No, that was not my shopping list.
These are just a few of the items that I’ve been collecting at home as part of my 30-Day Get Chucked Challenge, a dastardly de-cluttering plan I devised to deal with all the stuff that was slowly taking over my home.
The idea is simple: you identify one thing to chuck on Day One, two things on Day Two, three on Day Three . . . so that by the end of the month, joyously, you will have identified a staggering 465 items of clutter and recycled them, re-gifted them, given them to a charity shop, or taken them to the tip.
I first read about the idea for an arithmetically progressive house clearance last year, but decided to modernise the challenge by tweeting of everything I was chucking out – both to keep me going and to encourage others to join in.
Within minutes of my first post hashtagged #30DayGetChucked – I was joined by Keren Burney, owner of marketing and communications company Compege.
I had clutter-shamed myself by posting a picture of an unused gourmet thermometer.
Keren, who lives with her husband and two children, matched me with a “useless large glass candleholder”. We were off, soon joined by others. Trend-spotter James Wallman, author of Stuffocation, a new book on why we all should (and will) be living with less stuff in the future, cheered us on from his no-doubt already-minimalist home. Wallman suggests practising discrimination: “Don’t keep what you like,” he says. “Keep what you love.”
The real beauty of the 30-day challenge is that this is a gentle way to start de-cluttering if you are too sentimental to blitz your cupboards – but it will give your chucking-out a sense of purpose.
And while we agreed the final days would be tough, I’m more than halfway through the month and have found it easy so far.
There’s been plenty of what you might call low-hanging fruit – not least the unused gourmet thermometer, which screamed out to be re-homed – before I can progress to the hard-core challenge of tackling attics, man drawers and the garden shed.
So far – Day 15 – I’ve piled up stacks of paperbacks, cookbooks, odd kitchen implements (how did a porcelain ginger grater ever get into my home?), plus bags of old clothes and shoes. It is already a staggering 136 items in total.
So far, the hardest items to ditch (emotionally) have proved to be the nine bottles of half-used sunscreen, which we all know doesn’t work if you keep it beyond the use-by date.
But it’s so damn expensive, we tend to hang on to greasy tubes, sharing them with friends as necessary.
Keren, meanwhile, thinks her de-cluttering is having a beneficial effect on her marriage.
“For years, my husband has been going on about the ‘clutter’, as he calls it, in our house.
“Not his clutter, of course. Anything to do with the family is, of course, mine to tidy.”
But overall, she says: “This is a wonderful opportunity to get rid of a lot of stuff causing consternation in my marriage.”
As for me, there are limits to my obsessive clearing.
For one, I am not tackling the drinks cupboard.
Also, for now, the pets – three guinea pigs, two rabbits and one pony – can breathe easy.
James Wallman makes the point that de-cluttering can be like dieting: “There is a danger that you’ll purge and then binge.
“Instead, once this process is over, you should be thinking of shopping less and spending your time having more interesting experiences instead.”
Follow the #30DayGetChucked challenge on Twitter.
– The Daily Telegraph